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Casual Teachers - What are my options in Canvas?

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You’ve had a great start to the day. Woke up on time, got in a bit of “you time”, traffic is non-existent (Winning). This Wednesday has the trademarks of best ever… UNTIL you open your inbox and see that a few teachers have called in sick. Fundamentally you can fill the void but what is the best way to do this in Canvas?

To help mitigate the impact of this unfortunate event, it’s important to factor in these three questions when deciding on your strategy:

  • TIME "What is the likely duration of the teacher's absence?"
  • CONTROL "What is the school’s acceptable permission level for casual teachers and their involvement in another's teachers course?"
  • SET UP "How long will it take to set the casual teacher up in Canvas?"

The answers to your question above will guide your chosen strategy.

Scenario 1

  • TIME - The teacher is taking over classes for an extended period of time.
  • CONTROL - We want to record the teachers involvement and provide them full course access.
  • SET UP - High to Moderate.

The strategy for you: Assign Course Roles

Enrol the casual teacher as a “Teacher” or “TA” in the course(s) they will be covering. Steps are

  1. Create a user account for the casual teacher and
  2. Enrol the user into the course(s) and/or section(s) as required.

If you only want to allow the casual teacher to perform certain tasks only, try creating a new role and adjusting their permissions before enrolling the teacher into the course

Scenario 2

  • TIME - Casual teachers are taking over classes for a short period of time.
  • CONTROL - The teacher will need to jump into a number of different courses but wont be changing anything within the course.
  • SET UP - High to Moderate

The strategy for you: Create Custom Admin Permissions

Based on the sub account structure used within your instance, you could set up a watered down Admin role for the casual teacher to use. This would allow the casual teacher to jump into any courses within the sub-account with relative ease. Often the permissions of this admin role are little more than read-only access to course content and participation in course discussions. Steps include:

  1. Create a user account for the casual teacher and then
  2. Create an Account Level role with specific permissions
  3. Add the user account to the Admin Role you created at the specific account level. You can simply repeat the process over multiple sub-accounts based on the role or set them up with the role at the root account so that they can jump into any sub-account and therefore, any course.

Scenario 3

  • TIME - The teachers are taking over classes for a short period of time.
  • CONTROL - They just need access
  • SET UP - Short.

The strategy for you: Create Generic Users

At an absolute minimum, we recommend creating user accounts that are for temporary/ casual teachers. Generally, this is not used as commonly as options 1 and 2 due to the usernames not reflecting the names of the casual teachers interacting with the students in the course. However, theoretically, you can set up a generic user account and use options 1 and 2 in conjunction with this. Steps include:

  1. Create a user account for the casual teacher profile
  2. Under the Users “login information”, create a unique login for each casual teacher (ensure that the correct authentication method is also applied)

Final Tips
The time taken to set up each preference can be minimised by the use of CSV Uploads, API Calls and SIS Automation (where possible). You could also use a combination of option 1 and 2 for casual teachers depending on your requirements, but either way, your chosen strategy should be recorded and documented for other admins to execute (who knows, you could be needing a replacement Smiley Wink).
Regardless of the option(s) you choose, when the casual teacher is no longer required, we recommend concluding the user from the course or removing the required account role to limit possible interactions outside the current intended interaction level of that user.

Need more help? Contact your CSM for further information.

Developed in collaboration with

Candice Lim, Trainer (APAC)

Paul Millar, Customer Success Manager (APAC)