Copying A Canvas Course?

So you want to copy a Canvas course…

This is a relatively easy process, but there are a few pitfalls you’ll want to avoid before you simply copy a course and start teaching.  Follow along with the checklist below just to make sure all is well with settings and any variables with your online content that could lead to a “Canvas Disaster”

Check? Canvas Course Setting Directions to Resolve
  Did you reset the start date of the course? Do this when you originally make the copy or you can go back in “Settings” and adjust this for your class.
  Did you adjust all availability dates and due dates for assignments, discussions, and quizzes? Again, do this when you make the copy or else you’ll need to go back and adjust each activity individually.
  Are the correct people in your course? Teachers? Designers? TA’s? Students? Observers? It’s easy to add and remove Canvas users from your course in the “People” menu.
  Groups?  Were groups created for this course in the past? Look in the “People” menu to see if any groups have been set up.  If so you may want to delete them or use them with different assignments.  Unless the groups are set up automatically you’ll need to adjust them accordingly.
  Announcements – check to see if any previously written announcements came thru with your course copy and delete any that are unnecessary. Every announcement is saved in the course so it’s a good idea to review what was sent out by the previous instructor and then delete any you won’t need.
  Assignments – did all the available dates and due dates adjust automatically? You should be alright if you set this up when you copied the original course.  But if you didn’t, run through all activities and double check the dates.
  Assignments & Discussions – are there any group activities? If so, and you haven’t made groups, this could cause some problems when it’s time to grade. When you check “Groups” in the “People” section you’ll know whether or not you’ll need to adjust your graded activities.  It’s a good idea to see if anything is set to “Peer Review” as well at this time.
  Badges – Make sure that your account is active if necessary to use any badges assigned to progress in your course. Gamifying your class is fun for you and your students, but you’ll need to do a little extra work to insure that all the badges and any other points or rewards have copied with the course since many of these settings are aligned to the Canvas user, not the course.
  Grading Scheme – Check that this is set up as you would like and not according to a previous instructor or institution’s policies. Be careful to check not only your grading scheme in the “Course Settings” area but also any settings pertaining to your SIS system if your district has connected it to the Canvas Gradebook.
  Modules – Double check any locks, availability dates, and prerequisites. Click the settings icon next to each module to see if there are any dates set or a prerequisite that may keep students from seeing the content.
  Outcomes & Rubrics – Are you using them? Are they aligned to the right activities? Much like badges the outcomes are tied to each user account, not the course.
  Quizzes – Double check all the dates, questions, question groups, and any outcomes that might be aligned to a question group. Just like with assignments and discussions you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any dates set that could prevent students from accessing the quiz when it’s published.

For more help with your Canvas Course Copying process please refer to the Canvas Guides available for free online at

Michael Hakkarinen

Michael Hakkarinen specializes in helping teachers engage students in the classroom with technology such as Mac Tools, Google Apps for Educators, iPads and more. He earned a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Master’s in Elementary Education at Mount Saint Mary’s University, where he also taught Instructional Technology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He was a Technology Resource Teacher in Frederick County, Maryland, where he taught elementary school, and an EdTech for Canyons School District in Utah before joining the UEN PD team in 2014. He currently serves as President of the UCET Board.

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