Course Status

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Brief Description and Possible Uses

Canvas courses can be "unpublished", "published", "concluded", "deleted" "private", and "public". Learn about the various states of a Canvas course below.

Instructor Tutorials

Publishing a course in Canvas

After you create a course and go through the course creation guide the course will be in an unpublished state. At the top of the page you will see a warning that the Course is Unpublished. You can click on the link for published to be taken to publish the course, or you can publish the course as the last step of the course creation.

Concluding vs. Deleting a Canvas course

When you’re done with a course, you can end a course. We have a different concept and it’s called concluding a course. What this does is that in your course menu, we show all of the current courses that are available for a specific user. These are the current courses in the current semester. The concluded courses go into a read only mode so that teachers and students can refer to those courses that have already passed and are already done. They only show up in this list, which are just the active courses but you can always get to them with the other active enrollments. So I can see all the courses I’m involved with including my old courses that I’ve already completed. You can also delete a course which will not list this group at all in neither the menu or the enrollments page for past enrollments as well. Deleting a course can be recoverable, but it will cost you since you’ll have to bribe your course admin.

After a course is concluded, it goes into a read only state. This means that everyone can see the course content and their contribution inside that course but they won’t be able to actively participate in that course, either via the discussions or in turning in different assignments. So typically you won’t have to worry about concluding this course since the end date of the course will automatically conclude the course on your behalf. Also, at your institution, a specific term like a winter semester or a fall semester also has this specific end date which will conclude all the associated courses within it.

So normally you don’t have to do any of that and it’s done for you.

Concluding a Canvas course

  • Learn how to end a Canvas course.

Deleting a Canvas course

  • Learn how to delete a Canvas course.

Making a Canvas course public

We also use the term to make something public in Instructure in a few places. One notable place is within your course settings. Is that by default these courses, we enforce a access policy on every piece of data that’s written into Instructure Canvas. And so by default we don’t allow anyone who’s not enrolled inside of a course to see any of its content. But if you’d like to do something like an open courseware or an open education resource you can make your course publicly visible. What that means is that the course content of your course, we modify its policy so that anyone on the internet can view its’ content but where all the student data and conversations on grades and all the ferpa requirements are still maintained private and protected. This allows you to create an open course that other people can look at that actually maintains exactly up to date with the course that you’re currently teaching. When you do this you can actually specify the license that you’re licensing the content of your course. We don’t enforce this license so you’ll need to be careful about the content that you include inside your course, that it matches with the license that you’re specifying. You can specify this little button here that actually will help you select a creative commons license according to how you’d like to share it.

Training Materials


Concluding vs. Deleting a Canvas course

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Making a Canvas course public