With the student preview feature, instructors can see their courses and interact with them exactly how students do. An instructor is allowed to easily transition into and out of a system-managed preview account that is automatically enrolled in the course as a student.

Student preview in action

When an instructor selects student preview, the system generates a user account with student privileges that is automatically enrolled in the course. The instructor is now using the student account in that course only. Instructors must exit the student preview to return to using their instructor accounts in their courses.

More on how instructors preview a course

  • The student preview user account doesn't impact user privileges outside of the course where it's active. For example, an instructor using student preview in a course still has access to the profile and posts pages from the global navigation menu.
  • The preview account is tied to the instructor and can be used across more than one course. The username is the instructor's username appended with "_previewuser." The first name of the preview account is the same as the instructor. The last name is the instructor's last name appended with "_PreviewUser."
  • The preview user and data are visible to all users enrolled in the course, including students. This means that other users can interact with the preview user. For example, students can reply to discussion posts submitted by the preview user.
  • Instructors must select Exit Preview to return to the instructor view. If they leave their courses while in student preview, they return to student preview when they return.
  • As they exit, instructors are asked if they want to keep or delete the preview user and all data. If instructors decide to keep the preview user and data, they can view that preview user's activity where they view student activity, such as the Grade Center. The preview user is clearly identified by the appended "_previewuser."

Manage student preview

Student preview isn't controlled by a course tool. Instead, the ability to use Student Preview is granted through a user privilege. Instructors are permitted the student preview privilege by default, but you can grant or restrict this privilege for this role and others in the system. You can control access to student preview using the privilege Course/Organization > Student Preview > Access Preview Account.

You can set the availability of student preview, but student preview settings can't be configured.

  • Instructors can't disable student preview at the course level.
  • If disabled, instructors can't access student preview in their courses.
  • If disabled or uninstalled and preview users already exist in the system, the preview users will remain. They can be unenrolled from courses and/or deleted from the system manually.
  • Removing a preview student removes the associated data everywhere except discussion posts. After removal, any posts submitted by a preview account become anonymous. Real students' data can be lost if they interacted with the preview student.