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How do I cross-list a section in my course?

Cross-listing is Canvas’ way of combining multiple sections into one course site. This is great for instructors who want to teach all of their sections using one site. This feature also allows or restricts students from viewing and accessing materials assigned to other sections of the course, to an extent.

A few important points to keep in mind:

  • You should understand this not as a course merge but more of a parent-child relationship. Child sections are cross-listed to a parent section which hosts all of the content and grades of the course. E.g., if you are teaching sections 0001 and 0002 and you want the overall course to be hosted in the 0001 site, then you will be cross-listing the 0002 child course into the parent 0001 course site.
  • Section names do not change when they are cross-listed. The section is just moved to the parent course site and inherits parent course site's name. 
  • Sections can only reside in one site at a time. So, you can't enroll students in a lab site AND a combined site.
  • You should only cross-list BEFORE students do any work. Otherwise, cross-listed students will lose access to their assignment submissions and grades since these are stored in their original course site. We suggest doing this at the beginning of the semester prior to publishing your course to students.
  • The course prefix and number do not have to match - for example, you can cross-list a graduate section with an undergraduate section if you would like to!

To remain FERPA compliant follow the guidelines below.

Cross-listing sections together that typically meet together in the same place at the same time:

  • Disable People on your course navigation menu. If you do not disable this option, students will be able to see the entire course roster for all sections in your cross-listed course.
  • When sending messages through Canvas Conversations (Inbox), always opt to “Send Individual Messages” so that a group reply is not possible.
  • Never use Canvas's chat tool. It should be disabled in your course by default. We do not recommend using this even in a course site that only contains a single course section because the messages are not private and there is no way to make them private, or to delete messages.
  • Most courses in our Canvas system should already have these settings, but it is important that you review your course settings to make sure that you have the appropriate selections to safeguard student privacy and comply with FERPA. Under Settings > Course Details > More Options ensure that your selections are the following:
    • Check Disable comments on announcements checkbox
    • Uncheck Let Students create discussion topics checkbox
    • Uncheck Let students organize their own groups checkbox
  • If you share student information, or cause student information to be shared within a course or section(s), make sure that no student within the course or section has invoked a FERPA hold on all of their directory and non directory information.

Additional requirements for cross-listing sections together that do not meet at the same time (e.g., face-to-face class sections that meet at different times. This does not apply to fully online courses, or a course that is comprised of several sections that all meet in the same lecture hall at the same time):

  • Limit your students to only interact with other users in the same course section. This will impact Canvas Collaborations, Canvas Conversations (Inbox), and the People page in your course. It is best practice to limit students to only interact with their peers in the same course section even with the People page disabled on your course navigation menu.
  • If you decide to use Canvas Discussions, create separate groups for each section of students and assign each discussion to the separate groups. Or, create multiple almost identical discussion topics and assign each one to only one section of students.
  • If you intentionally want to create collaboration opportunities for students to interact with each other across sections, you will need to obtain consent from your students. We recommend that you create a one-question quiz in Canvas as part of your first day or first week of class activities that asks students to consent to cross-section collaboration, and include your reasoning for why you wish to lift privacy restrictions for these collaborative interactions. Any students who do not give consent to interacting beyond the course section they registered for will need to be assigned to a course group containing only their section peers.

If you make a mistake and need to de-cross-list your sections, please contact ODL Technical Support and we will help you undo the cross-listing.

How to cross-list:

1. Navigate to the child course in Canvas (the course section that will be "rolled into" the parent course).

2. Open Settings under the course menu.

3. In the Sections tab, select the section you wish to cross-list.

4. On the top-right side of the screen, select the Cross-List this Section button.

5. We recommend using the Search for Course method when entering the Course ID. If you enter the Course ID (ex: ENC1000-0001.fa17) into the Or Enter the Course's ID option, you will receive a message that the "Course ID is not authorized for cross-listing". Then select 'Cross-List This Section' on the bottom.

6. This message will appear when you have successfully cross-listed your section!

For more help with cross-listing, refer to the Canvas Community articles below by Instructure:

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