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Make A New “Sandbox” Course

sand·box    /’san(d) bäks/

  1. a shallow box or hollow partly filled with sand to play in.
  2. a virtual space in which new or untested software can be run securely.


Want to play around in Canvas?

Faculty can create their own development courses in Canvas.  These are sometimes referred to as “sandbox” courses, since they are a place to explore, experiment and build new things.

Photo of sandbox

Things to Know

  • Development courses should never have students enrolled in them.  They are for development only.
  • Any and all content created in a development course may be copied into an official course.
  • Any development course you create, you may also delete (see below).

See the following Canvas Guides for complete instructions:

How do I create a new course shell? 

How do I import content from another Canvas course?

How do I permanently delete a course?

What’s It For?

Here are some possible uses for a development course:

  • Prepare content for a brand new course that you have never taught before.
  • Make a copy of a current course so you can begin making changes for the next semester.
  • Import content from a textbook publisher for evaluation.
  • Import and review content from a colleague before bringing it into your own course.
  • Experiment with some Canvas tools (Quizzes, Discussions, etc.) without cluttering an existing course.
  • And more…!


The option to Create A New Course is found on the Dashboard.


So go make a sandbox, and play in Canvas!

NOTE: New development courses may not automatically appear on your Dashboard or in the Courses list, and can be accessed from Courses > All Courses in the sidebar menu. 

See the Canvas Guide:

Customize Your Course List


3 thoughts on “Make A New “Sandbox” Course”

  1. Hey, I do not want to make a sandbox but would rather have the two summer classes I am teaching summer 21 up so I can start to work on them early. Is this possible PLEASE?


    • Hi Anthony,

      Official course shells are created and made available automatically two weeks before the start of an academic term. This avoids problems created by last-minute scheduling changes, and other adjustments made before the beginning of a term.

      Faculty have two full weeks to import a prior course and update it for the new term.

      If you require more time to prepare, the recommended process is to:
      – create a new development course (“sandbox”)
      – import the prior course and make changes
      – import the development course into the new course when it has been generated automatically

      Details on this process, and links to support documents, can be found here:
      New Semester Import Course Content (Method A)


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