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kmather
Community Member

Adding large groups of students to a course

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Good afternoon!

I am in the process of creating a resource course in Canvas that all new students will be added into. The students will no be graded its really just resources they may need. We are a fairly small college and it would be possible to add/remove the student manually but there has got to be an easier way. Does anyone know of a way to automatically add a group of students during their first semester and then remove them as they leave school?

Thanks for any help you can give me,

Kathy

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tbirbeck
Community Participant

We have a similar situation with our library resources courses.  There are two solutions that have proven to be effective and save us tons of time.  Here's a brief overview of the two options our librarians are choosing:

PUBLIC or INSTITUTION visibility:

Pros:

  • No user management
  • Perpetual use

Cons: 

  • No interaction.  View only.
  • No course card or listing in All Courses

Use this option for courses where users need to view, but not interact.  We get around the course card issue by adding a custom link to all course navigation menus for the account/sub-account. You could also post the link on your website or send an institution announcement. 

MASS ENROLL/UNENROLL USERS

Pros:

  • Enroll lots of users at once
  • Course card is visible to students
  • Students can interact with course material (not view-only)

Cons: 

  • Users can't be mass unenrolled (that I know of) BUT...we just make a copy of the course for the next term and mass enroll the new group. (Remember to conclude the original course.)

This method works great if you want users to be actual students in the course.  For our libraries, we enroll all of the students every year in a new copy of the course.  That way, we don't have to figure out which students are still here and which have moved on. 

UPLOAD FILE

You will need to create a file with a list with either your students' usernames or institution email addresses, separated by commas.  

Here's how we make the upload file.  The first time it might seem like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, this can be done in just a couple of minutes. 

  • We get a report of all students that includes either their usernames or email addresses. 
  • It usually comes in a spreadsheet format.  Copy the spreadsheet contents into a word processor document like WORD.
  • Remove all of the columns except the one that includes the username or email address
  • Convert the table to text (Here's how in Word) Separate with a comma. 

To upload the list.  

  • Copy the comma-separated list.
  • In your course, navigate to PEOPLE and click the +People button
  • Paste your copied list into the "Email Address (required)" area of the ADD PEOPLE box.  If your list is usernames, be sure to click Login ID in the "add user(s) by" section.  
  • Follow the prompts to add all of your users. 

Next time you want to refresh students, 

  • In course SETTINGS, click COPY THIS COURSE to get a fresh copy
  • In the same area of the original course, choose CONCLUDE THIS COURSE 

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3 Replies
tbirbeck
Community Participant

We have a similar situation with our library resources courses.  There are two solutions that have proven to be effective and save us tons of time.  Here's a brief overview of the two options our librarians are choosing:

PUBLIC or INSTITUTION visibility:

Pros:

  • No user management
  • Perpetual use

Cons: 

  • No interaction.  View only.
  • No course card or listing in All Courses

Use this option for courses where users need to view, but not interact.  We get around the course card issue by adding a custom link to all course navigation menus for the account/sub-account. You could also post the link on your website or send an institution announcement. 

MASS ENROLL/UNENROLL USERS

Pros:

  • Enroll lots of users at once
  • Course card is visible to students
  • Students can interact with course material (not view-only)

Cons: 

  • Users can't be mass unenrolled (that I know of) BUT...we just make a copy of the course for the next term and mass enroll the new group. (Remember to conclude the original course.)

This method works great if you want users to be actual students in the course.  For our libraries, we enroll all of the students every year in a new copy of the course.  That way, we don't have to figure out which students are still here and which have moved on. 

UPLOAD FILE

You will need to create a file with a list with either your students' usernames or institution email addresses, separated by commas.  

Here's how we make the upload file.  The first time it might seem like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, this can be done in just a couple of minutes. 

  • We get a report of all students that includes either their usernames or email addresses. 
  • It usually comes in a spreadsheet format.  Copy the spreadsheet contents into a word processor document like WORD.
  • Remove all of the columns except the one that includes the username or email address
  • Convert the table to text (Here's how in Word) Separate with a comma. 

To upload the list.  

  • Copy the comma-separated list.
  • In your course, navigate to PEOPLE and click the +People button
  • Paste your copied list into the "Email Address (required)" area of the ADD PEOPLE box.  If your list is usernames, be sure to click Login ID in the "add user(s) by" section.  
  • Follow the prompts to add all of your users. 

Next time you want to refresh students, 

  • In course SETTINGS, click COPY THIS COURSE to get a fresh copy
  • In the same area of the original course, choose CONCLUDE THIS COURSE 
kmather
Community Member

Great solutions! Thank you so much, this will work for us and make life so much easier. 

Kathy

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nwilson7
Community Champion

@kmather The information @tbirbeck will work 100% but I thought I would add a few details that could be helpful.  There are ways to do all of this through the backend via API (if you have someone at your college familiar with APIs) or running a SIS import which can just be a csv (created in Excel) file.  Doing it through one of these methods will allow you to unenroll students just as easily as enrolling them.  Instead of "Active" you put "Deleted" in the column and it removes them from the course.  A single file can include both active and deleted enrollments and Canvas will then make the changes.

You can have lots of fields in the upload file but you need at least the following:

user_id role course_id status
123456789 student fake_course active

 

Our user IDs are our Student IDs so we paste in those, the role is the Canvas role you want to give the user, Course_ID is the SIS ID field from the course (you can make one up and put it in that field so this process will work, do not include spaces in the name), and then status is "active" when you want to add a user or "deleted" when you want to remove a user (there are other status options as well).

Here is the Canvas guide that gives you all the options:

How do I format CSV text files for uploading SIS d... - Instructure Community

This method does NOT alert students when they have been added to the course so if you prefer they get the notification that they have been added, then use the method tbirbeck recommended.

Hope this helps!

-Nick