An Unpublished Module Affects Its Published Items

Unpublished Modules

An unpublished module that shows how the cloud icons indicate whether or not a module or content in a module is published.

Canvas modules appear in an unpublished state by default. Students cannot see anything that’s unpublished, so a module must be published for students to see it.

Published Items in an Unpublished Module

It would seem that published items in an unpublished module should be available to students through the items’ primary content areas in a Canvas site. For example, a file in an unpublished modules seems like it should be available in a site’s “Files” area or through a file link in another area like a Page. This is not the case, however, because–

Published items in an unpublished module are not available to students at all.

If a student tries accessing such an item in another Canvas area, they will receive a message saying the item is unavailable because it’s in an unpublished module.

A published assignment in an unpublished module that has been accessed through a link in the "Assignments" area of a site. The error message reads: "This assignment is part of an unpublished module and is not available yet."

Tip: Check Unpublished Modules for Items You Want Students to Access

If you’re concerned that your unpublished modules contain published items you want students to access, look at your modules and, if you find such items, do one of the following:

1.) Delete the item from the module. You can do this by following these instructions:

How do I remove Module items?

Please note that deleting a module item only delete the link to that item in the module; it doesn’t delete the item from your course. If you want to delete an item from your course, you will need to do this in the item’s primary area (e.g., delete a file in the “Files” area of your course).

2.) Move the item to a published module. You can do this by following these instructions:

How do I reorder Module items?

Please Reach Out If You Need Help!

We hope this information makes the module-item-access quirk easier for you to manage. If you have any questions, please email Courseware Support at

Last Updated: 17 Sep 2021