[Course Settings] Allow Admin to Set Default Settings for courses

It would be hugely helpful to district-level Canvas Admins to be able to modify and establish default course settings for course shells created for sections assigned to teacher users.


For example, if a teacher technology advisory committee, school principal, and/or tech department in the school or district determines that all courses published in Canvas for students and observers have settings that differ from the current defaults, then this requires a manual change to each course by the teacher and/or admin depending upon the district's user permissions.

e.g., setting grading schemes, or students rights to view, attach, etc.

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e.g., modifying default course navigation menu items to be viewable to students...

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I suggest that Canvas develop a feature that would allow an admin to simply set the course settings defaults prior to the creation of courses within subaccounts, manually or via SIS integration.


This feature could be available in one or more of the following locations of the Admin navigation menu:

(a) Courses

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(b) Add a New Course

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(c) Settings

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(d) Subaccounts

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Community Champion


This is so badly needed!  Thank you for the thorough writeup!


Community Team
Community Team

Hi Chris,

Thank you for contributing this feature idea.  It will open for vote on March 2nd.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. March 2, 2016 - Wed. June 1, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

Coach Emeritus

I doubt if I personally would ever use this level of control at our school - or rather be permitted to do so by our school administration, but I see it's potential usefulness for many schools, districts and systems.

I'll support this.


Community Contributor

This is very much needed here.  Too many times instructors do not customize their course navigation resulting in lost and confused students who miss important information.  Questions like "Is the Exam X link in the Quizzes section the same exam that's in the Assignments section?" etc.

We'd like our instructors to use the Modules section to organize and present content to students, but many do not, even after going through training that covers the benefits to doing so. And it's not usually because they are renegades. They either forget, or whatever, but it impacts students negatively. If each Canvas course shell could have a default set up that mirrors what we recommend in the training, it would be awesome. And, if something needed to change beyond that, an instructor could still have the ability to do so. But a visual consistency in our online courses would be wonderful to start off with.

We also have course shells we use for virtual office hours as well as virtual support labs. These require less navigation options as courses do. Again, the ability to create a default for these as well would be awesome. 

Community Contributor

i can see why there is a need this - however, for me allowing admins to set what appears in GROUP pages wihtout having to resort to techy backend options is more important than controlling course navigation

Community Novice

I could see where this option would be very helpful. Setting a default navigation or grading scheme would be beneficial to us.

Community Explorer

Absolutely.  As a dean I need to occasionally prod faculty to include Canvas features or functions they may not use.  It is not Big Brother talking, it is fostering accountability and a common culture and standards. Institutions may choose not to use it--fine, but I would like that option.

Community Champion

I like this idea. We create all courses from templates with the settings we look for, but occasionally need a quick fix for navigation, etc. before we can reach all the necessary templates.

Community Contributor

I'd like to advocate for this idea not from the perspective of micromanaging teacher setups by school administration, but as a way of giving admins access to settings that are arbitrarily set one way, but could be set another way just as reasonably. In short: where a school has a philosophical difference from Canvas, we'd like to be able to create default courses that reflect our school's sensibilities (and we're not terribly interesting in locking people into those settings, just in adjusting defaults to match our needs).

Our current approach, which worked pretty well this year, is a custom CSV import that allows us to specify everything about a course that we would normally specify… as well as a template course on which to model the new course.

Having this built into Canvas, or providing us API access to the course navigation and other "straggler" settings that we can't quite reach through our current approach would be great.

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