Course Roles and Permissions

Canvas @ Yale has a number of different roles available for users that provide different levels of access and permissions within a course. Below is an outline of each role with its uses, permissions, and limitations, as well as a comprehensive list of role permissions for your reference.

Table of Contents

This article will address the following information:

Faculty Roles

Instructor

Avoid manually adding users to course sites with the Instructor role. This role should be reserved for the instructor(s) of record.

  • Primary Use: Official instructor(s) of record for the course. These users will be automatically added to course sites by the registration system.
  • Permissions: Full course permissions to add / edit / delete / copy course content and manage manually added users.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users that are automatically enrolled by the registration system.

Guest Instructor

  • Primary Use: Unofficial users that need instructor level permissions but are not the official instructor of record. These users must be manually added by the course Instructor or a TA.
  • Permissions: Full course permissions to add / edit / delete / copy course content and manage manually added users.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users that are automatically enrolled by the registration system.
Support Roles

TA

  • Primary Use: Teaching fellows and teaching assistants who will be supporting the instructor(s) for a course. These users must be manually added by the course Instructor or a TA.
  • Permissions: Full course permissions to add / edit / delete / copy course content and manage manually added users.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users that are automatically enrolled by the registration  system. Also, TAs can be restricted so that they can only view the  course section they are assigned to manage.

Grader

Graders are NOT anonymous in Canvas. If you need an anonymous grader, please contact canvas@yale.edu for more information.

  • Primary Use: TAs or other staff. These users must be manually added by the course Instructor or a TA.
  • Permissions: Add / edit student grades and add / edit / delete assignments and quizzes.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users or any other course content.

Designer

  • Primary Use: Departmental and administrative staff supporting the creation of course sites. These users must be manually added by the course Instructor or a TA.
  • Permissions: Add / edit / delete course content. Can add other TAs and Guest Instructors.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage student users and cannot update / edit student grades.

Accessibility Support

  • Primary Use: Accessibility support staff that are assisting faculty.
  • Permissions: Add/edit/delete course assignments, files, announcements, discussions, and pages.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users, cannot update/edit/view student grades, and cannot add/edit/delete all other course content.

Librarian

  • Primary Use: Librarian staff that are assisting faculty.
  • Permissions: Add LibGuides links to Course Navigation.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users, cannot update / edit / view student grades, and cannot add / edit / delete course content.
Student Roles

Student

Avoid manually adding users to course sites with the Student role. This role should be reserved for officially registered students.

  • Primary Use: Students who have added the course to their Registration Worksheet in Yale Course Search to officially enroll in a course. These users will be automatically added to course sites by the registration system.
  • Permissions: View course content and participate in course activities and assignments.
  • Limitations: Cannot view or modify course settings or view other students' grades or assignments.

Visitor

Avoid manually adding users to course sites with the Visitor role. This role should be reserved for students adding courses to their Canvas Worksheet.

  • Primary Use: Students who have added the course to their Canvas Worksheet in Yale Course Search because they are interested in, but not ready to officially register for a course. These users will be automatically added to course sites by the registration system.
  • Permissions: View course content and participate in course activities and assignments.
  • Limitations: Cannot view or modify course settings or view other students' grades or assignments.

NOTE: All Visitor enrollments will be removed at the end of the Add / Drop period. If a student wants their Visitor role removed before the end of Add / Drop, they will need to remove the course from their Canvas Worksheet.

Guest Student

  • Primary Use: People who are unofficially requesting to audit or participate in a course. These users must be manually added by the course Instructor or a TA.
  • Permissions: View course content and participate in course activities and assignments.
  • Limitations: Cannot view or modify course settings or view other students' grades or assignments.

Auditor

Avoid manually adding users to course sites with the Auditor role. This role should be reserved for officially registered students.

  • Primary Use: Students who have officially registered to audit a course. These users will be automatically added to course sites by the registration system.
  • Permissions: View course content and participate in course activities and assignments.
  • Limitations: Cannot view or modify course settings or view other students' grades or assignments.

Viewer

  • Primary Use: For users who would like to view the course only.
  • Permissions: View course content and post to discussions.
  • Limitations: Cannot view or modify course settings or view other students' grades or assignments.
Roles to Avoid

Teacher

  • Primary Use: Please do not use.
  • Permissions: Full course permissions to add / edit / delete / copy course content and manage manually added users.
  • Limitations: Cannot manage users that are automatically enrolled by the registration system.

Observer

This is a default Canvas role and is not recommended for use.

  • Primary Use: Typically used in the K-12 arena to allow parents to view and monitor their children's progress.
  • Permissions: View course content. When linked to a student account, this user can  also see the associated student's assignment submissions and grades.
  • Limitations: Cannot add / edit / delete content or participate in any activities.

Role Permissions Chart

Some 3rd party tools installed in Canvas have their own permissions which cannot be controlled through Canvas. For specifics about those tools and their permissions, please refer to the help articles for those tools.

While permissions for each role can be modified at the Sub-account level, we cannot alter the role names set forth by Canvas. The following roles are based on registrar enrollment. If you wish to add an individual to your course, please refer to the following chart. The permissions most commonly considered when adding an individual to a course are listed first.

Note on chart: Use the horizontal scroll bar embedded at the bottom of this chart to view more roles.

For more help, please contact canvas@yale.edu.