Roles in Canvas


Important: Users in the Teacher, TA and Designer roles have access to private student data that is protected by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). We strongly recommend that any user who has any of these roles complete the AACRAO FERPA Training for UNM Personnel, EOD course number 795, in Learning Central.


Roles in Canvas control what permissions users have within the course. Teachers (instructors) have the most permissions and students have the least permissions. Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Designers have fewer permissions than Teachers but more than students.

One of the main tools you will notice is missing with the Teacher role in Canvas (compared to the Instructor role in UNM Learn) is the ability for Teachers to enroll course assistants ( TAs and Designers). We discovered a FERPA concern that necessitated disabling the built-in "+People" Canvas tool for instructors to be able to add course assistants. In the future, we hope to build a custom tool that addresses the FERPA concern so Teachers may eventually be able to enroll their own assistants.

Assistants should only be added to courses to meet business needs. This means they are helping the instructor with the course in some way (e.g., adding materials, grading, providing student support, etc.). Due to security and student privacy/ FERPA considerations, these roles should NOT be used to give unregistered students access to courses for academic needs (i.e., they want or need to learn the material). The university-supported business process for giving a student access to a course when the student doesn't want to take it for credit is for the student to register to audit the course. The auditor, having paid the tuition fee, is allowed full participation in class activities including access to the course in Canvas.


To request to have TAs or Designers enrolled in order to meet a UNM business need, please fill out and submit the 
Course Assistant Request Form.





Teachers (Canvas equivalent of the Instructor role in UNM Learn) have all course-level permissions needed to effectively teach a class in Canvas, including:

  • Analytics - view pages
  • Announcements – add / edit / delete
  • Conversations - send messages to entire class and individual course members
  • Course Calendar - add / edit / delete
  • Course Content - add / edit / delete / export / import / share in Commons
  • Course Sections – view
  • Courses - view usage reports
  • Discussions – create / delete / moderate / post / view
  • Grades – edit, select final grade for moderation, view all grades, view audit trail
  • Groups – add / edit / delete
  • Learning Outcomes - add / edit / delete / import
  • Manage Assignments and Quizzes - add / delete / edit (deleting graded items also deletes student submissions and grades)
  • Manage Course Files - add / delete / edit
  • Manage Courses - publish
  • Manage Groups - add / delete / manage
  • Manage Pages - create / delete / update
  • People – view
  • Question banks - view and link
  • Rubrics - add / edit / delete
  • Settings - view and manage course settings, view sections, manage course navigation, add apps, manage Feature Options
  • SIS Data - read
  • Users - view list, login IDs

Limitations: Due to FERPA, legal, scheduling and other concerns the following permissions are disabled:

  • Adding LTIs
  • Resetting courses
  • Concluding courses
  • Enrolling users (Students must be registered for the course to have access. For course assistants, please fill out and submit the Course Assistant Request Form.)

TAs (Canvas equivalent of the Teaching Assistant role in UNM Learn) have the same permissions as Teachers with these exceptions:  

  • Grades - cannot view the audit trail
  • Manage Courses - cannot publish courses

Designers (Canvas equivalent of the Course Builder role in UNM Learn) have the same permissions as TAs with these exceptions:

  • Analytics - cannot view most analytics related to student activity but can still see some analytics such as course analytics and the last login for each student.
  • Grades - cannot edit, view or select final grade for moderation

Note: Although the Designer role does not have access to student submissions and the Grade Center in Canvas, some third-party tools in use in the course may reveal grade or submission data to users in this role.

  • New Quizzes - not currently supported for the Designer role but is something the vendor plans to add in the future
  • SIS Data - cannot view
  • Users - cannot view login IDs