AnsweredAssumed Answered

Why do Account Profile Photos not show up in the People List?

Question asked by Daniel Russell on Jan 13, 2016
Latest reply on Oct 6, 2016 by Stanley Gully

I am using Canvas as an early adopter for my ACS 537, Noise Control Engineering course during Spring 2016 at Penn State.  I have a class with 17 resident students and 44 distance education students.  I have asked (required) all of my students to "introduce" themselves by editing their "Account" by

  1. uploading a recent photo of themselves
  2. adding a Bio that tells the rest of the class who they are, where they work, and some fun things about themselves.

I was hoping that there would be an easy way for other students (and me!!) to be able to find and read this information so that the students (44 distance students scattered across the U.S and Canada) could get to know each other.  But, I am finding that these photos and bios are no so easy to get to.  So, I have a couple of questions:


  • What is the point of giving students the option of changing their profile photo if that photo is not going to show up when you call up the class roster using the People link?
    • I changed the photo for my bio to provide an updated photo of myself for my students to see, but the photo that shows up for my entry in the People roster is the photo from my PSU ID card which was taken 5 years ago.
    • The resident students in my class are also changing the photos for their accounts, but the photos that show up when I pull up the list of students using “People” are the photos from their PSU ID cards — some of which were taken when these students were undergraduate students more than 5 years ago.
    • The Distance Education students are changing the photos for their account bios so that I can begin to put a face to the 44 names, but instead of their account photos showing up, I get a blank circle with “no photo available”.  (see attached screen shot)
    • Why are the photos from a user’s Account bio not displayed in the roster list in the People section?   What its he point of having the option of changing your account photo if that photo is not going to be used for roster lists? Please address and fix this!
  • Why is it so difficult to view the profile information about a student?  The only way to read the bio information for a student, so see their bio introrduction and to view the photo they upload is to click on small Gear Wheel at the right side of student entry in the student list (which then takes about 5 seconds for the information to appear)
    • Why is it not possible to just click on the student name to pull up their bio? Canvas makes a big deal of being able to connect and link to other social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn — both of which make things very easy to view the profile of the user.  Canvas should likewise make it easy to find the profile of the students and faculty in a course.


Most of the students in the courses I teach are Distance Education students and I try very hard to match faces and at least a minimum of personal information to the student names.  In the past when using ANGEL I had to resort to external methods (mostly using Piazza discussion forums) to get students to introduce themselves to the class, share a photo of themselves and tell us who they are.  In fact, Introducing yourself is part of the very first homework assignments in all of my classes.  I was really hoping that Canvas would allow me to have my students introduce themselves to me and to each other in an easy to use format.  But, so far I am extremely disappointed.



Dan Russell



Daniel A. Russell, Ph.D.


Professor of Acoustics & Distance Education Coordinator

Graduate Program in Acoustics
201-D Applied Science Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA  16802

Phone:  (814) 865-6365