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Community Contributor

Hide Past Enrollments on Courses Page

Hello, Fellow Community Members,

We are approaching three years in Canvas and we have over 15k courses in our environment. In an effort to simplify courses page for our users we want to hide older courses all together from non-admin users but would need to also have to option to grant access back to a teacher, if needed. I’ve heard other admins share that they conclude enrollments, but in my review of documentation it seems the courses would still remain on the courses list.  We'd are open to other ideas to store old courses. Can anyone share any other ideas to address this need?

Thank you,


4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @lezonl2 ,

Great question and one that I myself have been pondering recently as we head into our third year of Canvas.

From what I know of the internal mechanisms there are several ways to achieve this (each with their pros and cons). In these I will assume that all the old classes are already concluded.

Option 1:

Delete the Subject - I have been told that when you delete a subject, all it really does is hide the subject, it can be undeleted at a later stage back to its original state (this would generally need to be done via the API directly rather than the front end). The benefit of this method is it can be brought back exactly as it once was. However, as we haven't used this before, I would strongly recommend investigating, testing it a few times on dummy subjects, to make sure it works as intended.

Option 2: 

Remove all the users from the subject - this is a tricky one as it requires you to 'unconclude' a course before making any changes (as it will not work on a read-only course). You would need to make the course active again, delete all the enrolments, and then make the course read only again. The benefit here is that admins can see it in the account course lists, but, without enrolments, no users would. I would identify this may have limited appeal as the gradebook would no longer have the student's listed, so this option is really only useful for content.

I would loop back round to ask the one question I always love asking, the 'Why'. What are the reasons you would grant access to these older courses and also, why does the content need to be kept so long. With that information I think we could hone in on some of the best solutions.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Community Contributor

Hi,  @stuart_ryan ‌,

I appreciate your reply and for sharing these options. Can you let me know what you mean by ”subject”? Are you referring to the course itself? 


As for your question of “why” we don’t want to delete, simply this was our practice with our previous LMS and the expectation has remained the same. Additionally, I will say that we are a community college and often have students that take courses for many years before graduating so we don’t like to delete any academic records unless we absolutely need to. I guess we are a bit like Canvas in that we don’t want to ever delete anything so we need something like “cold storage” for courses so Canvas course lists remain simple to navigate.


As for your question of “why” we many need to restore enrollments or access to older courses really varies by subject. We have several accredited programs  that request several years of data for their reviews so we would possibly need to add faculty back into those courses as they prepare for site visits.  We also have some that faculty members leave courses open beyond the term for students to be able to refer back to older courses in their program as they prepare for national exams.  We would need to create exceptions for these courses and restore enrollments in them if they were removed as part of a bulk “archive” process. 


Our goal would be to keep two years works of courses listed for students/faculty and hide anything older. 




Community Contributor

Also, is it possible to change all user statuses in a term to inactive?  During an active term we mark users as inactive in a course if they have withdrawn/dropped the course and I thought that hid the course from those students. Just some end of the day brainstorming... 

Hi Lisa,

Apologies, yes I meant the course itself, at my institution we call them subjects which sometimes means I get my terminology backwards.

Awesome that makes sense on the reasonings and lets me get to a better recommendation (thank you).

Based on that I would say 'deleting' the subject is your best option for a cold archive. As mentioned earlier, when you delete, it isn't *actually* deleted, only hidden. I would recommend digging into it more deeply to ensure that it functions exactly as you expect, so that you can restore courses in future (and that you test this thoroughly before you put it into production use). Benefit here is that it retains the structure without needing to unenroll or re-enroll etc.

On to your below question, you could do that. I dug into the statuses (to refresh my memory) here  and the inactive status would work the way you want.

You could script using the Canvas APIs the mechanism to go through and inactivate everyone in the course, then as needed re-enrol teachers as required. Creative thinking! I like it!

Hope that helps!