In Canvas, the Observer role can be used to enroll parents, mentors, and guests who would like to participate in a Canvas course but do not need to earn course credit. Observers have limited permissions that allow them to see what is going on in a course without interrupting the flow of daily course communication. Like students, Observers cannot view a course until it is published and the course has started.

To learn more about the observer role, view the Parent Registration and Student Observation video.

Please note: Pairing an observer using a code with the Canvas Mobile app is not currently supported by WSU at this time.

Observer Access in Canvas

To learn more about observer participation, view the Observers Visibility and Participation PDF.

  • Observers can view the same content as the student they are observing unless the content is unpublished or restricted by locked dates.
  • Observers can view module content locked by prerequisites or requirements, as module progression is not measured for observers.
  • Observers can view assignments even if the student they are observing has not completed them unless the assignments are locked.
  • Each instructor can customize the links in the Course Navigation and limit the number of features that students and observers can see. Observers may or may not see links to certain features.