Allow account admins to set default course navigation menu

It would be great if we could set a default course navigation menu to hide additional tools unless instructors wanted to use them.


With the increasing number of additional Canvas and third-party LTI integrations that add items to the course navigation, it can quickly grow to be daunting and intimidating. It would be great if we could set these items (Roll Call Attendance, SCORM, Lecture Capture and Publisher LTIs, etc.) to be automatically disabled in the navigation, but instructors could go in and enable them if they want to use them.

Community Champion

The biggest complaint about our former LMS was too many features and too much on the Control Panel.  (I bet you can't guess which LMS that was.)  This feature idea would really go a long way to prevent that same sentiment from building about Canvas.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @buddyhall ​ and  @John_Lowe ​ Thank you for chiming in here. This is a great idea and will hit the voting table on June 3rd 😉

Community Contributor

We overcame some of these problems by having a course activation page that users used when creating a canvas course. These were linked to template courses that Faculty / School teams had designed to fit their needs and to hide menu elements that weren’t being used.

I think having a simple way Admins or Sub-Account admins can set the menu defaults is a good way to go.

Community Contributor

This is needed, and my vote is in!  Students get so confused and often miss important materials when there are too many links available to different course areas.  We opt for a simple design here and suggest our instructors use the modules section to present and organize content for students.  The links we suggest they start with are:







Instructors can activate other links, such as the Attendance and Conference, if those are used.  However, we suggest keeping the following links hidden and for our instructors to think of them as managers for those content types (ie Quiz Manager, Assignment Manager, Files Manager etc.) for instructor use only.






Sometimes there are unique situations when some of the links directly above are made available to students, but that is done on an individual basis.

Community Contributor

One version of this would be to provide API access for managing course navigation. That would be great. It's about the only thing that I can't clone from a base course onto a duplicate (which is how I create our new courses in general).

Community Contributor

One source of menu clutter is LTI Course menu apps that are configured to be visible by default. It's no big surprise to me to find that publishers like McGraw-Hill opt to make their listings visible, and then encourage entire institutions to install them at the account level, but it should be as easy as possible for admins to disable the publisher's settings. Currently you have to hit the API to do it. It would be great to have an easier way.

Until then, here is the endpoint I use to change an installed app's visibility from default on to default off:

PUT /api/v1/accounts/:account_id/external_tools/:tool_id?course_navigation[default]=false

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey  @BKINNEY ​, thank you for chiming in with your perspective here! In an effort to ensure your approach doesn't get lost in this feature idea, I think that you should post a quick blog entry about this over in the Canvas Admins​ group, so that others can benefit, and share join with you for further discussion or questions 😉  (Here's a direct link if you want to write up a quick blog post)

Community Explorer

This would be greatly beneficial in standardizing the view for students and instructors.  Our instructors tend to be confused about what navigation options to make available.  This would allow us to setup our recommended settings for navigation.

Community Champion

I wish that I could make items added via the Redirect tool hidden.

I've been adding our LTI apps via XML when I can.  I've found that adding this allows it to be disabled by default: 

<lticm:options name="course_navigation">

<lticm:property name="url"></lticm:property>

<lticm:property name="text">ProctorU</lticm:property>

<lticm:property name="default">disabled</lticm:property>

<lticm:property name="enabled">true</lticm:property>   

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you for the feedback. There are a few ways that schools have addressed this issue including copying a template course that automatically hides the unnecessary links or training teachers to only make the links that are frequently used visible. I can see the value in creating a default course navigation setting at the sub-account level, but this is not a project that we will be able to address in the next six months. I will revisit this feature as we plan additional work for the New Navigation that was recently released.

Community Member

As I stated over and over again:

As the Canvas Admin at my U, I find it counter productive to have more hay added to the haystack for students to navigate through. None of these 3rd party systems ever think that it is inconvenient for everyone else that is NOT wanting to use their product. I get their logic with the active action being a move for free advertising, but I still hate it. Not everyone uses the tools, usually it is just a fraction of faculty that do. I absolutely HATE it when student can't find course content. With instructors bad habits in "winging it" the module tool just does not get used. Students should not have to spend their learning time looking for content.

I would take this a step farther and say that by DEFAULT ALL of the COURSE TOOLS should be INACTIVE. In this way, only the tools used by faculty will be activated. And even with that thought, to make it friendly to all, have the auto active/inactive as an Administrative setting.

Community Contributor

Eventhough voting is now closed - I would very much give this a +1!  I would like to be able to create a default course navigation for what we want as a minimum for our faculty and then in that way the faculty can just update the navigation to add the tools that are needed above the default.  Thanks, Sam

Community Champion


I actually like your suggestion! We also teach our faculty to hide unused content areas for the reasons you stated. A well designed module structures creates a consistent and logical navigation process for students. However, most of our faculty do not practice what we preach.

Your opt-in approach, instead of the existing opt-out approach, would greatly help in limiting confusing navigation.

Community Contributor

inactive by default should extend to group pages too... . see " style="color: #2989c5; and " style="color: #2989c5;

Community Contributor

Joni, I'm new to all of this and I am wondering where do you manipulate the XML? Within the LTI XML? Where would this XML go?


Community Novice


Check out 'Allow Admin to Set Default Course Settings for Courses' in Canvas Community's Canvas Features.  This suggestion is open for voting.

Community Novice

opened for voting today (Mar. 2 - Jun. 2, 2016)

Community Coach
Community Coach


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

We're working on some things that may solve this issue, but I can't communicate any details, or timelines.