Canvas - Adding People to a Canvas Course [UW-Madison]

This document describes how UW-Madison instructors can add participants to their courses. It is primarily intended for instructors of non-timetable courses.

In UW-Madison timetable (for-credit) courses, Canvas enrollments are automatically updated based on the official enrollment record in the Student Information System (SIS).

Instructors are not able to manually add students to timetable courses. However, they can can add users to their timetable courses in instructor or staff roles, To protect student privacy, avoid making manual enrollments whenever possible. See the Office of Registrar's FERPA guide for more information on student privacy and FERPA best practices.

Adding a Participant to a Canvas Course

Use the People tool in Canvas to add someone to your course who has a NetID.

  1. Log into Canvas at and navigate to the appropriate course.
  2. Select People from the course navigation panel on the left side of the page.
    This screenshot displays the course sidebar of Canvas, with the "people" tab highlighted
  3. Click the red + People button on the right side of the screen. If the button is grayed out, see Adding a Participant to a Canvas Course that Has Ended below (under Special Circumstances)
    red +People
  4. An Add People window will open.
  5. Select the Login ID radio button and enter the participant's login ID in the format (e.g., not just bbadger.)

    We recommend searching by Login ID using the format If you receive the error message We were unable to find matches below, please verify you are adding the individuals using this format. This is because preferred email addresses do not always match the NetID.

    If the user in question is not affiliated with UW-Madison and does not have a NetID, see Canvas - Access for Non-UW Personnel.

    "Add People" window is displayed with Login ID,, and Next highlighted
  6. Select the Role and Section you want to add the person to and click Next. A validation message should display.
  7. Click the red Add Users button.

Special Circumstances

Participants external to the university

Adding a participant to a course after the end date has passed

  • If a course has ended, you must temporarily set the Course End date to a date in the future.
  • These dates are found under Settings>Course Details
  • If the term end date has passed, change Participation from Term to Course, and select a new end date in the future.
    Participation menu is shown with course dates selected
  •  After adding the participants, Remember to revert the end date back to it original setting.

Adding Students to a Course

Instructors should NOT add students to timetable (for-credit) courses manually. Students added to the course outside of the automatic update procedure will lack access to some course functions. Manual enrollment is exclusive to non-timetable courses.

  • Students, including student auditors, must enroll in courses through the normal enrollment process. (See: Student Center - Enrolling in Classes)
  • Enrolled students will be automatically added to their Canvas courses roughly three weeks prior to the start of the semester.
  • Students who enroll in a course after the start of the semester will also be automatically added to your Canvas course within 48 hours.
    • During the semester, Canvas syncs with the Student Information System (SIS) nightly and adds or drops students based on the information it finds within SIS.

If a student is not seeing a course that they are enrolled in, they should contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Keywordscanvas people users add course enroll enrollments TAs instructors students participants yielded adding affiliate admin enroll guests auditors manually spec auth past end date passed after audiology unable find matches study abroad   Doc ID66259
OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2016-08-18 14:31:28Updated2024-03-15 12:06:44
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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