Two New Role Options (PLC Teachers and Paras)
A para and I ran into an issue earlier this semester where she could not see discussions, even when I made them visible to the class. Parents are set as observers and paras are set as observers. Lumping these two categories of student support together creates issues with communication to paras and para access to my course info. A paraprofessional role would help distinguish their support in the classroom.
Cross-collaboration among staff, even just sharing my course with another English teacher who teaches the same section as me, creates issues within Canvas. If I add them as an observer, they cannot access all the material. If I add them as co-teacher, they are getting notifications to grade work and submission notifications that clog and muddle their own organization systems.
@mhurst1 Thanks for sharing this feedback. Have you discussed this with the local Canvas admin for your district? Admins can create custom roles in accordance with their school district's needs, and your admin might be able to resolve this on your behalf.
@Stef_retired I think one big difference between creating a custom role, like a teacher, and the observer account is that the observer is automatically linked to all of the classes that a student is in, which is exactly what we need for paras. However, the responsibilities of paras, special education teachers, and other support staff are different than those of a parent/guardian observer, so the roles need to be separate.
The ideal fix would be a way to create an para role that behaves like a parent observer account and links the para to all of the students he/she/they are responsible for without having to add them to each class individual, but still allows for different permissions than the parent observer.
Unless I'm mistaken, there is not an easy way to do this at present?
@Sopko and @mhurst1 Bestowing a role on a user that provides that user access to all courses would need to be managed tightly and judiciously by the school's Canvas admin to avoid the possibility of FERPA violations; many schools will not allow teachers to view students' activity in any courses other than the ones they themselves teach, and that might be even more critical when considering paraprofessionals. The only roles that allow access to any course without requiring enrollment in those courses are Admin-based roles.
Would you like us to move this forward as a request for a specific course-based role with limited permissions?
@Stef_retired I wouldn't want a role that would allow someone access to all courses and users. We are trying to maintain FERPA by linking paraprofessionals and other support staff as observers using pairing codes the same way we do with parents and guardians. This allows the support staff access only to the students on his or her caseload. However, the needs of support staff are different than those of a parent or guardian. For example, I may want a support staff member to see discussion boards in order to help the student he or she supports craft an appropriate response. However, I would not want the parent observer role to be able to see discussion boards so they would not be able to see comments from all students in the class. What would be ideal here is a way to create multiple types of observers who are paired through the pairing code - one for observer parent/guardians and one role for support staff.
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