Easy Student Group Access for Instructors

Blog Post created by Champion on Jul 9, 2015

I've been working with one of our instructors for several months and helping him with Groups he's got set up in his course.  One of the challenges he's had is there isn't an easy way to find the student groups links from an instructor's point of view compared to a student's perspective.  Instructors must go through the People tab of a course, click on the tab for the Group Set, and then click on the cog wheel to the right of a Group name to Visit Group Homepage.


But I discovered a work-around.  It's possible to enroll a person in a course with two different role types.  So, I did some testing in our "Test" environment.  The instructor was already enrolled as the Teacher, so I enrolled him in the same course as a Student, too.  Then, I masqueraded as the instructor, logged in to his course, and added him to the student group he had created.  After refreshing the course page, I saw the result of what I was hoping for.  These marked areas aren't normally displayed from an instructor's view in Canvas.




There are a couple potential downsides that I can see with this, however.


  1. You are now a member of one or more groups in that course...initially meant for students.
  2. You are now listed as a student in the Gradebook.


Maybe these aren't big deals, but I thought it would be good to point them out.


Our instructor created this Feature Idea (open for voting until August 5th), Same Groups view for instructor and students, where I posted much of what I've written here.  The main purpose of his Feature Idea is to have an easy way for instructors to access groups in the same way that students can...without having to be "dual enrolled".


EDIT (08/26/2015): I had used the above process to "dual enroll" one of our instructors in his "Economics" courses.  He was also using the Pearson MyLabs LTI app.  He contacted me saying that, inside of the "My Labs and Mastering" button, he was unable to access some of the MyLabs screens he was used to seeing so he could connect his MyLabs content back to Canvas.  After some troubleshooting with Pearson tech support, the instructor told me it was because I had "dual enrolled" him as a Teacher and a Student.  Once I dropped him from the courses, sent him re-invites to the courses, and he "Accepted" the invites, he was able to complete the necessary setup of MyEcon Lab with Canvas.  I don't know if this will also be the case with other LTIs that look at the role type, but I'm posting this information just in case.


EDIT (03/03/2016): There is a new feature idea here: Simplify access to Group Homepage for Teachers


EDIT (09/26/2016): Today Mark Anthoney posted a hidden gem that I was not aware of on how to easily switch between groups within a Canvas course.  Mind blown!