FAQ: Inactive Students on the People Page

When viewing the People page in an academic course in Canvas, instructors often come across students listed as "inactive" on the People page. This designation refers to students who were initially enrolled in the course but have since dropped it. Similarly, individuals with other roles, such as Teachers, might appear inactive when they've been added to the course and later removed. This guide aims to address common queries about these inactive enrollments and provides practical insights to manage them effectively.

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What does "inactive" mean?

When an enrollment is labeled as "inactive," it signifies that the individual was once part of the course but is no longer enrolled in the course. In the case of students, this indicates that they initially enrolled in the course but later withdrew or dropped it. For others, like Teachers or participants in different roles, being marked as inactive indicates that they were added to the course but have been removed since.

How do I know if an enrollment is inactive?

Inactive enrollments have a tag of "inactive" next to their name on the People page.

inactive student badge highlighted

Can these inactive people access my course?

No, inactive enrollments, although listed on the People page, do not retain access to the course. They cannot access course materials, receive announcements, or engage in communication within the course. This inactive status ensures that their presence does not impact ongoing interactions or course dynamics.

Do inactive students appear in the gradebook?

In the Gradebook, instructors have the option to view inactive enrollments, although this feature is disabled by default. This can be particularly useful when you need to assess historical performance or review the impact of dropped students on grading trends.

To view inactive students in the gradebook, hover over the Student Name column header and click the Options icon (  ). From the menu, select the Inactive enrollments option.

Student name dropdown. Show inactive enrollments is highlighted.

My course has student groups with inactive students. What happened?

In group settings, new student groups won't include inactive enrollments. When an instructor creates a group set and assigns students, Canvas only pulls from the active students in the course. Any students who drop the course after groups have been created will still retain their group memberships. However, these students will remain inactive and unable to access group content or interactions.

Instructors can remove inactive students from groups manually. This ensures that the composition of active students within groups remains accurate and aligned with course participation.

How do I remove inactive enrollments from the People page?

Unfortunately, there isn't a way to remove or hide these enrollments on the people page. However, the New Analytics tool may offer a better alternative to the People page, allowing you to see student emails, participation indicators, and more. New Analytics does not show students who dropped the class.

New Analytics is a feature within Canvas that allows instructors to gather data and visualize student engagement, assignment submissions, and course outcomes. To learn more about how New Analytics works and how it can benefit your teaching and assessment strategies, you can explore the Canvas Basics Guide on New Analytics.

average course grade panel

Why don't dropped students get removed from the course?

Dropped students' enrollments are intentionally retained to uphold accurate record-keeping and the integrity of course data. When a student initially enrolls, their interactions, grades, submissions, and communication are all logged. Removing students entirely upon dropping could compromise data consistency and historical insights.

By preserving dropped enrollments, instructors can reference past data, analyze course dynamics, and offer re-enrolling students a smoother experience. While inactive students can't access course materials, their presence aids in maintaining precise records. To address concerns about inactive enrollments' visibility, consider utilizing tools like New Analytics, which provides participation insights while excluding those who've dropped.


Understanding inactive enrollments in your Canvas course can help you manage your course roster effectively and utilize tools like the People page and New Analytics to make informed decisions. Retaining dropped students' enrollments contributes to maintaining accurate historical data and supporting improved course dynamics. By exploring resources like New Analytics, you can gain deeper insights into student participation while excluding those who are no longer active in the course.

If you have further questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to the Technology & Learning Program (TLP) or Learning Technology Services (LTS) for personalized guidance.

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Article ID: 113467
Thu 2/2/23 1:54 PM
Fri 2/2/24 11:40 AM