Please Read! Canvas Section Merge Change

Fall 2017 onwards

Please reach out to your Program Directors / Program Deans / Program Chairs, if you need to Cross-List/Merge two sections. Your program administrators will be approving the sections to be merged, compiling a list and sending that ITS.

  • Faculty will not be sending any tickets to ITS or to eLearning.
  • Please send an email to your Program Chair/Program Dean
  • ITS will not be taking requests from Individual faculty for a Section Merge.
  • Sections will be merged but the approval and list is generated by each Division.
  • All cross listings requests are completed by the ITS staff.


Dear Colleagues,

If you currently merge courses or sections in Canvas, pleases read this entire message very carefully. If you do not currently merge courses in Canvas, this may not apply to you.

In the last six months there has been discussions at the state level if section merges in Canvas are FERPA compliant.  A recent mandate from the Attorney General of Washington State/Education Division office states that Canvas Sections Merges are not FERPA compliant. Due to that mandate the Office of Instruction has decided to put a hold on the section merge/cross-listing process for all Canvas classes that are not listed as Combined/Cross-listed sections in the Online Course Catalog until further notice for Summer and Fall 2017 classes.

The mandate from the AG’s office is listed below.

Attorney General of Washington State Education Division mandate for Canvas Section Merge

Each college in the state was asked “to discontinue Merging/Combining of Canvas sections until each individual college has reviewed their Course Merge policy.”

The task force which included Interim VPI Dr. Gita Bangera, Dean of Enrollment & Registrar Services RaeEllen Reas, Dean of eLearning & Library Dr. Vivienne Mcclendon, and representation from all the Division Deans have reviewed the merge process and have recommended changes for the course merge process to be in place starting Summer 2017.

New Process:

If you have two or more sections cross-listed or merged: 

  • Your Syllabus for the course will mention that students from multiple sections will be in one Canvas online classroom.
  • You will add an Announcement in your class so students are aware that two sections have been merged.
  • Canvas tools (People, Chat, Collaboration & Conferences) are hidden from student view.
  • Change the course settings for Discussions, Announcements and Groups (Do not allow students to create their own Discussion topics, Do not allow students to create their own student groups, Disable comments on Announcements)
  • Sending messages using the Canvas Inbox – When composing a message, check the box that says “send an individual message to each recipient” to prevent students from sending a “reply all” response or seeing to whom the message was sent.

The eLearning website has posted the FERPA guidelines to be followed for merged sections in Canvas. Instructional Designers will be able to assist you in reviewing if the Canvas settings have been updated. Walk-in hours are listed on the eLearning department website.

Thank you for your patience in this matter and for all that you do for the students of Bellevue College.

Last Updated November 5, 2020