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Restore dynamic subaccount-based groups to Canvas Commons

Restore dynamic subaccount-based groups to Canvas Commons


The June 12 release of Canvas Commons (Commons Release Notes (2016-06-12) replaced the previous subaccount-based sharing permissions structure with a new "Groups" model. These Groups require manual management, either by a campus administrator or an individual designated as a Group Manager.


The previous subaccount-based sharing model allowed instructors to more dynamically share resources with their departmental colleagues without any need to identify and individually designate each one as a group member. At an institution as large as ours, with over 40,000 active Canvas users, manually managing groups quickly becomes an unsustainable process.


Although the new groups model provides some useful ways to support cross-departmental collaboration and resource sharing, removing the ability to dynamically restrict access to Commons resources by subaccount is overall a significant downgrade to Commons' usability and functionality. The subaccount-level sharing should be reinstated, complementing the new option to manually create and manage Commons groups.

New Member

Any news on when this will implemented?

Community Contributor

New Canvas admin here...

I'm struggling to understand why the previous workflow of sub-account --> Commons sharing was removed. Adding this functionality back in as an option will make it easier to administer Commons for specific academic units.

Community Champion

Exactly. Adding groups as an option to Commons sharing is great, but it should not have necessitated removing sub-account sharing. C'mon Canvas!

New Member

University on Melbourne is seriously considering adding groups for subaccounts via scripts into Commons but this is really a huge amount of work and with the current UI won't scale properly.  you end up with a massive list of groups for some users which is not workable.  The scalability of any UI element needs to be considered but that should not be a reason to not do this.