[Commons] Restore dynamic subaccount-based groups to Canvas Commons

The June 12 release of Canvas Commons (Commons Release Notes (2016-06-12) replaced the previous subaccount-based sharing permissions structure with a new "Groups" model. These Groups require manual management, either by a campus administrator or an individual designated as a Group Manager.


The previous subaccount-based sharing model allowed instructors to more dynamically share resources with their departmental colleagues without any need to identify and individually designate each one as a group member. At an institution as large as ours, with over 40,000 active Canvas users, manually managing groups quickly becomes an unsustainable process.


Although the new groups model provides some useful ways to support cross-departmental collaboration and resource sharing, removing the ability to dynamically restrict access to Commons resources by subaccount is overall a significant downgrade to Commons' usability and functionality. The subaccount-level sharing should be reinstated, complementing the new option to manually create and manage Commons groups.

Added to Theme

Community Contributor

Thank you for writing this up!  If I could vote in it already, I would.

Community Champion

I love the idea of having both options, especially if sub account admin can create groups too. Sub account sharing was an automated grouping which is awesome. Manual groups is a natural additive, not replacement, feature. Good stuff.

Community Member

Another +1

Community Contributor

Yes please!

Community Participant

Yes to having both options! I'll vote this idea up as soon as it's open for voting.

Community Champion

Agreed, thanks for submitting this. We previously had an issue that the listings of sub-accounts was by alpha-numeric only, with no consideration for the institutional hierarchy. Now we don’t even have that …

Community Contributor

Yes!  Thank you for writing this up.  I will be voting for it as soon as voting opens.  We don't need to add another hurdle to faculty participation in Commons.  Having both the auto-provisioning of groups from sub-accounts and the ability to create ad-hoc groups would be ideal.

Community Contributor

Yes, please. Do we have to wait on this, Instructure?

Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. July 6, 2016 - Wed. October 5, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

Community Champion

My vote is in :smileygrin:

As noted, please consider the need for listing the sub-accounts by institutional hierarchy, not alphanumeric. We have three campuses, each with some of the same colleges, and thus the original sub-account listings in Commons had no way to differentiate between the three in granting permissions.