Adding Not-for-Credit Students in Canvas

With all face-to-face classes and interactions being moved online to Canvas, some colleges face a challenge with providing Canvas access to their Not-for-Credit or community education students. Below is a guide for how to provide access to students who may not matriculate into your system in the same way as traditional students.

DISCLAIMER: This guide exists to provide options for how colleges can provide non-traditional students with access to Canvas and should not be interpreted as a directive or request from CVC-OEI. All colleges should exercise their individual discretion to determine what is best for their student populations.

  1. If Not-for-Credit students already have a college StudentID and Canvas account, but cannot access Canvas because they do not have a CCCApply account.
    For colleges using an SSO integration that requires a CCCApply account, there are two options for providing access to Canvas.
    1. If colleges have a secondary authentication method already installed in Canvas, e.g. employing Active Directory via LDAP, CAS, etc., the college can provide the unique login URL for this authentication method to Not-for-Credit students. This direct URL will bypass the enabled SSO and allow students with a college account to login directly to Canvas using their college account login credentials. Most URL’sl follow a similar URL format, e.g. https://[institution name]
      • If a college does not have a secondary authentication method already installed, please navigate to the Canvas guide for additional authentication methods to your instance:
    2. Alternatively, if a college has an existing secondary authentication method such as CAS or LDAP, but does not wish to have Not-for-Credit students authenticate via the direct URL, they may temporarily switch the enabled SSO/SAML connection to a secondary position and enable LDAP, CAS, etc. as the primary authentication method for all students accessing Canvas, including traditional students. We recommend obtaining guidance from the Tech Center on when to make this adjustment in authentication provider positions in your Canvas instance. To learn more about Managing Authentication Provider positions in Canvas, please visit their Admin guide-Manage Provider.
  2. If Not-for-Credit students DO NOT have a college StudentID and Canvas account.
    When Not-for-Credit students do not have an existing Canvas account, the college has two options for providing quick access to Canvas.
    1. Colleges can create accounts for students in their SIS, Active Directory, or other identity management system and then use their standard process for adding these students to Canvas.
    2. Alternatively, if creating accounts in the identity management system is not an option, colleges can use the Canvas API or manual SIS Import function for a one-time mass creation of user accounts and enrollments.
      1. The college will need a .csv file containing the students’ names, email addresses, etc. Then format the file in accordance with Canvas SIS file formats for users.csv. This file creates the students as users in Canvas. Since students will not have a college NetID, Students will need to login with their Canvas login info at the direct Canvas login URL for the institution, e.g. https://[institution name]
      2. Next, ensure the corresponding courses have been created in Canvas already, either via courses.csv file upload, or through the automated course creation process.
      3. Next, the newly created user accounts can be added to their corresponding courses by following the file formatting for enrollments.csv from Canvas.

This will allow Not-for-Credit students to access their coursework in Canvas without adding them to the college’s identity management system.

For reference, if colleges would like to avoid the manual process in the future for Not-for-Credit classes, they may employ Canvas Catalog as a storefront solution for allowing enrollment in Not-for-Credit courses in Canvas. 

If you would like additional information or have questions regarding the above listed options for providing Not-for-Credit student access to Canvas, please contact