Kenneth Rogers

Why "Act As User" is Awesome

Blog Post created by Kenneth Rogers Employee on Sep 16, 2017

When "Act as User" was announced in Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-09-05) as an enhancement to the "Become" feature, I was honestly pretty blown away at the terminology and UI change. As an administrator in Canvas and not faculty, my daily life is not always affected my product updates. (Side note: I serve on a wonderful team of fellow administrators - shout out to Tracey DeLillo and Kori Schneider. They're way more Canvawesome than I'll ever be).


When I first started working in Canvas, my colleagues taught be about the "Become" feature in order to masquerade as a user. This ability is truly invaluable to me so I can see what the student or teacher are seeing on their end. It's a great tool. However, for whatever reason, the term "Become" always struck me as a little odd. At first it honestly confused me a little. And then the UI after you started the process was honestly atrocious - it definitely wasn't Canvas-y.


And then the changes came! With Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-09-16), "Become" is now "Act as User" - which I think says more to what is happening. I am now going to be able to act as the user inside of Canvas. Also, if you have masquerading privileges inside of Canvas, you still have the ability to "Act as User" using the Student Context Card (How do I view a context card for a student in a course? ).


However, maybe my favorite change with this update is the user interface change prior to masquerading. Prior to the update it was pretty clunky and contained way too much text (honestly, I never read it!). But now, it is so much cleaner and tells you exactly what is happening within Canvas when you click "Proceed" to start the masquerading process.


All in all, I'd say this was a needed update that alleviates any confusion and cleans the process up significantly. For an area that I didn't see a lot of public grumbling about, I'm impressed with these changes. Well done, Canvas; and thank you.