Canvas and non-academic groups, clubs, student groups, organizations, etc.

Discussion created by AMY UELMEN on Oct 15, 2015
Latest reply on Oct 31, 2015 by Hyrum Romrell

For those of you doing non-academic courses, are you creating courses or user groups?  Our school district is using groups (not course groups but sub account level groups) for student clubs and organizations such as Musical, Jazz Band, National Honors Society, Science Club, school book clubs, etc.  However, I am wondering if I should be using courses instead as I am running into some limitations with groups.  We want the leaders to be able to share information through announcements, link to resources, communicate with the students and take attendance.


I read the discussion on

Is anyone using Canvas for non-academics (clubs, athletics, residence life) who is willing to share some tips and tricks?

and it seems as if most of you are creating courses instead of groups.


Here are the benefits and challenges I have seen of both when using for non-academic purposes:

Header 1Benefit/ Plus
Limitations/ Minus
Groups (not course groups)

Designed for non- academic use (no assignments, grades)

Navigated differently to differentiate the difference from a course  (visible by hovering over courses, but selecting groups rather than courses)

No option for attendance/ roll call

Leaders cannot add students, only admin

Admin can't access the group content unless being added as a leader


Attendance/roll call is a navigation option

Can create a role for advisor with permissions to add students and manage the course

Could create a sub account for non-academic groups for easier access and finding of groups

Has features not necessary for a non-academic group like grades (could hide these from view in Settings- navigation)

Adds more courses to course list- makes finding course more difficult


Looking for feedback from those of you who use either courses and groups (not course groups) for non-academic clubs and organizations.  Would you suggest one over the other?  Please share other benefits or challenges I have not considered.  Thanks!