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 video below.

Automatically-Created Observer Accounts

MCCSC now creates observer accounts for parents listed as Family 1 in Skyward. Those individuals receive an email from MCCSC and another from Instructure Canvas which asks them to set a password. The resulting observer account is automatically linked to their children. Parents who already have observer accounts are unaffected.

Parents listed as Family 1 in Skyward will receive the following email messages, sent to the email address they have listed in Skyward. "Finishing the registration process" requires the parent to set a password for their observer account.

Manually-Created Observer Accounts

Pairing Codes

Parents not listed as Family 1 in Skyward may create "Observer" accounts for access to one or more students in the MCCSC Canvas app. These observer accounts require the pairing of a student to the parent with an observer code. The following instructions explain how parents can generate the code from within the student's Canvas account. Each pairing code expires after one use or 7 days.

Link the Student to the Observer Account

Unsure of your Canvas Observer account password? Go to and click Forgot Password. For the username, enter the full email address you have listed in Skyward. Once you click Request Password, that email address will receive a message to reset the Canvas password.

The best way to receive push notifications with announcements, grade information, missing work alerts, and other helpful content is the Canvas Parent app. Learn more.