Canvas Commons for Master Courses

Community Team
Community Team
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The purpose of this blog is to collect strategies from the schools that are using Canvas Commons as a master course repository and to attempt to centralize already-existing Community resources in a single easily-accessible place.

Since the launch of Canvas Commons, Canvas teachers and admins from around the globe have generously shared their resources and have leveraged Commons to create master courses that teachers, instructional designers, and administrators can use to populate single or multiple courses with content. So tell us more about how you're using Commons in the comments section:

  • What are the strategies you employ to leverage Canvas Commons for master courses?
  • If you’re creating your courses via SIS import, how do you incorporate Canvas Commons master courses into the process?
  • Can you share any reasons or use cases where people still use an exclusive master course that is not shared to Commons?

I’ve searched the Community for similar discussions already underway, and you’ll see the early results in the table below. Our goal is to use your contributions to the blog to build this table of resources and develop it into a comprehensive document that encompasses all Community discussions and resources pertaining to using Commons for master courses.

Link to the resourceThe tl;dr
Updating Resources with Commons (Infographics)An awesome infographic that depicts how updates to a master in Commons populate the "child" courses.
Commons Roll-Out KitGetting started with Commons.
How do you want to share resources in Commons?How different schools are using Commons to share resources.
Ideas and Uses for Canvas CommonsCommons as a personal and general learning repository.
InstructureCon video (28:59): How Springfield Public Schools streamlined the course creation process using Commons.
How do I share a folder of images to Canvas Commons?Tips for sharing images.
Canvas Commons for Course TemplatesHow updates to Commons course templates are accomplished. Progress report on Commons API.
Sharing Department Content to CommonsAligning sub-accounts with departments to organize course content.
Friday in Five - Canvas Commons - YouTubeVideo (6:52): importing content from Commons.
Canvas Commons REST API DocumentationDocumentation describing the Canvas Commons REST API for accessing and modifying data externally from the main application in your own programs and scripts
Important note: It is not recommended to use the API to run updates throughout the semester on an entire course. Because Commons is based on the Common Cartridge functionality and how Canvas translates that, if you were to changed an assignment and the teacher had independently made changes, those changes would be overwritten, or student activity might be erased. Accordingly, we do not recommend using Commons for that specific purpose.

Commons API/User Interface, currently under development. Follow this feature idea for status updates.

Update: As of May 19, 2016, resources can be imported into multiple courses using the Resource Details page. Refer to Commons Release Notes (2016-05-19) for more information.

InstructureCon video (26:50): OK, technically, this video is not about Canvas Commons. Deactivated user and of Pasadena City College explain how to use the Canvas API, in conjunction with Postman, to populate multiple courses with content. You would think Commons would complement this nicely, wouldn't you? (Let us know in the comments section if you've tried this!)
Community Coach
Community Coach

Nice, Stephanie!

Community Team
Community Team​ recently posted this step-by-step guide to populating multiple courses with content from Commons:

  1. Create a master course in Canvas.
  2. Share the master course to Commons (How do I share a course to Commons?).
  3. Create X number of other course shells (X = the number of courses you need to populate).
  4. Import the master course from Commons to all X courses. DO NOT course copy from Canvas. (How do I import and view a Commons resource in Canvas?) If you leverage the Commons API, you can bulk import.
  5. Then whenever you make a change in the Master Course, re-share it to Commons (How do I update a resource I previously shared to Commons?)
  6. All X courses will receive notifications that the contents of the master course has been updates. (How do I view updates to resources I previously imported from Commons?)
  7. Accept the changes/updates (if desired).
Community Team
Community Team

For anyone interested in this topic, be sure to RSVP to the CanvasLIVE event Ask Me Anything: Kate McGee, Product Manager, Commons+Content, which is coming up on Thursday, October 20, 2016. Kate is going to be answering questions about Canvas Commons, master courses, templates, and the content authoring tools in Canvas--and, well, anything! Smiley Happy If you’re interested, but your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend in real time, RSVP "no" or "maybe" so you can receive any post-event updates.

Community Team
Community Team

And yet another upcoming event on the topic of course masters: If this caught your eye, be sure to RSVP to the CanvasLIVE Twitter Chat #CanvasChat: Managing Masters (2/14) which is coming up this Tuesday, February 14, 2017. RSVP “yes” if you will be there--and if you’re interested, but your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend in real time, RSVP "no" or "maybe" to receive all event updates. Your RSVP ensures that you will receive a notification should the event be cancelled or changed.