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Community Member

Reuse an old course

This school year I am teaching the same course as last year. Can I renew last year's course? Basically, I am trying to avoid creating a new course and transferring the old course content onto the new created course.  Is it possible to renew a course?

5 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

 @swesdock ​, I'm not clear on what you mean by "renew" a course. If you want to avoid the course copy process (which is super simple and takes far less time than it would take you to clear out the old course), you'll need to check with your school's admins to see if they will even allow this. To reuse the old course, you'd first need to delete all of the enrollments, and when you do that you will also lose all of the student data. Personally, I do not consider this a good practice, but that's just my two cents.

Let me see if I can make a long story short!  We have a new IT person in our school for this school year and he doesn't know much about Canvas.  We teachers are about to start school next week.  The former IT person told us teachers that we can't copy the course content directly from the old course to the new course until the new "course shell" is created by ADMIN.  The IT person said that this is the easiest way to do it without using Commons.  Is there any other way for me as a teacher to get my new course going (i.e., created and content of old one copied to new one) without having to wait for ADMIN to create a "course shell" (whatever that means!)?  Thanks for your reply!


 @swesdock , that's helpful context--but it doesn't alter my initial response. It sounds like your school wants you to use the new course shell for your fall course, even though it is resulting in an inconvenient wait. In other words, your new IT person will create the fall enrollments in the new course shell--so regardless of whether you wanted to, you can't re-purpose the old course, and it's important to maintain the old course in its current state for the purpose of data integrity and retention.

It doesn't sound like your school has created sandbox courses for you; if it has, that would be the easiest place to stage your course.

So in the absence of a sandbox, I don't know that this would necessarily be easier, exactly, but you could export the old course (see How do I export a Canvas course?) ​as an .imscc file, then create a Free-for-Teachers account (navigate to Try Canvas | Free LMS Trial | Canvas Learning Management System and click on the Build It button to initiate that process). You could then import the .imscc into a course in your FFT account to stage it. After you've got your course set up for fall, you could then import it back to the new fall shell once it is created for you.

Although you would definitely risk some broken links, it might be worth it to buy yourself some time.

Thanks for your prompt response. It is really appreciated!

You're welcome,  @swesdock ​! For now, I'm going to mark this question as "Assumed Answered"--but I'm sure the Community will be as curious as I am to know how you ultimately decided to approach this, so once you've figured it out, please take a moment to update us on how you managed this.