Understanding Canvas course roles and permissions

A Canvas user may be assigned to one of nine different course roles. Below is a summary of each role that is available in One Canvas. Some roles flow directly from Peoplesoft and others are generated manually in Canvas.
Note: Roles from individual campus instances that are not replicated in One Canvas are librarian, ABET, content developer, UMKC-Guest, builder, teacher+sections, and SI instructor (Observer).

  • All roles except Student, Course Coordinator, Observer and Guest require a passing FERPA score.
  • All roles except Student, Course Coordinator, Observer, Guest, and Grader can add Zoom meetings to a Canvas course site.

Automatically assigned Canvas roles from Peoplesoft for a live course with student enrollments

Canvas Role 




Secondary Instructor
Graduate Instructor

Has full course capabilities.
Cannot add/remove people except in Organization, Noncredit, or Development sites.
Cannot add LTIs (Learning Tools Interoperability).
Assigns a % teacher in MyVita


Teaching Assistant

Has full course capabilities except it cannot manage enrollments, publish the site, or add LTIs (Learning Tools Interoperability).
Does not assign a % teacher in MyVita.



Can view course content and fully participate in the course.

Teacher (UMSL)
Grader (MS&T)


Mapped to different roles at different campuses.

GraderGrader (MU
Can view and grade all assessments. Grader can view Discussions but cannot edit course content or send messages.

Roles exclusive to Canvas

Learning Assistant

Can view and edit course content, view and post to Discussions, and send messages to users.
Added to Canvas by Peoplesoft for UMSL and MU and by the Academic Technology team via the Canvas Request System in special circumstances.

Course CoordinatorDepartment admins/assistants that help instructors with course setup. Can view and edit course content but cannot see grades or students.
Instructors can add to Canvas via the Canvas Request System.


Can view course content; except the discussion board.
Instructors can add to Canvas via the Canvas Request System.

Guest Account

Provisioned through a third party tool (Cirrus) in which users will create accounts utilizing credentials from Google, Facebook or Microsoft.


Access to multiple courses within their academic unit - see note below.

Administrator Access

To increase efficiency and improve customer service, limited administrator access can be granted to an individual to support users and sites in Canvas for their functional unit (division, department, college/school). UM system requires that individuals must demonstrate proficiency in utilizing elevated privileges in Canvas and that certain rules, standards and guidelines are followed.

Users must have successfully completed the following training prior to receiving elevated access in Canvas:

After finishing the required training complete the online request form.

FERPA access

The FERPA Canvas site will automatically show on the dashboard of Instructors, Graders, and Teaching Assistants if they do not already have a passing FERPA score. If they already have a passing score they do not need to retake the FERPA exam.

If the user does not see the FERPA site then they may need to be manually added. Please let us know if this is the case.

In order to access the FERPA exam in Canvas, log into Canvas and check your Dashboard.  If you do not see it on your Dashboard select Courses, then All Courses to see if it is listed there (See Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Canvas navigation menu

Modified on: Thu, Feb 23, 2023 at 4:13 PM

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