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How do I use the To Do list and sidebar in the Dashboard as an instructor?

How do I use the To Do list and sidebar in the Dashboard as an instructor?

In the Card View Dashboard and the Recent Activity Dashboard, the sidebar contains a To Do list and other sections that help you know what assignments and events are coming up in all of your courses. The sidebar includes specific items for instructor and student roles. If you are enrolled in Canvas courses with more than one user role, your sidebar may show items for both roles.

The sidebar is similar to the sidebar that displays in your Course Home Page, but the course sidebar only includes items for the specific course. Depending on the setup of your Course Home Page, the sidebar in a course may contain additional sections than shown in the sidebar.

Open Dashboard

Open Dashboard

In Global Navigation, click the Dashboard link.

View Sidebar Course Items

View Sidebar Course Items

The sidebar shows various action items in all your courses. Each item is associated with a specific course. All items from all your active courses display in the sidebar—not just favorited courses in the Dashboard.

For course identification, each sidebar item displays the course code, or short name, for the course [1]. The course code is located directly below the full course name.

Course nicknames can be set in place of sidebar course codes that are long or otherwise confusing to remember which courses they represent. If you have created a nickname for a course, the nickname displays in the sidebar instead of the course code [2]. However, the original course code always displays in the course card.

View Instructor Sections

View Instructor Sectios

The sidebar helps you manage grading in all of your courses. However, assignments that are not graded or do not require an online submission only display until the due date.

The To Do section shows all items that require grading in Canvas, regardless of due date [1]. Each item in the To Do list displays the assignment name, the course name, the number of points, and the due date for the assignment. Some assignments may display multiple due dates.

The Coming Up section shows assignments and events coming due in the next seven days [2]. Items can include ungraded quizzes and assignments that do not require a submission, though these assignment types do not display in the To Do grading list for instructors. Some items may display multiple due dates. The Coming Up section displays up to 20 items ordered according to date.

If your Canvas admin has granted you permission to create courses, you may see the Start a New Course button [3], which would allow you to create a new Canvas Course.

The View Grades button links to the Dashboard Grades page and displays the overall grade average for all your active courses [4].

Manage Sidebar Items

Manage Sidebar Items

Each section item indicates how many items need to be graded [1].

If a section contains more items than are listed, a link will appear under the list that you can use to view all to-do items [2].

The To Do section shows up to seven items with due dates in the upcoming weeks. To view more items, you must manually remove items from the list. To remove a To Do item, click the remove icon [3].

Note: When an item is removed, the item can only be restored to the To Do section if a new submission is received for that assignment.


I'm a student taking classes on Canvas and a TA for a course with 160 students. This means my to-do is often filled with "grade" tasks (even though we have separate graders that are dedicated for this task).

If I try to "X" an item, it will reappear the next time a student makes a submission and will keep me from seeing my personal course assignments that I need to complete, which means I often don't see deadlines.

Could you create settings to enable/disable grade tasks from appearing in the "to-do" field?

I am a 'teacher' in my colleagues' courses, so I get a ton of tasks listed that aren't necessarily mine. Is there some way to turn this off? I have turned off every other notification possible for their course, but can't get rid of the to-do list items. I used to really like this feature, but now it is of no use to me because I cannot filter out the extraneous tasks.

Is there a way to turn off these 'to-do' notifications?


Thank you for your comment. The functionality you’re looking for isn’t currently available in Canvas, so we’d recommend you visit Idea Conversations and see if someone has already submitted the idea to our product team. Our product team always welcomes ideas to learn how to improve our product. Thank you!


I am not aware of any options to remove the To Do list from the Dashboard. Please visit Idea Conversations and see if someone has already submitted the idea to our product team. Our product team always welcomes ideas to learn how to improve our product. Thank you!

Is this feature (the To Do list) not accessible with the New Quizzes? I would really like my New Quizzes to show up in my To do list so I know that they need to be graded. Is this possible? Am I missing something? I need help! Thanks!

Hi @amanda_truman,

New Quizzes uses LTI functionality, which supports grade passback but does not provide a way to offer further context about the assessment. Without the ability to provide additional context, Canvas cannot distinguish if the lack of a grade or the passed grade represents the fully graded contents of the quiz. This leaves the To Do List with no way to manage New Quizzes LTI assignments.


Is there any way to fix this? That way we can actually be notified when something needs to be graded?

Hi @amanda_truman,

We have a feature idea for it in the Canvas Community: New Quizzes: Dashboard To Do. If you'd like to support the idea, you can kudo it and/or add a comment. That also might be a great place to ask other instructors if they have a workaround or tool they use for this. 


These comments are posted to the global Canvas Community,

NOT your Canvas course.

  • Have a question about using Canvas? Visit the Q&A page.
  • Have an idea to improve Canvas? Visit the Idea Conversations space.
  • Need to reply to a course discussion? Log in to your Canvas course and add your comment there (Tip: Visit your school's website to log in to Canvas).
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