Custom Role Name on "View All or Customize" screen

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


  Idea will be open for vote May 5th, 2015 - August 5th, 2015  Learn more about voting...


In our Administrative Pages of Canvas, we created a custom role called "Viewer" which is based on the "Teacher" Base Type.  This "Viewer" custom role allows us to enroll our faculty in "Master Term" courses to view curriculum but not make changes to it.  Also, they can still import content from this term into their own sections.  However, if you take a look at the example screen shot, the "View All or Customize" screen just indicates that an instructor is "Enrolled as a teacher"...even though when we invited the instructor to a course, we chose our "Viewer" custom role.


On this "View All or Customize" screen, it would be helpful if it actually said "Enrolled as a Viewer" (or whatever custom name you created) instead.  This would reflect the kind of access that the instructor truly has to that course.  Currently, our faculty would have to click on each course to determine if he/she has the ability to edit content.


Also, if it doesn't already, the e-mail invite that gets sent to the instructor should show the name of the custom role that the person has been given for a course.



Comments from Instructure

This change was fixed in our April 1 release. The engineering ticket was noted as a bug fix but did not include any support cases. Release notes indicate fixed bugs for behaviors that have affected a lot of our customers, and in this case, we couldn’t fully note the effect. We’ve learned a few things about our engineering tickets since then and have been trying to err on the side of noting any fix that may have a notable implication, and we apologize for inadvertently neglecting this change. We are glad that you are now able to view your custom roles!

Community Champion

Wow, that's weird. Never noticed that, but you're right, it happens with our custom role too. Have you tried submitting a ticket to see if it's a bug? Looks like a bug to me.

Coach Emeritus

This isn't a bug, it's because the "viewer" custom role is originally based on the "teacher" role. When you go to create a new role you have to base it off of one of the original Canvas roles (ex: Teacher, Student). This is the way Canvas just does things with permissions. sadpanda​

We had this same problem when we were trying to create a special student TA role. We first based it off the Teacher role and actual teachers freaked out because it said "enrolled as a teacher." We had to go back and start with the student role and then try and figure out what permissions to add to get it back to where we wanted it.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I believe I did chat with the Help Desk staff at one time about this, but as  @kona ​ has said, it's just the way Canvas works right now.  sadpanda​

Community Champion

Okay. Certainly is another case of inconsistency, though, given that the person is able to see the custom role on their Courses drop-down, and then it changes to teacher (or whatever the custom role was based on) when they go to View All. That's just odd.


Community Coach
Community Coach

Nice find,  @tdelillo ​.  You're right...that does seem inconsistent.  Only 23 more votes to go.

Community Contributor

I raised a ticket today on why the new role appears in course but not user profile ...very confusing for admins or those responsible for enroling users

response so far

  1. We have a situation where we have created a new role based on TA  called Programme Management. However when you look at course people section the role says Programme Management  but the person’s profile / enrollments  displays as TA. I have raised a ticket on this as not sure this is actually what I should be seeing
  2. We have also attempted to create additional roles based on student permissions / role but have had to delete these and would recommend that no additional roles are created at all based on student

Being able to (un)enrol users by role across more than one course at a time would also be a real admin time saver

response to ticket 1 June so far

  • We will need to look into this more closely with our colleagues and developers, I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
  • I have reported the issue to our engineers for further investigation
Community Contributor

This is the reply to my ticket whcih is now on hold

I spoke to our engineers and this is currently being considered for future releases, but in the short-term, it is not slated. If you want to expedite the process you can vote on this feature idea: or even reach out to your CSM and they can add your institution to the list of schools that see this as important.

Community Champion

We have noticed this as well and found that it also is occuring in the inbox.  We have a few custom roles that we need to show up in the courses: 

  • Librarians
  • Tutors
  • Advisor

Having them listed as Teachers, TA, or Student is not helpful. 


Our departments that handle training for faculty and staff would like to have roles for "Trainer" and "Participant", because labeling a faculty member as a student is considered insulting by our faculty body and is not appropriate. 

At our college, not having the ability to change the name from "Teacher" to "Instructor" or "Professor" anywhere that the role name shows has also been a complaint. 

Community Champion

Wow, good catch. That's even worse that the user profile confusion. I would open a ticket on that...

Community Champion

Hi Tracey,

I submitted a ticket and I've pasted the responses below.  Not really an answer or something easy for the students to use. 

Response from Canvas:  This is a follow-up to our chat earlier. You contacted Canvas Support today because students were not able to interact with tutors or librarians within canvas inbox. To resolve the issue we determined that the users could be found under the roles they were copied from. If you come across this issue again or have any additional questions about Canvas, please don't hesitate to email us at

My reply: I actually contacted support because they are not easy to find by role.  The students should be able to easily find the tutor or librarian simply by looking at the roles.  The students would not know that their tutor has a role that was copied from a student role.  They should see a list such as: 

  • Student
  • TA
  • Teacher
  • Tutor
  • Librarian

Instead of simply student, TA and teacher. 

Response from Canvas:  I was doing some testing in my course, and found out when you create a role, you get an option to base the role off of a current role (for example, I created a role "Tutor" and Base Type was "Teacher"). So now when I log in as a student and go to my inbox that role is under "Teachers" when I search in the inbox. So if the tutor role was set up with Base Type of Student it will be under the students category in the inbox. Which I am seeing is the case here, Student One is the "Tutor" and if login as another student go into inbox and select "students" from the phone book you will see Student One is in that category. I understand how this can be confusing for students, you can add this to the Canvas Community forums they make it easier to find answers to questions. This forum is a great place for asking other instructional designers and power users how they go about designing their courses and solving instructional problems within Canvas. Canvas Coaches who moderate this forum are expert users with great ideas and always willing to help. Please let us know if you have any additional questions; happy to help.