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Canvas@Illinois , Sections, SIS/Registrar-Affiliated, Base/Default

This article provides an overview of the different section types, both SIS/registrar-affiliated and manually-created sections, within Canvas@Illinois.


In Canvas, all users must be enrolled in a section—including students, instructors, teaching assistants, and other staff. When requesting a registrar-affiliated space, your course will have at least 2 sections: a “base” section for the instructor and the registrar-affiliated section(s) for students. The instructor’s base/default section allows the instructor to interact with any section that’s eventually added to the course site.

You can view section enrollments in your course on the People page (in the Section column) or the Sections tab within Settings. Understanding the differences between these sections is especially important if you have more than one section/roster in your course.

Base/Default Section

By default, the instructor will be enrolled in the base section when the course is requested. This base section will be the title of your course site and will begin with the semester and rubric. In the screenshot below, this section is named “Fall 2021-CHLH 101-Introduction to Public Health-Section AL1”.

Canvas People page highlighting the base/default section beginning with

You may notice that the names of the sections are similar. To reduce confusion, you may want to change the name of the base section to something like “Instructional Team,” “Manual Users,” or something more meaningful to indicate that the section does not include all students in your registrar-affiliated class. To edit the name of this section, see the How Do I Change the Name of a Course Section (Instructor Guide)

SIS/Registrar-Affiliated Sections

In a registrar-affiliated course site, students will automatically be added to their registrar-affiliated, CRN section—which may be referred to as a SIS (Student Information System) section. The name of these sections will begin with your course rubric and will also contain the CRN. The name of this section cannot be modified, and you cannot remove users from this section. In the screenshot below, the first two users are students that are enrolled in the SIS-generated section called “CHLH 101 AL1 Fall 2021 CRN33648”.

Canvas People page with highlighted registrar-affiliated sections that include the CRN

How Can I Use Sections in My Course?

You can use sections in a couple of ways depending on your course needs. Some options are detailed below:

Keywordscanvas, section, sis, registrar-affiliated, registrar, affiliated, base, default, manual   Doc ID114333
OwnerCanvas C.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2021-10-15 13:32:45Updated2023-08-16 11:11:13
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
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