Changes to Teaching Assistant Roles in Canvas

The text "Teach with Canvas" is overlaid on an image of a room in an art museum

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Academic Support Resources, and the Office of Information Technology have approved and will implement changes to Teaching Assistant roles in Canvas intended to take effect on August 15.


Access to certain administrative functions in Canvas are restricted to Primary or Secondary Instructor designees. Those hired in the Teaching Assistant (TA) job classification are not permitted to have the designation of Primary or Secondary Instructor in PeopleSoft. However, some TAs are the sole instructors for certain courses, and require the same access afforded to Primary or Secondary Instructors.

Temporary Solution

In fall 2018, as an interim solution, permissions for the TA role in Canvas were elevated to be closer to the Teacher, enabling TAs who were the sole instructor of a course to perform their duties. However, not all TAs needed to have Teacher-role access rights.


To ensure the appropriate level of access, beginning Aug. 15, Teaching Assistants who are the sole instructors for a course must be marked in PeopleSoft with the grade roster access of ‘Grade’ or ‘Approve.’ This access designation will automatically enroll those TAs as “Teachers” in Canvas, granting them access to publish courses. Typically, a department scheduler is responsible for assigning access to roles in PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft interface shows a table with columns for Instructor Roles and Access types.

Teaching Assistants in PeopleSoft with the grade roster access left blank will be enrolled as a “TA” in Canvas. The permissions associated with the TA role in Canvas that had been temporarily expanded last fall, will be reverted back to the default Canvas TA settings.

Peoplesoft interface shows a table with columns for Primary Instructor Role with the Access listed as "approve"

Add People in Canvas

Please note: If you are a teacher in Canvas, you cannot manually add students to an academic course site, but you can add a user in the following roles:

  • Teacher
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Non-editing Instructor
  • Designer
  • Observer

This means that if a user is added as a TA from PeopleSoft, but you need them to have the permissions of a teacher, you can use +People on the People section in your course to add the teacher role to the TA. Learn more about roles in Canvas.