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What is the Student role?

What is the Student role?

In Canvas, the Student role is most commonly used to enroll users who will participate in a course for course credit. Users enrolled as Students can view course content and participate in course assignments and communications. Students cannot view and participate a course until it is published and the course has started.

Other course-level user roles with varying course-level access exist in Canvas. Designers may work with Teachers (who oversee Teacher Assistants) and together they create course content with which Students and Observers engage. For more information about course-level user permissions, view the Canvas Course Permissions PDF.

Students may also use the Canvas Student app to view and participate in courses.

Student Role Use

The main use of the Student role is to link Canvas users to courses where they may access course content in order to receive course credit. For example, Students in a Canvas course often take quizzes and tests and submit assignments for a course grade.

Students can participate in any Canvas area their teacher has enabled for the course. Students can be linked to one or multiple courses and may submit work, see grades, assignments, and events, and interact with other course members.

Depending on the institution, students may have different levels of access to Canvas courses. Students may have access to all past, current, and future courses. Alternately, students can be enrolled in individual courses. Students may be enrolled in a course automatically by SIS import, or manually by a teacher, or by self-enrollment.

Student Access in Canvas

Listed below are the default Canvas permissions for the Student role. However, institutions may modify Student role permissions as needed. To learn more about Student participation in Canvas, view the Canvas Student Guide.

Students can:

  • View course announcements
  • Submit assignments
  • View the course calendar
  • View and and post to open discussions
  • View and participate in Chat
  • Create conferences and student collaborations
  • Upload and manage files
  • Create ePortfolios
  • Create and manage group pages
  • View their course grades
  • View a list of users in a course
  • Send messages to other users in a course

Students cannot:

  • Add, edit, and delete items in a course calendar
  • Add or remove others in a course
  • Publish, conclude, and delete courses
  • View other course participants’ grades
  • Add and delete external applications (LTI) for a course
  • Add, edit, and delete course content, sections, or student groups
  • Create and edit rubrics
  • Add, edit, and delete learning outcomes associated with course content
  • Delete and lock discussions and edit others’ discussion posts
  • Read SIS data
  • View course analytics and usage reports for a course
  • View and link to question banks
  • View all student group pages for a course
  • View grade audit trail

Student Role Limitations

  • Students can only view content for a course in which they are enrolled.
  • Students cannot view locked or unpublished course materials.
  • If the enabled at the account level, students may be able to create, edit, and delete Scheduler appointments in the course calendar that are visible to other course members.
  • Students may be able to view and comment on other students’ submissions if a teacher has enabled this option for an assignment.
  • Each teacher can customize the links in the Course Navigation and limit the number of features that Students and Observers can see. Students may or may not see links to certain features.

I want to give a graduate assistant visual access to the entire course as I am assembling it.  I want the Assistant to view and report to me on the content of all student submissions.  However, this does not include any grading of the material.  How do I set those tasks and only those for now?

Hi @kileym 

I responded to your other comment before seeing this one. I now see that the job for your graduate assistant would not include grading. I would suggest contacting the Canvas admin at your school for guidance on a custom role that would meet these requirements. Canvas has many permissions, including permissions for grading and view course content. These permissions can be customized for a variety of user roles, including custom roles created and managed by the school. If you let them know what you are looking for, they may have roles created already or potentially could customize one for you.


These comments are posted to the global Canvas Community,

NOT your Canvas course.

  • Have a question about using Canvas? Visit the Q&A page.
  • Have an idea to improve Canvas? Visit the Idea Conversations space.
  • Need to reply to a course discussion? Log in to your Canvas course and add your comment there (Tip: Visit your school's website to log in to Canvas).
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