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Community Member

Parent Accounts - What can we expect?

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We're a mid-size school district with around 14,000 students on Canvas.  Our district has been using Canvas for several years, but until now we have not offered Canvas parent accounts. We're expecting quite a bit of interest when this is announced since parents have been asking for this access. This brings up the question of support.  

We'd appreciate feedback from districts who also implemented Canvas Parent after initial implementation.

1. What was your plan for parent support?  Did parents contact the schools, a centralized Help Desk, Canvas Support?

2. What was the volume of calls to begin and how long did the initial rush last?

3. What types of questions did you receive?  What support did the parents require?

4. Any unexpected challenges?

Thank you for your assistance!

Update 5/4/18

I thought I'd post an update on a few things that might contribute to the knowledge base on parent accounts.

1. After we rolled out, we had difficulties with our parents getting error messages when they attempted to create their accounts in the browser.  This was odd, because we'd thoroughly tested prior.  It turns out there was a conflict between the parent setup our staff/student LDAP authentication, even though the parent requests were never hitting our system.  That was fixed by Instructure, but it slowed down the roll-out because the build up for parents was met with errors and then a hold while we figured out what the issue was.  Perhaps it would have been best to start with a single school for marketing purposes, even though parent gets turned on for everyone at once.  Hindsight is 20/20!

2. pcraighill@instructure.com posted his parent update. Canvas Parent 2.0! We're really happy to see this.  We'd decided to only release the browser version this spring, but the new release will make it possible to turn the app on as well.

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Instructure
Instructure

We too just added parent access. We implemented district-wide 85,000 students in August and got so many requests for parent access, by parents, that we decided to open it up. We created support documents for teachers to prepare their course with homepages that explained their usage of Canvas. We also created a public Parent Tour that explains what, how and why of Canvas Observer role. 

Currently, parents are calling our district support line with Canvas concerns and most have to do with login information.

We are planning to expand support if we see increased call volume but right now it is manageable with 1 parent help desk personnel who also supports other parent systems. We are meeting with coaches and parent support specialists to help build awareness of tool, pedagogy and support resources. 

A challenge: 

Parents can access some features, such as LTIs if they are available in the course navigation. For example, parents can authenticate their personal Google Drive as they are viewing their child's course. We aren't really certain why a parent would need to do this? Because the LTI is attached to course and not user, we do not have a way of disabling this other than advising teachers to hide LTI from navigation, which also hides it from students. For other LTIs, sometimes a parent account is created(licensing and $) or the parent gets an error message (communication challenge). Hoping Canvas will realize parent observer role should have a different level of visibility to LTIs. 

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Instructure
Instructure

We too just added parent access. We implemented district-wide 85,000 students in August and got so many requests for parent access, by parents, that we decided to open it up. We created support documents for teachers to prepare their course with homepages that explained their usage of Canvas. We also created a public Parent Tour that explains what, how and why of Canvas Observer role. 

Currently, parents are calling our district support line with Canvas concerns and most have to do with login information.

We are planning to expand support if we see increased call volume but right now it is manageable with 1 parent help desk personnel who also supports other parent systems. We are meeting with coaches and parent support specialists to help build awareness of tool, pedagogy and support resources. 

A challenge: 

Parents can access some features, such as LTIs if they are available in the course navigation. For example, parents can authenticate their personal Google Drive as they are viewing their child's course. We aren't really certain why a parent would need to do this? Because the LTI is attached to course and not user, we do not have a way of disabling this other than advising teachers to hide LTI from navigation, which also hides it from students. For other LTIs, sometimes a parent account is created(licensing and $) or the parent gets an error message (communication challenge). Hoping Canvas will realize parent observer role should have a different level of visibility to LTIs. 

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Thanks Lauren, this is great information.  I'd not considered the LTI implications.  We have a limited number of LTI subscriptions, so I'll check with them about how they handle the observer role.  We'll need to test the Google and O365 LTI access.  It's also of interest to hear that you're getting calls from parents with login issues.  I suspected this might result in support calls and your post confirms it.  I found your parent tour on the website and am looking forward to checking it out. 

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Lauren, I'd like to give this another week to see if we get any additional feedback.  At that time, I'll mark this question as answered.  I took a look at the AISD Blend course.  Wow - kuddos to your team!

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Thanks! Yes, I too would love to hear from others. We have only been live with Parent Observer access for about three weeks... lots to learn. 

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Hi lauren.fox@instructure.comyour experience with this is so valuable for all of us. Thanks for sharing. 

I'm interested in the Parent Tour you created. What format was it in? 

And thanks kristin.bayless@vansd.orgfor initiating this discussion.I'm keen to see how your district progresses with this also.

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Community Member

Hi Kristie - I think the parent tour resource that Lauren demonstrated is very critical.  Something that is self-service and available any time. We have a similar course and also made a YouTube at the start of the school year explaining our resources.   I think you can expect mostly calls about logins.  No matter how you provision, some will still call.  We re-direct back to the schools as much as possible as we are not centrally staffed to support parents.  We help the schools with questions they can't answer.  Don't underestimate social media.  When some parents are displeased about something, they will take to Facebook or Twitter and you can have a situation get out of hand before you even knew there was one, so try to monitor those channels as best as you can. 

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Very helpful points thanks joseph_allen@hcpss.orgThanks for the resource share also. We are going through the process of how/when to introduce the app. So all of these tips are gold.

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joseph_allen@hcpss.org

Thanks for your feedback.  This is really helpful. Two points in particular - the one about social media and the one about staffing for parent support were helpful.  I'm looking forward to checking out your resources.

After looking into this further, I've made the recommendation that we turn on the apps or the browser, but not both.  Each has positives and negatives, but they're handled so differently internally, I don't even want to go there with trying to support both.

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Learner II

HI lauren.fox@instructure.com‌ 

We have a 'how to' video for parents to log into Sentral (student admin management system) and Canvas for CCWC Parents, however, I love the tour idea. Takes it to the next level. Great idea for us as we are starting a new year tomorrow! david.summerville@det.nsw.edu.au

Thanks!