Canvas - Adding People to a Canvas Course

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 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. Instructors are able to add users to their timetable courses in instructor or staff roles, but to protect student privacy, they should 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

To If you want to add someone to your course that is not part of your course roster and they have a NetID, you can add them by using the People tool in Canvas.

  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.
  3. CanvasPeople.jpg

  4. 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."
    red +People
  5. An Add People window will open.
  6. 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 the user in question is not affiliated with UW-Madison and does not have a NetID, see Canvas - Access for Non-UW Personnel.

  7. Select the Role and Section you want to add the person to and click Next. A validation message should display.
  8. Click the red Add Users button.

Special Circumstances

  • Adding a participant who is external to the university
  • Adding a participant to a course after the end date has passed

Adding Students to a Course

Instructors should NOT add students to their courses manually. Students added to the course outside of the automatic update procedure will lack access to some course functions.

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. 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.

NOTE:The +People button is grayed out after the course concludes. To add someone after that time, go to Settings, change the End Date to sometime in the future, and check the box for "users can participate between these dates." Navigate back to the People tab and add the user normally. Afterwards, make sure to go back to settings and change the end date back.

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

See Also: