Unlock your Canvas course

Canvas courses are converted to read-only mode after the term ends (or the course end date passes). It is now possible for instructors to unlock courses to allow course members to interact with the course again (add/edit content, send messages, etc.)

Unlock Course

To unlock a concluded course, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the concluded course (Courses > All Courses > Past Enrollments > select desired course).
  2. Click Settings from the left-hand course navigation. 
  3. On the right side of the page, click Unlock Course.

    Box around first option to Unlock course

  4. The following message will display to let you know that, by default, the course will be unlocked for 7 days. You can adjust the course Participation End date or manually lock the course again once the course is unlocked. Click Submit.


  5. After the page refreshes, verify that the course is unlocked by confirming that the Lock Course link is present and the course has a future Participation End date.

    Setting options including unlock course

Note: Once a course is unlocked, the course may reappear on student Canvas dashboards. Students will be able to interact with the course (e.g., post discussions, submit assignments, etc.) until the course is locked again. 

Modify Course End Date

By default, unlocking a course automatically activates the course for 7 days. However, you can set a shorter or longer duration for the course to be active depending on your needs. To do so, follow the steps below. 

  1. Go to Settings > Course Details
  2. Scroll down to the End date. 
  3. Using the calendar picker, choose the desired end date.
    calendar picker with July 26, 2023 date chosen
  4. Scroll down and click Update Course Details

Lock Course

If you no longer want the course to be active, follow the steps below to lock the course. You can always unlock the course again. There is no limit to how many times you can lock and unlock a course.

  1. Go to Settings > Course Details
  2. Click Lock Course.

    Course settings with Lock Course option circled

  3. Once the page refreshes, verify that the course has been locked by confirming two things:
    • The Unlock Course link is present.
      Course settings with Unlock Course circled

    • The End date will display the current date and time.
      arrow pointing to end date


If clicking Unlock Course > Submit or Lock Course does not yield the expected result, clear your browser’s cache or try a different browser. You can clear the cache for the two recommended browsers, Chrome and Firefox. If you have any questions, contact canvashelp@stanford.edu.