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Create a Sandbox Course via Web Application/API?

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Hi Canvas gurus,

I've got a bit of a dreamscape project that I'm looking to build and am wondering if anyone has done anything similar or is able to help me think through how to best develop it. What I'm wanting to build is a webpage on our university's site that would allow a faculty member to create a sandbox course on their own as opposed to emailing our team to do it for them. 

The simplest way to achieve this would be to enable faculty to create courses within Canvas, however, I'd like to make a more controlled process that automatically adds the course to the correct subaccount, and also has a prefix appended to the reference ID.

So here's the ideal solution: a webpage where a faculty member signs in, they click a "Create Sandbox Course" button that asks what they'd like the name of the course to be, and then that course gets created and with them enrolled as the instructor. Any ideas of how to achieve this or is this too simplistic in the reality of what needs to happen?

I appreciate any and all recommendations.

- Michael

54 Replies

Thanks  @kbv7001 ! That's pretty much exactly how the script that carroll-ccsdhelped me out with here works. It's awesome! We're just putting together some quick documentation about it so faculty can understand what this will grant them and also spell out our maintenance will look (once we figure that out :smileysilly:).

Community Member

Hi  @michael_mcgarry , carroll-ccsd , et al., 

great thread here-thanks.

In your minds, what are the advantages and disadvantages of these methods as opposed to having faculty develop courses or modules and storing them in Canvas Commons? 



Hi  @helenc ,

Canvas by default allows most users, at least teachers to create a course at whim on the Courses page. This is desirable because it's a Course delivery suite. However, Canvas doesn't offer a way for those courses to land in a organized place. I can't speak much for the other options offered in this thread, I don't know what they offer, but I know the button we have provided, simply replaces the existing +Course button with a Create a Workroom button. Allowing an institution/canvas admin to set the Sub Account and Term those courses will end up in and provide a way for Teachers to create a course without having to know how to setup standards in Course/Settings or know what sub account... it's mostly organizational, headache prevention without disabling a key feature.

We want employees to create courses and try and experiment with Canvas, we just don't want those workrooms, playgrounds, or sandboxes landing all over the place with no naming convention.

For us, and looking at the comments and options provided in this thread the advantage of the JavaScript solution we provided and  @michael_mcgarry  chose to use is its simplified deployment. The JavaScript allows the functionality by using Canvas Themes, which can be done at a pretty elementary level. Most users can upload a file, most Canvas Success Managers et al. seem to know how to do some basic JavaScript and get things going for Institutions adopting Canvas, and developers can customize and integrate. Since it goes in Canvas, server configuration and technology requirements aren't necessary, there's no need to host an external application or LTI, or deal with user authentication. One solution doesn't fit all though and everyone should choose tools based on their needs and use case.


My former team built an LTI that allows a user to create their own sandboxes right inside their profile. You can see the original ruby version

GitHub - CUOnline/sandbox: LTI tool that generates sandbox courses in Canvas 

or the current .NET version

GitHub - CUOnline/SandboxCore: An ASP.NET Core implementation of the Sandbox Course functionality. 

Surveyor II


I know this thread is almost three years old, but the process still works. I have followed this thread and the only issue I am running into is that non-admins can create sandbox/workroom courses without SIS ID's. When an admin creates a course, there is an SIS ID. 

Any thoughts as to why? 

I would appreciate any feedback you may have. 


Surveyor II


Yes, our teacher course roles have the ability to read SIS data.


Can you test with a teacher role, and open the Browser's Developer Console, and see if there are any errors?

Surveyor II

So, I'm on the All Courses page, and I do not see any errors in the Browser's Developer Console. I am logged in with an account that has a teacher role (no admin role). 


Looks like our's isn't supporting this either, I'm not sure what decision we made to do that or what's needed now to make it work. I will have to check on this and get back to you.