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akudo_mcgee
Community Member

Can a course, in its entirety be accessed without creating a Canvas account?

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I would like to make an open source course but I'm not sure if everyone would want to sign up for Canvas just to open the file download or view the course. If not, is there a stable link I can send users to access the course once they're logged in?

Thank you!

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
carrie
Instructure
Instructure

Hello,  @akudo_mcgee ‌,

Yes, you can make a course visible to the public. Content within a public courses can be viewed without a user account. 

  • Course: The course is available to all users associated (enrolled) in the course. This option is the default setting.

  • Institution: The course is available to users associated with this institution. This option allows users in your institution to view your course before they enroll in the course. For this option, users can only view the course if course self-enrollment is enabled or the course is included in the Public Course Index. 
The course content shown to authenticated users is the same content shown to the public for publicly visible courses.
  • Public: The course is available to anyone with the URL. If a public course is unaccessible to unauthenticated users, your institution may require a login and password to view all courses within their Canvas instance.

See: How do I customize visibility options for a course?

The limitation is that a user has to have an account to participate in activities (e.g. post discussion comments, submit a quiz). However, it may be possible, depending on institutional settings, to allow self-enrollment for those who wish to participate.

See: How do I enable course self-enrollment with a join code or secret URL?  

Yes, there is a durable URL that can be shared. The course URL is always durable. Canvas also has a browsable index of public courses that can be enabled so that institutional or other users can find courses of interest. 

See also: How do I include a course in the Public Course Index?

Hope this helps!

Carrie

View solution in original post

3 Replies
carrie
Instructure
Instructure

Hello,  @akudo_mcgee ‌,

Yes, you can make a course visible to the public. Content within a public courses can be viewed without a user account. 

  • Course: The course is available to all users associated (enrolled) in the course. This option is the default setting.

  • Institution: The course is available to users associated with this institution. This option allows users in your institution to view your course before they enroll in the course. For this option, users can only view the course if course self-enrollment is enabled or the course is included in the Public Course Index. 
The course content shown to authenticated users is the same content shown to the public for publicly visible courses.
  • Public: The course is available to anyone with the URL. If a public course is unaccessible to unauthenticated users, your institution may require a login and password to view all courses within their Canvas instance.

See: How do I customize visibility options for a course?

The limitation is that a user has to have an account to participate in activities (e.g. post discussion comments, submit a quiz). However, it may be possible, depending on institutional settings, to allow self-enrollment for those who wish to participate.

See: How do I enable course self-enrollment with a join code or secret URL?  

Yes, there is a durable URL that can be shared. The course URL is always durable. Canvas also has a browsable index of public courses that can be enabled so that institutional or other users can find courses of interest. 

See also: How do I include a course in the Public Course Index?

Hope this helps!

Carrie

View solution in original post

Hey Carrie,

I'm trying to make a Canvas course public so that it can be viewed by anyone with a URL.  However, after I changed the visibility settings to 'Public' and then tried to access the URL without being logged in, it just redirects me to the login screen.  Do you know why this is and if there is anything I can do about it?

Jacob

jacobse
Community Participant

Hi, we are also attempting the same thing in our beta system by creating a course, setting it to public and include in the public index, but when you click the course link from the public index (which looking at the link is a normal course link) it attempts authentication versus being able to see the course without authentication.