Canvas - Course Level Roles Description

This article describes the roles and permissions associated with course level roles in the University of Wisconsin System (except for UW Madison) instance of Canvas. The following information is to help instructors determine which roles are necessary for the people they enroll in their courses.

Course level roles in Canvas

This is a list of the roles that can be used to enroll users into courses. Note that Canvas users can have more than one role in a course. The roles are additive in nature; enrolling someone as a Student and a Designer would give that person the permissions of both roles.

University roles and course roles in the Student Information System may not align with Canvas roles. It is a best practice to focus on the access a user needs in a course rather than the name of the role.

For information on how various course roles interact with section, course, and term dates, see the Canvas - Managing Course Access with Publishing and Dates guide.

The following roles are available in the UW System Instructional instance of Canvas. They will be deployed to the Training and Development and Continuing Education instances upon request. Click a role name below to see a detailed list of Canvas permissions.

Role NameRole Description
StudentThis role is most commonly used to enroll users who will participate in a course for course credit. Users enrolled as Students can view course content and participate in course assignments and communications. Students cannot view and participate a course until it is published, and the course has started. Students may also use the Canvas Student app to view and participate in courses. Students will automatically be enrolled by the Student Information System into instructional courses. Note: people listed as Teaching Assistants in the Student Information System may be enrolled in courses as the Student role. Assign additional roles to provide the TA access to your course. How do I add users to a course?
TeacherThis role is used to enroll users responsible for course creation, instruction, and management. Teachers are also referred to as instructors. In general, users with the Teacher role have permissions that allow them to moderate a course, view course data, and direct daily course communications. Teachers may also use the Canvas Teacher app to view some course content including announcements, assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Teachers will automatically be enrolled by the Student Information System into for-credit courses. The teacher may enroll other users as a Teacher in their course.
DesignerThis role is used to allow users who will assist with course development. This role has been designed to be primarily used in the Sandobox Course area.
Teacher Assistant GraderThis role is designed for individual who will support a teacher in a course to post content, assignments, and assist with grading. They have ability to create, edit, and delete many course components. This role also has access to grade student submissions.
Teacher AssistantThis role is designed for individuals who will support a teacher in a course and who do not need to earn course credit. This role will have access to create, edit, and delete many course components. They will be able to see all students enrolled in the course but are not able to see or grade student submissions.
GraderThis role is designed for individuals who will support a teacher with grading. This role also has access to grade student submissions, but will not have access to create, edit, or delete most course components.
Interpreter Pre-Semester/SemesterThis role is intended for captioners, ASL interpreters and others that may need access to the materials in a course without any other interactions. Interpreters do not have the ability to create, edit, or delete course components. They are unable to see student submissions or grades. The "Pre-Semester" version of this role can access course materials before the courses start date.
ObserverObservers have limited permissions that allow them to see what is going on in a course without interrupting the flow of daily course communication. Observers cannot view and participate a course until it is published and the course has started.
Teacher ReviewerTeacher Reviewers have similar access to the Teacher role, but do not have permission to make changes to a course.
FacilitatorThis role is designed for users to interact with the students in the course and access student grade information, but are not able to add or edit content.
Course Librarian - ResearchThis role is designed for users that need to add content to a course and interact with the students but not be able to access student grade information. This role can see the course roster but not student IDs.
Course Librarian - E-ReservesThis role can add or copy content to courses but cannot interact with students or coursework information.
Teacher Access - Student LeadershipThis role is designed to allow the leaders of non-instructional courses to facilitate a class where the teacher should not have access to ID information in the People or Grades tool.
MentorThis role is similar to the Observer role, but can interact with students in Discussions and Collaborations so people mentoring students can be engaged and participate. The role can also email all or some students in a course.

Canvas Course Level Permissions

Student:

This role is most commonly used to enroll users who will participate in a course for course credit. Users enrolled as Students can view course content and participate in course assignments and communications. Students cannot view and participate a course until it is published, and the course has started. Students may also use the Canvas Student app to view and participate in courses. Students will automatically be enrolled by the Student Information System into instructional courses. 

Students can:

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Teacher:

This role is used to enroll users responsible for course creation, instruction, and management. Teachers are also referred to as instructors. In general, users with the Teacher role have permissions that allow them to moderate a course, view course data, and direct daily course communications. Teachers may also use the Canvas Teacher app to view some course content including announcements, assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Teachers will automatically be enrolled by the Student Information System into for-credit courses. The teacher may enroll other users as a Teacher in their course.

The Teacher Role can:

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Designer:

This role is used to allow users who will assist with course development. This role has been designed to be primarily used in the Sandbox Course area.

The Designer role can:

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Teacher Assistant Grader:

This role is designed for individual who will support a teacher in a course to post content, assignments, and assist with grading. They have ability to create, edit, and delete many course components. This role also has access to student submissions to be able to grade.

The TA Grader role can:

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Teacher Assistant:

This role is designed for individuals who will support a teacher in a course and who do not need to earn course credit. This role will have access to create, edit, and delete many course components. They will be able to see all students enrolled in the course but are not able to see or grade student submissions.

Example use cases include: graduate assistants or TAs.

The TA role can:

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Grader:

This role is designed for individuals who will support a teacher with grading. This role also has access to grade student submissions, but will not have access to create, edit, or delete most course components.

Example use cases include: Graduate assistants who will grade or TAs who are expected to grade student work.

The Grader Role can:

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Interpreter Pre-Semester/Semester:

This role is intended for captioners, ASL interpreters and others that may need access to the materials in a course without any other interactions. Interpreters do not have the ability to create, edit, or delete course components. They are unable to see student submissions or grades. The "Pre-Semester" version of this role can access course materials before the courses start date.

Interpreters can:

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Observer:

Observers have limited permissions that allow them to see what is going on in a course without interrupting the flow of daily course communication. Observers cannot view and participate a course until it is published, and the course has started.

Observers can:

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Teacher Reviewer:

Teacher Reviewers have similar access to the Teacher role, but do not have permission to make changes to a course.

Teacher reviewers can:

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Facilitator:

This role is designed for users to interact with the students in the course and access student grade information, but are not able to add or edit content. Example use cases: program manager or sandbox courses not using a blueprint course. The Facilitator Role can:

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Course Librarian - Research

This role is designed for users that need to add content to a course, interact with the students in the course, but not be able to access student grade information.

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Course Librarian - E-Reserves

This role can add or copy content to courses but cannot interact with students or coursework information. An account level role exists with the same permissions.

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Teacher Access - Student Leadership

This role is designed to allow the leaders of non-instructional courses to facilitate a class where the teacher should not have access to ID information in the People or Grades tool.

The Teacher Access - Student Leadership role can:

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Mentor

This role is similar to the Observer role, but can interact with students in Discussions and Collaborations so people mentoring students can be engaged and participate. The role can also email all or some students in a course.

The Mentor role can:

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