Setting Dates and Access for Non-Academic Courses  

For non-academic courses, including community (CO) and (LM) sites, the settings should be chosen to reduce costs for the program and make sure learners have the right access at the correct time.

If you are looking for how dates work in academic courses, please view Manage Course Dates in Canvas.

Different Enrollment States 

There are three types of enrollment states that we will be using throughout this guide.  

  • Active – The user can interact with the course such as creating assignments, adding content or grading assignments (for faculty), taking quizzes, submitting assignments, and posting to the discussion board (for learners).  
  • View-only (i.e., soft concluded) – The user can only view the course but can’t interact or add content.  
  • No-access (i.e., hard concluded or deleted) – The user can no longer access the course or view anything in it. 

Determining the Appropriate Access 

Before starting a new offering, you should determine the answer to the following questions in alignment with your program or division guidance. If you have submitted a Canvas Lifelong Learning Application, you should follow the answers you provided.

How do you let learners know when they will: 

  • Gain access? 
  • Have view-only (i.e., soft concluded) access (if applicable)? 
  • No longer having access to the course (i.e., hard concluded)? 

Once you decide on these dates, you can use Canvas settings to enforce them for your learners.  

By Default  

  • Open: If no changes are made to community (CO) and (LM) sites, then they are open as soon as they are published. They will be no longer accessible depending on their lifecycle.  
  • View-Only: Usually they are view-only or concluded on the date that they are not renewed by a teacher or leader in the course.  
  • Deletion: Once they have been view-only for one year, they are permanently deleted and all users lose access.  

Customizing Access 

Warning: This process should only be used for CO or LM prefixed courses. It should never be used for academic courses as those are already set with the correct dates based on SIS and the university term schedule. Changing an academic course’s dates could cause students to lose access at incorrect times and need significant IT intervention to repair.  

If you need to adjust your course start date and end date for your LM or CO prefixed course:  

  1. Go to your course in Canvas. 
  2. Select “Settings” in the Course Navigation Menu.  
  3. Scroll down to “Participation.”  
  4. Switch “Term” to “Course.”   
  5. Set the start date to the first day you want learners to have access to your course.  
  6. Set the end date to be the last day you want learners to be able to turn in assignments, quizzes, or discussion posts. After the end date, learners will only be able to view the course unless additional settings are chosen (see Additional Considerations). 
    • Note: If you are offering an approved certificate through, then all module requirements must be completed before the course end date or the certificate will not populate for the learners.  
  7. Select “Update Course Details” to save your settings.  
  8. Make sure to publish your course prior to or on the start date (otherwise learners will not be able to see the course regardless of the start date). 

Additional Considerations: Set Opening and Hard Concluding

When setting alternative dates, there are two additional checkboxes that you may or may not want to select depending on your division’s teaching and learning center’s guidance.  

  • Restrict students from viewing the course before the course start date – This setting will prevent learners from viewing the course before the entered course start date. This allows you to publish the course and then have it open on the date you have entered in settings. If this is not checked, then the learners will have view-only access prior to that date.  
  • Restrict students from viewing the course after the term end date – This setting will prevent learners from viewing the course after the set end date. We do not recommend checking this setting as it doesn’t align with JHU-wide guidance and standards on course visibility in Canvas.