Canvas administrator basics

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About the academic hierarchy

LMS departmental administrators are granted access to Canvas courses and administrative tools for the campus(es), school(s), and/or department(s) for which they have been approved. Canvas courses are organized into a hierarchy modeled on IU's academic hierarchy in SIS.

  • The hierarchy has three levels: the first level represents the campuses, the second represents the schools and colleges, and the third represents the subject areas offered within each school or college.
  • Each level is made up of units called subaccounts or nodes.
  • Subaccounts for schools and colleges can be distinguished from subject areas by the presence of the letters "GRP" at the end of the unit name.
  • It's possible to add courses to any level of the hierarchy, but SIS courses are always assigned to the corresponding subject area node under the appropriate school or college.
  • Permissions trickle down from parent to child; for example, admins at the college/school level have admin access to all courses and subaccounts beneath their assigned node.
  • Changing the settings in a subaccount affects all the subaccounts and courses beneath it.

Search for users and courses

As a Canvas departmental admin, you will be able to search for users and courses in the subaccounts for which you have been authorized. To search for users or courses:

  1. On the left, choose Admin.
  2. In the Admin menu, select the account where you want to conduct the search.
  3. When searching for courses, enter part or all of the course ID or the course name. Course IDs take the form semester-campus-subject-course_number-section_number (for example, SP13-IN-AMST-A303-11827).

    When searching for users, enter part or all of the user's name or username.

Work with rubrics and outcomes

  • Departmental admins have permission to work with rubrics and learning outcomes in their assigned subaccounts.
  • Rubrics and learning outcomes created at the college/school level and/or the subject area level are visible and available for use by instructors in all courses in that academic unit.
  • Obtain approval from your academic dean or department head before creating or editing rubrics or outcomes at the subaccount level.
  • For more, search the Canvas Guides.

Learn more

For online documentation for each Canvas role, see the Canvas Guides. Of particular use to department admins are the Canvas Instructor Guide and the Canvas Admin Guide.

Departmental admins do not have access to many of the features described in the Admin Guide. If you'd like to implement or change a specific feature or setting on behalf of your department, the LMS Admin team will work with you to make the necessary changes to your subaccount.

Stay current

To stay informed about recent and upcoming changes in Canvas, visit or sign up to watch the IU Canvas Change Log.

This is document bexl in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-09-08 16:05:38.