MSU Denver

Having an unpublished location to test out various tools and settings without fear of altering or deleting content in a live course is beneficial. This location is known as a Sandbox and is a “playground” for content creation. Sandboxes can also serve as a backup location for your live course. Everything you can do in your course shell, you can do in the Sandbox, making it an ideal location to practice and test the functionality of a variety of tools and settings.  

When moving from semester to semester or thinking about making significant changes to an existing course element, your Sandbox shell gives you a place to import content so you can clean up your course before importing the Sandbox into your real shell (the one with students in it or the next-semester course shell if you are working ahead). 

Interested to see what certain third-party applications will do? Do you want to know how the content will look when importing? Do you want a backup location for your course content? Your Sandbox shells are a great playground for experimenting and creating backup information without editing your live course. 

Best practices 

When should I use this? 

  • Sandboxes are best utilized for creating or making edits to a course before importing into your production/real course’s shell.  
  • Sandboxes should also be used when you are experimenting with various tools and third-party applications, without impacting your live course. 
  • Incomplete grades? View our tutorial on Using a Sandbox to Finalize Incomplete Grade 

How do I get Sandbox shells? 

  • You will be automatically enrolled in five Sandboxes within Canvas. 
  • If you would like to request additional Sandbox shells, you can do so through the Canvas Additional Sandbox Courses request form from Information Technology Services. 

When should I not use this? 

  • Certain items such as groups, wikis, blogs and journals will not get pulled over during importing. These items should be added to your live course instead of the Sandbox to avoid reentering the content. For more information on importing content, please refer to our Course Copy Guide and Post Copy Guide. 


Let’s walk through it together 


For complete written step-by-step instructions, visit the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design Ready Spotlight tutorial page. 


Have questions? 

Want help on this or other teaching and learning topics? Please visit us for drop-in support (10 a.m.-3 p.m., M-F) or try one of our self-help tutorials.