Canvas Course Roles

An ITS ticket must be generated by the Instructor, the Department Chair, the Division Dean, or Academic Affairs authorizing the addition of an associate teacher or a non-instructional access to a Canvas course. The role must be identified in the Request along with the section number. Email permission from the Chair or the Original Instructor needs to be attached to the ticket.

You can view the permissions set for each role before requesting a Canvas Role. Teacher role and Student role is automated. All other roles are by request only.

Roles Defined:

Canvas Course Roles

  • Teacher role – Main instructor for a course.
  • Associate Teacher role – the same permissions as the Teacher. (Person wishing to participate as ‘Teacher’)
    Associate Teacher can copy content, edit content, grade content, interact with your students, this role has the same rights as the Teacher. Access to a future or past Canvas Course is available to ONLY ‘Teacher/Associate Teacher role.
  • Librarian role – Only available for college Librarians. Request must be made by the Librarian via an ITS ticket.
  • Designer – This role is requested by the Chair or by the eLearning department to add an individual as a Designer. This role can Add, edit, and delete events on the course calendar, Manage course content, Create and edit assessing rubrics, Manage (add / edit / delete) assignments and quizzes, course files, groups. Designers cannot be added as an Associate Teacher because all users in the Teacher role are evaluated using the EvalKit. Request must be made by the Program Chair via an ITS ticket.
  • Observer – Observers have limited permissions that allow them to view what is happening in a course without interrupting the flow of daily course communication. Like students, observers cannot view a course until it is published. (Observers can view the section content and view discussions) – Observer Role: Learn more about the Observer role on Canvas Guides.  View the Observers Visibility and Participation PDF
  • Class Assistant (CA)s – CA has permission to:  (Create Student Collaboration, Create web conferences, View/Post to Discussions, See the list of users,  Send Messages to course  members). We no paid TA roles at the college.
  • Student – This is a participant in the course between the start date and the end date of the quarter.

Observer or Class Assistant  — Access to a Canvas Course ONLY during a current (in process) quarter. Observer /  Class Assistant cannot access the course until the Quarter start date / the Course is published / is in progress .Observer role requests need to be initiated by a Dean or a Chair for instructional courses and by the Directors or Program Manager for the non-instructional courses.

Teacher Role and Associate Teacher Role

Primary use: Instructors assigned to teach a class.
Permissions: Teachers and Associate Teachers have all course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit and delete all content in a course, edit course settings, and send a request to manually add individuals with active Canvas user accounts.

Student Role

Primary use: Students enrolled in a course site.
Permissions: 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.

Observer Role

Primary use: Mentors, advisors, and others who need to monitor the progress of a student or content in a course.
Permissions: Observers have access to view course content. It is similar to a student role but cannot interact in a course

To learn more about what Observers can and cannot view and participate in, view the Observers Visibility and Participation PDF.

Observers can: View and read announcements
View assignments index page
View the calendar
Join conferences, if invited
Join collaborations, if invited
View personal inbox
Send conversation messages to instructor and student they are observing
View the dashboard
View and read discussions
View files unless they are locked
View grades of student they are observing and filter, view scores and dates, and print grades
View modules and see due dates, point values, etc.
View pages and contribute if the instructor enables the Anyone can edit it setting
View profile pictures, if available
View syllabus
View outcomes
View quizzes index page

Observers cannot

Comment on announcements or discussions
Submit assignments or quizzes
View course rosters
Send conversation messages to students in the course they are not observing
View locked files or folders
Join groups
View unpublished courses



Last Updated June 10, 2019