Canvas - Paired Observers [UW-Madison]

Instructors may encounter situations where they notice an observer in their Canvas course roster who is paired to a student in the course.

UW-Madison Athletics Advising can perform an observer pairing with the student for advising purposes. In these situations, however, the instructor has been alerted before the observer is enrolled and the instructor has been given the ability to opt out of the Observer enrollment/pairing in their course.

Observer pairing is not permitted on the UW-Madison instance of Canvas for people who are not officially affiliated with UW-Madison (such as parents, visiting instructors, etc.)


What can a paired Observer do in Canvas, and what can’t they do?

Within a particular course, a paired observer can:

  • See all events and assignments on the calendar
  • View and read course announcements
  • See how a teacher has organized course content in Modules. They can also see the point values for individual assignments.
  • View grades for the paired student and set grade alerts.
  • See quiz titles. (The actual quiz content is not available.)
  • View course content. Observers can view the same content as the student they are observing unless the content is unpublished or restricted by locked dates. Observers can view module content locked by prerequisites or requirements, as module progression is not measured for observers.
  • View assignments even if the student they are observing has not completed them unless the assignments are locked.
  • Access student Conversations if the teacher or student copied them on the message. Paired Observers can also message the instructor.

Paired Observers cannot: 

  • Submit assignments
  • Take quizzes 
  • Join course groups
  • See course discussions 
  • Send messages to students (only to instructors).
  • See course rosters
  • See unpublished courses

Can an instructor decide to unenroll an observer from their course?

UW-Madison instructors have discretion to remove an observer from their course at any time. This is because instructors have the ability to decide whether or not to grant visibility to their students’ activity–and to course materials–to individuals not officially enrolled in the course. It is strongly encouraged that instructors talk to students to understand their rationale for putting the observer pairing in place before removing it.

Principal Instructor and Supervisory Instructor roles have the functional capability in Canvas to remove observers from their course; Auxiliary Instructors do not.

Again, instructors also have the choice to opt out of observer pairings in their courses that have been put in place for Athletics advising purposes.

For questions about an observer in your course or for technical assistance, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Keywordssupervise athletics advising athletes canvas roster pair paired QR code pairing advisor advisee canvas learn learn@UW   Doc ID79666
OwnerLearn@UW Madison .GroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2018-01-25 16:28 CDTUpdated2023-03-28 15:06 CDT
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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