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Canvas - UW-Madison Canvas Organizational Roles (UW-Madison)

This document outlines the organizational structure and roles/permissions for Canvas at UW-Madison.


    Canvas has course-level and account-level roles. Course roles pertain only to the current course, while account-level roles include permissions that affect the sub account (Department/College) and courses contained within them.

    The following resources provide background knowledge on course- and account-level roles.

    1. What are the differences between course-level and account-level roles?
    2. Canvas Admin Permissions (Video 3:30)
    3. Course Permissions
    4. Account Permissions

    UW-Madison Canvas Organizational Structure

    The below diagram illustrates the organizational structure of Canvas and the levels various roles are assigned to.

    Role Descriptions

    Account Roles

    Account roles are defined at the primary and sub-account level and cascade. Users of these roles are typically administrative.

    • Account Admin: Top-level account used to manage system-wide access. Should have limited enrollments.
    • API/Service: Account role used to integrate with SIS.
    • Dashboard Service: Service role used by course dashboard
    • DoIT AT Support Staff: Role used by AT Staff to support faculty, students, and staff.
    • DoIT Help Desk 1: Role used by level one helpdesk staff.
    • DoIT Help Desk 2: Role used by level two helpdesk staff.
    • Sub-Account Admin: Instructional professional supporting a school/college or Department
    • Sub-Account Designer: This role grants instructional design staff access to all courses within a sub-account, but does not allow them to change account level permissions.
    • UpdateCourseSIS: Temporary role used by DoIT AT to update SIS Data for manually created courses.
    Note: Roles which have been bolded represent default canvas roles.

    Course Roles

    Course-level roles are applied at the course level and typically apply the users of the system.

    • Student: Student enrolled in a course. Has permission to view and participate in course activities including submit assignments, post to discussions, and view the course roster.
    • Auditor: Roles tied to ISIS auditor enrollment in a course. Allows students to participate in course. Grades will not be passed to ISIS, once enabled.
    • TA: equivalent to a Teacher, however, cannot add additional Teachers and Designers.
    • Grader: Graders can grade students, participate in the class, and moderate student content, but may not alter activities.
    • Teacher: Have full course-level permissions including the ability add/delete/modify course content and enroll additional active Canvas users.
    • Staff: Role used by staff helping to facilitate the course, but are not the principal instructor.  Staff can not enroll additional users.
    • Co-Teacher: Similar to a TA, but adds the ability to publish the course.
    • Course Coordinator:  Administrative Staff who helps coordinate course content.
    • Designer: Can create course content, however, cannot access grades or student submissions. Does not show in the class list.
    • Librarian: Role provides the ability for Librarians to add content to courses.
    • Observer: Ability to read content, however, has no access to grades or student submissions.
    Note: Roles which have been bolded represent default canvas roles.

    Appendix A – Account Roles

    Appendix B - Course Roles


    Keywords:canvas, roles, permissions   Doc ID:63420
    Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW Madison
    Created:2016-05-16 09:04 CSTUpdated:2017-09-12 07:47 CST
    Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Madison, UW-Madison Canvas
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