Request a Non-OPUS Canvas Course

Emory's Canvas users may request non-OPUS courses for use in a variety of contexts, and such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Teaching & Learning Technologies to determine if Canvas is an appropriate fit. Requests are evaluated regularly and additional information may be requested to ensure an appropriate fit for Canvas. Please note: OPUS courses are created in Canvas automatically.

The primary purpose for the Canvas learning management system is to support the teaching and learning mission of the university. Requests for non-OPUS courses that will be unusually difficult to support may be refused based on that criterion.

What requests don’t fit in Canvas?

There are certain use cases where requests for Non-OPUS Canvas courses will be denied. These include:

  • Public-facing Web sites: Canvas isn’t designed or supported as a Web Content Management System and shouldn’t be used to create public-facing sites for departments, labs or other initiatives. Alternative: Cascade is the university’s supported Web CMS.
  • Administrative document repositories: Canvas’s file management tools are designed to be used in the context of course delivery and are not replacements for more robust file storage options, and Canvas is not designed or supported to store financial, HR, health or other sensitive data. Alternative:  OneDrive is the officially supported tool for Emory document storage and collaboration.
  • Formal certification and training: Canvas can’t track completion of employee certification or training in an auditable way. Alternative: If you are required to retain records and audits of certification or training, you should work with the PeopleSoft team to create a space on the  Emory Learning Management System (ELMS) that will include automatic audits, etc. Request a space on ELMS from Emory Human Resources.
  • External-facing collaborations: Access to Canvas is solely available for users with university NetIDs. If non-Emory users need access to the course, they will need sponsored accounts. Alternative: Many supported collaboration products exist with a variety of use cases and options, including Office 365, Zoom, SharePoint and Confluence.
  • Student Organizations: Student organizations have a dedicated service, OrgSync, that is designed and optimized for hosting student organization content.
  • Healthcare initiatives: Canvas is only licensed for university students, faculty and staff for academic use. Alternative: Emory Healthcare has a separate instance of Canvas intended for specific training uses.
  • Sensitive data: Canvas is not certified for Protected Health Information and is not an appropriate location for patient, human resources, financial, staffing, or other protected information. As a learning management system, it is designed for learner-facing course management. Alternative: Consider Office 365 other repositories approved for such uses.
  • Administrative intranet sites: Canvas is designed for academic course delivery and does not provide tools optimized for many of the tasks departments demand from intranet or groupware products. Alternative: In most cases, Office 365 will provide a better and more easily supportable experience.

Office 365 Groups

Office 365 Groups can support mass messaging, document sharing, calendar and event sharing, planning, workflows, surveys. Groups can be a more appropriate or robust choice than Canvas for some audiences and use cases. You can view Office 365 groups by logging in to and looking for Groups on the left menu. Request a group via your local computing support

Non-OPUS Course Policies

Course Retention

Teaching & Learning Technologies reviews Non-OPUS courses annually and deletes courses having any of these conditions:

  • No user activity in the prior six months,
  • No content added six months after course creation, or
  • No enrollments six months after course creation.

External Integrations

Requests for new external LTI integrations for non-OPUS courses will be not be supported. Non-OPUS courses will, where licensing allows, have access to enterprise-licensed integrations within Canvas.

Request a Canvas Course