Commencement of Instructional Activity


UCSC is required to confirm each student's instructional activity to comply with federal reporting requirements. We use data from Canvas and MyUCSC to verify as many students as possible, reducing the burden on faculty. However, some students do not have enough information in Canvas or MyUCSC to confirm whether they are engaged with your course(s).

Our implementation, a collaboration between Undergraduate Education, Academic Affairs, Information Technology Services (ITS), Graduate Studies, and the Academic Senate, is focused on reducing the reporting burden for faculty.

  1. Faculty can drop students for non-attendance directly from the MyUCSC class roster from the first day of instruction through the eighth day of instruction during fall, winter and spring and until the session drop deadline in the summer.
  2. Canvas course shells include a Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment in the Course Introduction module. This assignment is provided as a convenience to support our required confirmation of students who have begun instructional activity. Instructors can modify or remove the single-question assignment as desired.
  3. The Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment asks students to respond “Yes” or “No” to the statement “I have read and agreed to the terms of the Syllabus“.
  4. In some cases, where Canvas or other activity is not seen, instructors will be asked to review the MyUCSC Instructional Activity Roster and to confirm whether or not specific students have commenced engagement with the course.

Faculty who use UCSC’s Canvas in the first three weeks of the fall, winter or spring quarters or within the first week of a summer session quarter do not need to do anything new. The campus will use student participation in your Canvas course to confirm student engagement, reducing the need to individually report student participation. Instructors  may modify the Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment in any way. For example, some courses already have start-of-quarter Canvas activities such as self-assessment, acknowledgement of academic integrity standards, approved entry quizzes, introductory discussion posts, and similar activities. Student activity in any of these ways will be automatically captured in the Student Activity Roster.

For faculty who do not actively use UCSC’s Canvas for their course, we are loading a simple assignment into the UCSC course shell that is created for their course.  In completing the assignment, students attest they have read the syllabus and agree to the terms of the syllabus.

  • The Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment is provided in every course shell. To use the assignment to verify student engagement with your course, publish the course in Canvas, and inform students they need to complete the Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment (step-by-step instructions in a 1-minute video). You may also let students know that Canvas will not otherwise be actively used in the course.
  • You do not need to publish your syllabus to Canvas. Syllabi can be provided by other means, after which students can complete the Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment in Canvas.
  • Instructors who decide not to use the Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment will be able to affirm students who have engaged with their course in the new Commencement of Instructional Activity Roster in MyUCSC.
  • If, at your request, students complete the Syllabus Acknowledgement assignment in Canvas, you will not need to separately affirm their engagement in the course in MyUCSC.

Implementation of this mandatory reporting requirement is a continuing collaboration among Undergraduate Education, Academic Affairs, Graduate Studies, Information Technology Services, and the Academic Senate.

As at other campuses, the UC Santa Cruz approach may change in the future to meet operational or regulatory requirements. Our twin goals will continue to be to (a) effectively implement this requirement to ensure continued financial support for our students, and (b) mitigate to the extent possible the administrative burden that this may place on instructional staff.

Comments and suggestions regarding Commencement of Instructional Activity and its implementation are encouraged, and can be sent to Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education and Global Engagement Richard Hughey (, University Registrar Tchad Sanger (, or both.