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Community Member

Has anyone created a student community that is run by students?

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Our school system is considering setting up a Student Community at each school that is run by, and for students and only monitored by teachers.  This would encompass an overall course for announcements and resources and would make extensive use of groups for sports teams, academic and social clubs and more.  The challenge I'm running into is what permissions to give certain students so that they can in fact act as the teachers of the course.  We want to provide a small select group of students the ability to author pages, send out announcements, post resources, create modules, online polls and establish groups.  Essentially they need a 'teacher' role, but our overall Canvas account has a custom java script that looks for 'teachers' and provides additional icons and resource access on the interface that students and parent / observers do not have.  So every customized role that I've tried to create from teacher triggers the extra icons / access which we cannot allow.  Modified Student and observer permissions are inherently restricted and do not allow for creating or managing groups, adding pages, assignments, sections, course state, creating discussions, add/remove students / teachers.   

Has anyone done something like this, and/or do you have suggestions on how we can give select students a lot of control like a teacher, but one that is not based on 'teacher' permissions?

Thanks

1 Solution

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Community Member

So just to close the loop, we did end up building a student run community (course) and it is working great.  Here is what we did....

I created a new custom role called "Student Leader" which is actually based on the Observer role, but it is not connected to any other students.  We assigned about 30 students (out of an 1,100 student HS) to be the owners.  There are also about 5 'teachers' who supervise what is going as well.  What is quirky is that the observer permissions, let you create and edit pages and do almost everything a teacher can do in Canvas if you check all the right permissions when creating the custom role.  The one exception we found was that Student Leaders / Observers can't create groups, but that is fine.  The regular teachers create the groups when needed and the student leaders / observer manage them.  So the students are building the pages, modules, graphics work, running discussions, and doing a great job writing html to make things function very nicely.  They use the course to communicate school wide events, sports, after school clubs, school policies, school spirit, college preparation and more.  The analytics on the course show that significant amounts of students are logging in regularly and best of all, this is something that they use almost exclusively on their phones as nearly every student has a smart phone.  The course is by enrollment only, so only the students from that school, their parent observers, and staff from that school can see it.  We plan to expand the program to all 12 of our high schools next year and wanted to be sure that the audience was limited to just those who have a relationship to that school.  This has been a very motivational exercise for the student leaders that are involved and they now have a better understanding of how to help their teachers with their Canvas courses.

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9 Replies
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Community Coach
Community Coach

joseph_allen@hcpss.org​, since you've got the customized scripts I'm thinking this might be a difficult one. The people who might be best suited to helping with this question are the Canvas Developers​ group in the Community. I'm going to go ahead and share it with them and hopefully someone there will have a suggestion for you!

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Learner II

You may be able to base it off of the TA or Designer role which shouldn't trigger the customized icons but give you as close to a teacher role as possible. You could then go and modify it to include any extra permissions granted to teachers. Out of the box I think that TA's have pretty identical permissions to Teachers except they do not have access to the SIS data. With our TA's we needed to enable that in order for them to view and identify them by their institution student IDs. Designer permissions also seem to have more permissions that the TA role check out this article for a better overview of course-level roles: http://guides.instructure.com/m/4214/l/73660-what-are-the-differences-between-course-level-roles-and...

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Thanks Tyler.  Here is my own anecdotal research.  Canvas really only has 4 roles - student, admin, teacher, and observer.  Everything like TA, Designer, etc. are derivations of those 4 roles. My first attempt at creating this leader role for students was based off the TA role, but when we tested it, it appeared as 'teacher' to our java script and showed the icons and content we don't want to show to students.   I will keep looking at that and trying to tweak, but if I'm right about the 4 basic roles (you can only assign these 4 roles via CSV as well, not custom roles) then I'm in a quandry.  

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Hi Joe,

I had a chat with Kenneth about this and he said in your javascript you could also make a call to the API to get the user's official role in the course and that could get you a way to keep those items hidden from the student group teachers. We also wish that the ENV variable could include custom roles and not just the 4 basic ones. We have several things that are shown to only the teacher role but we also have cases were students are also teachers, so in either role they are shown the content. Another alternative we have done in the past is to keep a array of user ids in our scripts that control what gets displayed to them only. Its not ideal because it undoes all the conveniences of adding by CSV but it is very effective.

I had a look at the sis imports CSV documentation and the ability to add users with custom roles is supported in the enrollments.csv https://canvas.instructure.com/doc/api/file.sis_csv.html . You can either give the role name or the role_id and it will add them.

Best,

Tyler

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Yes, I was wondering about this, because we are loading custom roles in our enrollments load.

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Community Team
Community Team

Hi joseph_allen@hcpss.org, we haven't had any updates on this thread for a while; did tyler.clair@usu.edu​'s proposed solution work for you?

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Community Team
Community Team

Also, I know this isn't what you're asking here, joseph_allen@hcpss.org, but given your interest in setting up a Student Community at your school, I wonder if you'd be interested in adding your feedback to my Community feature idea for a Student Group?

(And while I'm driving by, have you had a chance to implement Tyler Clair's solution?)

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Community Coach
Community Coach

joseph_allen@hcpss.org​,

Where you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.

Robbie

Community Member

So just to close the loop, we did end up building a student run community (course) and it is working great.  Here is what we did....

I created a new custom role called "Student Leader" which is actually based on the Observer role, but it is not connected to any other students.  We assigned about 30 students (out of an 1,100 student HS) to be the owners.  There are also about 5 'teachers' who supervise what is going as well.  What is quirky is that the observer permissions, let you create and edit pages and do almost everything a teacher can do in Canvas if you check all the right permissions when creating the custom role.  The one exception we found was that Student Leaders / Observers can't create groups, but that is fine.  The regular teachers create the groups when needed and the student leaders / observer manage them.  So the students are building the pages, modules, graphics work, running discussions, and doing a great job writing html to make things function very nicely.  They use the course to communicate school wide events, sports, after school clubs, school policies, school spirit, college preparation and more.  The analytics on the course show that significant amounts of students are logging in regularly and best of all, this is something that they use almost exclusively on their phones as nearly every student has a smart phone.  The course is by enrollment only, so only the students from that school, their parent observers, and staff from that school can see it.  We plan to expand the program to all 12 of our high schools next year and wanted to be sure that the audience was limited to just those who have a relationship to that school.  This has been a very motivational exercise for the student leaders that are involved and they now have a better understanding of how to help their teachers with their Canvas courses.

View solution in original post