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User Activity and Analytics reports for Instructors: Exclude Masquerade activity

User Activity and Analytics reports for Instructors: Exclude Masquerade activity

@For federal and state financial aid reasons, we need very accurate reporting of user activity.  It appears that the activity performed by an admin while masquerading is showing up on the user access report for the course and for the user activity on the people page, which are the places that faculty look to determine the last date of attendance for an  course. We know that Canvas Data has been released, but accurate user activity history needs to be in the hands of faculty as part of the normal business practice of reporting grades and last dates of attendance.


This idea is specifically to exclude any activity performed while masquerading from reports that instructors see, as well as provide easy access of information to admins about who performed these actions. 


Reports for Faculty

We are concerned because the reports that faculty see in the courses currently show any activity done while an admin masquerades as a user as the user's activity.  You can see the examples of this below in the screenshots.


As you can see below, it specifically states that this information would record as the admin performed them and not as the user. This essentially negates the usefulness of the “masquerade as user” functionality since it would adversely affect the user activity record and therefore the information that we report to auditing authorities.



In the documentation at How do I masquerade as a user in an account?, it states that:


While you are masquerading, you can act like the user. You will see what the user sees, but the audit reports will show that you performed those tasks and not the actual user.


These course-level reports are the only way that faculty can get a last date of attendance and this isn't accurately displaying since it looks like the student did this. I was chatting with support and he said that "You will see the mark when they begin masquerading in the users account on the user page views with a /masquerade."


However, these audit logs are only available to Instructure support and not to the Instructors or even institution admins.


After reviewing this information with some help from our next level support we were able to determine the documentation saying that we(instructure) would be able to check our logs and see who did the masquerading and that it was not the students but the person masquerading. Unfortunately this is not associated with reports that are run by the institution. It is in the wording of the documentation that the confusion can be made. when it says You can take any action as though you are the user but the audit logs will show that you performed the tasks while masquerading. This you is referring to Instructure. Your desire for the logs to reflect correctly the masquerading is a great idea and I would love to have you input a feature request for this here:


User report of last activity on People page (prior to masquerading):



After masquerading:





Reports for Admins

Additionally, we would like to request that the “Page Views” area on the users screen for admins by default exclude any masquerade activity.  This activity can be downloaded in the CSV file and is irrelevant in almost any case that we would be researching, or at least make it VERY obvious who performed this action.



Please note that I spoke with two support agents yesterday who told me that the audit logs are available only to instructure support and not institution admins but it looks like this information is shown on the CSV file download on the Page Views screen for admins.

Community Member

Hey Joni! This is a great idea! I will set it to go up for voting with the next group on December 2nd. 😉

Explorer II

Hi,​.  I wanted to let you know that Dropout Detective from Alliance Partner - AspirEDU​ reviews EVERY assignment EVERY night and accurately identifies a "Last Submission Date" for every student.  Our clients use this as the LDA for financial aid purposes.  You can download a CSV file every day and have an updated list of every LDA for every student on a daily basis.

Community Team
Community Team

This idea is now open for voting.

Community Team
Community Team

Upvoted! I have long hoped for a specific designation in the user activity page views that shows that a particular action was not in fact performed by the user but came about as the result of masquerading. This could do it!

Community Member

Great commentstefaniesanders.  While some vendors may suggest that they have a solution there is always an added (and often significant) cost.  This really should be a delivered Canvas functionality.  With the federal financial aid implications the solution detailed would benefit the entire Canvas higher ed community.

Community Team
Community Team

I had offered an idea along these lines in the old Canvas Community, and I actually had to unearth a dusty external hard drive to find the image I used to illustrate my point (note the Firefox version, which dates this screenshot at around mid-2012):


As you can see, I manipulated the image to show which of the page views were mine by adding that big red M to the right of each one. Having this additional field might help to define the data in keeping with the intent and spirit of this feature idea.

Community Coach
Community Coach

This would be very useful, especially when it comes to grade appeals where we have to document and show all activity for a student. It's awkward to try and explain on a print off that these are the student's actual logins and this is where we went in to gather the information for the grade appeal... yet, they all look the same on the report and the only way we know what is what is that we wrote it down before going into  the course. Smiley Sad


There is nothing more professional than giving the Dean of Students an activity report that is marked up in pen to show which was the student and which was an admin or Canvas support! 

Community Coach
Community Coach

This totally made me laugh because I've been there and felt the same thing!

Learner II

This would be really helpful to have accurate activity data logged.