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Allow Admin to Set Default Course Settings for courses

Allow Admin to Set Default Course Settings for courses

It would be hugely helpful to district-level Canvas Admins to be able to modify and establish default course settings for course shells created for sections assigned to teacher users.


For example, if a teacher technology advisory committee, school principal, and/or tech department in the school or district determines that all courses published in Canvas for students and observers have settings that differ from the current defaults, then this requires a manual change to each course by the teacher and/or admin depending upon the district's user permissions.

e.g., setting grading schemes, or students rights to view, attach, etc.

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.53.02 AM.png

e.g., modifying default course navigation menu items to be viewable to students...

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.53.50 AM.png


I suggest that Canvas develop a feature that would allow an admin to simply set the course settings defaults prior to the creation of courses within subaccounts, manually or via SIS integration.


This feature could be available in one or more of the following locations of the Admin navigation menu:

(a) Courses

171597_Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.10.22 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.10.22 AM.png

(b) Add a New Course

171598_Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.10.35 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.10.35 AM.png

(c) Settings

171629_Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.11.56 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.11.56 AM.png

(d) Subaccounts

171631_Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.27.37 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.27.37 AM.png


We have issues with collaborations that use google docs/ sites etc as perceived as insecure by our external clients as well as legal teams

We now use Campus Pack

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thank you vrs07nl


The Ventura County Community Colleges District would also like this.

Community Team
Community Team

This is a valuable and important idea, for all of the use cases that you presented!  Thank you for taking the time to submit this idea and provide such great detail.  While we would love to build this, it is not something that we see in our roadmap for the next 6-12 months.  Please continue to converse on this thread and be sure to follow it to receive updates as they come available.  We are going to set this idea in holding (archive) for now.


Mistake. Should be a priority.

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On Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 9:46 AM, <

Community Member

This particular idea would have saved me several hours of course editing. For example, I was commissioned with getting nearly 60 courses' navigation menus to all look the same. To do this took several hours... If this feature is implemented, I can see nearly every institution actively using it to provide consistent service to their students. Totally would vote for this idea!

Community Member

 @tdarrow  and  @rsaunders 

I completely agree with you guys that this should be functionality that exists in Canvas.  I will be launching close to 20K courses in the next 2 weeks as our K12 district gears up for the 2016/17 year.  I have solved this problem by running a script that sets all the courses the way that I need to have them, e.g. shut off grade distribution dashboard, shut off comments on announcements, etc.   If you are interested, I'm happy to share that script with you and you can modify to suit your own needs.  I tend to run this once at the beginning of the year, but we had a previous script that I ran daily to ensure the settings stayed as we desired them.

Community Member

Hi  @joseph_allen ​,

I would love to have that script! Could you send it to me at


 @joseph_allen ​, can you please share your script with me?  Smiley Happy  thank you!

Community Member

In the past, we've worked with faculty to come up with the ideal course default template with our other LMS's, but Canvas does not allow us to do much with course setting defaults.  We have to contact our account manager to request that one of the nav items be set to hidden, or try to add some code to the app config to do it.  (Yet another customization to which to keep track.  Meh. )  Anywhoo, please give the control of this back to the admins.  As more and more apps get added, that nav list can get long.  When they're added, we have to inform faculty that they'll "need to hide it if not using it."  Again, meh...  Smiley Wink

Community Member

Hi, I would like to have the script as well, thanks.

Community Member

Hi, Can this idea be moved to the new "Radar" stage?

Community Member

 @tdarrow   @millerjm   @kbickell 

Hi folks, sorry this took so long to get back to you.  Here is the process we use to set course defaults:

  1. We first run an SQL script to determine which courses meet the criteria we want to change. See attached picture for exact script.  Some  examples: Which courses are showing final grades, which courses are not hiding the distribution graphs, which courses are not disabling responses to announcements, which courses have a start date of 'x'.
  2. We then run a Canvas API to change the settings for those courses to the setting we want.  See attached picture for exact script.
  3. This script can be run daily, or at the start of a new year.  Multiple versions could be created that run at different times, i.e. some daily, some once a year.  For example, if none of the courses should be on the open internet, you could run the API daily to set visibility to course or institution instead of public.  Another script could run just at the beginning of the year to set initial defaults like, don't allow student discussion topics, but then teachers can choose to change the setting after the course begins and the script doesn't run until the next time.  We use variations like this to manipulate the course settings in various sub accounts as needed. 


Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
Community Member

 @joseph_allen  Are you able to set a custom grading scheme as the default for all courses through your script? 

Community Member

 @eggersc  We don't use grading schemes in our district, but I don't see why you couldn't add that via script.

Surveyor II

We have implemented a solution to this very issue using the API.

Basic steps we have implemented:

  • create a sub-account where our course designers can create "course templates"
  • instructors/designers can create a list of courses (usually by sis id) and ask for those courses to be populated from a "course template" in our library
  • one of our admins can run a script, which ingests the course list and course id of the template and takes care of the rest

This is very useful when populating large groups of courses.

When your course designers are working on individucal courses and want to "clone" content from an existing course or template, there is already a function in course settings to "Import Content into this Course", which has also been working, but if you are not familiar with this tool you feel a bit blind, as you aren't presented with options until after you click "Import".


I see some mention of setting a default grading scheme, we do that as part of a gradebook "sanity" check.  We have an algorithm to inspect all gradebooks and look for grading errors, including missing grading schemes.  We have a workflow to push grades from Canvas to our SIS, if there is no letter grade (i.e. if no grading scheme is applied) the SIS doesn't like it.  Having a way to force a grading scheme on courses that are missing one would be a nice feature to have : )

Community Member

This is such a nice requirement and much needed !!

Might solve these issues which we are really hoping for :-

1. Where can teacher see the grading scheme other than course settings and assessment tasks ?
2. The default grading scheme is added at root level BUT when the teacher navigate to course settings to view the grading scheme - it displays "Canvas default gradescheme' which is not the university grading scheme added at the root level.
3. If the default grading scheme is added at root level and teacher also sets it at course settings , then  it should be displayed as default for any assessment task within the assignment. If they want to set a different grading scheme they can create one and select . BUT that is not what's happening- everytime user is displayed with "CANVAS default grade schemes".
4. Teacher is displayed with "canvas grade scheme"  for each assessment even if they set RMIT added grade scheme at course settings.
Community Member

Just an update to my original post, we did set course defaults this year using the nearly release Blue Print courses and so far it has met all of our expectations.  We set the navigation, the options, the home page and a few other items in the course shells.  Once this is all set, we remove the course association.  

Community Member

I would add that we need this to apply to the subaccount level (ie allow admins to set navigation for each subaccount or at the account level).   @navarroj ‌  For voting.