Canvas courses start in an unpublished state.
In order to publish your course, you must first set a course home page.
To publish your course, click the Publish button on your course homepage. Be sure that you also publish your assignments, pages, and other instructional materials.
There are three publishing states for Canvas:
Unpublished - The course is inactive and students will not be able to view it.
Published - Publish your course and course materials when ready. Students will be able to view.
Concluded - We do not recommend that you conclude your course. Concluding a course archives the course material and creates a "read-only" state for both instructors and students. This means, as the instructor, you would not be able to modify grades.
Setting course term dates allows you to limit student access to the course while retaining your ability to modify grades and send messages.
When published, course activity is dictated by the dates and status of course assignments and modules. Individual assignments, modules, or other course content can be individually locked (made unavailable to students) or assigned a date in the future, prior to which students will not be able to see or participate in said course component.