Course Creation, Term Dates and Availability

All courses that are managed in the OPUS system have corresponding course shells created automatically in Canvas. The schedule for creation of the shells is as follows:

  • Spring shells will be available on the last Friday of October
  • Summer shells will be available on the last Friday of January
  • Fall shells will be available on the last Friday of March

Term dates, course dates, and section dates are used to control access to courses.

Term Dates are set at the system level by the Canvas administrators. (See the chart below for current and upcoming term dates.)

  • Terms start approximately 4 weeks before classes start and extend to the deadline for submitting incomplete coursework.
  • Courses become accessible to faculty as soon as they are created. This is usually about half-way through the previous semester.
  • Students will see courses listed under “Future Enrollments” when they are enrolled in those courses.
  • Students can open a course as soon as the Term Start Date occurs and the instructor publishes the course.
  • Student access to courses continues until the Term End Date.
  • Courses cannot be unpublished once students have submitted work. (See info below about restricting course access.)
  • Instructors can override term dates by editing the Course Dates

Course Dates are used to set availability dates that are different than the associated Term Dates for that course. Course Dates are editable by instructors.

  • If instructors need to edit Course Dates they must do it before the Term End Date passes. After the term end date occurs, courses become read-only unless the instructor has changed the course end date.
  • Courses that are read-only can still be copied into new courses.
  • How do I change the start and end dates for a course?
  • How do I restrict student access to a course before or after the course dates?
  • Using Course Dates, you can set a course so that students can see it but not participate in it or you can set the course so that students can access it and participate in it.
  • If you need to restrict availability to a specific subset of students, you will need to create sections and modify the Section Dates accordingly.

Section Dates are used to control access for a specific set of students in a course.


TermRegistrar Term DatesTeacher Access through
FallAugust - Decemberend of May
SpringJanuary - Aprilend of December
SummerMay - Augustend of December

Students can access courses from term start to term end date.

TA's and Course Designers have the same availabilty dates as Teachers.