Permission for Observers - Uncouple Discussions and Announcements

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


  Idea open for vote Wed. January 6, 2016 - Wed. April 6, 2016  Learn more about voting...


As a K-12 institution, when we were setting the parameters of the observer role for our parents, we were obliged to disable the ability to see discussions to protect our students' privacy.  Unfortunately, disabling discussions also prevents our parents from being able to see the announcements our teachers and counselors post.  Many of these announcements are meant to be seen by both students and parents.


An improvement would be uncoupling discussions and announcements within the permissions settings so that an institution can choose to disable/enable each feature individually as needed.



  Comment from Instructure


For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-03-12) .
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. January 6, 2016 - Wed. April 6, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

Community Champion

I just disabled observer abilities to see discussions because of this. What if parent observers could see discussions but only see the replies of the student they are observing? I would like that even better.

Community Contributor

These definitely need to be separate permissions in the K-12 arena.  Observers needs to see Announcements but not discussions of other students int the class.  This is a privacy concern so we too have it disabled.

Community Team
Community Team

I agree with Matt. That functionality would be great!

Community Contributor

More granularity is an upgrade that Canvas permissions need in general. I'm a huge fan of anything that will get the ball rolling!

Community Contributor

This needs to be implemented asap. In the case of a parent as an observer, there are privacy issues around them being able to see other students' posts. In this case the ability to see a discussion should be restricted for parents. They shouldn't, however, be prevented from seeing announcements! I'm scratching my head as to why the two are in the same category - they are clearly different things.

I shall add it to the 'Canvas Quirks' list of mine!

Community Novice

This is a priority. We are unable to use discussions due to privacy and disabling for observers disables the announcements. It's a real weakness in Canvas as discussions is a basic tool that is essential in education. If I had known this I would have seriously considered another product.

Community Novice

Agreed. While there is a balance between too much granularity / complexity and ease of use, I feel we are at the simplistic end and need more control over the finer permissions. We have set up a couple of other user types to try to standardise permissions / features, but the limitations of low granularity make this less effective than it could be.

Community Novice

I totally agree that this is a priority. Today's parents are tech-savvy and used to tools that help them stay involved in their child's education. 

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

It's a great day when you find a feature request you're already working on! In fact, this enhancement is live on Beta. We would really love to get your feedback on the changes we've made to address this issue. You may need to work with your Canvas Admin to disable the "View Discussions" permission first at the account or sub-account level, but once you do, you should be able to see this feature in action if you are logged in as an Observer (i.e. see Announcements but not Discussions). Please check it out and let us know what you think!