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Resetting course content

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

17 Replies
Community Member

Yes. Resetting should simply reset to original state NOT delete the entire shell. I lost three hours of work and have already wasted enough time on this. Reset is reset. Delete is Delete.

Hi Matthew,

Resetting set the course back to the original state which is a blank course shell.

Depending on how long you have been working on the course you may be able to go into your institutions Beta or Test environment and pull the work you had done in the course out of them and import it back into your production course. 

Community Member

Yes. A blank course shell - this is what a reset should do.  That is not the same as deleting the entire course shell - as it is currently.

Your institution may have set this up differently, but at my institution clicking that Reset button removes it from the Dashboard but doesn't make the shell stop existing. When I go to Courses > All Courses I can access it and bring it back to my Dashboard. Do you know if your institution changed that?

Community Member

I'll have to try this at some point and it's great to know it is still somewhere. As with other things about Canvas it is not very user-intuitive. The reset option should be more clear in telling a user where to go find the shell. Thanks for your help.

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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When you reset a Canvas course, the existing course materials are not actually deleted from that course--instead, the entire course is deleted. Then, Canvas creates a new "copy" of that course, copying not the materials but the course settings (such as the SIS ID). Any existing sections in that old course are also copied over into the new course. I will say this has tripped up our users because of the term "reset." It would be better if the Canvas reset functionality would actually just purge out the content in the existing course and retain that course shell. It's confusing that it creates a new course. 


When I reset my Sandbox, I did not get that dialog box.