[Dashboard] Allow past enrollments to be added to course menu

I'm a designer.  I have a ton of courses in my "all courses" list, and would like to periodically switch which ones I'm able to quickly access from my customized list, even if the course is one from the past.  Canvas says "To customize the list of courses, click on the "All Courses" link and star the courses to display."  Of course they fail to tell you that this doesn't apply to past enrollments.  Bummer.


My idea: Make it so when I click on the star next to a course in the Past Enrollments section, I don't get a message that says "This course cannot be added to the courses menu at this time."  

Community Participant

I am also having this problem because some of my master courses are listed in my past enrollments section, and some are not. This means that I can't add some master courses to my favorites. Is this something that can be corrected at the institutional level?

Community Member

This is a much needed feature! I have the same issue as a designer. Let's all vote this idea up!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Yeah, this is an unfortunate loss of control and customization. Were the changes to dashboards in the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-12-10)‌ really intended to prevent a user from being able to favorite any course they chose? What was the user story that supported this? If I am trying to intentionally favorite a course, in what scenario is it beneficial for me not to be able to favorite that course regardless of which state it is in?

I will advocate for this feature idea and try to help get it the votes it deserves, but perhaps a review of the intended functionality is in order. Let us look at the relevant passage from the release notes that were referenced when I reported this as a bug:


Course Auto-Favorites

For users who have customized their Courses list, Canvas automatically adds all new enrollments as a favorite. This change helps Canvas users locate new courses in the Dashboard and the Global Navigation Courses menu. Customizing a course list means a user has clicked the All Courses link in the Courses menu and manually favorited at least one course in the Courses list.




Favorite courses in the Courses menu and the Dashboard are still ordered alphabetically by course role and course name. Courses with instructor roles are listed first, followed by TA roles and any other custom instructor-based roles. Courses with student roles are listed last. If the Courses menu includes a large number of courses, the Courses menu includes a scrollbar. There is no limit for favorited courses.


  • For students, courses are not set as a favorite until the course is published. (Students cannot favorite unpublished courses.)
  • For instructors, courses are set as a favorites as soon as they are added to the course.
  • Courses for all roles remain a favorite even when the courses are concluded, but the course can be removed as a favorite at any time in the Courses list.


Note: This change does not affect users who have never customized their courses list, where Canvas automatically displays up to 12 courses alphabetically by role in the Dashboard and in the Global Navigation Courses menu. The Courses list is not affected and no courses are marked as favorites.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: add newly accept course to course menu by default


I really don't see where removing the ability to favorite past enrollments fits into this change and the rationale that describes it. Perhaps I missed something in these or other release notes that does a better job justifying the change. If so, please let me know.

Community Novice

I agree with your perspective, Adam.  When I originally spoke to a tech specialist because I regarded this as a bug, I was told that it was more of a "feature" and therefore a suggestion to modify the feature would need to be presented and upvoted. I was skeptical at the time and remain so.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @bharrell1 ‌, I'm really thankful you did come here and make this feature idea. It gives us a place to communicate with each other and communicate back to Canvas how we feel. Ultimately, only their Product team can make the determination on what was intended, and what can be changed and when. However, this community space at least provides us a place to be heard by each other and by the company. So, thank you again for taking the time to create this and giving us a place to discuss.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi, Adam,

I checked with the engineer who worked on this change to make sure we hadn't announced any inaccurate information. The change from the December release was only designed to add new enrollments as favorites, just as the release notes convey. The Dashboard has always been designed to display current courses and apply favorites accordingly, so there were no specific changes related to concluded courses. I also checked the history of our documentation, which has always shown that the Prior Enrollments list could show starred (favorited) courses even though the courses themselves did not display in the Dashboard. Courses haven't ever been able to be favorited once they move to the Prior Enrollments list.


So yes, this feature idea is truly a feature idea as it would change a core component of the code. I know that's probably not the news you were hoping to get, but I just wanted to help clarify the information you had received so far.



Community Explorer

I too am curious as to the logic behind not allowing us to place previous semester courses on our favorites list.  I don't see the point in having such a list if we are restricted to starring current courses.  I frequently need to go back to the most recent past version of a course, and to do so I must scroll through a long list of previous courses.

Also, for what it is worth, just noticed two of my Spring 2017 courses were on my favorites list.  I unstarred them, and then attempted to re-star them, and got the "the course cannot be added to the courses menu at this time" message.  So they were there, and I could remove them, but I couldn't bring them back.  This is frustrating.


Having some of my old courses readily accessible would be very helpful because I reference them often. I have
the same discussion prompts every term, and students often ask the same questions, so it makes more sense to copy over (and edit as necessary) previous replies than to start each quarter from scratch. Having to search through all of my past courses multiple times a day is inconvenient.

Community Novice

This would be amazing especially when our new classes start expounding on previous courses. It is a study guide.

Community Champion

I run into this a lot also, but usually just go in and temporarily extend the close date. That lets me add the course card to my dashboard while I'm working.