Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

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

Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.


This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

Surveyor II

I had started conversation specifically about the ability to change the "hide course distribution" setting, and was asked to add my comments here. I like the idea of admins being able to set the default course settings in general and would particularly like the ability to do it for the grade distribution feature. Currently, the default in Canvas is for the grade distribution to be visible to students. To turn this off, each instructor, in each course, needs to go to course settings options to turn off this feature. (Or, as someone responded back to me, for the admin to go in and change the setting in each course to hide the grade distribution. That, actually, is in the realm of possible at my school--but would that seriously be an option if you were offering 2,000 courses?) We are a school with many small classes and would prefer that the default be that the grade distribution is not visible to students unless a professor specifically goes in and changes the option for it to be visible to students. There are concerns that students will be able to identify other student's grades with small class sizes. That is, I am proposing an administrative control to set the default for all courses to "hide grade distribution," so that hiding the grade distribution would then be the default setting for all courses.

Community Member

This feature is almost a must for the admins. If we as the school / district decide to allow it we can show our teachers they have a choice, but we should be allowed to do this on a more global level.


Hi Ira, 

I'm new to Canvas Community, and I was searching for a way to customize the course menu as an admin. However, I liked your idea for creating all courses from templates ... Do you mind sharing how you actually do that?

Thanks so much, 


Community Team
Community Team

Hi Leila,

My advice would be to search here in the community on "blueprint" to learn more about how blueprint courses can be used as templates.  Setting up the association between a blueprint course and production courses requires you or someone having admin access to your instance of Canvas.  Another more primitive method would just be create one course and outfit it as you like as a parent course and then in your child courses copy all the content from the parent via course settings.  Some people even create and download an archive of their parent course for later re-import.


I want to be able to hide grade distribution graphs by default across all courses. I just had to hide the grade distributions graphs for most of the courses for one of our cohorts manually because a student complained that a few of her peers were making a habit of waiting outside of their classroom after exams with their laptops open watching as their classmates exited the room in an attempt to guess their grades (while making cruel comments of course). I'd prefer if the technology didn't provide these kids with a vehicle to bully others by default. Also, if a student could correctly determine another student's grade we could be in violation of FERPA, not to mention to ramifications to our students on accommodations. It sparked a campus-wide email chain that ended up with the Registrar, Dean, and President getting involved. As the face of Canvas on campus - I'm glad it's Friday. 


I agree this needs to be applicable by subaccount, as is proposed in  @ebschc 's idea. It would cascade through subaccounts so if you choose the top level account then all courses will have it. Perhaps also allowing to select by Term, with All Terms as an option?  I am not sure where this setting will reside and if this Term idea would be possible.

Course details, Course Navigation, Apps, should be included. I can see where this could be a complicated idea!  If only some settings can be in this default, I would like to know which ones would be included.

Surveyor II

I'm a little discouraged that this initial idea is from 2016 - hopefully it's considered soon!  Something else greatly needed is the ability to set default values for enabling threaded discussion replies. 

Community Member

stefaniesanders‌, please, please, advocate on behalf of schools who don't want to negatively impact students who may experience additional anxiety when they see they are performing at the lower end.  

A colleague aptly pointed out to me, "While we value sharing data with our students that can help them grow, we recognize the possibility that this particular data can have a negative effect. Rather than encouraging a climate of support, displaying data in this way encourages competition between students. It also has a very negative effect on students who are working hard but continually find themselves at the bottom of this graph."

Whether this tackled as a small change in the or the larger request, it seems very worthy of pursuing in development in anticipation of the upcoming school year. 

Community Team
Community Team

 @dboxer ‌, this would be excellent feedback to provide your CSM if you haven't already.


Thank you for the suggestion stefaniesanders

We did share this feedback to the Priority Services K12 team, since we no longer have a dedicated CSM. Ironically, they suggested that we Vote Up this idea. So hopefully, by sharing this request in multiple channels in the organization, it can gain some visibility and traction.  


I was just having this conversation with others at my institution. I was looking at using a Google Sheet like  @James ‌ does with the bulk grade adjuster as I was hoping for a little more high-level ability, but this looks great. I am going to see if we can implement this and tweak it to our needs. Thank you so much for sharing!

Surveyor II

Full agreement. We need faculty overseas to set certain time zones as well as certain navigation for each course. It would be lovely to set these as defaults.

Community Member

A long thread with no action yet taken.  It would be extremely valuable for Canvas admins to be able to set course defaults across their entire account, or even better, at the sub-account level. 


Hi All,

Was this vote done ? And what was the solution? I would like to find a way to set a set of default menus for all courses. Especially the PEOPLE tab which shows everyone's names who attended the course.


Couldn't agree more. We had the same concern and have resorted to using the API to run a daily script that copies a template course with hidden navigation menu items to all newly created courses.


HI Marco,

All I can do right now is using the Live API from Canvas and remove the menu in each course , can't find a way to do it for all courses in batch.

Can you please share your script if possible?


{   "id": "people",   "html_url": "/courses/17/users",   "full_url": "",   "position": 5,   "hidden": true,   "visibility": "admins",   "label": "People",   "type": "internal" }

Sure, sent you a DM.

Learner II

This is just a bump to keep this topic on the radar as having an option to choose Global/Sub-account Course Settings for an institution would be invaluable for admins and programs.  This way we can set some consistency without going the Blueprint route on every course.  Thanks!