How do I check a Canvas activity in Student View without releasing it to my students?
These steps will work for any Canvas activity including Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions.
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. 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.
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 (it is important to never enroll users in this section)
Step 2: Edit your activity and assign it to:
- Open to your new Manually Created Course Section so that it is available immediately
- Open to your main Course Sections so that it is available in the future
- Step 3: Publish your activity
- Step 4: Use Student View to try out our activity
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 will not see the same student access error messages (if there are any). If you ever need to revert back to seeing exactly what your students see, you would need to Delete the Manually Create Course Section from Step 1.
Step 1: Create a Manually Created Course Section
Use the steps in the help article on How do I add a section to a course as an instructor? to create a separate "course section" within your course. Name this section something appropriate that you 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
Go to the activity that you want to try out. Open the activity in Edit view so that you make the following modifications:
- While in edit view, scroll down to the Assign to area for your activity
- In date boxes, enter due, available, and until dates that you want your students to access the activity. Remember:
- Due Dates  - are the date by which you want students to submit. Submitting after this date will mark the student's submission as late
- Available Dates  - are when the activity will open to the students. Before this date, students will not be able to view the activity.
- Until Dates  - are the date after which students can no longer submit. This can be the same or different than your activity's Due Date.
- Just under the Assign box, click the Add button .
- A new Assign to box will appear
- In the first box , start typing in the name of the manually created course section you created in Step 1.
- Once you see your section appear in the filtered list, click on the section name .
- Skip the due, available, and until dates for this section - this will make the activity immediately available to the empty section ONLY.
Notice that in the Assign to box above, the first box now shows Everyone Else  with the student availability dates and the second box now shows your manually created section  with no availability dates (will make it available immediately and forever).
- When you are done, make sure that you save the changes you made to your activity by clicking Save or Save and Publish.
Step 3: Publish your activity
Make sure that your activity is published. Because of 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 to try out our activity
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 Testing Section, your Test Student will be able to complete the activity immediately per the dates you set in Step 2 for the Empty Testing Section.
For more help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.