Virtual Course Shopping Period in Canvas

Desktop computer with a bullhorn icon on the screen.

What is it?

Penn has developed a virtual shopping period in Canvas so that students can “visit” different courses as they finalize their course selections for the Fall. This feature will be available starting on the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 1 through Tuesday, September 15, the last day to add a class.

Students will be able to access the visible courses through Penn InTouch via a link available on the course listing. When students are visiting a course’s Canvas site, it is not the same as being registered for the course. Students accessing a course through this process will not appear on the Canvas course roster and they will not be able to participate in the course discussions or submit assignments. Students who access a course’s Canvas site while not enrolled in the course will need to ask the instructor for permission to “sit in” on any synchronous class sessions.

The default visibility setting for Canvas course sites is Course so that only enrolled students have access. During the virtual shopping period, the visibility setting will be changed to Institution. After the virtual shopping period, visibility settings will be reverted back to Course.

What courses does it apply to?

All undergraduate courses in Annenberg, the College, Engineering, Nursing, and Wharton. Graduate courses in Engineering are also participating. For a course to be visible, an instructor must also have published their course in Canvas. 

Instructors are encouraged to publish their Canvas sites before September 1 so that they will be available at the start of the shopping period. Instructors who have published their course will be able to opt-out of having their course visible by changing a setting that they control.

How can students access courses?

  • Go to Penn In Touch
  • Navigate to Registration & Planning > Course Search
  • Search for a course
  • Click on the Course ID
  • In the Course Details window, participating courses will have a field labeled Penn@Canvas which will include a link to the Canvas site

As an instructor, how can I opt-out of this process for my course? 

  • In your Canvas site, go to Settings > Course Details > Visibility
  • Change the Visibility to “Course”
  • Click Update Course Details to save

Who should I contact with questions?

Please contact canvas@pobox.upenn.edu with any questions.


This post has been updated to reflect the addition of all undergraduate courses in Annenberg to the Virtual Course Shopping Period.

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