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Course Management

Digital Learning Environment Reminders


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Best Practices for the Semester

As you navigate the semester with Canvas, take a look at these curated videos that address some of the top questions we are receiving through our Service Desk and Office Hours.



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Canvas Third-Party Tools

Several third-party tools are available to use in Canvas at the enterprise and subaccount level by School and College. Stay up to date with all third-party tools in Canvas by browsing our Status page. 



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Digital Learning Environment Reminders

Course sections can be merged via ORCA . We have implemented a merge deadline for each semester to limit potential loss of student data. View the Course Availability in Canvas table for the merge deadlines for each semester.


All About Canvas Shells

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Canvas Shells at a Glance

Shell Type



File Storage Quota

Visibility Duration

Student Enrollments

Associate Roles

Deliver Content

Request Process

Practice Shells PRAC_ Yes 1 GB TBD None None No Upon Request from the Office for Academic Innovation

Eventually via ORCA
Development Shells DEV_ No (by default); can be added upon request 1 GB TBD None Upon Request from the Office for Academic Innovation No Upon Request from the Office for Academic Innovation

Eventually via ORCA
Storage Shells* ZSTOR_ No 1 GB Through August 2022 None None No View Storage Shell FAQs
Live Shells   Yes 1 GB Last late grading date of each semester Yes Added via ORCA Yes Automatically Provisioned
*For purposes of eCampus Exit only. Not available past August 26, 2021.

Canvas Shell Typology

TAMU Course Definitions 

Course Availability in Canvas


Available in Banner

Date Loaded into Canvas

IOR Course Merge Deadline

Course Start Date

Course End + Available Until* 

Fall 2023 Available 4/10/2023 8/16/2023 8/21/2023 1/19/2024
Summer I and 10-week Available 4/10/2023 5/25/2023 5/30/2023 8/25/2023
Summer II Available 4/10/2023 7/1/2023 7/6/2023 8/25/2023
Spring 2023 Available 11/7/2022 1/12/2023 1/17/2023 6/2/2023
*After the Course Available Until date has passed, courses will be removed from the Canvas dashboard for faculty, TAs, and students. Courses will then move to the Past Enrollments section under All Courses as a Read only course, in line with the TAMU System Records and Retention Policy.
The dates in the table above are for the main part of term at TAMU; there are unique part of term start dates that are not reflected in the table. Instructors have 4 days prior to the start of classes to combine course sections. To identify the exact date for when the course will be available to students to begin interacting, please refer to the dates located within the Settings of a course in Canvas.

Student Interaction in a Course

When a course is published, the published content is visible to students who are enrolled in the course. However, the course remains in a Read Only state until the first day of the term (set by the part of term start date), at which time students are able to interact with the course content, including posting on Discussions, submitting Assignments, and taking a Quiz. Please note that courses are NOT automatically Published. This needs to be completed by the course instructor.

For a current list of features that can be viewed by instructors and students in the read-only and open states, please view our Course Interactions in Canvas PDF. 

How to Manage the Course Dashboard

All course roles can manage the courses on their dashboard by using the Star feature under All Courses. Watch the Starring Courses in the Canvas Dashboard (1:38) for additional information. 


Grade Submission to Howdy from Canvas

Use the integration in Howdy to import midterm and final grades from Canvas. Instructors of Record should first review their Canvas course and gradebook setup prior to performing the grade submission in Howdy. This process will only be available during the defined grading period window.
Before submitting final grades, ALL grades must be entered in Canvas (including zeros where necessary) to ensure accuracy. The import process for submitting final grades will assume missing grades are zeros and may lower the grade imported in Howdy, potentially causing students to view a lower grade in Howdy than what is displayed in Canvas.​ 


Final Grades Checklist

Prior to submitting final grades to Howdy, ensure the following items have been completed: 
  • Ensure gradebook is setup correctly
  • Ensure grading scheme is enabled for the course
  • Enter all grades (including zeros)
  • Post all grades to students that should be included in the Total grade

If you are concerned with final grades, we recommend exporting the gradebook in Canvas and comparing the Unposted Final Grade column with the Unposted Current Grade and Current Grade columns. 

  • Unposted Final Grade column is used when submitting final grades to Howdy. When importing, any missing grades will be zeros and any columns that are not posted for students will be included (eyeball with slash)
  • Unposted Current Grade column matches the Total column located in the Canvas gradebook. This column will only include any entered grades or unposted columns and will not include missing grades. This column is referenced during the midterm grade submission window. 
  • Current Grade column reflects course grade based on graded, posted (not hidden) assignments. This will not include missing or unposted columns. This is the grade that the student views in Grades.
For more detailed instructions on Finalizing Grades, Follow the steps below.

Finalize Grades in Canvas

Submit Grades to Howdy

After the gradebook is finalized in Canvas, is set up correctly and reviewed for accuracy, the Instructor of Record or Grade Submitter roles can submit final grades to Howdy by pulling Midterm or Final grades from Canvas. If the course has multiple sections, this process will have to be completed for every course section, even if the course is merged in Canvas.

Download and Print Final Grade Submission Tips 

Finalizing Grades PDF


Potential Grade Submission Discrepancy Alert

If when submitting grades in Howdy, an alert messages was displayed, please review the following steps to resolve any potential discrepancies. In some cases, the discrepancy may be expected. VERIFY THE DISCREPANCY NEEDS ARE ADDRESSED. To address the discrepancy, check the gradebook in Canvas to ensure NO CELL IS LEFT BLANK AND ALL GRADES ARE POSTED TO STUDENTS. View How to Resolve Grade Discrepancies for additional details.

Additional Resources



TAMU System Records and Retention Policy for Grades 

TAMU System Records and Retention Policy requires the Instructor of Record to export and securely store student academic records (e.g. completed class tests, examinations, course papers, and instructor grade books) for safekeeping for one year past the course end date. After the Instructor of Record submits final grades in a course for posting on students’ academic transcripts, the Office of the Registrar is the official records custodian of the permanent academic transcript.


Resolving Incompletes

There are two methods for resolving an incomplete: outside of the LMS, and inside of the LMS. The instructor and student can determine which method to use.

Resolving Incompletes Outside of LMS

Course instructors needing to resolve an incomplete have the ability to do so outside of Canvas. Below are suggested strategies and resources depending on the scenario necessitating the “Incomplete.” 

Resolving Incompletes in Canvas

If the Instructor opts to resolve the incomplete in Canvas, Instructors of Record for a course have the ability to request an incomplete section in Canvas through ORCA. For additional information on this process, visit Request Incomplete Sections in ORCA