Differences between Courses and Sections - Canvas Skip to main content

Differences between Courses and Sections

hierarchy illustration of how canvas course (1), sections (2), and students are related.

Courses are the virtual classroom where all the content resides, the place where students can learn and interact with the instructor and each other [1]. Courses are organized under sub-accounts.

  • Courses contain:  Sections, Content, Grades, and Submissions

Sections are a group of students that have been organized for administrative purposes [2]. When users are enrolled in a course, they are actually enrolled in one of the sections of that course. All sections of a course share the same content.

  • Sections contain: Enrollments

It is possible to place more than one section in course, but not possible to put sections within sections.

If a multiple sections are taught by one instructor, the Rutgers Cross-List Courses tool will allow that instructor to combine their sections into one course.

Different instructors teaching the same course should have separate course sites for their own section.

Managing Student Rosters

  • Creating New Sections: Instructors can add sections to their course to separate students. However, the roster for manually created sections will not sync with the Student Information Systems. Using Groups is better solution to organize your students.
  • Grouping Students: Canvas has two types of groups: student groups and group sets. Student groups can be created by either an instructor or a student and are self-organized by students. Group sets are a collection of student groups that you create to use for graded assignments.
  • Moving a Section to another Course: If you have multiple courses and would like to move the roster from one course to another, this can be done with Cross-Listing.

Additional Resources