Canvas - Adding non-UW Users with a Person of Interest Account

Sometimes an institution in the Digital Learning Environment needs to add a user who is not a University of Wisconsin student, staff, or instructor (such as an external reviewer or emeritus faculty) to a course in the Instructional instance of Canvas. Although the Continuing Education instance of Canvas allows user accounts without UW credentials, the Instructional instance does not. One common solution is to create a Person of Interest (POI) account for that user in the campus's Human Resources System (HRS).

The University of Wisconsin System HRS KnowledgeBase defines a Person of Interest account as follows:

A Person of Interest (POI) record is added to HRS for individuals who have an affiliation with a UW institution but are not considered employees, are not paid, and do not need reimbursement of expenses by the institution. These may include consultants, emeritus faculty, Non-UW Time Approvers for Time and Labor (T&L), Non-UW Interviewers, or other individuals requiring an affiliation with a UW institution other than employer-employee. 

Each University of Wisconsin institution is responsible for creating its own Person of Interest accounts. The workflow for creating these accounts varies by campus. Check with your campus HR and IT staff.

UW System Administration Person of Interest Accounts

As one example of how Person of Interest accounts can be created and added to the Instructional instance of Canvas, here is the workflow for University of Wisconsin System Administration POI accounts. Your campus's process may differ.

1) A sponsor department or unit identifies a business need for giving an outside user access to the Instructional instance of Canvas and determines that a Person of Interest account best fits their needs.

2) If the sponsor has a UW System Administation ( email address, they can visit the UW System Administration HR ePaf SharePoint site containing the Person of Interest request form. The sponsor should fill out the form and submit it to HR. 

If the sponsor does not have a UWSA email address, they should contact UWSA HR at for assistance. The sponsor will need to provide the POI's name, email address, date of birth, and the department ID# that the POI will be associated with.

3) HR sets up the Person of Interest in HRS, following the steps in the HR - Add or Maintain a Person of Interest guide. HR provides the user's EMP ID to the sponsor.

4) The sponsor should get an automated message with the POI's username. The POI can then Register for Password Self-Service and use it to change their password. 

If the automated message doesn't arrive or the sponsor or the POI have difficulty with this step, they should contact the UWSS IT Help Desk team to get the POI's username and password set up. 

5) The user logs in to Canvas at or the institution's vanity URL. This creates the user's account in Canvas. The POI and sponsor then notifies the Canvas administrator for the institution.

6) The Canvas administrator enrolls the user in the courses (and course-level roles) that they need. The Canvas administrator then notifies the sponsor and the user.

7). The user logs in to Canvas (step 5, above) again and uses the Dashboard or Courses page to access the specific course(s) they need.

As mentioned above, this is one example of how the process might work. Reach out to your campus HR and IT to learn the processes your campus uses to create Person of Interest accounts.