Canvas has very strict controls over what type of actions can happen in a course before a semester starts and after a semester ends (Canvas uses the word Terms for this). At SF State, all courses are set to start on the first day of instruction for a semester and set to end the day after grades are due for the semester.
Instructor access to a course
Instructors can access courses at any time after the courses are created in the system. However, any grading activity must be completed before the term ends as once the term ends, instructors are no longer able to enter or alter any grades. Canvas terms end the day after grades are due on campus for a given semester.
Student access to a course
By default, students cannot interact with course materials before the term begins, even if the course is published. What this means is that anything that is interactive such as assignment submissions, quizzes and discussions can only be viewed before the term begins but cannot be otherwise interacted with until the course start date. Similarly, students cannot interact with activities after the term ends.
A note about incomplete work: During the transition period we are recommending that faculty who have students needing to complete incomplete work manually change the term end date for their specific course to a future date to allow the student to continue submitting assignments and completing other graded work. This process may change as the campus becomes more familiar with the nuances of Canvas in the future.