How do I Cross-List (Combine) Multiple Canvas Course Sections?

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Quick Links: | What is a Cross-Listed Course? | Who Can Cross-List Courses? | Cross-Listing Sections Into One Course Shell | Cross-Listing Sections With Different Instructors | Canvas' Cross-Listing Instructions |

Cross-listing courses in Canvas is a useful feature that allows instructors to combine multiple course sections into a single "parent" course. In Blackboard, this process was known as a "Common Learning Environment" and was handled by departments. In Canvas, cross-listing is performed by the instructor. In this article, we will discuss what a cross-listed course is, who can cross-list courses, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to cross-list courses in Canvas.

What is a Cross-Listed Course?

Cross-listing involves putting two or more courses or course sections together to teach from a single "parent" course. This can be useful for several reasons, such as saving time and effort for instructors, allowing for a unified learning experience for students, and providing easier management of course content. Cross-listing is commonly used when:

  • One instructor teaches multiple sections of the same course and wants to save time and effort by combining all the students into one-course shell.
  • Two courses with different course IDs will be taught using the same content.
  • Lecture/lab combo courses may not be a good fit for cross-listing. Instead, consider NOT publishing the lab.

Who Can Cross-List Courses?

Instructors are responsible for performing the cross-listing steps unless the combined courses are taught by different instructors. When cross-listing courses, it is important to note:

  • The "parent" section is the section you want visible. Usually, this is the section that you have already built content in.
  • The "child" section is the section(s) you do NOT want visible.
  • Start the cross-list steps from the Child section.
  • Start the cross list steps BEFORE the courses are published. Otherwise, you can lose data. 
  • Coursework is retained with the course, not with the section enrollments, so if a published course is cross-listed, all cross-listed enrollments will lose any associated assignment submissions and grades.

How do I Cross-List Multiple Sections Into One Course Shell?

Here is a video tutorial that shows someone cross-listing their course.

Use the following steps to perform the cross-listing process. Note: you must be enrolled in both sections as a Teacher. If you want to to cross-list your course section with a section taught by another instructor, check the instructions in the next section to get started.

  1. Open the course shell that will be child section. From Global Navigation, select Courses [1], then select the child course [2]. In this example, DEMO-101-01 will be the parent course and DEMO-101-02 will be the child course.

    Be Careful: The course you choose as the child section will be hidden from view. All content in the child course will be lost. DO NOT select the course shell you want to teach from.

     navigate to child section
  2. From the child course shell, select Settings [1] and navigate to the Sections tab [2]. Finally, select the section you want to cross-list [3].
     From the course settings, select sections, and open the child section.
  3. From the section settings screen, select Cross-List this Section.
     cross list this section button is highlighted
  4. In the Search for Course field [1], type the name of the parent course section. Confirm the parent course details in the Selected Course field [2] and select Cross-List This Section [3]. Important: make sure the parent course shell is from the same term as the child.

    Tip: Got a lot of courses? Start by typing the term code into the search box. For example, to only see course in Spring 2024 search "2242-".

    select parent course
  5. The cross-listed section now appears in the new course. The breadcrumbs show the new course code.
    verify that parent course is dominant to child course

Note: If you find that you've cross-listed a section in error, please reach out to the Learning Technologies team to have your course de-cross-listed. Learning Technologies will need the following information:

  • Section name to de-cross-list
  • Parent course ID; OR
  • Parent course Canvas URL

How Can I Cross-List My Section With Another Instructor's Section?

Cross-listing courses in Canvas can also be useful when multiple instructors want to share a course shell. Here are the steps for two instructors to cross-list their courses:

  1. Nominate one instructor to manage the cross-listing process.
  2. Contact the department and request that instructor be added to the other class(es) as a Secondary Instructor.
  3. The instructor should then perform the cross-listing process by following the same steps as outlined in the previous section.

Canvas' Step-by-Step Instructions for Cross-Listing Courses

Canvas offers a straightforward process for cross-listing courses. You can follow this Canvas step-by-step tutorial for cross-listing Canvas courses.

Note: Chico State does not allow anyone other than admins to Re-Cross List sections.


Article ID: 113436
Mon 12/5/22 2:54 PM
Wed 2/7/24 1:24 PM

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Instructors may find students listed in multiple sections of cross-listed Canvas courses due to the system retaining old enrollments after section switches. Viewing the accurate section via the student's profile or using New Analytics provides the correct roster information.