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Lesson 6: Adding Course-level User Roles and Enrollments

Now that you have established your account’s settings, added account data, and customized your account, you’re ready to add course-level users to your account. In this lesson you’ll learn how to manage course-level user roles, create courses, and add enrollments in your account.  You should only add users and enrollments to your account once your account after completing all of the previous lessons.

Note: You can bulk upload course-level users and course enrollments using the SIS Import Tool.

Course Level User Roles and Permissions

After adding admins to your account and establishing your account basics, you are ready to create course-level user roles. A user role defines what a user can do and establishes their permissions within Canvas. When you add a user to Canvas, you must specify their user role. Therefore, user roles with defined permissions must exist in an account before a user can be added.

By default, Canvas includes five course-level user roles: student, teacher, TA, designer, and observer.  Each role has preset permissions that determine its level of access to courses and course materials in Canvas. For example, students and parent observers typically do not create quizzes in a course, but teachers, TAs, and course designers likely do. Therefore, some user roles have restricted access to course permissions based on their typical role and responsibilities at an institution. Your institution may also require the need for other course-level users with varying access. You can create additional course-level user roles and preselect their Canvas permissions. 

View more information about course-level permissions

Manage Course-level User Roles

Manage Course-level User Roles

To view and manage course-level user roles in your account: 

  1. Click the Permissions link in Account Navigation.   
  2. Click the Course Roles tab. 
  3. View existing user roles at the top of the Permissions page. 

To manage course-level user role permissions:

  1. Locate the user role on the Permissions page.
  2. Click the icon next to the name of the permission.
  3. Select an option from the Permission menu.

You can also create new course-level user roles [7]. Learn how to add course-level user roles in your account.


The most efficient way to add users to your account is to enroll them directly in a course. You can add courses to your account using the SIS Import tool or create courses manually. 

If you have already added courses to your account, skip to the next section. 

View Courses

View Courses

Click the Courses link in Account Navigation [1]. If you have already added courses, you can view them on the Courses page [2]. 

Create New Courses

Create New Course

To add a new course to your account: 

  1. Click the Add Course button.
  2. Enter a name for your course in the Course Name field. This displays on the Courses page and on course users’ dashboards.
  3. Enter a course reference code in the Reference Code field.  
  4. Click the Subaccount drop-down menu and select a sub-account from the list.
  5. Click the Enrollment Term drop-down menu and select the period during which the course will take place
  6. Click the Add Course button. 

Course Enrollments

All courses in your account display on the Courses page. You can enroll (or add) new and existing users in a course. Canvas can identify new user information when you create course enrollments, and new users will automatically be added to your account when they are enrolled in a course. 

View Course

View Course

Locate your new course in Courses. If needed, you can filter and search for courses on the Courses page [1].

Once located, click the name of the course to view the course homepage [2]. 

View Course People Page

View Course-2

Click the People link in Course Navigation [1], and click the Add People button [2].

Add Course Enrollments

Add Course Enrollments

To add enrollments in a course:

  1. Select the Add user(s) by method. 
  2. Enter user information, separating user details with a comma. 
  3. Select the course role for the users you are adding from the Role drop-down menu.
  4. Select the section to which the enrollments will belong (if applicable)
  5. Select whether users can only interact with users in their section
  6. Click the Next button. 

Add People to Account

Add People to Account

If a user you are adding in a course does not already exist in your account, you can add their user information to add them to your account. Click the Click to add a name link and enter the user’s information [1]. 

When ready, click the Next button [2]. 

Add Users

Add Users

Click the Add Users button. 

When a user is manually added to a course in an account, Canvas generates an account invitation email. The user is invited to complete the account registration process by creating a password. Once the user has an account, they can then accept a course invitation.

When users are added to a course manually, they can open the course invitation link in their email to view a preview of the Canvas course. To officially accept, they must click the Accept button in the Canvas interface. However, if you prefer to disable course previews and have users automatically join the course when they view the Canvas course, please contact your Customer Success Manager to disable invitation previews.

Additional Resources

Canvas Guides

For more in-depth information about the topics covered in this chapter, check out the Canvas Admin Guides chapters on Terms and Grading.

You can also watch the Canvas Admin overview videos about Terms and Grading Periods

Canvas Community

The Canvas Community is an online community of Canvas users from around the world. It houses a space for Questions and Answers about Canvas and a variety of groups, including the Canvas Administration group