Instructional Roles in Canvas

Requesting Instructional (Teacher) Role in Canvas

Different roles in Canvas (such as Teacher, Student, TA, and Observer) have different levels of permissions and access to student information. Georgia Tech’s FERPA policy and data security guidelines require us to make certain that those faculty and graduate students have access to courses in Canvas because they are performing specific duties on behalf of the Institute, and they need an appropriate role assigned to ensure that they can do so. Since Canvas allows for other faculty or graduate students (or, occasionally an undergraduate student serving in a TA role) to be added in an instructional role to assist the official instructor of record, it is important that the appropriate role be assigned for the purpose. The highest level of course access, for example, is for a Teacher role and should not be given to unauthorized people.

There are two main and critical locations for how instructors of courses are identified and reported: Canvas and Banner, which is the official instructional record. All instructors listed on the course in Banner are considered “instructors of record” and have been credentialed through the Office of Faculty Affairs and approved to teach that course by the academic unit. The instructor of record is then assigned to the course section in Banner by the School/College academic scheduler and is assigned the Teacher role in Canvas automatically when the Canvas course is created.

Previously, an instructor who has been assigned a Teacher role in Canvas could add other people to the Teacher role themselves. Effective July 1, 2021, this is no longer the case and granting additional people to the Teacher role will require further justification and approval via the Digital Learning team using the process described below:

In limited cases, it may be that an additional faculty member or graduate student teaching assistant may need the Teacher role. In order to ensure that those assigned to the Teacher role have been properly vetted and whose duties indeed require that level of access, a request must be submitted through the ticketing system (link is below) in order to assign the Teacher role to anyone other than the official instructor of record as listed in Banner. When a request is submitted to add a Teacher role in Canvas, the Digital Learning team will review the request with the Registrar and Office of Faculty Affairs who will make the decision to approve use of the Teacher role for that course.

It is also important for faculty and programs to understand the other roles in Canvas and to use them appropriately. In some instances, a Head Teaching Assistant role in Canvas is appropriate for the duties assigned to the faculty member or student. In other cases, a Teaching Assistant role is appropriate. The Head teaching Assistant and Teaching Assistant roles may be added by the instructor of record without making a request through the Digital Learning team.  More information about the available Canvas roles and associated permissions may be found here: Canvas Roles and Permissions.

Please review that information and submit a ServiceNow ticket if you have questions or need assistance.

Canvas Announcement – Fall 2021

In accordance with Institute policies related to data security, FERPA, and CIOS, starting Fall 2021, faculty will no longer have the ability to grant the Teacher role to additional instructors to their Canvas courses. Only those faculty who are added as an official Instructor of Record in Banner will hold the Teacher role in Canvas. Additional roles may be assigned based on the access need of the user.
This change may cause some inconvenience, but depending on the specific circumstances, there are options to consider:

  • To share materials with another instructor: copy your materials to a sandbox in Canvas.
  • Another GT instructor wants to participate in your course for various reasons: add them with the Observer role, if possible. Alternatively, add the instructor in Banner.
  • Hiring delays that impede teaching – ask for an exception by reaching out to the Digital Learning Team via ServiceNow ticket and the request will be reviewed in consultation with the Registrar and Office of Faculty Affairs. Please provide as much detail as possible.
  • Add a visiting instructor – add them as an Observer role in Canvas or request an exception by reaching out to the Digital Learning Team via ServiceNow ticket and the request will be reviewed in consultation with the Registrar and Office of Faculty Affairs. Please provide as much detail as possible.

For more information on available Canvas roles & permissions, click here.

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