Course Shopping Period in Canvas

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. This feature will be available starting on the first day of classes through the last day to add a class during the Fall and Spring semesters. Please see the Penn Academic Calendar for specific dates. In Spring 2024 Course Shopping will run from Thursday January 18th through Wednesday January 31st.

Students will be able to access the visible courses through Path@Penn 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 attend any 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 may also be 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 the first day of classes 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 Path@Penn:
  • Use the Search Classes menu to search for courses.
  • Click on a course in the Search Results.
  • Participating courses will have a Canvas button in the Course Resources section.  

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

Before the first day of classes in the Fall or Spring Term:


During the Add Period during the Fall or Spring Term:

  1. In your Canvas site, go to Settings > Course Details > Visibility.
  2. Change the Visibility to “Course”.
  3. Click Update Course Details to save.


Please contact with any questions.

Last Updated: 10 Nov 2023