Canvas Roles & Permissions
It is helpful to understand what roles and permissions are set up to help instructors, staff, and students get the right access in Canvas. Below is an outline of Canvas roles for courses and organizational sites. We also list the various administrative roles that are set up to help staff manage course sites in their academic or organizational areas.
Canvas course roles are a set of specific permissions assigned to an individual within a particular course. Usually these roles cannot see material outside their course. Roles are automatically assigned by the Registrar’s enrollment feed; however, faculty and IT administrators can manually add individuals to a course, as needed.
- Student – This role should be used for students who are enrolled in a course site via the course roster (e.g. enrollment data from AIS). The “student” role has permissions to view course content and engage in course activities, including the ability to submit assignments, participate in discussions, and view the course roster. Students cannot manipulate course settings.
- Manually Added Student – Similar to the “student” role, this should be used for students not listed on the official course roster who need to be manually added to the course. This role should be used by instructors to add students needing immediate access to a course site while they are waiting to be added via the enrollment feed from AIS.
- Auditor – Similar to the “student” role, but this role is used for students auditing the course. Auditors have the same permissions as students, except that they cannot see the full list of course users or send a message to all course users.
- Teacher – This role should be used for instructors assigned to teach a class. “Teachers” have all course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit, and delete all content in a course. They can also edit course settings, and manually add users with CNetIDs, as well as non-UChicago users. “Teachers” are limited from making system-wide changes to Canvas.
- Co-Teacher – This is similar to the “teacher” role. However, this role is used for instructors not listed on the official course roster, but who will be co-teaching a course along with the listed instructor.
- TA – This role is used for teaching assistants assigned to a specific course. “TAs” have the same permissions as the “teacher” role with the exception of adding and removing teachers, TAs, graders, designers, and observers to the course. Also, “TAs” do not have the ability to add LTI integrations to the course.
- Grader – Users with this role have the option of entering grades, editing grades, viewing announcements, viewing discussions, along with viewing and commenting on student submissions. This role is not allowed to add, edit, or delete course content.
- Designer – Users with this role assist with adding, editing, and deleting course content. This role does not have permission to enter or edit grades.
- Observer/Guest – The “observer” role can only view course announcements and discussions. This role is restricted from the majority of permissions. It does not have the privilege of adding, editing, or deleting course content. Also, it can’t enter or edit grades.
Course roles can also be used for organization sites. Roles in Canvas can’t be renamed; however they can be correlated to the needs of your department or organizational unit. For example, the “teacher” role can be correlated to “team lead” and the “student” role can be correlated to “team member.”
For special circumstances in departments or organizational units, custom roles or account-level roles can be assigned. Account level permissions affect the entire organizational account as well as courses. These are usually reserved for IT administrators.
- Leader – Use the “Teacher” role in Canvas to add organizational leaders.
- Assistant – Use the “TA” role in Canvas to add assistants.
- Participant – Use the “Student” role in Canvas to add participants in an organization.
- Organizational Builder – Use the “Designer” role in Canvas to add organizational builders.
- Grader – Use the “Grader” role in Canvas to add graders into an organization.
- Guest – Use the “Observer” role in Canvas to add guests into an organization.
Departmental staff can be assigned to Canvas administrator roles to help manage course material and support faculty. These roles are limited to the department’s sub-account within the University’s Canvas instance. If your department has staff who help manage instructor course sites, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up consultation and training for an administrative account setup.
- Sub-Account Admin – The “Sub-Account Admin” is the top-level administrator within the sub-account. This role should be used for the support of courses for a department or division. Users with this role have the ability to add/remove users from courses i the sub-account; manage all course content for the entire department or division sub-account; view and edit grades for courses in the sub-account; and view usage reports for all courses within the department or division sub-account.
- Sub-Account Designer –The “Sub-Account Designer” role is the second-level administrator. This role should be used for designing courses at the department or division level. Users with this role have the ability to add/remove users from courses and manage all course content for all courses within the department or division sub-account.
- Sub-Account Help Desk – The “Sub-Account Help Desk” role is the third-level administrator. This role should be used for the support of instructors or staff within a department or division sub-account. Users with this role have the ability to manage course content and add/remove users from courses for all courses within the department or division sub-account.
- Sub-Account Masquerading – This role is used for masquerading as a specific user for troubleshooting purposes only. This role can be used in conjunction with all other sub-account roles.