Canvas Tools

Everything You Need to Know About Sandboxes

Last updated on June 28, 2022

A Sandbox is a private, unpublished Canvas course. It is called a “Sandbox” because it is a place for instructors to “play around” by building new things. Instructors can create content and test out settings in a Sandbox course without worrying about accidentally deleting or altering content in their live course.

What Can I Do with a Sandbox?

A Sandbox has all of the capabilities of a regular course shell; it just doesn’t have any students enrolled in it. Sandboxes can be used for creating course content such as modules, pages, assignments, discussions, and quizzes. A Sandbox is a great place to experiment with different settings, such as notification settings and module prerequisites and requirements, as well as advanced features, such as third-party app integrations. Also, if you are importing content from another platform (such as Blackboard) into Canvas, we highly recommend that you import the content into a Sandbox to clean it up before moving it into your published course.

All of the self-help tutorials on our Ready site apply to Sandboxes as well. The pages below will be especially helpful when building course content:

Can I Move Content from My Sandbox to My Published Course?

Yes! Many instructors choose to build their course in a Sandbox then copy the content into their published course shell when it is ready. One benefit of this method is that the Sandbox can then serve as a backup course with copies of all content. Please refer to the Copy a Canvas Course into the New Semester guide for more information.

How Can I Get a Sandbox?

All MSU Denver instructors are automatically enrolled in five Sandbox courses. If your Sandboxes are not listed on your Canvas Dashboard:

  1. Click Courses in the global navigation menu on the left side of the screen.
  2. Select All Courses.
  3. Locate your Sandbox Courses. They are called “Sandbox Course [#] – [Your Name].”
  4. If you would like to add Sandbox courses to your dashboard, please refer to the “Edit Your Course Dashboard tutorial.”