Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Community Participant

Finding and counting specific course sections

Here’s an explanation of what I’m hoping to accomplish.


Specific sections of courses in Canvas have been Quality Matters (QM) reviewed. Our goal is to count the number of sections that have been QM reviewed by semester or by academic-year.

So, in order to identify these courses, I’m imaging these courses would need to contain some type of identifier, currently they do not. However, we could easily place an identifier into these courses if it was possible to then search for that identifier and generate a report.

Many years ago as a server administrator I was able to accomplish this by inserting a "sniffer" into emails we sent out to participants. That "sniffer" was simply a transparent gif that would communicate with our server when the email was opened. So it was easy to count how many copies of the email was opened.


Can anything like this be done in Canvas to get an accurate count of course sections that contain a specific object such as a specific image or line of text?




0 Kudos
3 Replies
Community Champion

Hi,  @kevin_hulen ‌.

Even if your school does not assign SIS IDs to courses and sections (are you creating these all manually?), Canvas does assign its own IDs to these. You can find the IDs using the Provisioning Report. See for details on running this and other admin reports.

Community Participant

Hi Nelson,

The problem is that we'll have an initial course pass the QM review, but then that course is multiplied across many sections, which are all automatically created for each new semester. So, unless we're tracking something specific inside the course, we would have no way of knowing which sections contain the QM version.

So what we're really tracking is the course content as a package. We need to find a way to insert something in the course so that no matter where that content package goes, it can still be tracked.


Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi Kevin,

You could in theory use the APIs to loop through all courses in a current semester to look for a specific image or text you had inserted, alternatively you could look at doing the same through the content available in Canvas Data (if you institution has this).

As far as I am aware there is no real means of doing this natively, but if you are up for some development work, you could certainly achieve what you are looking for. If that is up your alley, please let me know and I can share this with the Canvas Developers group which would be the best place to look down the API avenue, or the Big Data group which would be the best avenue for Canvas Data.

Look forward to hearing from you!