Understanding your Canvas Catalog Subcatalog admin account

What is a Subcatalog admin?

Subcatalog admins have access to, and can make changes to, only the subcatalog in which they are added as an admin. Though your admin access may be limited to a specific Catalog or subcatalogs, your admin functionality is the same as given to full Catalog admins. For each Catalog, no more than two subcatalog admins are recommended. Canvas has additional documentation on how to use Catalog as a subcatalog admin.
Subcatalog admins are expected to:

  • Create and maintain course listings
  • Add instructors to courses in Canvas via the Course Request System (CRS)
  • Manage the Catalog entries and settings for the courses
  • Help instructors and students access their Catalog sites
  • Can choose to set up branding and certificates.

Catalog URL

The required format for Catalog domain URLs is: umsystem-<unique_name>.catalog.instructure.com

Do not make any changes to the prescribed domain name format. When a course listing is live, any changes made to this domain URL will break existing links that your users might have already bookmarked/saved. 


The subcatalog admin can make and customize their own branding for their Catalog site (See Fig. 1). Other customizations include personalizing the emails that go out to the users.

Custom CSS and JS options in Catalog
Figure 1: Customization options in Catalog

Course listings

Canvas course sites first must be created in Canvas via the CRS. Once the course sites are created and ready to be added to Catalog, the subcatalog admin can add that course as a listing by logging in to the Catalog site and accessing the Admin panel. From there, the admin can access the Listings page and select +Course. Search for the name of the course in the search box that appears. Once a course has been selected, it will prompt the admin to set up and save the course listing settings. Canvas has additional documentation on how to add a catalog course listing.

It is not recommended to re-open the same course listing in the future. Instead, a new non-credit course shell should be requested via the CRS.  Then the content can be copied from the previous course listing. Next, add the new course to the Catalog instance as a new listing. We do not recommend the same course shell receiving current and future users since it will make the People list long and it could contribute to the course loading slowly.

Enrollment Date and Time

Within the course listing details, an admin can toggle the Open for Enrollment setting when the course listing is ready to accept users. Enrollment stays open indefinitely until you toggle this setting off. If you prefer to only open enrollment on a specific date and time duration, please utilize the Timeframe settings underneath the enrollment toggle to limit enrollment to a specific date and time frame.

What is the Days to Complete setting in a course listing?

The Days to Complete setting in the course listing details page allows you to set the number of days that the course will be available to the student. The countdown begins for a student the day a student enrolls in the course. If left blank, the course will remain open unless course dates or section dates are applied.

When Days to Complete is set, each student then gets added to their own catalog-generated section in the course, with the section start date as their enrollment date, and the section end date as the last day eligible in the Days to Complete setting.

If Days to Complete is set and the course has course dates or section dates already applied, the Days to Complete setting overrides the course dates and section dates.

Listing visibility

There are three options that will allow the subcatalog admin to share their Catalog course listings:

  • Hide Listing - This option does not allow any users to see this course listing.
  • Show Listing - This option allows any user to see this course listing on the main Catalog page or the course listing direct URL.
  • Link Only - This option hides the course listing from the main Catalog page, but it will be visible to users if they have the direct URL for this course listing.

Adding students to a Catalog course listing

It is recommended that users register to course listings via your Catalog course listing page by selecting the Enroll button on the page.

Adding students directly to the Canvas course via the People tool is highly discouraged, as Catalog will not be able to track that student’s progress. Catalog Analytics will not be able to track them. Certificates are only accessible via Catalog and cannot be awarded if Catalog cannot track the student.

Enable certificate

If a Certificate needs to be enabled for the course, the course has to have module requirements set up before the course opens so Catalog can track student progress. When setting module requirements, we suggest putting at least one module requirement to trigger the certificate. You can also consider putting a module requirement on the first module to start tracking the progress, and at least one other module requirement that uses either of the below options.

  • Submit the assignment: Students must submit an assignment, post a reply to a graded discussion, or submit a quiz.
    Canvas does not allow you to manually enter a grade to fulfill this requirement; a submission must be made by the student.
  • Score at least: Students must meet a minimum submission score.
    With this option, an additional field appears where you can enter the minimum score that students must earn. This option is available for all graded assignment types.

Setting the module requirements after the course opens and when students already start taking the course becomes problematic. It is highly suggested to do some testing on the certificate feature of Catalog for your course before releasing the certificate.

If you need testing and troubleshooting assistance with your Catalog course listing, reach out to the Canvas team.

Catalog Analytics

Subcatalog admins have access to Catalog Analytics. Analytics reports in Catalog show student name, the listing they enrolled in, enroll date, completion date, and their current status. There is no demographic data. We suggest gathering this information with a survey in Canvas.

There is a known issue with Catalog Analytics not reporting completion correctly. If that happens Canvas engineers will have to do a resync. This is not an immediate fix and it involves the support and engineering team from Canvas to discuss this solution in their internal meetings. If the subcatalog admin sees that the Analytics is not reporting their enrollments and completion correctly, please reach out to the Canvas team.

We recommend that the instructor of the Catalog course keep track of their students' completion with the course gradebook and only use Analytics as a secondary reporting tool.

Admin assistance

If you encounter issues with Catalog, please contact the Academic Technologies team. Please provide the name or the domain URL of your subcatalog in your message.

Modified on: Tue, Mar 28, 2023 at 10:20 AM

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