Course access in Canvas works differently than it does in D2L, and there are two important changes to keep in mind:

  1. Course access is controlled by semester dates
  2. Course access is controlled by the course state 

Default Course Access Permissions

Note: In this case Instructor Access applies to T.A's and Course Builders as well. 

Semester start/end dates affect how students can access a course.  

By default, students cannot participate in a course before a semester starts or after a semester ends, and these dates come from the start/end dates for semesters that are defined in MAUI.  

Instructors can change the start/end dates of a course, which will override the semester start/end date. 

Note that instructors are not able to change the end date of a course after the semester end date has passed.  Instructors are no longer able to edit dates in their course, and students move back to preview access. Check the Academic Calendar to confirm semester start and end dates. 

Contact the ITS Help Desk if the course end date needs to be extended beyond the normal end of the semester, the ICON Team is glad to change course dates if an instructor requests it.  

Course start/end dates affect how students can access a course.

Note: Changing start/end dates of a course will override the semester start/end date. has more information on how to change the start/end dates of a course and restrict student access after the duration of the course. has more information on how to change the start/end dates of a course and allow preview access instead of full access after the duration of the course. 

Instructors, TAs, and Collegiate Administrators can access a course regardless of the course state or semester date, but it is important to keep these differences in mind when working with courses that run outside of the semester dates defined in MAUI.

How Students interact with Course States and Accessing Courses

Course states affect how students can access a course  

Different states that a Canvas course can be in:

  • Unpublished - The course is unavailable to students, but is available to instructors and collegiate admins. Generally set while course is “in preparation.”
  • Published - The course is available to students. Generally set throughout the semester, thus allowing interaction.  A course can only be moved from the Published state to the Unpublished state if you have not entered grades.  Once you enter grades for students, the next state you can set the course to is Concluded.  
  • Concluded - The course is put in "archived" mode and is non-interactive, but students can still access the course material.  Generally after final grades have been submitted.

More information about these course states can be found here:

Different ways student's can access courses. 

  • Full Access: students have "full access" to the course that allows them to do things like write discussion posts, take quizzes, upload files to assignments, and so forth. 
    • Keywords: Participate in course, Interact. 
  • Preview Access (Read Only): means students can have "preview access" to the course that allows them to view content, announcements, discussion posts, quizzes, etc., but they can't do anything in the course until they have "full" access. 
    • Keywords: Viewing course
  • Restricted: Students cannot view or interact with any part of the course.

For more information click here.

    Article number: 
    Last updated: 
    May 3, 2017