What are “sandbox” courses?

This page is included for historical purposes: the original sandboxes still exist, some folks may see them and have questions. Sandbox courses are no longer being created during the summer, and have not been since the summer of 2013. Instead, we are now able to create the “real” courses at the start of the summer.

“Sandbox” Courses

What are they?

Each teacher has a set of so-called “sandbox” courses in Canvas. These courses are a space to experiment and test ideas without concern that you will accidentally affect student grades (or send out alerts or emails, unless you intentionally add students to these courses yourself).

The courses are intended to match (at least in the initial pass in late spring 2013) a teacher’s teaching schedule — one sandbox course for each preparation, so that teachers have a space in which to start to prepare content, if they so desire.

Nota bene: teachers have one sandbox course per preparation, not per section taught, on the assumption that teachers probably won’t be preparing substantially different courses for each section, although folks will obviously end up executing on those plans differently in each section. If you need more sandbox courses, just ask Academic Technology.

Please feel free to rename your sandbox courses to suit your particular needs and organizational vision!

Copying content out of them

Any course materials that are created in the sandbox courses can be copied out using the “import content from another course” tool. However, it is worth thinking carefully about how you construct content in a sandbox course, so that the copy will go well for you:

  • Any student-submitted content will not copy between courses (so all copiable content is created by a teacher).
  • If you are mapping out the year, but don’t yet know your schedule, you can still map out assignments (more or less — obviously there will be fine tuning) if you work on the assumption that your courses will meet four times a week. If you are consistent in thinking of Monday as Day 1, Tuesday as Day 2, etc. then the import content tool can actually adjust dates to match your real schedule (when it is known).
  • If you create content that refers to specific dates in the text, just be aware that those dates will not automatically update if you change deadlines by dragging assignments around in the calendar!
  • The same limitations exist for sandbox courses as any other course (only 500GB of content without special arrangement, etc.)

When will I get my “real” courses?

The “real” classes — the ones with students enrolled in them — are created after the schedule is constructed and fine tuned. Usually these schedules (and therefore Canvas courses) are ready by early to mid-August, with the “real” classes for the year created before the opening faculty meetings in August.

What will happen to these sandbox courses?

They will remain available to you forever (and will reappear again next summer). You will not get fresh sandbox courses for courses that you are re-teaching, but you will get a new sandbox for any new preparations that you take on. You will find your sandbox courses (and all other previous courses that you have taught) under your Courses menu in the View all courses link.

You can reset the course content in your sandbox (or any other course — be careful!) at any time.

if you require additional sandbox courses, or some other assistance over the course of the summer, please contact Academic Technology.

Mr. Battis has written 102 articles

Educator. Electronics. Esthetics. Easterner (who thinks he's a Westerner).

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