Canvas @ YaleInstructor Guides AssignmentsChecking a Canvas Activity in Student View without Releasing It to Students

Checking a Canvas Activity in Student View without Releasing It to Students

When you are creating your Canvas activities you may want to verify that the activity is working as expected before you release it to your students. This can cause an issue as you will need to Publish your activity for the "Student View" function to work properly, thus releasing it for your students to potentially view / access.

The steps outlined below will walk you through the four-part process of checking your Canvas activity (assignments, quizzes, and discussions) in "Student View" without letting your actual students access the activity.

If you are okay with students viewing your activity while you test, you can just publish the activity and then click on the "Student View" button.

By following these steps, you will be allowing your "Student View" to access your activity at a different time than your enrolled students. This means that your Test Student view granted to you from the "Student View" function will not see the same student access error messages (if there are any) from things like the Availability Dates.

If you ever need to revert back to seeing exactly what your students see, you would need to Delete the Manually Created Course Section from Step 1.

If you want to verify your activity, but do not want students to see the activity until you are done testing, you will need to do the following:

Step 1: Create a Manually Created Course Section

Use the steps in the help article "Creating Manually Created Course Sections" to create a separate "Section" within your course.

Name this section something appropriate that will remind you this is a testing-only course section (example: "Empty Testing Section").

Do not enroll any students in your testing-only manually created course section.

Step 2: Edit Your Activity "Assign To" Settings

Go to the activity that you want to test. Open the activity in "Edit" view so that you make the following modifications:

  1. Scroll down to the "Assign to" area for your activity
  2. In date boxes, enter due, available, and until dates that you want your actual students to access the activity.
    1. Due [1] - the date by which you want students to submit. Submitting after this date will mark the student's submission as late.
    2. Available from [2] - when the activity will open to the students. Before this date, students will not be able to view the activity.
    3. Until [3] - the date after which students can no longer submit. This can be the same or different than your activity's "Due" date.

These dates should be outside the time you are currently creating and testing this activity.

  1. Click the "+Add" button [4].
  1. A new "Assign to" box will appear.
  2. In the first box [5], start typing in the name of the manually created course section you created in Step 1.  
  3. Once you see your section appear in the filtered list, click on the empty section name [6].
  1. Leave the due, available, and until dates for this section empty.
    1. This will make the activity immediately available to the empty section ONLY.  

Notice that in the top-most "Assign to" box of your assignment, the first box now says "Everyone Else" [7] with the student availability dates. The second "Assign to" box now shows your manually created section [8] with no availability dates, which will make it available immediately to just that one empty section.

  1. When you are done, make sure that you save the changes you made to your activity by clicking "Save" or "Save & Publish."

Step 3: Publish Your Activity

Publish your activity to make it available to students if it is not published already.

Notice that due to the specific due date settings that you have set, the published activity will not be accessible to your students until the "Available from" date you set for "Everyone Else" in Step 2.

Step 4: Use Student View

Once you have completed Steps 1 - 3, you can now use the Student View feature to try out your activity.

The Test Student (which is you logged in with the Student View) is automatically enrolled in all course sections in your course. Since the Test Student will be automatically enrolled in your empty course section you created in Step 1 and assigned to the activity in Step 2, your Test Student will be able to complete the activity immediately per the dates you set.

For more help, please contact [email protected].