Canvas Parent February Meet-Up

Community Team
Community Team
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On February 23rd, some of the Canvas Parent Focus Group participants met for an hour to chat! Here are some notes.

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When did you (or will you) launch Canvas Parent at your institution?

  • There were a range of launch dates. Some supported Canvas Parent from the beginning, some along the way, and some are going to introduce Canvas Parent to their institutions.


Is anyone here new since observer authentication was added to Canvas Parent?

  • None of the participants were new since observer authentication was implemented.
    • Authentication means that users, when signing into Canvas Parent, are able to use the same login information as an established observer account.


Overall, what is your institution's response to the new app?

  • Usage is down because of the functionality requests (being able to see submission comments, for example).


How are things going? What’s working? What’s not working?

  • Observing more than one student with Canvas App is annoying, but toggling between students with Canvas Parent is great! The swipe makes it easy to know who is being observed.
  • Prior to Canvas Parent, some observers some established an account for each student they followed. Canvas Parent allows you to add multiple students rather than signing in and signing out to different observer accounts.
    • Note: if you only authenticate as yourself, the app isn’t very helpful. Once you add your student or student(s), the app becomes fully functional. Students are sorted, and it’s much clearer than the web-version of the observer role.
  • Canvas Parent makes it easy to switch between parts/functions of the app.


Is there anything that Canvas can do to help your institution get Canvas Parent to observers?

  • Overall, institutions who support Canvas Parent would like to see more adoptions
  • Clarify what works on Canvas App vs what works on Canvas Parent.
    • For most Observers, it seems like the navigation is much simpler with the Canvas Parent vs the Canvas app. The clarification between the apps will come when the red app is rebranded as Canvas Student.
      • A short video would be very helpful. Explain the pros and cons to the end-user.
        • Videos for Canvas Parent could cover generic information. More features will come and will be easily adopted.
    • In one participant’s district, the elementary parents may prefer the red app as they can see more information, but don’t rely on grades as much while secondary parents prefer the blue app.
  • How can we prevent Canvas Parent users from defaulting back to the web?
  • Overall, Documentation Team: thank you for having such great guides. The guides are updated constantly, even though the link stays the same. That's really helpful when communicating with teachers, students, and families.


Sneak Peeks - Future Features!

  • Submission Comments
    • Right now, Parents can’t see information with submission, not like they can with Canvas web.
    • It is important that users can get to submissions and teacher feedback.
    • This is a huge priority. The hope is that this project will start immediately after the launch of Canvas Teacher.
  • Messaging
  • There have been some requests for a Canvas Parent user to have the ability to message an instructor directly from the app.
  • There are some definite pros and cons to implementing this functionality.
  • Right now, the work-around is to include an email link in the course or syllabus.
  • This project doesn’t have a timeline because it’s much more complex due to coding.
  • Admin Console
    • The new Canvas Parent Admin Tools is an LTI tool available to Canvas Account Admin. The new feature will be available in the next few weeks and can be set up through CSMs. Watch for the Release Notes!
    • The Admin Tools will contain super-basic reporting, and more importantly, information about who's actually using Canvas Parent
      • Who they are...
      • Who they are connected to...
      • When they connected to a particular user...
      • Latest activity...
    • Admin will be able to sort columns or export to .csv for easier data manipulation and also control who has access through Canvas Parent (password reset, block user, etc.).