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Canvas Authentication Logs - How to see current login activity?

We have been transitioning from our Blackboard Managed Hosting system (ending June 2018) over to Canvas.  As a Blackboard System Administrator I could go into the Authentication Logs and view the current login activity to see if users are successfully logging in or if there are failed login attempts indicating we are having an issue and can see what time the failures started and finally when they are fixed.  I am not finding anything similar for Canvas which is very disappointing.  There is Admin Tools, Logging, Login / Logout Activity, but that is only good for an individual user because if I leave it blank then it just runs forever and nothing shows.

I tried calling our Instructure Canvas Admin Support Telephone and they were not able to tell us either why we had some authentication issues this morning.  This is not good as I am unable to provide our Distance Education departments or end users any information as to what may have caused our authentication issues or at what times they occurred.

Our primary authentication is using Shibboleth/SAML and there is a SAML Debugging that can be turned on but that did not appear to be helpful.

Also, as a Blackboard Managed Hosting customer, we were also able to have them setup a specific user account used for monitoring and checking for successful logins and if it starts to fail then send me email notifications.  This is nice to be notified BEFORE we start getting upset end users in case we can start to address sooner rather than later.  Does Canvas have any way to set up some sort of authentication notifications?

Michael D. Ward

Applications Specialist III / Blackboard System Administrator / Canvas System Administrator

Rancho Santiago Community College District

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3 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @ward_michael , this isn’t my area of expertise, but I believe this information is available, I’m just not sure if it’s on the front end or the back. I’m going to share this question with the‌ group to see if they can help. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @ward_michael ,

I have a few ideas which may be of help. Canvas has an API to access the authentication log Authentications Log - Canvas LMS REST API Documentation, this can be done on a per user, per login, or per account basis and will show successful logins. I think the latter will be what you are looking for.  You can test this out using the Canvas Live API by going to (you will need an authentication token from your user account.

I have tested this on our instance now and it has returned result (as I would have expected). Note, you will also need to consider Pagination - Canvas LMS REST API Documentation as there are likely to be a very large number of results.

On the testing, you could set up an account to test with, this would need to be done on your institution's internal systems so that a test account existed on your Shibboleth servers. You could then periodically log in with this account (given you had a testing tool to achieve this) and subsequently check using the API for an authentication event. 

I will admit I don't see a way to see an attempt which then failed (on an account basis). I will have to ponder on this further for you.

However, I hope this points you in the right direction.


Community Coach
Community Coach

 @ward_michael ,

We are giving the Canvas Admins area a little bit of love and just want to check in with you.  This will also bring this question new attention. 


Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.