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Community Member

Automating subaccounts

We piloted Canvas with a handful of teachers last year and are moving forward with our entire high school this year. Our SIS is synced with Canvas via Clever. We would like to create nested subaccounts (ie: Math, English, Science, etc.) for each subject at our HS and have our courses automatically assigned to these subaccounts upon sync. What is the best way to make this happen?

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Community Coach
Community Coach

 @swoodfin  Welcome to the Canvas Community!

I am going to share your question with the Canvas Developers‌ group where this expertise lives, but it will be a matter of finding the unique identifier in your SIS for each subject, creating the sub-accounts for each subject, then mapping your integration script, based on those unique identifiers.

But, can I ask why a sub-account for this work? Will you be assigning a sub-account admin for each subject? Otherwise, all functionality otherwise needed for the courses in each subject do not require a sub-account.


Hi Kelley,

Thank you for the response. One of our instructional techs attended InstructureCon a few weeks ago and reached out to support when he got back asking this question. Below is the response we received:

This is also great question! This is what we refer to as a 'nested sub-account'. At this time the integration between Clever and Canvas does not support the ability to create nested sub-accounts. While we are able to help facilitate the creation the sub-account for the school, we would not be able to create the subject sub-accounts. (Ex: High School can be created, Math cannot.)
If you'd like to create nested sub-accounts, this is possible within Canvas. This would just need to be completed outside of the Clever connection. The easiest way to do this is via CSV. I have included the guide How do I format CSV text files for uploading SIS data into a Canvas account which will offer some tips and sample CSVs that can be downloaded. In this particular instance we will want to refer to the section in the guide titled 'accounts.csv'.
Once the nested sub-accounts are created the courses would need to be moved into these nested sub-accounts. This would also be completed via CSV and not through Clever. This time we would use the same guide linked as before, however, we would reference the section in the guide titled 'courses.csv'. This would allow you to place the courses into the appropriate nested sub-account. (Ex: Algebra II course into Math sub-account.)
Hopefully this helps answer your question. We sincerely apologize that we are unable to create these nested sub-accounts through Clever. If you have any additional questions on the guide or creation of the CSV, please don't hesitate to let us know. We are always happy to assist

Hi  @swoodfin 

Thanks for the response.   I did not realize in my first reading that you were referring to nested sub-accounts. Of course, now that I re-read you question, it still does not mention that - it just says "We would like to create subaccounts for each subject at our HS ". So I am guessing you are asking as a district or such, and your high school is already a sub-account.

I would suggest you clarify your question to reflect the sub-sub-account scenario, or too many are going to answer as I did.

Good luck, and I hope one of the whiz-kids in this community can help you - and there are a lot of those in here!


Community Champion

This stopped us from integrating with Clever. We continue to handle our integration using SIS views and queries to generate the CSV files.

Fairly frustrating for us given that we have been using this for less than a year and integrating with Clever was one of the recommended ways for getting data to Canvas, with no mention of its restraints.

It has been suggested that we manually upload the accounts.csv file. It appears as those this file will create a nested subaccount for each course in addition to "nesting" them under the subject subaccount. Is this correct?

Community Champion


Yes, you can upload a new accounts file after your courses are created just to move them into the desired sub accounts. Our courses exist in the structure of:


   SIS Courses



Here's an example of our courses.csv, the account_id sets the sub account where the course goes.








Bus Soft Apps - S1 - P1

Bus Soft Apps - S1 -- P1 - TEACHER, T | 53160AD1-1 - SUM19





AP World History - T TEACHER

AP World History - TEACHER, T | 41402AD1S-11 - SUM19





AP World History - T TEACHER

AP World History - TEACHER, T | 41402AD2S-11 - SUM19





Health Education - T TEACHER

Health Education - TEACHER, T | 51009AD1S-1 - SUM19





Algebra I - T TEACHER

Algebra I - TEACHER, T | 202000D1S-1 - SUM19




Another reason for deciding against Clever was our fondness for customizing the course name.

If Clever wants to account for these requirements, I'm always happy to delete code and work on something else.

Thanks! I appreciate your input.

Community Champion

You're welcome! Let us know if there's anything else that will help you get setup the way you need.