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Canvas - Managing Sections on the Instructional Instance

Instructors sometimes want to group students in Canvas in a way that differs from the course sections laid out in their campus's Student Information System (SIS). Because the SIS controls section enrollment for Instructional courses in Canvas, this can be a challenge. This guide explains the options available to instructors in the University of Wisconsin System (excluding Madison) who want to create custom sections in Canvas.

Enrollments in Canvas's Training & Development and Continuing Education instances don't flow from the Student Information System, so instructors of courses on those instances can assign students to custom sections by following the instructions in Instructure's How do I edit sections for an enrollment in a course? guide.


Instructors of courses on Canvas's Instructional instance generally have to use one of the following workarounds:

1) Work with the Registrar to change section enrollment in the Student Information System. 

At each institution, the Registrar's Office creates and modifies sections in the SIS. If course sections aren't arranged in a way that allows the instructor to effectively teach the course, then modifying those sections and enrollments in the SIS is the most direct solution. Section enrollment changes in PeopleSoft will appear in Canvas immediately for some institutions and after an overnight migration process for other institutions. Contact your Registrar's Office for more information.

2) Use supplemental course sections cross listed into the course

Each institution has access to a "Supplemental Courses" subaccount on the Instructional instance. This is a subaccount for courses and sections which are not managed by the Student Information System. This allows for manual enrollment of students in supplemental courses, and the sections from those supplemental courses can then be crosslisted back into the main course.

Here are the steps:

a) Ask your institution's Canvas administrator to create a supplemental course in Canvas.

b) Enroll students in the supplemental course (and sections) following the instructions in the How do I add users to a course? guide. 

c) Cross-list the supplemental sections with the SIS-integrated course by following the How do I cross-list a section in a course as an instructor? guide. 

Note: not every UW institution allows instructors to cross-list sections in Canvas. If you don't have this ability, please ask your campus Canvas administrator to cross-list the sections.

3) Use Canvas's Groups feature. 

Canvas's Groups feature allows instructors to achieve many of the things they might want to do with custom sections. For more information, see Canvas's Groups Guides for Instructors.




Keywords:section, groups, course, peoplesoft, sis   Doc ID:107091
Owner:Thomas A.Group:UW System Administration DLE
Created:2020-11-10 15:33 CSTUpdated:2021-11-10 12:58 CST
Sites:UW Parkside, UW Platteville, UW Stout, UW System Administration DLE, UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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