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Community Member

two students - same email address

I have a family that has a second child joining our school.  The first child took my courses and now the second child will be taking the same courses. Because they are using the same email address and do not seem to want to change it, I was wondering how the second child can have an independent account.  All the work shows up as completed because the course has the same content.  It was exported and imported for the new school year, but mostly the same course.  So when I  invite her to it, even though I change the name of the course each year ( adding year) , it is showing completed. 

What can be done?

3 Replies
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Hi Miss Gotzy,

I am guessing that your school uses the email address as the students login?  If that is the case then there is no way for two students to use the same email account yet be independent. 

Not to mention I'm sure it's against some kind of FERPA guidelines to allow for this to happen because messages get sent to that email address and even though they are siblings you still wouldn't want one sibling to see a note from the other siblings teacher. 

Email address are so readily available these days I'm not sure why the parents wouldn't want their child to have a separate email account other than it's just another thing they will have to monitor and ensure they don't forget the password to it. 

I am also going to share this over with the K-12‌ and Canvas Admins‌ groups to see if others may have had this same scenario happen to them and can provide you with some additional insight into how they handled it.


Community Coach
Community Coach


I have to admit I am with on this one in that it may represent something that should be considered from an auditing perspective.

I thought that I would go into some of the options, and some of the issues, so that you can share these with the parents to help them understand the need for a second email account.

Option 1: Share an email address

Provided you are using a new instance of the course each term, you could (in theory) enrol the old account in the new edition of the course. However, as Brian has mentioned, this would result in one student getting the other's emails. I would also identify that this would mean either student could submit the other's work, resulting in a scenario where you could not guarantee that the work was genuinely completed by one student over the other. In Higher Ed, this is something we simply could not accept, however, your instance may be different.

This would also result in shared calendars, possibly confused messages, and provide no clear oversight for the parent using the parent app, of the progress of each child individually.

Option 2: Create a custom dedicated login with the login_id NOT an email address

Dependant on the systems that are set up for your institution, (and how your users authenticate), if you use Canvas Local accounts (with no external authentication) you could have an account created where the login id is anything that is not an email address, such as 'jcitizen' if the student were named John or Jane citizen). Then after the account is created, you would need to manually set a password the first time around, and then log in and set up the notification email address.

This would provide the option of having a separate dedicated account, but would enable the same email address to be used for notifications. The downside here is that either student could reset the other's password, again, this may not be an acceptable compromise.

Option 3: Separate Email Addresses

As you can imagine (and have already identified) this is the best possible route. It will ensure that each student is correctly segmented, give the parents the ability to view the student's separately, ensure they are focusing on their own work (and the younger student does not feel overwhelmed by the older student's work and assignments).

I would propose this to the parents to also ensure that yourself as the teacher, and the school, have confidence that each student is submitting their own work, it maintains auditability (which, again for us in Higher-Ed is of critical importance, I anticipate this could be similar), it means the teachers can message the students directly, knowing which one they will be speaking to as well.

I also thing it is very important to enable the students to have their own name showing (as that could confuse matters further) as well as permit them to have their own account images. That helps their fellow student's in the class know who they are interacting with, and gives them a personalised experience. All of which will become more important as they progress to the later years of K-12.

Hopefully I have given a couple of options (Option 2 will likely be a new one you may need to investigate), but moreso, some good discussion points with the parents on why a separate email address is not only recommended, but necessary.

Happy to give any other pointers if you have any questions, and I hope that is of some good use!


Community Coach
Community Coach‌,

Were 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.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.



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