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Canvas Course Visibility – Settings Recommendations

This page provides recommendations for course settings that affect cours visibility and availability for students.

To learn more about visibility options, view the Canvas Course Visibility Options PDF.

The Settings link in your course navigation allows instructors to modify the course details that affect visibility and availability for a Canvas course site. Depending on your role in a course, some settings may not be available to you.  This article assumes you have a teacher (full-editing) role and are teaching a for-credit course.

  • Course State: The course must be published in order for the course settings to affect visibility and availability (How do I publish a course?).
    • Required: Published
  • Course Dates: (How do I change the start and end dates for a course?)
    • Start Date: Canvas admins set the course start date to be the first day of the term; instructors may alter the start date.
      • Recommendation: Set the date to be the first day of the semester and change the date to a past date/time if you would like to send inbox conversations or announcement notifications prior to the start of the semester.
    • End Date: Canvas admins set the course end date to to be the day before the next semester begins; instructors may alter the end date.  Once the date passes, students will no longer receive notifications.
      • Recommendation: Set the end date to be the last day you would like the course to be active.
    • Students can only participate in the course between these dates: Instructors may opt to automatically set their course to a read-only state when students are accessing the course outside of the course start and end dates. This prevents students from submitting assignments, replying to discussions, and taking quizzing if it is not within the active dates for the course. If no dates are set, then the term dates apply.
      • Recommendation: Checked
    • Restrict students from viewing this course after end date: Instructors can choose to limit student access to a course site before the course start date or after the course end date (How do I restrict student access to a course before or after the course dates?). For some courses, this may be set by your school- or program-based administrator and you will not be able to change it.
      • Recommendation: Instructor or school preference
    • Restrict students from viewing this course before start date:
      • Recommendation: Instructor or school preference
  • Visibility: (How do I customize visibility options for a course?) By default, only users enrolled in a Canvas course site have access to the site, Course instructors may change this setting to allow anyone with the course URL or only users logged into Rutgers Canvas to access the course.
  • More Options: (How do I set details for a course?) In Course Settings, More Options additional accessibility options.
    • Let students self-enroll by sharing with them a secret URL (in conjunction with Add a “Join this Course” link to the course home page): (How do I enable course self-enrollment with a join code or secret URL?) Instructors can enable self-enrollment that allows students to enroll themselves in your Canvas course site. This does not affect registration in Rutgers student information systems such as Banner or REGIS.
      • Recommendation: Unchecked

Instructors and academic programs may benefit by including a self-enrollable course in the Public Course Index.  These courses may serve as student resources for academic programs, licensing reviews, or program onboarding. Please review the Canvas Guides concerning course settings to ensure the course is visible and accessible.  Once a course is listed in the Public Course Index and is self-enrollable, any Rutgers Canvas user may join your course.