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Parent Log-in to Canvas

CANVAS On-Boarding Resources

Parent Directions

First, watch the above video. It is a step-by-step demonstration narrating how to access your student's CANVAS courses/dashboard. Once you are in your student's CANVAS account, you can observe, in real time, his/her grades, assignments, feedback, discussions, and announcements. It's like being in the classroom with your student.

Parent Directions to Pair with a Student

If you signed up for a Canvas account as a parent, you can add students to observe within the same institution. Additionally, if an institution created an observer account linked to a student for you, you can add students to observe.

To link yourself to a student, you will need to enter a student-specific pairing code. Pairing codes are case sensitive and are valid for seven days. Students can generate pairing codes from their User Settings. Depending on institution permissions, admins and instructors may also be able to generate pairing codes. For more information on pairing codes, view the Pairing Codes - Frequently Asked Questions PDF.


  • You cannot add students whose accounts are not within your same institution (Canvas URL). To observe students in another institution, you must sign up for an account using that institution's Canvas URL.
  • If you are not able to access all of a student's courses, the option to link to additional students is not available to you.
  • Once you have linked to a student from the Observing page, you cannot remove the student. To remove a student, please contact the student's instructor.

Open User Settings

Open User Settings

In Global Navigation, click the Account link [1], then click the Settings link [2].

Open Observing

Open Observing

In User Navigation, click the Observing link.

Add Student

Add Student

Type the pairing code in the Student Pairing Code field [1] and click the Add Student button [2].

View Student

View Student

View the paired student.

Student Directions

Your parent loves you and wants to be part of your academic experience. We're excited to break down some barriers and really include them in the exciting things happening for your as a Knight in your academics.

Directions to Retrieve a Pairing Code
(note, you'll have to do this for each parent, as codes only work once)

As a student, you can generate a pairing code to link an observer to your Canvas account. You must create a separate pairing code for each observer who wants to link to your account. For more information on pairing codes, view the Pairing Codes - Frequently Asked Questions PDF.

An observer may be your parent, guardian, mentor, counselor, or another individual who needs to view your Canvas courses. Linked observers can can view and participate in certain elements of your Canvas courses. For more information on the observer role, view the Observer Visibility and Participation PDF.


  • If you are an observer and want to generate a pairing code for a student, you will need to log in to the student’s Canvas account and follow the steps in this lesson. After you have copied the pairing code, you can link to the student by entering the code in your User Settings.
  • Pairing codes can only be generated in a web browser.

Open Settings

Open Settings

In Global Navigation, click the Account link [1], then click the Settings link [2].

Pair with Observer

Pair with Observer

Click the Pair with Observer button.


Copy Pairing Code

Copy the six-digit alphanumeric pairing code [1]. You will need to share the code with the observer who will link to your account. The pairing code will expire after seven days or its first use.

To close the window, click the OK button [2].

Note: Pairing codes are case sensitive.

General Resources

Dear Canvas Parent/Guardian,

First of all, as a teacher, we want to say “thank you” for being a student’s or students’ personal academic cheerleader. Classrooms are not the same without you. Teachers can plan, adjust, collaborate, and differentiate with their greatest efforts, but you are incredibly valuable to the learning process. You help fill in gaps in understanding and sometimes you re-explain tough topics. You are another amazing caring adult who can assist a student - or two or three...or more - become strong, intrinsically motivated, and self-advocating learners. Again, thank you for being involved, and bravo for using Canvas to make the process more efficient!

From here, let’s take a look at the Observer role. Observer is a generic name for anyone who can view course material and follow a student’s or students’ progress in their active courses. However, an observer cannot interact with course content.

As an Observer, you have access to a lot of great information, and, at first, it can be challenging to navigate the information efficiently' this is especially true if you are actively monitoring the progress of more than one student. Just remember, it's like any new tech -- eventually this will become second nature.

From a web browser (and/or the app on a device), after you set up your Observer account, you need to connect to your student or students (How do I link a student to my user account?). It is possible to follow all of your students under a single Observer sign-in. I have just a small note about how to link multiple accounts to a single observer: the best place to link additional children is through the browser. Have your pairing codes ready, and then repeat the process you completed for your first student. The resulting connections will work seamlessly wherever you sign-in. However, depending on how many students you follow and how many courses your students are enrolled, the dashboard can become overwhelming.

You have a few options to streamline this experience though!

  • You may adjust the nickname for each course. That way, you can include each child's first initial or name ahead of the course name (ie: K US History).
  • Another option is to color code the course cards so all of child #1's courses is one color, all of child #2's courses is a second, etc...

As you seek to simplify your Observer experience, there may be another option for you. With the Canvas Parent App, you are able to follow all of your students and keep their courses separate. You can even create customized notifications and assignment reminders on a student-by-student basis. The app is free in the Apple Store and on Google Play. While the app doesn't have all of the features as web, it's awesome for keeping track of progress, a list upcoming assignments, and initiating conversations at home. Just be sure to check with your institution to make sure this is enabled before diving in. This is because each school district can decide whether or not to make the app available for their observers.

As an Observer, you have a unique perspective of the learning that occurs within the Canvas-based classrooms of your student or students! If you have more questions or ideas on how to improve the Observer experience, please contribute to Q & A and Canvas Studio to keep the conversation going.

We are very excited to welcome you into our classrooms with this resource. May God Bless you,

SJHS Faculty and Tech

Need Help Still?

If you have watched the video and followed the step-by-step directions but still are having issues accessing CANVAS or have CANVAS questions, please reach out to our Director of Technology, Brian Stark.