Understanding Canvas Roles and Permissions

Canvas Roles and Permissions in a Nutshell

Everyone’s Canvas account has a role (or roles, in some cases) assigned to it. These roles determine what you can see, do, and edit in Canvas. Student and Teacher are the most obvious and commonly used roles, but there are other roles as well. For a detailed summary of what these roles can and cannot do, please see this detailed summary of what these roles can and cannot do (opens in Google Sheets). 

Most Common Roles

  • Teacher
    • For the instructor[s] of record for a course.
    • The Instructor role can add Teaching Assistants to their course.
      • Please do not add students this way! If there are issues with student enrollments, please contact the Registrar and/or ITG.
    • While the Teacher role allows you to make many types of changes to the course, please contact ITG in the following situations:
      • You have a student who has an official incomplete from the Registrar.
      • You would like to grant someone else permission to view the course. Due to FERPA and intellectual property considerations, special considerations apply.
  • Student
    • For students enrolled in a course. Enrollment information syncs from Banner.
  • Teaching Assistant (TA):
    • Teaching Assistants are not automatically assigned to classes. Teaching Assistants can be added by the course Instructor[s] and/or by contacting ITG.
    • TAs can view and edit grades
  • Designer
    • For ITG Instructional Designers.

Additional Roles

  • Advisor
    • This is a special role for courses manually created by ITG (i.e. not in Banner). These are typically training and orientation courses. This role has the permissions of a Teacher, but can also add students manually, which is necessary in a course that does not pull information from Banner.
  • Disability Services
    • For Disability Services staff members to view and advise on a course.
  • External Participant
    • External Participant is for a community organization that needs to see student work but not grade it.
    • This is not a commonly used role. FERPA and intellectual property rights must be taken into account when this role is assigned. Please contact ITG if you want to add someone to a class in this capacity.
  • Faculty Reviewer
    • For faculty reviewing another faculty member’s course for promotion and/or tenure.
  • Iwasaki Librarian
    • For Iwasaki Librarians who need access to a Canvas course so that they can assist with library resources.
  • Observer
    • A role that allows the user to view a class but not participate in it.
    • This is not a commonly used role. FERPA and intellectual property rights must be taken into account when this role is assigned. Please contact ITG if you want to add someone to a class in this capacity. 
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