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Community Member

How do I access a group as "test student" or the student role of a dual-role teacher?

I'm trying to communicate with my students in groups by sending messages to the groups.  But apparently they are not all seeing the messages.  They do see announcements I think, or at least they are looking for announcements.

I'm experimenting with other options in my sandbox where I'm set up a student as well as a teacher (dual roles).

The issues (any of which if solved probably leads to the solution) are:

  • I can't figure out how to login as the student in my University of Washington Canvas account.
  • I can't add "test student" to a group.
  • I can't create a student user at the UW that isn't already in their list of IDs

As an alternative, I'm trying to do something similar on the Canvas public site where I have a test course set up.  I finally figured out that the reason nothing was happening with the invitations was because the course hadn't been published.  After that I had trouble because the interface looks a little different, but I think I finally have it set up.  Now I'm waiting for Canvas to send me (the made up students) a message about what I posted.

Meanwhile, I'd still like the answers to the issues so I can do my experiments in the UW Canvas account.  And, I think I've found a better way to do what I wanted without an assignment.  Does it make sense to send individual announcements to each Project team?  Are they any more likely to be seen by students than emails from Canvas?



3 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @pritchm ​...

Although I'm not sure I'll be able to answer all of your questions, I think I can help with at least the first two bullet points you've listed in your question.

  • I can't figure out how to login as the student in my University of Washington Canvas account.

If you are dual-enrolled as both an instructor and a teacher in the same course, I don't know of any way when logging in to your account to tell Canvas you'd like to view the course as a student vs. a teacher (or vice versa).

  • I can't add "test student" to a group.

Correct.  Only actual students can be added to a group within your course.  Unfortunately, the "test student" role can't be added to a group.

Hopefully, some other people will chime in here to help with your other questions.

Community Member

As students can set their own notification preferences, there isn't one sure way to reach all of them instantly. It's good practice to tell them at the beginning of the semester how you'll be contacting them with important information and then be consistent. Send a test message, if they say they don't get it they need to 1) check their notification preferences and/or 2) check their spam folders/filters.
How do I set my Notification Preferences?

At UT Austin, in order to create a dummy student we need to get them a university ID. Our university-wide IT department handles that here, but you'll have to check to see who does it at your university. If you're not a Canvas Admin, check with that team first as they may already have dummy students or another method for helping you test out groups in your course. Usually, we'll meet with a prof, add one of our dummy students (the admin team has these, profs do not), and take them through the process. That's usually enough to make sure everything is set up properly.

I hope this helps.


Learner II

Hi Michael,

 @chofer ​ & lse224​ have correctly answered your bullet items. I just have a couple of things to add that might help.

1) If you are in a course with more than one role, it can cause problems. So I would recommend that you remove the student role from your enrollment and just be enrolled as a teacher.

2) If you would like to communicate with certain groups in your course you can do this using the inbox messaging system in Canvas, but you can also use the group announcement space. I think the group announcement space is advantageous to use because anyone in the group can easily see it in the course group space and it provides a little more permanency/authenticity/historicity by having it out of the inbox. To do this just click on people and navigate to a group's homepage as shown below.