University of Auckland logo

Stay informed

Receive updates on teaching and learning initiatives and events.

  1. Home
  2.  — 
  3. Support
  4.  — 
  5. Learning technologies to support teaching
  6.  — 
  7. Canvas
  8.  — People in your Canvas course: Roles and permissions

People in your Canvas course: Roles and permissions

The Canvas role you have been assigned enables various features and permissions in Canvas.

Roles and permissions

Your assigned Canvas role and its accompanying permissions for different Canvas courses will affect the features and content that are available to you. The People page displays all information about the users in your course and what roles they have been allocated.

Video: How to find a user or a course in your account

Attaining access to Canvas

Course access authorisers

Each area has nominated , who can grant staff access to courses.

Twice a year faculty authorisers will use the Staff Access Upload Tool in their Canvas Management Console to ‘bulk upload’ instructors (teachers, TAs, teaching support staff etc.) to the course shells within their area, including course access coordinators for the various courses. The recommended timeframe for this process is:

  • For the first half of the next academic year (Summer School, Semester One, Quarter One, Quarter Two) the suggested timeframe is November to December.
  • For the second half of the current academic year (Semester Two, Quarter Three, Quarter Four) the suggested timeframe is April to May.

See also: .

 

Course access coordinator

  • Primary use: Course support role.
  • Permissions: Can add and remove users (except students) and view a list of course users.
  • Limitations: Can do nothing more than what is specified above.
  • SET evaluation: Not included in SET evaluation.

Please note: Having the course access coordinator role alone does not allow you to edit/add/delete content in the course. You need to assign yourself an additional role to do this.

 

Request access to a course

Access to Canvas courses is provided via three processes:

  1. Bulk upload process.
  2. Portal form requests.
  3. Faculty admins (primarily course access coordinators) can grant access.

For staff who haven’t been added to a course through the ‘bulk upload’ process, course access coordinators will add these staff members, with the required role. Please submit the portal: . This automatically goes to your designated course access authoriser.

Video: How to add people to a course in your account.

System roles

Staff that require a higher-level access to support faculty processes can request access through the portal: . Approval will be sought from your department Head.

 

Faculty administrator

  • Primary use: Professional staff who manage Canvas course sites on behalf of teachers.
  • Permissions: All account permissions, including the ability to view course statistics, course/grade change logs and notifications. Also has all course-level permissions to create/manage courses, course content, learning outcomes, course events, assignments, view/edit grades and view usage reports.

Video: How to run reports in your account.

Monitor

  • Primary use: Staff in academic services and student support roles.
  • Permissions: Can monitor course content and student progress across a number of courses. Has most account permissions, including the ability to view course statistics, course/grade change logs and notifications. Can view the list of users, course content, discussions and course analytics, question banks and send messages to entire classes/individual users.
  • Limitations: Cannot access the Gradebook and does not have permission to create/manage course content, assignments, events, view/edit grades or to add/manage teachers, TAs or course designers. Cannot manage observers.

Reviewer

  • Primary use: Staff in academic services and student support roles.
  • Permissions: Can review and monitor course content and student progress across a number of courses. Has most account-level permissions, including viewing course statistics, course/grade change logs and notifications. Has access to the Gradebook and can view the list of users, grades, course content, discussions and course analytics, question banks and send messages to entire classes/individual users.
  • Limitations: No permission to edit grades, create/manage course content, assignments, events or to add/manage teachers, TAs or course designers. Cannot manage observers.

Course roles

It is possible to have more than one role in a course. One role does not supersede another; rather the permissions from each role are combined.

 

Teacher

  • Primary use: Teacher assigned to teach a class.
  • Permissions: All course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit, delete and publish course content, view and edit grades, publish the course and edit course settings.
  • Limitations: Cannot assign or modify any course roles.
  • Included in SET evaluation.*

* Only people with the Teacher role are included in the SET evaluation, therefore ALL teachers who are eligible for SET should be given the Teacher role. For example, Course Directors should be given the Teacher role as well as the Course Director role.

Course Director

  • Primary use: Course Director overseeing a course.*
  • Permissions and limitations: the same as Teacher role.
  • Not included in SET evaluation.*

* There should only be ONE person with the Course Director role in any given course. Course Directors who are eligible for SET evaluations should also have the Teacher role.

Teaching support

  • Primary use: Professional staff supporting a teacher in a course.
  • Permissions and limitations: the same as Teacher role.
  • Not included in SET evaluation.

Teaching assistant

  • Primary use: Teaching assistants (TAs) assigned to a specific course or class section. Suitable for tutors or markers.
  • Permissions: Can create and moderate discussions and collaborations, view course content, view and edit grades.
  • Limitations: Cannot create or edit course content, manage assessment or course sections.
  • Not included in SET evaluation.

Observer

  • Primary use: Individuals who need to monitor the course (read-only access).
  • Permissions: Can view course content until the course end date. Can view published assignments and discussions,* regardless of whether you have set an ‘available from’ date for sometime in the future. Can send messages to people in the course using the Inbox.
  • Limitations: No permission to edit course content, participate in course activities, view or edit grades.
  • Not included in SET evaluation.

* As an exception to the rule, observers cannot view Canvas discussions for courses within the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, due to the potentially sensitive nature of the conversation.

 

Warning: Students with observer role

There are at least three scenarios that have lead students to be added as observers to a course:

  1. Students who are notetakers for other students, but are not a student themselves in the course.
  2. Students who are having problems with their course enrolment at the start of semester.
  3. A student may have taken the course before and they want to (re)take the exam.

If students have problems enrolling at the start of semester, Course Directors may be tempted to ask their course access authoriser to grant them an observer role, until their enrolment is sorted. However, this is not ideal so proceed with caution!

Important: Observer role MUST BE REMOVED once they have been assigned the student role within your course because observers have access to published quizzes and assignments, pages and modules, regardless of whether you have set an ‘available from’ date or ‘lock until’ date for sometime in the future. Course coordinators can use a provided workaround to remove the observer role from a student in the course.

Important: Observer role MUST BE REMOVED once the course ‘census date’ has lapsed (i.e., the grace period for paying course fees and moving between courses has ended), regardless of whether their student role has been assigned or not. Otherwise you are essentially allowing them free access to a course that they may not be entitled to.

Finally, if courses include users with the observer role, teachers are advised to avoid publishing assignments or date-specific course information in advance of its release date.

Students

Bulk upload process: Course access for students

Students are automatically enrolled via Student Services Online. Students cannot be added or removed from for-credit courses (timetabled course shells) by the teachers. The student needs to follow up with Academic Services.

  • Permissions: Can view course content, engage in all course activities and submit assignments.
  • Limitations: Cannot manipulate settings for a course.
  • View and evaluate interactions between you and your students with a student interactions report (accessible from the People or Grades page).

Tip: Teachers can view a printable list of enrolled students with their University of Auckland ID photos using Course Roster.

Course designer

  • Primary use: Content providers and other instructional support.
  • Permissions: Can create and publish course content, discussions, announcements, assignments, quizzes and other content features. Can publish the course.
  • Limitations: Cannot assign roles, edit grades, manage course sections or view the gradebook.
  • Not included in SET evaluation.

Sections

Course sections exists in a cross-listed course. Section lists are automatically created when students are enrolled from Student Services Online (SSO).

 

Groups

Teacher-based roles can create and manage student groups within your course:

  • Teachers can assign students to groups or allow students to select their preferred group.
  • Students can be assigned to stay in a group for the whole course, or create new group sets for each new activity.
  • Create group set and subgroups to make shared marking more efficient.

See also

Frequently asked questions

See our FAQs about roles and permissions in Canvas.

Support

Support options are available through the Staff Service Centre or the 24-hour hotline. Please visit the learning technology support page for details.

Page updated: 14/12/2023 (adjusted role permissions)

What do you think about this page? Is there something missing? For enquiries unrelated to this content, please visit the Staff Service Centre

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.