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Community Member

Why does Canvas allow students access to "hidden" areas?

When I copied a course to this term's shell, I reset all dates for the course. I have over 100 discussion topics, most of which are used each term, stored in the Discussions area. In the new shell, there are a few old discussion topics that are currently not being used for the course. They have been removed from the Modules area, which is the only content area open to students. Students should only be able to enter discussions through Modules.

A student was able to enter a discussion that is no longer a part of the course, but is still sitting in the Discussions area. I am now forced to give a grade to a student for posting to a discussion invisible to the class.

Testing this, I found, through the Student View, that a student can click on To Do  or Coming Up from the Home page and then go to the top of that page and click on Discussions. Even though I do not have a live link to Discussions, this would allow students to access the entire list of discussions. I am constantly sending messages to students reminding them to click on Modules to see all of the discussion threads each week, rather than click on To Do or Coming Up.

Why does Canvas allow students to access content that is not a part of the current course and is stored in a “hidden” area? How can I prevent students from gaining access to Discussions?

2 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi and Welcome to the Canvas Community,

Canvas offers a great feature which should enable you to completely hide these from students. Discussions can be put into a draft state (unpublished) which will ensure no student can access them. The following Canvas guide should help you out How do I use Draft State in Discussions? You could unpublish the content in the course shell as well as any currently running courses, and students should no longer see this.

Something I have discovered in my travels is that the menu items in a course in and of themselves do not hide or unhide content from students, only access to the aggregated page of content themselves (such as the list of discussions). I have come across something very similar with this myself a few times with pages. We had content created en-masse within courses, then released on a schedule. However, as all the pages were published, students could see this content in the WYSIWYG editor (such as in discussions when they are writing a post).

This was something where we too, needed to focus on ensuring that content was in an 'unpublished' state until it was ready to be seen by students.

Hope this helps!

Community Coach
Community Coach,

Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.