[Modules] Stop Canvas Modules from Auto-Publishing All Content Inside a Module When a Module is Published

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

My university is finding the fact that publishing a module auto-publishes all the content in it quite annoying.


I would like to be able to just publish a module and then choose what features of it that I wish to publish.


I know that I can set a limiter on when a student can actually see and interact with materials-but if a professor is uncertain about publishing certain content all at once, they have no options.


This has been asked about several times in the community-I snagged two of the best examples below.


Thank you all for your time and your vote! Smiley Happy

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Community Coach
Community Coach

 @khearn1 ...

FYI ... you can paste in the links from the two examples you shared...similar to this:

Auto Publishing 


Community Novice

Thank you Chris.

I know that I can link to them, but I already had the screen captures that I had sent to another person, so I just thought I'd use them instead of getting the links. I appreciate the assist, though-I'm still a little new to Canvas and the Community. Thanks again! Smiley Happy

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you for sharing this idea,  @khearn1 (and a slightly belated)  Welcome to the Canvas Community! You might be interested in this related idea currently open for voting: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6173-publish-unpublish-all-option (from the idea description: "select or highlight a large group of multiple items (though not necessarily all of them) to publish or unpublish all at once").

Community Champion

The https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6173-publish-unpublish-all-option is indeed a nifty idea (I voted too), but that idea does not necessarily solve the issue in this idea, because this could potentially be implemented apart from the module publish button, not solving this issue.

My suggested solution for this idea is to at least get the choice to publish all items too or just the module itself.

Many people work gradually before the start of the course and also during the course and have many items in draft mode (unpublished). To have all those not yet ready to publish items to be published without any choice regarding that is a serious usability issue for many. I thought it was not always working like this, does anyone know if this is in one of the release notes? I couldn't find it though...

Community Champion

I'm not seeing that behavior in my course. I often have multiple items in a module and publishing the module doesn't alter the state of the individual items. I just checked it again to make sure my memory wasn't playing tricks on me.


Community Novice

This is also annoying for us at University of British Columbia as well. What is especially annoying is that, if there are a mix of published and unpublished items in a module, and you go from unpublishing to publishing the module, then there doesn't appear to be an immediate change in the items being changed from unpublished to published. However, if you refresh the screen, items that were previously unpublished appear published. So it is unintuitive and misleading to instructors who publish a module with a mix of published/unpublished items, but don't see the immediate affect of all items switching to published. 

Community Novice
I voted to stop it but still, I don't know why "voting for it"?! I had this problem for a long time but today I really got tired of it and had to follow it up. It published all the quizzes in a module and therefore, the related emails were sent to students. 
Why they should be automatically published when I intentionally made them unpublished?? It's against the instructor's privacy and the items should remain unpublished! 
Community Contributor

I've had at least two instructors bring me their frustration with this function.  They unpublish modules so that they can set things up before students see it.  That would be updating content, fixing assignment instructions and many other things, include having their keys ready to go but unpublished.  They are then ready to publish the module and voila!  all their hard work is gone and they have to remember that everything shows and they must quickly rush to unpublish things before students accidentally see them.

And besides, why would publishing a module publish all the items in a module when unpublishing a module does not unpublish everything in the module?!

Community Participant

This is also my situation.  Faculty are publishing inadvertently publishing content they deem time sensitive.   

Community Participant

I see that we haven't had any input from Canvas lately.  @kona ‌ can you help us with this? I haven't seen this before today but I have two faculty up in arms about it now.