So you finally did it! Your student’s made it to the big leagues. They officially have online classwork – well done parent! Now its time for you to get acquainted with Canvas on your own.

What’s Canvas?

What is Canvas? Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS), where your student’s online learning actually happens. Students can take tests, quizzes, do homework and watch lessons. It does have similarities to a Student Management Systems (SMS), such as RenWeb, in that they both house grades and list courses; however, that’s about where the similarities end and the differences begin. Think of Canvas as the place where student’s work is done, and RenWeb as the place where parent’s acquire records, communications, and accounting.

In 2017, Canvas introduced the ability for Parents to act as a Student Observer. You now have the ability to see what exactly is going on in their classes. Observers are linked to one or more students; while you cannot submit course work on their behalf, you can see grades, assignments, events and any course interaction.

Getting Started

Ready to get started? Great! Follow these abbreviated steps and you’ll be your student’s observer!

  1. Access Canvas:
  2. In the upper right, click the link that reads: Parent of a Canvas User?
    Click Here For an Account
  3. A pop-up window will appear, complete the fields through ‘Start Participating’; you will need your student’s username and password. Their username is their firstnamelastname (no space/nor capitals). Ask your student for his or her password. Having issues acquiring the password? The Technology team can reset their passwords for you!
  4. Login as Canvas Observer

  5. You can immediately participate by clicking, ‘Get Started’.
  6. To log back in, you’ll have to check your email and verify your account by clicking the ‘Click here to finish the registration process’ link in the email.
  7. In doing so, you’ll be prompt to setup your credentials and timezone. To avoid instructure emails, uncheck the ‘I want to receive information…’ checkbox.
  8. Be sure to click ‘Register’ and you’re all set!

Excellent job, if you’re not comfortable clicking through the site. You’d probably be suited to perusing the documentation that will outline how you can make the best use out of your Canvas Observer Parent Account. The documentation includes how to view grades, adding more students, and the limitations of the account. Don’t hesitate to drop the IT Department a line if you have any questions!

Using Your Account

Canvas by Instructure has a great array of documentation. You can find more details about Observing your student on their Canvas Community pages. Here are some great pages to get familiar with: