Working with Multi­Section Courses


The purpose of this document is to facilitate a conversation about organizing multi­section courses in Canvas. To discuss the considerations specific to your course, please contact either LSA Instructional Support Services (ISS) at lsa-­iss­ or the LSA Language Resource Center at

The Key Question: Separate or Combined?

By default, an independent Canvas site is created for each section of a course. Instructors can choose to combine all the section sites into one Canvas site, leave the section sites separate, or some combination of the two. Considering these questions can help you in your decision:

  • How much coordination is needed across the sections?
  • How much autonomy do individuals teaching the sections need?
  • Is there substantial common content or assignments across sections? Which, if any, elements of your course are section­-specific?
  • How do students enroll for the course?

Canvas allows for many designs and structures. If you read through this document and have questions or want to do something more customized, please contact LSA Instructional Support Services (ISS) at lsa­-iss-­ or the LSA Language Resource Center at

The information below offers three potential models you could use to organize your course. Use the chart below to determine which of the models could work well for your course and then review the model details to learn more.


Combined Model

All sections combined into one Canvas site

Linked Model

Main lecture site in addition to separate discussion/lab sites

Separate Model

Each section has a separate Canvas site

Course is coordinated, with one person designing the curriculum Yes Yes May have common learning goals or elements but little or no coordination across Canvas sites
Most content is the same across all sections Yes Yes No
A single site for student learning resources and materials Yes Two sites for both students and instructors Yes
Grades managed in a single Canvas Gradebook Yes Depends on your course design No
Primary instructors communicate to all sections Through Canvas Announcements Through Canvas Announcements in the primary site Through Canvas Announcements
GSI/Lecturers’ customized communication to specific sections Through Canvas Inbox or MCommunity Email groups Through Canvas Announcements in section sites Through Canvas Announcements


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