Canvas - Start of Term FAQ

Last Updated: 09/12/2018


CU Boulder is in the process of adopting a new learning management system called Canvas. Although Canvas will be replacing Desire2Learn (D2L), D2L will still be available through spring 2019. During the migration, some courses may be on D2L, and some may be on Canvas. Other courses may not use D2L or Canvas at all. This web page provides answers to some of the most common questions asked during the start of the term. For questions about D2L, review the D2L Start of Term FAQ or contact the contact the IT Service Center at or (303)735-4357.

For Students

Why isn’t my course showing up on Canvas?

Not all Instructors use Canvas. Some may still be using D2L, while others may not be using either system. If you don’t see your course, verify that your Instructor has set up a Canvas space for the course and that the course is open to students.

Students can’t see a course if the Instructor hasn’t published it, or if it’s before the course start date set in Canvas. By default, the course start date in Canvas is set to two days before the start of the term (e.g. Jan. 14, 2018), but Instructors can adjust this.

I dropped a course, but I still see it in Canvas.

There is a 24-hour delay before drops are processed in Canvas. This is an intentional “safety window” to ensure your course access isn’t interrupted by an accidental drop.

If the course you dropped doesn’t disappear after 24 hours, the Instructor has likely given you special access (as an auditor or TA, for example). You will need to contact them and ask to be removed from the Canvas roster.

For Instructors

Why isn’t my course on Canvas?

Check to see if you or another Instructor created the course on D2L. Otherwise, if you want a Canvas space for your course, you will need to create one through the Faculty Toolkit in MyCUInfo. Most courses can now be created immediately by Instructors, but special requests like combining recitations, labs, and other courses together can take up to two business days to fulfill. Visit our Canvas - Request a Course page to learn how to create your course today.

Why can’t my students see my Canvas course?

If you can see your Canvas course but your students can’t, first check to see if the course has been published (see How do I publish my course?).

Next, double check your course’s start and end dates (see How do I change the start and end dates for a course?). By default, the start date is set to two days before the first day of classes.

How do I add a TA or other user to my course?

You can add teachers or TA's to your course at any time. Visit How do I add users to a course? to learn how. Student enrollments are automatically kept up-to-date in Canvas based on course enrollment data.

How do I combine the different classes/sections I’m teaching into a single Canvas course space?

When creating a Canvas course through the Faculty Toolkit in MyCUInfo, lecture sections that are combined in the course catalog will automatically be combined in Canvas. If you want  to add additional courses, recitations, or labs to the Canvas course space you’ve created, please see our tutorial on requesting course changes. If you haven’t created your Canvas course yet, see our Create a Course tutorial.

If you already created all your courses separately in Canvas and want to combine them, that’s okay: see our tutorial on requesting course changes and just let us know what you need in your notes. Please be aware, though, that once students begin to submit assignments, take quizzes, post in discussions, and receive grades, it becomes difficult to combine Canvas sections that were created separately.

For Teaching Assistants

Why isn’t my course showing up on Canvas?

First verify that your Instructor has set up a Canvas space for it. It may have been created on D2L. Next, verify that your Instructor has enrolled you in the Canvas course. If you’re listed on the official course roster in MyCUInfo, you will automatically be enrolled in the course. If not, your Instructor will need to manually add you to the Canvas course by following these steps: How do I add users to a course?

I can’t see my students in the Classlist / Grades / Dropbox / Discussions tool.

In addition to being enrolled in the Canvas course, TAs must also be enrolled in the specific section(s) they’re responsible for in order to see and interact with students in that section. Ask your Instructor to double-check that you are enrolled in the correct section(s) by following these steps: How do I edit sections for an enrollment in a course?