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creighton
Community Participant

Mass Deletion of a Semester of Courses

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We are closing in on our max storage with Canvas, and with 7+ years of courses online, want to start archiving courses. By archiving, I mean at minimum removing/deleting old, old courses completely from Canvas, one term/semester at a time. Ideally, archiving would be preceded by a way to make mass backups of courses’ content first, but I’m going to skip that unless someone has a great answer. We would alert faculty and provide instructions on how they can backup their courses and gradebooks, before we delete them.

In the absence of any tools in Canvas, I’d like to know just what steps this would take. I imagine a reverse SIS Import of the courses (we go by semester) with status=deleted would be a quick way to mass delete the courses, along with reverse SIS Import of term(s) with status=deleted to remove that. Is there anything else needed? What are other considerations and implications to these actions? Or is there a better way?

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
ysmalls
Community Champion

Hi creighton,

I suggest you reach out to your CSM, I just did this for my district and though it was not a fun process it's not a bad one either.

Basically you upload a CSV file with all the course information required with the status "deleted" as you mentioned in your post.  This will delete all courses.  First you run a provisioning report, exclude courses you don't want to delete (like default term) and change the status to deleted and upload.

There is some cleaning up before and after but not too bad.  We also announced to our teachers that we were doing this process and to either export the content and import to a manually created course.  We have had no issues so far.

My CSM did suggest "archiving" everything to a generic term so that all courses could fall under that term but that process makes it pretty for admins but no real change for teachers so we did not see the benefit in that.

Have a great day.

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6 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

creighton, I'm not sure of a good way to do this, but I've shared your question with the Canvas Developers‌ and Canvas Admins‌ groups in the Community to see if they can help.

Kona

creighton
Community Participant

Thank you, Kona!

ysmalls
Community Champion

Hi creighton,

I suggest you reach out to your CSM, I just did this for my district and though it was not a fun process it's not a bad one either.

Basically you upload a CSV file with all the course information required with the status "deleted" as you mentioned in your post.  This will delete all courses.  First you run a provisioning report, exclude courses you don't want to delete (like default term) and change the status to deleted and upload.

There is some cleaning up before and after but not too bad.  We also announced to our teachers that we were doing this process and to either export the content and import to a manually created course.  We have had no issues so far.

My CSM did suggest "archiving" everything to a generic term so that all courses could fall under that term but that process makes it pretty for admins but no real change for teachers so we did not see the benefit in that.

Have a great day.

View solution in original post

creighton
Community Participant

Thank you, Yaddira. I appreciate the insight. Did you also do any corresponding deletions such as Terms?

Barb Stephens

ysmalls
Community Champion

Yes!  You can't delete any term that has any courses associated with it so once I "deleted" all the courses associated with a Term the delete option was available.  I deleted three terms in total which was a whole year for us.

RobDitto
Community Champion

creighton, related to your comment about the feature gap for archiving, I wanted to link from this thread to a popular feature idea: