Courses in Canvas are sorted and managed by terms which are specified durations of times/dates; as a result Canvas is designed to conclude courses following the end of the academic term. When a course is concluded, it will become read-only, thus content on the course site cannot be edited or contributed to unless it is unconcluded. Concluding a course once a term has ended offers several benefits such as reducing any clutter within the Courses menu tab accessed within the Global Navigation (dark blue menu bar) in Canvas for students, admins, and faculty!
In addition, course conclusion safeguards the site from any potentially unwarranted changes to site content by either the teaching team or students. For instance, if a site is not concluded and assignments are left open (no defined available to dates), then students could potentially continue to submit to assignments, or post to discussion threads. Faculty and TFs, could also continue to make edits to the site or student grades beyond the defined term conclusion dates.
One important thing to note when concluding courses that is not explicitly visible upon conclusion, is that not only is the site itself concluded, but the enrollments within the course are also concluded--what does this mean? When a site is concluded, naturally the enrollments within the course are also automatically concluded to ensure that the site is read-only, and to ensure that the user accounts cannot be edited (removed/added) to the course site.
Per the Academic Technology team at HUIT, as of (12/17) they've released a new tool that will allow School Liaisons (local Canvas Teams) and the Registrar, increased granularity when defining dates for user enrollment conclusion via term dates, course dates, and individual dates. As a result, this is tool that will offer a much more enriching and intuitive experience for liaisons and the registrar alike in managing course conclusion. In addition, with this tool in mind, determining a more flexible and apt policy for course conclusion will be possible due to the granularity offered.
More information regarding the tool and course conclusion: https://wiki.harvard.edu/confluence/display/pr/Course+Conclusion
Old Policy: It is the policy of HGSE Information Technology to conclude all courses following the end of the academic term. Courses may, on an individual bases, conclude at different times per faculty request. Should there be a need for changes to be made to a concluded Canvas site, faculty may request that a specific site be unconcluded for a short time, after which the course will be concluded once more.
New Policy: It is the policy of HGSE Information Technology to conclude all course enrollments following the end of the academic term. Courses will remain active, however their enrollments concluded; this will allow teaching teams and administrators the flexibility to add guest users (visiting scholars, auditors, co-teachers, etc.), edit grades, and change content even after a term has ended. The beginning and end dates/times for an academic term will have to be defined and entered into the conclusion tool for accuracy.
Exceptions can also be made on a course-level or individual-level to adjust the date and time for enrollment conclusion. Please contact the Registrar's Office with a request and explanation for the exception, and CC firstname.lastname@example.org