Adding faculty evaluators, tutors, SI leaders, and community ed students to Canvas classes

You cannot manually enroll users at the student permission level to your Canvas class.

If you have any of the following, follow the specified directions to have the user enrolled within your course at the student permission level.

  • Faculty Evaluator: Contact Heidi Willis at (760) 795-6827 or in the Office of Instruction when you need to provide access to a peer, your chair, etc. to conduct an evaluation.
  • Tutor: Contact Janine Washabaugh at (760) 757-2121 ext. 7748 or in the Tutoring & Academic Support Center (TASC) .
  • Writing Center SI Leader: Contact Jessica Perez-Corona at (760) 757-2121 ext. 6339 or in the Writing Center.
  • Community Education Student: Contact Karen Turpin using the form here or email Include the confirmation of student enrollment through community education, the SURF ID of the student, and your 4 digit class number.

Also, keep in mind:

To add a TA or other MiraCosta College employee to your Canvas course with TA, designer, or observer permissions, see this set of instructions.

DO NOT attempt to add students to your course on Canvas. Students are automatically enrolled from SURF to your Canvas course several times a day.

You should not add anyone to Canvas as a teacher. Teachers are assigned via SURF.

Filtering your Roster List by Role in Canvas People

By default the People tool will display all users enrolled in your Canvas course. You can filter the users by role to obtain the count of users in that role as well as Last Activity and Total Activity.

From within a Canvas Course:

  1. Click on Peoplepeople-1
  2. Click on All Rolespeople2
  3. Select the specific role. The count will be displayed to the right of the role name.people3


Student Orientation to Online Learning Information

Each term, Online Education offers multiple 1-hour Student Orientation to Online Learning (SOOL) sessions open to any student. The list of SOOL sessions is available on the TASC Student Workshop site.

The SOOL has the following outcomes:

  • Students will learn habits and attitudes of successful online students
  • Students will be able to effectively select and get started in online classes
  • Students will be able to navigate and use basic course management system tools
  • Students will be able to access key online technical and academic student support resources

The SOOL is offered in-person at Oceanside and San Elijo campuses, as well as online. Student attendance at the SOOL is recorded in SURF so that instructors may require attendance or provide extra credit.

Students who attend the SOOL are enrolled into either a Blackboard or Canvas course that includes extensive information to support student success in online education. The course remains available to the students indefinitely. The Canvas SOOL class is open for anyone to self-enroll in.

The main Online Education page also includes a recorded version of the online SOOL which is open for anyone to view. Watching the recorded version does not make a student eligible to have their attendance recorded in SURF.

Over 2000 students have participated since the SOOL began in 2014. Research shows that over the first three years of the SOOL (2014-15 through 2016-17), 72.8% of those who attended the SOOL in the same or a previous term successfully completed DE courses vs. a 64.7% DE success rate for students who had not attended a SOOL.

Student Orientation to Online Learning Attendance

Any instructor can use SURF to find out which of their students have attended.

  1. Enter SURF, go to a Class Roster page, and scroll to the bottom
  2. Click the “Student Orientation to Online Learning Roster” link (see image below)

Student Orientation Link location on SURF

A PDF should open in a new browser tab or window with a roster showing which students attended an orientation, and on what date. If the roster doesn’t open, please ensure that it wasn’t blocked by a popup blocker. Please note: you will see a spinner icon while the PDF is generating. This can happen quickly or it can take a significant amount of time – up to several minutes – so please be patient while the process runs.

Selectively Subscribing to a Canvas Discussion Board

Here is a video, from Dr. Robert Kelley, that covers how faculty can selectively subscribe to a discussion board in Canvas (choosing immediate or daily/weekly summary).  The hack is to use a separate student Canvas account, with notifications set up in the student account as desired (immediate or daily/weekly summary).


For example, this approach has application for faculty who would like to provide an ‘Ask A Question’ discussion board for their class (and receive notifications in their inbox for request for help) without being notified all the time for any discussion board post.

MiraCosta Canvas Instructor Info – Fall 2017

To MiraCosta faculty who are using Canvas this fall:

Thanks for your efforts in switching to Canvas! It’s looking like around half of our classes are using Canvas this fall. Below are some informational and invitational items that may interest you:

Turnitin Update for Canvas

Yesterday, Turnitin enhanced the assignment inbox within Canvas. Here’s a 1.5 minute video with an overview of the changes, if you’re a Turnitin user.

Past Canvas Classes May Remain Visible to Students

A significant difference between Blackboard and Canvas is that concluded Canvas classes from past semesters remain by default open to students. Canvas is smart about closing off some things that might compromise academic integrity, and I think it can be quite beneficial for students to be able to go back to review course material and discussion. However, if you are concerned about this idea and would like to learn more, and/or would like to know how to prevent students from accessing classes once the semester is done, please review this tutorial.

Canvas Mobile App Differences/Limitations

Canvas’s mobile apps are quite good, but they don’t give students and teachers all the same experiences that would get when they access Canvas via browser. If you’d like to know more about the differences, here’s a document that helps provide some detail. (And if you didn’t know that Canvas has a special app for teachers, it does! Get it for iOS or Android.)

One difference that’s not made clear on the document linked above is that if you enable the course setting to display recent announcements at the top of your course home page, they don’t actually display on the home page when viewed through the app. One of our instructors noticed this and brought it to my attention. I submitted a Feature Request to Canvas asking that this work in the app the same as in the browser. If you use this feature and agree, you can upvote the feature idea.

Canvas Feature Requests

Speaking of feature ideas, one of the nice things about Canvas is that you can influence its development. A number of you have reached out to me and/or Karen with suggestions – actually, you can go directly to the Feature Idea forums and vote on ideas or submit your own. Here’s a guide to how all that works if you’re interested.

Enhanced Gradebook Coming

Canvas has a beta-version gradebook with some significant updates that’s now an option for you. Check out this ~8 minute video and if you’d like to give this a try in a sandbox class, contact Karen Turpin ( Or just have a look and know that enhancements should be rolling into everyone’s Canvas classes within the next few months!

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education


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