Guidance for merged course sections in Canvas

Mar 30, 2017 | News

Faculty and staff who wish to create a merged course in Canvas, effective Monday, April 3, will be asked to verify that their reason for merging sections does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

To begin the merge process, click on the “Merge Course Manager” button on the Canvas dashboard. A new window will open that spells out acceptable and unacceptable instances for merging sections:

• If your students will have occasion to see each other in the same classroom or collaborate (physically or online) with each other for educational or pedagogical reasons related to the course during the semester, the sections can be merged in Canvas.

• If you teach several sections of the same course but the students do not interact with each other for educational or pedagogical reasons related to the course in a classroom or online, the sections cannot be merged in Canvas.

Note: The instructor of record for the course must acknowledge understanding and consent to merge sections. Staff (instructional designers) who work with faculty on courses may perform the merge function in Canvas only after confirming with the instructor(s) of record it is for educational or pedagogical reasons. If the reason to merge meets the criteria, click “Yes” in the window; if not, click “Cancel” to exit.

For questions about the Merge Course Manager tool, please email support staff at

For questions about FERPA and online course sites that involve more than one enrollment section, please contact the Office of the University Registrar at 814-863-3681 or Additional information can be found on the FERPA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the University Registrar website (