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Canvas - FAQs for Non-Credit Courses

This document provides guidance on frequently asked questions for non-timetable course instructors. These questions and answers do NOT apply to for-credit courses at UW-Madison.

Yes, Canvas can be used for non-credit courses. For best results:

  • The target audience for the course should be current UW-Madison faculty, staff, or students.
  • Course content should be affiliated with a UW-Madison department or program.

If your have other needs for you non-credit course, contact to discuss whether Canvas is the best fit for your content.

To get started, submit the Non-Timetable Canvas Course Request Form. When asked what type of course you would like to create, select Compliance/Institutional Training.

Most requests are fulfilled within one business day.

Canvas is primarily intended for use by UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students. However, there are some options to provide content to learners outside of UW-Madison:

For more information, contact

There are a few ways to enroll learners in your course, depending on your needs.

For very large courses or courses with complicated enrollment requirements, contact to request a consultation. Techniques that have been used by past courses include:

  • Enrollment through the Office of Talent Management’s registration system. The OTM registration system at is primarily intended for in-person courses, but it can be adapted for Canvas courses. Learners would enroll in the course through a link at, and the enrollment would be pushed into Canvas. This enrollment method is generally used in compliance courses that must maintain accurate completion records. It is best suited to large courses that are primarily targeted at UW-Madison employees.
  • Direct import of a file feed to Canvas. Canvas has been configured to accept enrollment files from the Student Information System. For this option, instructors would work with the Registrar’s Office to generate a list of students meeting certain criteria (e.g., graduate students in a particular department). Canvas administrators would then set up the list to automatically populate students into your Canvas course.

Both of these options require technical collaboration across departments and may take several weeks to implement, so please plan accordingly.

Yes, you can set up your course for self-enrollment by following the steps at Note that in order to self-enroll, learners will need to be UW-Madison faculty, staff, students, or other holders of a Canvas-eligible NetID. If they do not meet these criteria, you will need to help them create an account by following the instructions at Canvas - Requesting Access for External Users

Canvas is not designed to provide course completion certificates. Depending on the needs of your course, you may be able to implement a workaround.

One potential workaround is to set up a Mastery Path in their Canvas course which allows learners to access a PDF "certificate" after they have completed the course content. A downside of this method is that the certificate would not contain the learner’s name and could potentially be shared with other course participants.

Another option may be to work with the Office of Talent Management. OTM maintains a registration system that can be integrated with Canvas. Since this integration is technically complicated and requires working with an experienced Instructional Designer, it is only recommended in large-scale courses that prioritize completion verification (e.g. compliance courses such as the HIPAA Training Course).

When properly set up, learners would have to enroll in your course through OTM’s registration system at After they complete the course, it would show up on the learner’s OTM transcript. The transcript may or may not meet your needs for certification.

In small courses, the easiest way to provide certificates may be to verify course completion in Canvas and manually distribute certificates.

Contact for more information about certificate options.

There are many compliance and institutional training courses in Canvas, dealing with a wide array of topics, from environmental health and safety to job skills training. To find out more about other courses on campus, consider joining one of the Communities of Practice (CoPs):

Please keep in mind that Canvas is not an approved tool for storing restricted data and sensitive data that is unrelated to for-credit classes, such as personal health information (PHI). So usage of Canvas for conveying or storing such data is not permitted. For more information about the University's data classifications, see this document.

A list of online and in-person Canvas training resources can be found at Canvas - Training Resources (UW-Madison). When you are logged into Canvas, you can also click the Help link in the left navigation menu to view a list of resources.

Learners in your non-credit course can contact the DoIT Help Desk for help with technical issues in Canvas. The Help Desk does not support issues with your course content.

We encourage all non-credit course creators to designate a point-person to be responsible for maintaining course content and answering content-related questions. The point-person should be identified clearly in communications with learners and in the Canvas course itself.

Keywords:canvas, non-credit, noncredit, non-timetable, nontimetable, compliance, institutional training, enrollment, OTM, Office of Talent Management, self-enrollment, create, certificates, certification, not-for-credit, hipaa, phi, data, sensitive, restricted, course request, manifest   Doc ID:85479
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2018-09-06 11:57 CDTUpdated:2020-06-24 15:18 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW-Madison
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