Joni Miller

Term dates no longer effective at preventing course access for students

Discussion created by Joni Miller Expert on Jan 5, 2016
Latest reply on Jan 29, 2016 by Erin Hallmark

Hey Admins!  We noticed a change and I'm not sure when it took place.  Our first term on Canvas was Fall 2015.  We spent a lot of time figuring out how to configure our term dates and student access/participation settings to have it work how we needed it to work.  I spent hours with our IC getting this working properly.  We had term dates set up to prevent students from ACCESSING the course prior to the first day.  We do not put dates on the courses since we use term dates to control access to the courses. 



We then left the checkbox for restricting students from viewing courses before the start date UNCHECKED.  What this did was put it in their course list, and if the course was published and they clicked on it, it would say that the course hasn't started yet.  They could not view any course materials such as modules until the first day of class.


However, I'm not sure when, but recently, Canvas made a change in the code that doesn’t restrict students from viewing before the access date.  Before, they would get a message saying that the course hadn’t started yet.  Now, once a course is published, they can view everything, they just can’t “participate” before the start date.


Canvas support is claiming that the documentation listed in the guides:  How do I set up term dates effectively in an account? | Canvas Admin Guide | Canvas Guides

doesn’t specify what “access” means and therefore could mean participation, but before it meant they couldn’t view the course (isn’t that what access means?).  They said it's working as designed.  It's not.


I was told that I could either check the box to restrict students from viewing before the start date OR tell teachers not to publish their courses (which is impossible with almost 1000 instructors a term - they see that publish button and they HAVE to click on it). 


This is not how it was working at the beginning of fall term.  I'm not sure when this change happened but I'm guessing that it would have something to do with the addition of the grading periods features. 


I had to check the box to restrict students from viewing the course before the start date, hopefully temporarily. So students won't see any courses in their list until Monday morning, and they won't see any B-term classes until March, so I’m sure we will be hearing from students until this is fixed.     Our students are sort of high-maintenance regarding being able to know that they are registered for the course.  Being able to see it on their list gave them comfort in knowing that they would be able to access it the first day. 


We talked to our CSM during our scheduled call today, so he is trying to figure out if any other schools have noticed this. He suggested posting on the community to see if anyone else is affected. 


Is this something that you have noticed/been affected by?