• For Instructors - Create a Test Course in Canvas for Experimentation or Trials

for experimentation or as a "trial shell course" to populate with content

Courses taught either completely online or with online components that complement face-to-face instruction are managed by Canvas, the University of Utah's learning management system. The University Registrar's Office automatically populates Canvas with upcoming course names several weeks before the beginning of a new semester, although a specific course must be "activated" by an instructor before that course is visible within Canvas.

Sometimes an instructor may wish to experiment with the structure of online course content, assignments, discussions, and assessments before committing to the official, real course in Canvas. These care called "Test Courses" and are considered a sandbox for learning Canvas or trying out features outside of official Registrar course offerings. They can be created at any time and are not semester-based.

Review the following instructions to create and activate a Test Course within Canvas.


  1. Log on to Campus Information Services (CIS).
  2. Find the section of your CIS page called My Classes Instructor. The next step works whether or not you are assigned to teach specific university classes in the upcoming semester. 
  3. Click UOnline Class Activation. This link appears below the section listing any classes you are responsible for (if any).

  4. Class information for the upcoming semester is automatically supplied for those courses you are assigned as an instructor. If you have no teaching responsibilities at the moment, no pull-down list of course names will appear and a message states, "You do not have any classes this semester."  

  5. If you were activating a real class, you would follow the instructions on the page.  However, since you are creating a Test Course, scroll directly to the bottom of the page and click the phrase Activate a Test Course.
  6. A popup window appears asking you to enter a title for your test course.

  7. Click the button labeled Activate.
  8. A confirmation notice appears in the top right-hand corner of the screen. It warns you to allow a little time for the systems to process your request for a Test Course.



  • Stay on the CIS Class Activation Form page if you would like to create other test courses in Canvas.
  • When you return to the main CIS page, refresh the page and your test course will appear in the list of courses. Click the adjacent button labeled Go to This Course and you will enter the Canvas course management system.
  • At any time after creating your test course you can access your new test course directly from within Canvas in the usual Courses drop-down list.



After you have populated a test course with modules and other teaching features, you can actually migrate the content into an actual, real course that will be taught through Canvas.

You can import all content from the test course or you can import only specific items into the new course.

Read the following how-to articles:

REUSE CONTENT • Import All Content from a Pre-existing Canvas Course into a New Canvas Course

REUSE CONTENT • Import Specific Items from a Pre-existing Canvas Course into a New Canvas Course