How to Prevent Students from Accessing Past Canvas Sites

Instructors might want to completely cut off students’ access to their Canvas sites from past semesters. Instructors can do this by enabling a setting called “Restrict students from viewing course after end date.” For more information and instructions on using this setting, please see:

How do I change student access for my course before or after the course dates?

With this setting enabled, students no longer see a link for the site in their Canvas course’s list. If a student knows the site’s URL and tries accessing it directly through their browser by entering it into the address bar, they will receive an “unauthorized” message.

"Unauthorized" message students see when trying to access content or sites to which they don't have access.

Some Considerations

  • We only recommend using this setting if an instructor wants to stop students from accessing Canvas sites after a semester end. The default access-setting for past Canvas sites is to allow students to view a course in a read-only mode, which means they can see content and download most files but they cannot take actions (e.g., submit an assignment). If this read-only mode isn’t restrictive enough, then the setting covered in this post should be enabled.
  • The setting only stops post-semester access. Since students have full student-level access to a site during the semester it’s active, the setting can’t stop someone from taking content completely, thus we recommend being cautious when adding content to Canvas sites, using access-restricting settings (e.g., Draft State) when appropriate, and never, ever storing sensitive material like answer keys in a Canvas site.
  • To learn more about Draft State, which can be used to restrict access to certain content, please see our documentation on Working with Draft State.

Need Help?

Please email Courseware Support at if you have any questions about access-restricting settings in Canvas.

Last Updated: 4 Aug 2015

Leave a Reply