Note: Canvas user roles at RMIT


Canvas, How to, LMS, People, Resources, Roles & Responsibilities Leave a Comment

What are user roles in Canvas?

User roles in Canvas provide the permissions that control who can do what in a Canvas course. As a teacher you can assign people different user roles to depending on  how you expect them to engage with the course.

Users can have more than one role in any given course. If this is the case, that person will have the combined permissions of each role they’ve been assigned. However, it’s generally unnecessary and potentially confusing to assign multiple roles. You can simply change the user role to the higher level if necessary. Refer to the Further Help tab for instructions for adding users and editing roles in Canvas.

The roles described below are in reverse order of their level of control of a Canvas site.

What roles are there and what can they do?

The following are the most useful roles currently available. There are also a number of Mentor roles that are applicable only if your course is participating in Mentoring schemes such as SLAMS. These are not mentioned here.



Student roles are assigned automatically when students are enrolled in a Canvas course. Course Coordinators cannot, and do not have to, add students manually.

Students can view: published unrestricted content, discussions, announcements, course user list

Students can create: student collaborations, discussion topics, send messages to individual course users.



The Grader role is for tutors or lab assistants who need to provide marks and feedback to students, but who do not need to add course content.

Graders can view: grades, announcements, discussions, assignment submissions, student group pages, usage reports and analytics, course user list.

Graders can create/edit: grades, discussions, send messages to individuals and the whole cohort, comments on assignment submissions



The TA role is for tutors or assistant teachers who need to be able to add and manage content and interactions with students, but who do not need to publish or unpublish the course, add other users or moderate grades.

TAs can view and create/edit: everything that the Grader role can, plus

TAs can manage/moderate: Course content, discussions, rubrics, student collaborations, web conferences, groups, question banks.



The Course designer role is useful if you have someone else who is building your course, but who will not be using it for teaching.

Course Designers can view and create/edit: everything that the TA role can, except edit grades and view course analytics

Course Designers can manage/moderate: everything that the TA role can, plus manage learning outcomes and publish or unpublish the course.



The teacher role is the most powerful course-based role available in Canvas. Only Administrator roles have more functionality. Use this role for fellow teachers who need to add and manage content, users and build the course structure.

Teachers can view and create/edit: everything that the TA and Course Designer roles can.

Teachers can manage/moderate: everything that the TA and Course Designer roles can, plus moderate grades and add and manage other users.



These roles are for managing the various levels of Canvas administration, and are held by Canvas system support staff, and by College ADG staff. They have access to all courses, functions and settings within their assigned domain. These roles cannot be applied by Teachers in courses.



One or more of my students aren’t appearing in my Canvas course

Firstly, it takes 24-48 hours for student enrolments to appear in Canvas. If the student only enrolled recently check back again tomorrow.

If its been longer than that, talk to your School Admin to make sure the students’ enrolment details are correct in SAMs.

If they’re correct, raise a servicedesk ticket with ITS.

My teaching staff don’t have access to my course

You can add tutors and other teachers to your own course.

People > + People > paste their RMIT email address (or a list of addresses, one on each line) into the box > Select the role you want them to have (TA is the tutor role, Teacher will give them full editing privileges) > Click Next >You will receive a message asking you to confirm addition for the person or list of persons on the next page. If all are found > click Add users and you’re done.

At this point, if the system can’t find the email address you will be notified. Make sure its correctly entered. If so, the person doesn’t yet have a canvas account.

This may be because they’re a new staff member and the HR onboarding process is not yet complete. Check with your school admin officers.

If they’re not a new staff member and they have access to other RMIT systems, contact ITS and request they be given Canvas access.

No students are appearing in my course

Regular course, not linked to any other

If your course has been passed through QA more than 48 hours ago, and its NOT a crosslisted course, contact Project Rewire

If it is a crosslisted course

Check the other course that it should be linked to. You should have at least 2 sections of students appearing, one for every course that is linked. This will appear in Settings > Sections and will also be noted in People next to the student’s name. The course you should be using is the one with students enrolled. If there are no students in that course either, contact Project Rewire

Can staff add other staff to their course?

Yes, they can.  Please remember that the staff member to be added must have an active Canvas RMIT account. If you try to add them using the instructions below, and Canvas does not find the account, please contact ITS.
How to: Add staff to a Canvas course


Where do I go to see who is enrolled in my course?

To see who is enrolled in your course, just click on People in the Course Navigation Menu.  You will see a list of everyone enrolled in your course.

How do I communicate with individual groups in Canvas?

You can use the Conversations (Inbox) function to communicate with the individual groups in your course.  When composing a message, click on the arrow next to Select course, and then select the group from the list.  To learn more about conversations, refer to How to: Use conversations in Canvas.

Can I batch import groups and group members?

Currently, no. You can bulk create groups using the Canvas + Groupset function. You can also randomly assign students to those groups, or allow students to self-assign, but there is no function that allows you to create groups and control membership via a file upload.

Inactive tag in People page

If a student has a grey ‘inactive’ button next to their name in the People page it means they were enrolled but have since dropped the course. They’re still listed in the People section for auditing and record keeping, but they won’t appear in the Grades section.

Can I view my course as a student in Canvas?

Yes, you can. In the Course you wish to view

  1. Click Settings
  2. Click Student view (right-hand side menu on your screen)


  • This does not allow you to see an accurate view of section restrictions.
  • When you’re in student view you will see a pink bar at the bottom of the page. Use this to return to normal view. Choose Leave student view.


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