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Learner II

Students who Audit Courses

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Hi, everyone,

We are a new Canvas school and we have integrated our SIS with Canvas such that it creates students, teachers and courses for us in Canvas.  There are, however, a handful of people who attend classes as Audits, not for credit, who also need access to the courses/assignments.  We needed a strategy for this, since there is no built-in auditing role (which is odd).

We began a resolution for this process by creating users for them (if they were not already Canvas users), and then creating an "Audit" course role, which was based upon the Student role.  We then enroll the auditing student, assigning them the role of Audit.  Shortly thereafter, our integration kicks them out because it "owns" Student roles and the Audit role, although named "Audit" is apparently just another name for Student. 

So, now I have created another role based on Observer named Auditing and assigned that to those individuals (after removing them and readding them...why can't I just change the role?).  That seems to be holding, but in the People list, it lists these individuals as "Observing:Nobody," which is a little misleading and even alarming to some.

How are your schools managing audits?  We can't be the only school that allows people to audit a class.  Suggestions?  Thoughts?  All are welcome.

Thanks, Vi

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Community Coach
Community Coach

My answer won't be very helpful, but I can hopefully try and explain a couple things you've mentioned in your question.

So, now I have created another role based on Observer named Auditing and assigned that to those individuals (after removing them and readding them...why can't I just change the role?).

This is a known issue in the "People" pages of a course where you can't just change the role, but you have to first drop them and then re-add them.  See this, now archived, Feature Idea for more information:

That seems to be holding, but in the People list, it lists these individuals as "Observing:Nobody," which is a little misleading and even alarming to some.

Understanding why you'd want to not use the Student base type to create your "Audit" role, I found these Canvas Guides for you re: the "Observer" role:

How do I add observers and TAs to my course?

How do I link a student to an Observer in my course?

How do I remove observers and TAs from my course?

I'm a little curious as to why you'd still be seeing "Observing: Nobody" on the "People" screen if you created an "Audit" role based on that base type.  We created a "Viewer" role based on the "Teacher" base type, and when we add someone to a course in Canvas, it shows up as "Viewer" on the "People" tab.  However if you are also referring to the "View All or Customize" screen where it also shows the role of an individual, you might want to check out my Feature Idea I had posted here...along with the conversation:

Sorry I don't have a more complete answer, but hopefully some of this info is helpful to you.

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4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

vrichter@exeter.edu, this probably won't be that helpful, but all students who audit courses at our Institution still have to be registered for the course. Because of this we are able to add them as students just like we would regular students and our automated systems don't kick them out.

Community Coach
Community Coach

My answer won't be very helpful, but I can hopefully try and explain a couple things you've mentioned in your question.

So, now I have created another role based on Observer named Auditing and assigned that to those individuals (after removing them and readding them...why can't I just change the role?).

This is a known issue in the "People" pages of a course where you can't just change the role, but you have to first drop them and then re-add them.  See this, now archived, Feature Idea for more information:

That seems to be holding, but in the People list, it lists these individuals as "Observing:Nobody," which is a little misleading and even alarming to some.

Understanding why you'd want to not use the Student base type to create your "Audit" role, I found these Canvas Guides for you re: the "Observer" role:

How do I add observers and TAs to my course?

How do I link a student to an Observer in my course?

How do I remove observers and TAs from my course?

I'm a little curious as to why you'd still be seeing "Observing: Nobody" on the "People" screen if you created an "Audit" role based on that base type.  We created a "Viewer" role based on the "Teacher" base type, and when we add someone to a course in Canvas, it shows up as "Viewer" on the "People" tab.  However if you are also referring to the "View All or Customize" screen where it also shows the role of an individual, you might want to check out my Feature Idea I had posted here...along with the conversation:

Sorry I don't have a more complete answer, but hopefully some of this info is helpful to you.

View solution in original post

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi vrichter@exeter.edu​...

We haven't heard from you in a few weeks, so I wanted to check in with you to see if you still had questions about this.  Can you please let us know so that we are able to help or find someone that might be able to provide further assistance for you?

Community Team
Community Team

vrichter@exeter.edu​, since we haven't heard from you in awhile, we're hopeful that one of the responses above has helped you manage roles for students who are auditing courses. I'll mark chofer@morainepark.edu​'s answer as correct, but the topic will remain open for participation, so feel free to post again if you still need help with this.