Ensuring Student Data Privacy within Combined Course Sections

If your Canvas course site has combined sections due to an exception approval from the Registrar’s Office, you must make several changes to your course settings and content to protect the privacy of the students in the individual sections before publishing the site for student viewing:

Modify Student Visibility

  • If adding TAs to your course, select the option “Can interact with users in their section only”, and add them to only the sections for which they are responsible.  For more information, see the Canvas guide, How do I add users to a course?

Maintain Disabled Tools

These tools are disabled by default and cannot be enabled.

  • People
  • Collaborations
  • Conferences
  • Chat

Update Course Settings

Update the following course settings options in the “more options” section of the course details.  For more information, please see the Canvas guide, How do I set details for a course?

  • Uncheck “Let students create discussion topics”.
  • Uncheck “Let students organize their own groups”.
  • Check “Hide sections on the People page from students”.
  • Check “Disable comments on announcements”.

Guidelines for Canvas Tool Usage

  • If sending messages to multiple students in different sections through the Inbox, use the “Send an individual message to each recipient” option to send a message to each student that does not include a recipient  list.
  • If you use groups, group members must be in the same section.  If you automatically create groups, use the “Require group members to be in the same section” option.
  • If you use Discussions, create separate groups for each section and assign each discussion to each separate group OR duplicate each discussion and post one to each individual section.  
  • If using the Peer Review option on an Assignment, assign peer reviewers manually and adhere to section assignments or use the anonymous option.

Guidelines for External Tool Usage

If using an integrated external tool in your course, it is your responsibility to ensure that students cannot see student information of students who are in other sections when using these tools. If students have any access to a roster, and can see names of students from another section on the tool (i.e. collaboration tool or discussion based tool), you may have to refrain from using the tool in your course.