UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Support Document

Canvas / Data and Account Retention


Term-based courses created in UNF’s Canvas LMS are retained for five years after the end of the term in which the course section was offered. Once the retention period passes, the term-based course is deleted during the next intersession, including all content and records of student activity. For example, a course offered in Fall 2016 will be deleted at the end of the Spring 2022 term.

Conditions for User Account Deletion

Effective December 2021, a user’s account and data will be deleted from Canvas if both of the following conditions are met:

  • User is no longer associated with any term-based courses in Canvas
  • User is no longer an active faculty, student, or staff

Starting with the Fall 2021 term, all users’ LMS data will be retained in Canvas courses until the end of the 5-year course retention period, even after those users are no longer active faculty, student, or staff and no longer have access to Canvas. This change provides instructors and academic departments with access to records of instructional activity for the full 5-year retention period for all semesters from Fall 2021 forward.

Preserving Course Content

The recommended approach to preserving content from a course slated for deletion is to export the content from the term-based course and import it into a sandbox.

Canvas sandbox courses are course shells that are not tied to a specific term and have no students enrolled. Each instructor is provided three sandboxes that can be used to draft new or house existing course content, and content can easily be exported from a sandbox if it is needed for a live course. CIRT can assist with creating additional sandboxes or with the export/import process.

Additional Considerations

When course content is copied from one course to another, student activity does not transfer. Student activity (such as assignment submissions, quizzes, discussions, peer reviews, etc.) is retained in the course shell where the student was enrolled until the conditions have been met for user account deletion (see above).

Instructors who wish to preserve specific student assignment submissions can download all student submissions for an individual assignment in bulk. Additionally, the course Gradebook can be exported and downloaded as a CSV file. Student activity in the LMS is considered an educational record and should be retained in accordance with the University’s record retention policy. 

Read more about UNF’s policies regarding the LMS on CIRT’s About Canvas page.

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