What is the difference between due dates and availability dates?

In addition to setting a due date for an assignment, instructors can specify a specific date range that students can submit the assignment. These dates are called availability dates. These dates are optional and can be set depending how you want to manage the assignment.

In Quizzes, Due dates and availability dates may affect student submissions. For more details, view the Quiz availability dates lesson.

Note: Beneath the Due Date and Availability date fields, Canvas will display the time zone date and time according to context. If you manage courses in a time zone other than your local time zone and create or edit a due date for an assignment, the course and local times will be displayed for reference.

View Due Date

The due date is the date and time when the assignment is due. You can also set a specific time as part of the date; if no time is set, the date defaults to 11:59 pm for the course time zone.

Student assignments submitted after the due date will be marked as late in the Gradebook.  

Due Dates are not required in Canvas, but they are helpful in managing course workflow and deadlines.

View Availability Dates

If you want to create a date range for students to view and submit an assignment, you can set availability dates. Availability dates can also be called lockout dates.

  1. Available From: the date and time when the Assignments will become available to students. If no time is set, this date defaults to 12:00 am for the course time zone.
  2. Until: the date and time when students can no longer access the assignment. If no time is set, this date defaults to 11:59 pm for the course time zone.

When the assignment is published, blank availability date fields allow the assignment to be viewed throughout the entire course. 

View Assignment Details

After you save the assignment, you can view the details for the assignment. If there is an assignment due date, the date displays under the Due heading [1]. If there are availability dates, they display under the Available from and Until headings [2].

You can also view details for all assignments on the Assignments Index Page.

View Correct Answers in Quizzes

In Quizzes, the Until date does not restrict student access to view the result of their quiz. For instance, you may not want students to view the results of their quiz after the Until date. To make this change, you need to edit the quiz options and restrict the quiz results.

Working with Due and Availability Dates

Due Dates and Availability Dates can be used together, depending on how you want to manage the assignment. Here are some common scenarios you can create with dates. All examples include a Due Date, though they are not required for assignments.  

Create Open Assignment

If you want to keep an assignment open throughout the entire course, do not set any availability dates. When no availability dates are set, the assignment can be viewed by all users until the course ends.

For example, if you want students to be able to view and submit the assignment at any time but reward those who submit by the due date, only set the Due Date.  

Canvas views and scores the assignment as follows:

  • Canvas opens the assignment to all student submissions on the first day of the course (according to term date and course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is marked on time if submitted by September 19 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is marked late if submitted on or after September 20 at 12 am (according to course time zone)
  • Canvas closes the assignment to all student submissions on the last day of the course (according to term date and course time zone)

Limit Submission Start Date

If you want to keep students from submitting an assignment until a specific date, set an Available From date.

For example, if you set an assignment as due on September 19 at 11:59 pm, but you do not want students to submit the assignment until September 9 at 12 am, set the Available From date as September 9 at 12 am.

Canvas views and scores the assignment as follows:

  • Canvas opens the assignment to all student submissions on September 9 at 12:00 am (according to course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is on time if submitted by September 19 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is marked late if submitted on or after September 20 at 12 am (according to course time zone)
  • Canvas closes the assignment to all student submissions on the last day of the course (according to term date and course time zone)

Limit Submission End Date

If you want to allow students to submit an assignment until a specific date, set an Until date. The date you set depends on whether you want to accept late submissions.

No late submissions—Some instructors do not allow any late submissions by setting the Until Date as the Due Date. For example, If you want to allow students to view the assignment at any time with a due date of September 19 at 11:59 pm, but you do not want to accept any late submissions, also set the Until Date as September 19 at 11:59 pm.  

Canvas views and scores the assignment as follows:

  • Canvas opens the assignment to all student submissions on the first day of the course (according to term date and course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is on time if submitted by September 19 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • Canvas closes the assignment to all student submissions on September 19 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)

Allow late submissions—Some instructors allow late submissions within a specific period of time after the due date. For example, if you want to allow students to submit a late assignment up to three days after the due date, set the Until Date as September 22 at 11:59 pm.

Canvas views and scores the assignment as follows:

  • Canvas opens the assignment to all student submissions on the first day of the course (according to term date and course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is on time if submitted by September 19 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is marked late if submitted between September 20 at 12 am and September 22 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • Canvas closes the assignment to all student submissions on September 22 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)

Note: In Quizzes, the Due Date and Until Date affect student submissions. If a student starts the quiz but does not finish by the due date, Canvas will automatically submit the quiz on the due date. However, if you allow late submissions, students who have not yet taken the quiz can do so before the Until date. For more details, view the Quiz availability dates lesson.

Limit Submission Date Range

If you want to allow students to submit an assignment only in a specific date range, set both availability dates for the assignment.

For example, if an assignment is due September 19 at 11:59 pm, but you only want students to be able to submit the assignment between September 9 and September 22, and you want to allow late assignments for 3 days, set the Available From date as September 9 at 12 am, and the Until date as September 22 at 11:59 pm.

Canvas views and scores the assignment as follows:

  • Canvas opens the assignment to all student submissions on September 9 at 12 am (according to course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is on time if submitted by September 19 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • In the Gradebook, the assignment is marked late if submitted between September 20 at 12 am and September 22 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)
  • Canvas closes the assignment to all student submissions on September 22 at 11:59 pm (according to course time zone)

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