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Resetting course content

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what happens when I reset course content in the settings area?

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Hi  @jonesn16  - I just wanted to say that the shell you find in Courses > all courses is actually a brand new shell, not the original shell, which is deleted. You can tell because the course ID in the URL is a new number (if you happened to notice the original number before you do the reset). This new empty shell has all the enrollments moved over, the course name, SIS ID, Term, date, sections (enrollments) and other course settings copied from the original, but not LTI's that were installed at course level, or navigation settings, and not any of the content.  It gives you a clean start in a new shell.

Also, there is a way your Canvas Administrator can restore the deleted course, there is an Admin tool to Restore Deleted courses.  It involves finding the original course ID which can be done in the provisioning report or by looking at the instructor's page views. I have done this for an instructor who reset course content thinking it would just undo the one thing he just did.  Not reading that message very carefully!!  The enrollments would remain with the new course, but those can be moved by cross-listing if necessary.  Possibly the instructor would only want access to their course material for importing and would be happy keeping the new shell. 

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17 Replies
Learner II

Hi  @ywilliam and welcome to the Canvas Community!

Check out this Canvas Guide for info on what happens when you reset a course: 

Resetting does give your course a new course ID and the only thing I am unsure about is how that plays with your student information systems syncing correctly.

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @ywilliam , greetings and welcome to the Canvas Community! In addition to the information Randy provided, I wanted to add that resetting course content really does completely 100% wipe out all Course content. Everything, all content, all submissions, everything, will be gone and in many cases you can't get it back - or at least not without a frantic 911 call to Canvas Support. The only thing that will be there are the students (if there are students in the class).

Hope this helps!


Community Member

This is worthless and Canvas needs to fix this. The warning dialog says NOTHING about the entire shell being deleted! I lost three hours of work yesterday trying to deal with Canvas' bad habit of duplicating material - only to finally attempt a reset back to its original state. And only to find the entire shell deleted. I had to start my course last night with no Canvas shell for my students. Furious. Wasted time.

Learner II

From my experience, resetting course content will take out all assignments, files, pages, modules, discussions, etc. from your course. It will also (at least at my school) remove it from your Dashboard. To find it, you'll have to go to Courses > All Courses and star it again.

I do not think this post is getting recognized enough for this little point. For beginning Canvas users, this can lead to frustration as they cannot find their class in Canvas. 

Adventurer III

Hi Yolanda,

I concur with Randy's answer above, it will reset the Canvas course ID and change the URL for the course.  But it won't change your SIS ID so you should be ok there.  

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @ywilliam 

If you are wanting to reset a section shell, I would strongly suggest that you check with your Canvas admin before hitting "Reset Course".

We do not let faculty use this feature for two reasons:

  • Deleted content in unrecoverable except through extraordinary measures my Instructure engineers, and
  • It creates a new shell with a new course ID.

As orwinr pointed out, this could have some serious repercussions. We employ an SIS/Canvas integration that creates the section shells and enrollments for each term. That integration will look, and if it doesn't recognize that the a required section shell is there, it will create it. This means that while you think your students will be enrolled in the shell you are working in, they will actually end up in a new section shell. This could be challenging for your students, and require more work for you.

Also, if you are midterm, you would be deleting any student submissions and their subsequent grades.

There are many different tools and routes used by schools to create shells and enrollments, and they may all work a bit differently, so check with your admin.


Community Member

Canvas needs to change the dialog box for resets. The language indicates it will reset the course to its original state. NOT WIPE THE ENTIRE SHELL FROM EXISTENCE! 

Community Team
Community Team

 @mlit ‌, is this the dialog box to which you're referring: