Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

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Publishing your Canvas Content and Setting Course Availability

EdTech, LMSThomas Lewis

You’ve migrated your course completely, checked all your assignment settings, created your custom grading scheme, and are ready to begin your first semester as a Canvas instructor! When you reach this point, don’t forget the most important final step: publishing your course to make sure that students can access it. Careful attention to this feature of Canvas (which is quite different from the availability settings in Blackboard), can ensure that you and your students will have a great launch to your first semester in Canvas.

The Difference between Published and Unpublished

Once all of your content is created and organized in the Modules Tab, you need to be sure that it is all correctly published in order to start your courses off successfully! Any material that is unpublished in your canvas course will not be visible to your students.

So, to identify whether something is published, look to the right of the content item’s name where you’ll see either a Green Check Mark icon, meaning the item is published, or a Circle and Slash icon, which means that the item is unpublished.

Which Content Should be Published?

Within Canvas, publishing needs to happen on several levels: individual content, complete modules, and the whole course. Make sure all of the following items are set to be published for your students so that everything that you want them to see will be visible on the first day of classes:

  • Individual Content Items such as pages, quizzes, discussions, assignments, and external links all need to be published, as shown below, in order to be visible to your students.

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  • Modules Click the Green Check Mark icon to the right of the module name (as shown below) to publish or un-publish it. Note that, when you publish a Module, any unpublished individual content items within the module will automatically be published. Therefore, you may want to postpone publishing a module until all module items are ready for student viewing. Or, you can publish the Module and then un-publish individual items that you would like to remain invisible to your students.

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  •  Your Course, of course! Most importantly, make sure that your whole course is published! This is something that can be overlooked because it wasn’t a standard operation in Blackboard, but if your course isn’t published, students won’t be able to view any of its content, or even see the course tile on their dashboard. You can publish the course in the top right-hand corner on your homepage, as shown below.

Publish Course.png

Setting your Course Availability

In addition to publishing your course, you can also adjust the set start and end dates of your course if you would like your students to be able to access it before or after the official session dates. Default course start and end dates reflect what is set in the course catalog within myFSCJ.

To override the set course dates, navigate to the Settings menu within a course and ensure that you are looking at the Course Details tab. Then, make any necessary adjustments to the Start and End Date as shown below. Note that the course cannot extend beyond the end date set for the term as a whole, and that students will not be able to view or access the course at all outside of these dates.

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If you have any questions about publishing your course or setting your course availability, feel free to reach out to us at We’ll be happy to help you publish your course if needed!