"Real" Student View

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For details, please read through the Canvas Deploy Notes (2020-08-12)

Okay, so the title could use some work, sorry about that.


Alright, so the basic idea is that the Student View be expanded to emulate a legitimate account with no special permissions. Now, within Canvas, the current option is fairly accommodating, but it is troublesome when dealing with external tools that are reliant upon additional information that is not generated for the current Student View system.


For example, Chalk & Wire Learning Assessment uses the e-mail address of the user to create or access the account-level intended for that user. This is troublesome for testing due to the need to masquerade or login as a student account, separate our actual accounts. Of course, for administrators, this isn't a horrible setback, but for teachers demonstrating how-to use the external tool to their class don't have the luxury of accessing other user accounts. As a result, they must "borrow" a student account to perform their demonstrations.


As external tools come in all shapes and sizes, I am pushing forward the idea of expanding the Student View to emulate a full user to avoid encountering similar issues that may occur with other external tools that require different information that isn't created in the Student View.


Hello cesbrandt

Thank you for suggesting this feature idea.  I don't see that it has ever been voted on by the community and so will add it to the cohort of ideas that will open for vote on August 3rd.



Community Champion

This is a must have.  I first experienced this issue, with not being able to take actual screen shots of a student view, when attempting to create a training for instructors concerning the TurnItIn LTI app and demonstrating what students should see if everything is working correctly.

Community Novice

I love student view but realized this feature was lacking as well when I couldn't see the google drive option for submitting assignments on the "student view"

Community Contributor

One tool we often use for testing is a couple of "mock" student accounts that have real(ish) profile information, external tool profiles, etc. -- as well as enrollments in other classes. It would be great to have a pool of test users to draw from in this context.

Community Novice

Similar issue here, where I need to be able in my TA role to create Turnitin assignments but also to submit assignments in my Student role. Turnitin would always default to handle external calls for my TA role, which prevents me from submitting assignments.

For an implementation of that request, the OP mentions "emulate a legitimate account". I could see three options here: 1) using a built-in "view as student" fake user with real-life privileges and functionality. This user data ought not to persist or influence course statistics. 2) "Borrowing" a real student role account temporarily (iffy for data changes, privacy, and authenticity in demo situations. 3) My personal favorite: Allow to let the user select a forced, single role when working under a login with dual/multiple roles, such as concurrent TA and Student roles.

A combination of solutions might be compatible, like 1) and 3).

One point to think about is if the emulation should just be mere viewing or offer real functionality that changes data.

Community Contributor

I think this would be a great added feature. I often need to masquerade as the instructor when checking on LTI integrated publisher settings. It would be helpful to know what the student's real view is as well.

Community Novice

There are 16 votes against.  I'm really interested to know what possible objection folks could have to this feature request?

This is a must have as far as I'm concerned.  I normally have to round up a student so that I can test if tools I've plugged in actually are working.

Community Champion

I remember reading that there is a glitch with the voting system where it sometimes registers a vote against the idea and you have to revote to correct the selection. My guess would be that most voted for the idea and didn't notice it glitch.

Alternatively, it could be a reflection of some people not so much against the idea but the priority of it. They may vote against an idea now because they feel other ideas should be handled sooner than it, then vote for it in another iteration when they feel there are not so much that is more important.

Regardless of the reasoning for the votes against it, the idea reach the 100 votes for minimum during the voting period. That fact it hasn't been archived indicates that the idea is being considered to development. I look forward to hearing from the developers on whether this will be something we can expect to see in the near future. Smiley Happy

Community Champion

When we were using Blackboard, as an Admin, I automatically created a dummy student account for each instructor.  The account was normally named something like "instructoraccountname.student"  That way, I knew which instructor the dummy account was tied to.  I guess they would have had to use a gmail account for this account if you needed to test out a 3rd party system that required a unique email address for each user in the course.  When we switched to Canvas, I took it that the "student view" would be sufficient.  I have only had a couple of faculty request a dummy user account.

Community Champion

I'm going to add my $0.02 (please feel free to disregard). 

I'm trying to find a valid use case for this feature request since so many times we have to rely on our "fake" real profile accounts since those "fake" accounts have to be added into those other systems for testing.  Our "fake" real profiles have to have an Office 365 account or be added to the x (paid) service for testing/to create documentation/training anyways.   Integrations are fun, challenging, and can make you crazy with all the nuances and I'm not sure a "real" student view would correct them.

Now I would love for the test student button to appear on the right-hand side of every Canvas location.  I would love the ability to correct items with test student (oops that quiz/page/file/module wasn't published, grrr I forgot to change the course navigation, ..).  But those are different feature requests. 

Or if Canvas came with 10 "fake" real profiles so that I didn't spend several hours making them work (pictures, email addresses, ...) but how would that work with many individuals using them at the same time? 

Again, just my $0.01 (inflation and cost of this posting).