Managing Large Course Sections in Canvas

Techniques for managing large course sections in Canvas

Instructional Challenge

During remote instruction, many large courses are being delivered exclusively in an online manner. These resources are meant to provide guidance on common challenges and tasks that can be done to make class management easier.

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Canvas Organization

Sections are sets of students grouped by their enrollment. For instance, if a course has lab sections or discussion sections, students are enrolled in the course at large, as well as in individual lab or discussion sections. Here are some tools and affordances to note when managing multiple sections.

Multiple sections may be housed in multiple Canvas sites or a single Canvas site. Either organization may be the default when course sites are generated by your school or college, but you can change it.

A best practice is to make any major changes before the semester begins.

Canvas Sections

If you are using a single Canvas site to house multiple sections, you can sort students by section in the following ways:

  • Sections can be viewed separately in the Gradebook Speedgrader, and under Settings  (in the tab for Sections).
  • You can target specific sections when posting  Announcements or assigning  Assignments,  Quizzes, or Discussions (e.g., if different sections need different due dates). You can select more than one section in this process, as long as the due date is the same for the selected sections.

Managing Discussions in Canvas Sections

Discussions are a bit of a special case when sorting by section.

  • To set up an ungraded discussion for a particular section, use the Post To dropdown menu to select the section (similar to the Post to setting in Announcements). For more information, review the How to create a Canvas Discussion document.
  • Discussion, leave the “Post to” menu untouched and instead, select Graded under Options. You will then have the option to in the Assign To field to assign the graded discussion to everyone (all sections) or assign the graded Discussion to a specific section.

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