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Community Member

Limit to # of sub account levels?

My college is about to start a migration from Bb to Canvas; as part of the process, I have been asked to research best structures for our Canvas sub-account hierarchy. I do understand that it is best to keep a database hierarchy from being too deep or too wide, but there are seemingly 1000 ways to set up our Canvas instance.

In many of the examples that I have found (for higher education), it seems that most hierarchies are 3 levels of sub-account or less. Is this a hard-limitation? 

I did find 1 example (from  @bmerkel  at Maryville University); in this instance, it seems that the hierarchy is 4 sub-account levels deep. I really like the Maryville structure, but it is literally the only one I have seen that is this deep. In the conference presentation, it also seems that Brian noted that the "zone" level had to be "created as a special effort"... I would appreciate clarification; can Canvas support 4 sub-account levels w/o special programming? 

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Community Team
Community Team

Hello,  @v_ghays , and welcome to Canvas and the Canvas Community! Account structure is largely the purview of‌, so I've shared your question with that group. If you're not yet a member and would like to join, you can do so by clicking on the group link and selecting Join Group from the Actions dropdown at the upper right of the group home page.

Community Contributor

Canvas itself can support as many sub-account levels as you want. My goal was to have the subaccounts mirror the SIS (and university business rules) as close as possible to try and minimize special programming. Our zones (online vs. on ground) actually wasn't that special or complicated. These were determined by our SIS's instructional method code which was part of the course record. We just wanted to segregate fully online courses from everything else.

The special programming came in when we generated the sis_course_id for the individual courses. Our SIS uses a unique 7 digit number for the course id. I wanted the course id to reflect its place in the hierarchy, something human readable and easily referenced at a glance. Doing this upfront made it easier to some other custom tool work easier down the road.

Also, it's worth mentioning that our SIS integration is one way.... SIS>Canvas. We don't use any grade passback or have anything that needs to reference back to the original SIS version of the course id.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello  @v_ghays ‌...

I thought that I would check in with you because there hasn't been any new activity in this particular discussion topic since your initial question and the responses from stefaniesanders‌ and  @bmerkel ‌ on February 15th.  Have you had a chance to review the feedback from Brian?  Did it help to answer your question?  Or, are you still seeking assistance with ideas on your account/sub-account setup?  If you could please post a message below to provide an update for members of the Canvas Community, that would be great.  For now, since there hasn't been any new activity for quite a while, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional replies below.  I hope that's okay with you.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon, Gwendolyn.