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End of year panic, advice needed

Hello, we are coming to the end of the first year of Canvas and I am becoming a little anxious about end of year procedures.  I would be very grateful if I could have some advice on the following:

  1. When a course passes its end date, the course will conclude - does this mean that the students and lecturers will be removed from the course?
  2. We have been encouraging the use of assignments this year, will it be possible to view the marked assignments once the course has been concluded?  We will need to keep assignment work for at least three years.

Any help would be wonderfully brilliant  - I am starting to loose sleep now, worrying about this.


8 Replies
Community Champion

Hello anna.selway​ - I am guessing that you have administrative access to your Canvas account, so I have a feeling the ever-friendly stefaniesanders​ or someone else out there with the power to do say may move this to the Canvas Administrators group for additional input.  I am sure you will receive a lot of advice on things.

To provide some assistance, for your first question the general answer--unless you have some extremely different rules than most of us--is NO, students and faculty will not be removed from a course.  For the majority of institutions, those courses will be seen by users under "Past Enrollments," as generally outlined here:  How do I view my Canvas courses?  In fact, you as the Canvas administrator would set how (or if) enrollments are removed.  (So again, I'm assuming you are an administrator.)  Speaking on behalf of our own faculty, they would have a fit if they did NOT have access to a course past its end date, since if they were removed from a course they would not have the ability to import material from a previous course into one for the following semester.  (Students are generally kept in, as well, for any grade disputes that arise, among many other possible reasons.)

That said, you likely WILL want to eventually come up with a policy for when courses and their enrollments are removed from the server--to save on some space, if nothing else.  But that can wait.

Regarding number 2, that, too, can be left up to some other administrators to weigh in on, since if you have any programmers in your institution there are likely many APIs that can employed to find that information.  I am personally not aware of a way to find specific marked assignments, but a "quick and dirty" method--if it can be called that--is to run an administrative report called GRADE EXPORT that will, at least, run a report that lists all final grades given for courses and exports it as a CSV file.  That is covered here:  How do I view reports for an account? .  But to find out specific ASSIGNMENT information will likely require running an API or two.  I see that there's an entire section of APIs devoted to assignments covered here:  Assignments - Canvas LMS REST API Documentation   .  Then, there's also Canvas Data--which I do not have experience with yet:  What is Canvas Data? and was introduced over the past year.

Hope this helps you a bit.

Hello, thanks for the reply it is reassuring to learn that no one will be removed.  I have also been looking at course content transfer which is going to be a new process to introduce to our users.  I think this year we will need to offer to move content for our users.

Thanks again for your help

Thanks,  @kblack ​, for your kind words and helpful advice! While I'm not going to move this discussion into the Canvas Admins​ group, I will share it with them, just in case they'd like to give anna.selway​ additional suggestions about end-of-year procedures. And Anna, I'm going to flip the format here over to a discussion to invite open-ended participation without the need to deem a single response uniquely "correct."

Community Champion

(this is all assuming you're the lead admin for Canvas for your institution.  If you're not, direct these questions to them - hopefully they've already been planning for this!)

As far as #1 is concerned - there's a lot of variables here.  If you're manually creating courses and adding users, then you will want to check the settings for the course, the term, and global settings.  Each have their own settings on how long students/teachers have access to the courses past the course end date, but even if it is locked to the users, they likely will be able to see the content (visibility is also one setting that can be changed).

If you're running an automated SIS Import, then the students and courses will remain for as long as the Import contains their info.  Alternately, you can "start fresh", by changing the diff set identifier.

In the end, I'd suggest having a discussion with your CSM and/or canvas support to check your current settings and get them the way that matches your institutional policies.

Hello thanks for your reply.  I am the admin of our instance and we do use a sis import to create course shells and to enrol students.

I did a test earlier where I manually ended (concluded) a course and when I went back into that course as admin when clicking on an assignment and speed grader it said no active students were on the course, which lead to this panic.  I need to read up on the past enrolment section of courses. 

I also tested that I have marked a student as inactive, and then concluded the course, the student would remain on the course and there assignment work was visible - so I am going to explore this option too.

Thanks again for taking the time to help, I am in the UK so the Community is a brilliant resource.

Community Champion

If you're using terms, there should be a "soft conclude", where the students will stay enrolled and can still see the course enrollments as a past enrollment.  This is automatic and based off the dates set in the terms area of the admin page, and then the checkboxes in each course to allow students to view the course content after the course end date.

The one thing that caught us out was when our SIS feed stopped sending over the previous semester's enrollments, Canvas saw the change in enrollment and unenrolled an entire college.  Very scary moment for us.  We found out this was because when you change semesters you need to change the diff set identifier at the same time as you stop sending the previous semester's data. 

If you can generate "false" CSVs for importing into your Test or Beta instance, with the dates set to be sooner, you can test all this out exactly how it would go in your Prod environment.

Community Champion

Anna - I remember we had a lot of meetings about topics such as this!  You may have already read a few of these already, but here are a few previous community threads as well as pertinent documents:

Term, Course, Section Dates Conclude vs. auto conclude

What should I do at the beginning and end of each term as an admin?

Missing People in a Concluded Course (This sounds like the issue you're having?)

How do I use term dates, course dates, and section dates in Canvas?   (Which I assume you've already all but tried to memorize!)

And as  @abunag ​ mentioned, using your Test and/or Beta environments cannot be recommended highly enough!  They can be a bit slow at times, but are worth the wait.

Community Champion

The information in the following link was very helpful to us to determine term settings: 

We end student access to courses a few days after each term (student term access dates set under 'Terms' at the account level). Courses are concluded a year after a term ends to allow instructors full access to their content. We also use the setting 'Restrict students from viewing courses after end date' setting at the account level to remove past courses from the students' list of courses. More information about this setting can be found here: How do I restrict student access for a course before or after the course dates?