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Canvas: using sections to manage large classes

Posted at 11:52 a.m. Aug. 5, 2020, by in Canvas, Getting Started, Teaching Online

About sections

This page explains how to set up Sections in your Canvas course site. Sections will allow you to assign a TA to their students for grading and communications and will allow instructors to:

Sections in Rutgers Canvas sites may be implemented according to two different models, based on the Registrar’s roster structure for the course:

  1. If your course has multiple section numbers on the Schedule of Classes (:01, :02, :90, etc), those can become sections in one Canvas site via Canvas cross listing; contact IDT for assistance (IDT: 856-225-6090 or
  2. If your course is one large section, you can manually create sections in your Canvas site to allow TAs or Course Assistants to grade assignments. See instructions below.

Note that sections are not built for group work, but for managing large classes. If your students will be collaborating on group-based projects, Canvas Groups may be a better tool. Groups will provide a mini Canvas site for each student group: for discussions, conferences, and shared documents (note that professor can always view group site activity). See more info on groups.

Set up sections

click to enlarge “create sections”

  1. Create sections
    1. From your course menu in Canvas, choose Settings
    2. Click the Sections tab along the top
    3. On the Canvas Sections page, under Add a New Section, enter the name of the new section
    4. Click the +Section button to complete
  2. Add students to sections [Note: this can be a tedious process; contact IDT to see if we can offer assistance (IDT: 856-225-6090 or]
    1. From your course menu in Canvas, choose People
    2. To the far right of the student’s name, click on the action menu (3 vertical dots icon) and select Edit Sections

      click to enlarge “assign to section”

    3. In the Section Enrollments dialogue box, Click “Browse” and select the section you want the student to belong to
    4. Click Update
    5. Note: You can remove a student from a section by clicking on the “X” icon
  3. Add TAs or Course Assistants, if they are not yet in the course site
    1. You will need the person’s Rutgers NetID [to find a person’s NetID, you can ask them—or if you’re stuck, ask us (IDT: 856-225-6090 or]
    2. From your course menu in Canvas, choose People
    3. Click on the +People button from the right-hand menu
    4. From Add user by, select “Login ID”
    5. Enter the NetID in the text box provided
    6. Change the role to TA (learn more about different roles and their permissions here)
    7. Select this TAs section by clicking on the Section dropdown menu
    8. Click the box “can interact with users in their section only”
    9. Click Next
    10. Confirm details, then click Add users
    11. If you receive the message ‘We were unable to find matches below’ when you attempt to add a user, please contact IDT ( to confirm the correct NetID and that the person has a Canvas account.

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