Restricted Course Merging in Canvas

Non-cross-listed courses that do not meet together either in-person or on Zoom, if requested for merging, must be merged in Canvas in accordance with FERPA


The following restrictions are put in place for such merged courses (some of the below course features may not be applicable to your courses):

  • Disable comments on announcements
  • For discussions:
    • Disable the ability for students to create discussion topics
    • Use separate discussion boards for each section
  • For groups:
    • Disable the ability for students to organize their own groups
    • Disable self sign-up (instead students need to be assigned automatically to groups, or assigned manually by you)
    • Require group members to be in the same section
  • For the Canvas inbox:
    • Disable the ability for students to message the entire class/individual members of the class via the Canvas Inbox
    • Hide students’ names from each other when messaging two or more students in different sections
  • Customize course navigation to disable (hide) these tabs:
    • Chat
    • Collaborations (instead, use Google Docs outside of Canvas and anonymize students, or use separate docs for each section of the course)
    • People

The above restrictions would be implemented in your course through a combination of adjustments to your course’s settings, the use of a special user role for students, and actions that you must take as the instructor of the course. 

Required actions

ITG will make the necessary changes to your course settings as well as to students’ roles in the course; the following actions will need to be taken by you, as needed throughout the semester, to ensure FERPA compliance:


When creating an announcement, under Options, leave the box for Allow users to comment unchecked:

Screenshot of Announcement options


  • When creating a graded discussion, create a distinct discussion for each section, restricting each discussion to a different section.
  • When creating ungraded discussions, use the Post to option to post topics to individual sections instead of the entire class:
    Screenshot of Post to area in discussion editor


Canvas Inbox

When sending a message via the Canvas Inbox to two or more students in different sections, check the box for Send an individual message to each recipient:

Screenshot of Canvas Inbox message composition with box checked as mentioned on the page


Course Settings

Keep the Chat, Collaborations, and People tabs hidden in your course navigation menu:

Screenshot of course settings showing hidden areas of course navigation 

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