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New Member

How do you handle Student Profile information?

Hi everyone

We are in the process of implementing Canvas at the University of Canberra in Australia. 

My question is in relation to student control over what is displayed in their profile. From what I can see as an admin students are not able to not display certain information - for example:

- all the courses they are enrolled in are listed. 

- other students can see what sections they are in, in the course

We were hoping to use sections to manage Reasonable Adjustment Plans (individual plans for students with disability) so that, for example, students who are allowed extra time for a quiz can be added to a section and provided with a quiz with more time allocated to it. However, if we did that, all students would be able to see that they are in that section. For us, that is a privacy problem.

While we can be smart with naming a section, it would make sense for the choice to show or not show profile information about their enrolment in courses, or inclusion in sections, was up to the student. As far as I can tell from the profile settings there is no options for students to not display that information. Has anyone also thought this? 

8 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @jenny_millea  , we don't use sections like that, so the problem never really came up for our school. My initial thought is that you're right, this can't be turned/off hidden on the front end of Canvas, but using some custom global JavaScript you might be able to hide all section information from student profiles. I'm definitely not an expert in that area though, so I'm going to share this with the‌.

I'm also going to share this with the‌ and‌ groups to see if they can offer up any suggestions/recommendations as well.

New Member

 @jenny_millea ‌ - Depending on how exactly you need this to work, you might be able to use the How do I limit a user to only interact with other users in the same course section?‌ option to solve this. If your concern is that the students without disabilities will be able to see that a particular student is in the special section, this option will help. I can imagine scenarios where this wouldn't be good enough - if it's a face to face class, for example, and the other students might question why they don't see this person on the course list. It also has the caveat that in Discussions, students will see all replies even from someone in a sections they're not supposed to see.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @jenny_millea  ...

I noticed that we've not heard from you since you first posted this question on June 13th and received a couple replies from both  @kona ‌ and  @tdelillo ‌ a day later.  Have you had an opportunity to review their responses?  Did either of those responses help to answer your question?  Or, are you still looking for some assistance with your initial question?  If you feel that either Kona or Tracey has helped to answer your question, please mark one of them as "Correct".  But, if you are still looking for some help, please come back to this discussion topic to let members of the Canvas Community know how we can be of help.  For now, since it's been over two months without any new activity in this thread, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't keep you or others from posting additional questions/comments below.  I hope that's okay with you, Jen.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

New Member

I have been sent an email by Instructure asking that I make an answer  in this thread 'correct'. There is no correct answer. The issue is that Canvas does not allow students to manage their privacy by deciding what they do or do not want to share with others in their Canvas course.

We have investigated options one of which is turning off the People function. If we do that then students can't see each other's section and enrolment information - except if they are in the same group, and then this information can be seen. 

Further, with People off students can setill see other course members (and their details) when using the Inbox to compose a message. Clicking on 'Section' here reveals all members of that section. 

With People off, it is not possible to user Self select or do anything with Group enrolments. 

So the issue is that Canvas does not provide students with the ability to manage their privacy. 

A student in a Canvas course has no option but to make their personal information public (My strong view is that it should be up to the student to decide whether they want to make information about what courses they are enrolled in and what sections they are in available to other students). 

The only viable option (turning off People) still allows this information to be seen through Groups and the Inbox. 

Community Member

Hi Jen & people at Canvas, 

I am currently running into an similar issue. We are using Canvas for multiple courses with a large number of students (I work for UC Berkeley).  An issue was brought up by the Academic team about students being able to see other students information on the Groups page (ie name and email).  I am also wondering if there is a way to hide this information within the group. 

It would be great to be able to select if I want to share my email address in the group, or even my user name. 

I am sure I could figure out a way to write some code to hide this, as mentioned above, but this seems like it would be timely and not very sustainable. 

Any ideas? Work arounds?  student_data groups #student privacy

Hi Sarah

We haven't been able to find many options. What we do do is only display first names (not family names) in the profile area. Some academics don't like this because they may have more than one Sally and can't tell which Sally has posted in a forum. You can tell from the gradebook of course. We also had anonymous grading implemented but that caused other problems for academics doing particular types of activities so we had to turn that off. To be honest, this is not an area of strength in Canvas. My view is that a student should be able to choose what they share with others in their class at a quite granular level. At the moment that's not possible.

Community Member

This visibility of section enrolments is a major privacy issue for us, too, and not something we have found a resolution for.

@kona Although the custom scripts might work, this would still be liable to breakages with any changes to the code by Canvas engineers, as such there should instead be a feature option developed as a Canvas-engineered solution.

Our institution (UK HE) started using custom scripts in Blackboard and it proved to be a very slippery slope, so we will not be repeating those mistakes.


Community Coach
Community Coach

@s_j_beale - I won't argue that at all! Custom scripts do have to be maintained and continually checked after each Canvas update, so it's not ideal. Yet, for some people, it is worth it to get Canvas to function the way they want now rather than waiting for it to become a built-in part of Canvas. My response was based on the idea that yes, technically it can be done, even if it's not ideal.