[Sections] Edit Section: Restricting students to see own section only

When enrolling students to a course section, there is a small box for you to check to restrict the student to seeing only his/her own section and responses from other students only from his/her section.  If you miss checking this box upon enrollment, the only way to enable the feature is to go into each individual student's profile and make the change.  This should be an option on the "edit section" page.


Comments from Instructure
Sometimes, with the volume of ideas we have coming in, we miss a duplicate.  This idea has a duplicate with Course-Level Setting: Restrict Users to Their Own Section(s).  Both threads will receive the same updates.

To learn more about why this is important check out  @John_Lowe ​'s post New FERPA requirements for cross-listed courses!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. July 6, 2016 - Wed. October 5, 2016.

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

Community Novice

Thanks,  @mjennings ​

Community Champion

I can only hope this change gets approved and acted on soon.  We have many cases where the instructor has several sections cross-linked into one online class, and currently the teacher would have to change up to 100 (sometimes more) individual student settings - so many clicks!

FERPA specifies that a student's enrollment in a section is a privacy issue as per New FERPA requirements for cross-listed courses! Without this setting to limit users to view only students in their own section, Conversations allows students to see students in all sections.  Since Conversations (Inbox) is not on the course navigation menu, it can't be hidden the way Conferences and Chat can. Restricting students to viewing only those in their own section is the only way to go. 

Unless someone knows another way?

Coach Emeritus


One small correction, in the admin panel you can restrict students from posting to other students in the Inbox. Not a good solution, mind you because students should be able to communicate with each other, but it does make it it possible to restrict access.


Community Champion

Thanks  @kmeeusen ​ - that's good to know. Doesn't it change the permission for all students? I don't know if all teachers would want us changing that setting for all students when it is only the cross listed sections that need it.  But we might have to resort to that option.  My fingers are crossed that this idea will get enough votes.

Coach Emeritus

Yes, you are correct that it would change it for all students... Which is why we haven't used it. Many instructors (with non crosslisted courses) want their students to be able to communicate with each other like that.

Community Novice

I approve, and would love to expand this idea to match the similar use case in this feature request:

Students, yes, but also TA access may need to be restricted to individual sections. We manage massive lectures that break into individual recitation sections; it would be helpful to keep the recitation feel for our students as well as functionally remove the chance of an accidental grading event via a sleep-deprived TA. These courses can house hundreds of students and dozens of TAs each, so a restriction at the course level, and applied *by role* would accomplish both outcomes.

Community Champion

This is the first semester we're cross-listing courses so it's a learning process.  Another procedural difficulty has arisen - before the semester starts it is tedious but do-able to change the setting on every single student, if you're careful not to skip somebody.  However new students can add during the first few weeks of class, and isolating those new students to change their settings isn't easy.  Instructors will have to keep a list of adds and check off when it's done.  If a student is overlooked, it's not easy to find them since you can't see the "restrict user" setting unless you open every student's User details.  (We are lucky that not all courses need this setting.)

I can only hope this is fixed before next semester.  For us, I can't think of any situation where only a few students in a section need this setting, it is always the whole section, or rather all sections in a course.  I hope our vote isn't being split between this section control idea and the whole course control idea at .  I voted for both.

Community Member

Can the enrollment API be used to restrict student access to his/her own section?


The following is an excerpt from the enrollment API.  I'm not clear on the text, "Applies to Teacher and TA enrollments." 

// User can only access his or her own course section. Applies to Teacher and TA
// enrollments.
"limit_privileges_to_course_section": true,