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CatCourses FAQs


What is CatCourses?

CatCourses is the UCMerced branded name for the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). It is a cloud-hosted service that houses sites for each course in which instructors can interact with students in their classes.

What is Canvas? 

Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS) offered by a third-party vendor, Instructure. It is a popular internationally available LMS that many educational institutions are utilizing. Please check out for more information on Canvas and statistics.  

Who can access CatCourses? 

Anyone with a UCMNetID can log in to CatCourses. However, you will not be able to access course sites within CatCourses unless you are enrolled in them, whether that be as a Student, Teacher, TA, Course Designer, or Observer.

Course Management

When will course sites be available in CatCourses? 

Course sites are created in CatCourses when at least one student is enrolled. Instructors gain access to their course sites when they are added as an Instructor of Record (IOR) in the Registrar’s Banner Student Information System (SIS). Students gain access to course sites either when their instructor publishes the site or automatically one week before classes begin that semester. Any enrollment changes for instructors or students will be reflected in CatCourses within 24 hours of being made.  

Will cross-listed courses be combined in CatCourses? 

Yes, courses that are cross-listed in Banner SIS through the Registrar will be automatically combined in CatCourses. 

How do I connect my sections into a one-course site in CatCourses? 

If you wish to combine courses that are not cross-listed in Banner, you may do so by submitting a request to Instructure support through the Help link in CatCourses, or you can attempt to do it yourself by following this guide: How do I cross-list a course section in an account? 

Will combined courses retain lecture and discussion section information for each student? 

Yes, the section information will be kept on the combined site. You will find these sections listed as options in many tools, such as when selecting sections for sending annoucments to course participants, setting assignment or quiz due dates, or reviewing grades.

Enrollment and Roles

What are roles in CatCourses, and how do they work?

Roles are determined by a course level, so an individual who is a Teacher for one course can also be a TA in another course. Student, Teacher, and TA roles are pulled from enrollment data (Banner SIS) maintained by the Registrar. If you would like to add a Course Designer or Observer to your courses, you can request this by using the Help link in CatCourses.

Ability or Permission Roles
  Teacher TA Student Course Designer Observer
Change Course State (for publishing and unpublishing) X        
Create Course Material (such as assignments, quizzes, and discussions) X X   X  
Grade Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions X X      
Submit Mid-Semester and Final Grades X*        
Participate in the Course (such as take quizzes, submit assignments, and participate in discussions)     X    
View Course Content         X
Message People in a Course X X X X  

*Only an official instructor of record (IOR) can submit midterm and final grades.

Where can I find a list of all the students in a course and their pictures? 

This can be found under the People section in a course. Some instructors find it is easier to view the pictures in the Attendance section.


Can I change the default grading scale for my course? 

One of the following default grading schemes will be applied to your course based upon the assigned grade mode for the course in the Student Information System (Banner). The selected grade mode is identified based upon the approved course request form (CRF). The default grading scales used by CatCourses for each grading scheme are listed below. It is possible to create your own grading scale and adjust the ranges.

Letter Grade

Grade Range
A 90 to 100%
B 80 to <90%
C 70 to <80%
D 60 to <70%
F <60%


Letter Grade +/-

Grade Range
A+ 99 to 100%
A 95 to <99%
A- 90 to <95%
B+ 87 to <90%
B 83 to <87%
B- 80 to <83%
C+ 77 to <80%
C 73 to <77%
C- 70 to <73%
D+ 67 to <70%
D 63 to <67%
D- 60 to <83%
F <60%


Pass/Not Pass

Grade Range
P 75 to 100%
NP <75%



Grade Range
S 75 to 100%
US <75%


How do I enter mid-semester and final grades? 

The Mid/Final Grades tool that appears in each course site can be used by Instructor of Records (IORs) to submit mid-semester and final grades. More information can be found at Mid/Final Grading Tool Overview and FAQ.

External Tools/LTIs

What external apps are available in CatCourses? 

UC Merced supported apps (LTIs) are added to CatCourses after it is determined they meet data security and privacy guidelines. The current list of supported apps is in the table below. Some apps are navigation links and are enabled by following this guide: Enabling Hidden LTI Tools in CatCourses Others are built into External Tools in Assignments, which can be used following this guide: How do I add an assignment using an external app?

App Purpose Additional Information/Support
Cengage Learning MindLinks eTextbook
Course Resources Library digital resources
Kaltura digital video and audio repository
Knewton Alta eTextbook
McGraw-Hill Connect eTextbook
Portfolium ePortfolios
Start Your Research Library information subject guides
Turning Technologies Clickers audience response system
TurnItIn plagarism/intergrity checker
W. W. Norton InQuizitive eTextbook


What if the app/LTI I want to use is not on the supported list? 

Instructors can add external LTIs to their courses by going to Settings and then Apps. An instructor using non-supported apps takes responsibility for ensuring the service complies with FERPA and UC policies regarding data security and privacy. OIT cannot offer assistance with technical troubleshooting or other support for these apps.