Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-10-16)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Oct 16, 2017Last modified by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Nov 16, 2017
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In this beta release, Canvas has new features in the Rich Content Editor and the account-level Courses and Users pages. Updated features are also available in Assignments, Discussions, DocViewer, the Gradebook, Grades, Rubrics, and Users, as well as in various APIs and integration documentation.

 

Features are subject to change based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.

 

The beta environment is for testing new and updated features, which are subject to change at any time. Beta features will be available in production environments as noted in Canvas release schedule.

 

The Canvas product team welcomes feedback according to Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines. Release notes comments are subject to release notes comment policies.

 

Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts unless otherwise indicated.

 

Flash Content Reminder: Canvas displays Flash content as supported within major browsers. Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox default to HTML5 as the preferred method for displaying website content, which promotes a faster, more secure browsing experience. These browsers will eventually block all Flash content. For best performance in Canvas, course content should be designed to support HTML5. Any affected content can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser. Using the camera and microphone to record media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers.

 

Advanced CSS and JavaScript users: Canvas releases may include undocumented changes that affect styles and code in custom applications. Please make sure to view your Beta environment for any customization conflicts.

  

 

  New Features

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Account Navigation

This feature requires the Account Course and User Search feature option, which can be enabled for the entire account or allowed for individual subaccounts. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

The Account Course and User Search feature combines the existing Courses and Users pages for an improved user experience with enhanced search functionality. When enabled, the Courses and Users Account Navigation links are combined as the Courses & People link.

 

Account Navigation Courses & People tab

 

Courses

The Courses tab is the default link in the Search page. By default, the tab orders courses by SIS ID. Admins can filter courses by term or instructor, search for a course or instructor name, or add a new course. Filter and Search fields are updated dynamically. Courses can also be hidden from search results if they have no enrollments.

 

Courses & People feature with Courses tab filters

 

The Courses tab paginates results in sets of 10 courses. Each course result shows the name of the course, SIS ID (if applicable), term, instructor(s), subaccount, and number of enrollments. Links are also included to add a user to the course, view course statistics, and view course settings. Each column heading can be sorted in ascending or descending order.

 

If a course includes more than two instructors, the instructor column displays a Show More link that can be clicked to expand the full list of instructors.

 

Account Courses and People Feature Courses tab

 

People

The People tab shows all the users in the account. By default, the tab orders users by last name. Admins can filter by role, which includes all roles or individual course-level roles. Admins can also search for a user’s name and add a new user. In the overflow menu, admins can also manage profile pictures and view user groups.

 

Note: The Manage Profile Pictures option is always available regardless if profile pictures are enabled for the account.

 

Courses & People feature with People tab filters

 

Each user result shows the name of the user, email address, SIS ID (if applicable), and last login date and time. Links are also included to act as the user, send a message from the Conversations Inbox, and edit user details. Each column heading can be sorted in ascending or descending order.

 

Courses & People feature with People tab and people filter results

 

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Advanced Admin Search & Sort 

 

Rich Content Editor

Accessibility Checker

The Rich Content Editor Accessibility Checker assists instructors and course designers to maintain accessibility requirements in Canvas content. The Accessibility Checker is located in the Rich Content Editor menu bar. Depending on the size of the browser window, users may have to scroll the menu bar horizontally to view the Accessibility Checker icon.

 

Rich Content Editor Accessibility Content Checker Icon

 

The Accessibility Checker verifies attributes within the editor and notifies the content creator of common accessibility errors. The Accessibility Checker provides a user-friendly explanation about any errors and provides the fields or menus needed to fix the error. The explanation also provides a link to additional resources to educate content creators about the accessibility guideline. The content creator can easily correct the error and apply the fix to the editor.

 

Rich Content Editor Accessibility Content Checker sidebar and error message

 

All components are designed according to the template set in the institution’s Theme Editor.

 

This tool verifies the following accessibility rules:

  • Large text contrast: Text larger than 18pt (or bold 14pt) should display a minimum contrast ratio of 3:1.
  • Small text contrast: Text smaller than 18pt (or bold 14pt) should display a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1.
  • Table captions: Tables should include a caption describing the contents of the table.
  • Table header scope: Tables headers should specify scope and the appropriate structure.
  • Table header: Tables should include at least one header.
  • Sequential headings: Heading levels should not be skipped.
  • Heading paragraphs: Headings should not contain more than 120 characters.
  • Image alt text: Images should include an alt attribute describing the image content.
  • Image alt filename: Image filenames should not be used as the alt attribute describing the image content.
  • Image alt length: Alt attribute text should not contain more than 120 characters.
  • Adjacent links: Adjacent links with the same URL should be a single link.

 

 

  Updated Features

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Assignments

Move-To Menu Sidebar

The Move-To Menu within the Assignments page has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas.

 

When a user clicks the Settings menu for an assignment and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the new assignment group, then select the placement of the assignment. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Assignments page.

 

Previously the Move-To Menu included both the assignment group and the placement fields in the same window.

 

Assignments page with the move-to assignment sidebar and move options

 

Discussions

Discussion Duplication

Discussions can be duplicated in the Discussions page or the Assignments page. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for every available discussion. When a discussion is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the discussion name.

 

Discussions page with the option to duplicate a discussion

 

Duplicating a discussion defaults the copied discussion to an unpublished status. All items in the discussion are duplicated including the name, description, and options. The person who copied the discussion is shown as the author of the discussion and is immediately subscribed to the discussion, and the date the discussion was copied displays as the last posted date.

 

In graded discussions, duplication exceptions include the following situations:

  • Copied peer review discussions retain the peer review setting and Assign Review date, but the number of reviews per user will be set to zero.
  • Copied discussion are always assigned to everyone in the course; differentiated discussions are not retained for individual users, groups, or sections.
    • If a differentiated discussion includes an Everyone Else date, the copied discussion retains the Everyone Else due date, if any.
    • If a differentiated discussion does not include an Everyone Else date, the copied discussion does not include a due date.

 

Note: If applicable, the Discussions page displays any Blueprint Course icons after the page is refreshed.

 

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Copy a Discussion 

 

Move-To Menu Sidebar

Within Pinned discussions, the Move-To Menu has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas and applies to both course and group discussions.

 

When a user clicks the Settings menu for a pinned discussion and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the placement of the pinned discussion. If the Before or After option is selected, the user can select the order of the discussion compared to other pinned discussions. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Discussions page.

 

Previously the Move-To Menu only moved a discussion before an existing discussion and did not provide any other location options.

 

Discussions page with the move-to discussion sidebar and move options

 

DocViewer

DocViewer is an independent feature within Canvas that may deploy updates outside the regular Canvas release schedule. This change is available in the beta and production environments for all users.

When an annotated comment includes multiple content lines, the content box displays an ellipses notifying the user of additional content. This change helps minimize comments in a document and improve the number of comments that can be displayed within a page.

 

DocViewer comments with condensed content

 

Users can click the ellipses to expand the comment. If a comment includes multiple replies, all replies are also expanded.

 

DocViewer comments with expanded content

 

Annotation Delete Icon Visibility

DocViewer is an independent feature within Canvas that may deploy updates outside the regular Canvas release schedule. This change is available in the beta and production environments for all users.

When a user creates an annotation, the Delete icon only displays as part of the initial placement. Once a user clicks away from the annotation, the Delete icon no longer displays in the page. The Delete icon only displays again if the user directly clicks the annotation. This change hides the Delete icon so it does not obscure annotation content.

 

Gradebook

Gradebook History Filters

The Gradebook History page has been redesigned for improved performance and includes display filters for a specific student, grader, assignment, and start and end date. Previously the Gradebook History page only displayed the name of the assignment with a grade change. Additionally, this feature is redesigned based on existing data in Canvas, so displayed content is still retroactive.

In the beta environment, the Grades page never displays any grade changes from the production environment and is always blank. Content for this feature can only be displayed in the beta environment when course grades are changed in the beta environment.

 

Gradebook History page results with no filtered history

 

This change also removes the previous limit of 2000 grade changes and allows instructors to view all grade changes in the course. For admins, the Gradebook History page integrates with the Admin Tools Grade Change Activity log, which also does not include a grade change limit.

 

For individual filters, results are generated dynamically. Users will need to know the name of the student, grader, and/or assignment to type in the search filter. Matching results can be selected from the results list, and multiple filters can be used at the same time. However, filters are not applied without clicking the Filter button.

 

Gradebook History filter with entered student name

Gradebook History filter with student name and filtered page results

 

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Support Grading History in large course sites 

 

Grades

Student Grades Table Design

To improve typography and design consistency across Canvas, the student Grades page includes updated CSS for the table display. Table content always displays with a white background except for assignments affected by a grade rule set in the Assignments page. Previously all graded assignments also displayed a gray background.

 

Note: Currently the background displayed by a grade rule is being reviewed by Canvas engineers.

 

Student Grades page old design with gray assignment background for graded assignments

Student Grades page new design with white assignment background

 

Rubrics

Criterion Icon Visibility

In the Create Rubric or Edit Rubric view, criteria visibly display all add, edit, and delete icons. Additionally, the Delete criteria column has been removed from the rubric table; the delete icon for each criterion is located above the criterion description.

 

Rubrics edit window showing all action icons

 

Previously, when a user created or edited a rubric, criteria icons only be viewed by hovering over a rating. This change also removes previous functionality of adding ratings with additional incremental point values, though any point value can still easily be added by splitting a rating or editing the point value of a rating.

 

Ratings Rubric Descriptions

When a user splits a rating, the rubric displays an Edit Rating window that includes the rating score, rating title, and rating description. Rating descriptions are not required, though any content in the description also displays as part of the rating in the rubric. Rating titles and descriptions are never truncated, though content should generally be short and concise.

 

Rubric with Edit Rating window, rating title, and rating description

 

Rubric description ratings display in all areas where rubrics can be viewed including the course and account rubrics pages, associated assignments, and the student Grades page. In SpeedGrader, descriptions are included when a rubric is used for grading, but they are not included in the rubric summary after grading is complete.

 

Note: Description ratings only apply to rubric ratings; they are not currently available in outcome ratings. Outcomes added to a rubric only display the rating title and point value.

 

Users

Act as User Multiple Login Display

The Act as User page displays all login details for the requested user. Logins are displayed in the same order as shown in the Login Information section of the user’s account-level profile page.

 

Act as User page showing multiple logins for the user

 

release-notes-bug-fix-icon.png This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:

When a user with the Act as User permission requested to act as a Canvas user, the Act as User page only displayed the most recently updated login for the user, which may not have included the user’s SIS or authentication IDs. Canvas code has been updated to display all login information for a user.

 

 

  Platform/Integration

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For details about using Canvas API documentation, please see the Canvas API Policy page.

 

API

Blueprint Courses API

In the Blueprint Courses API, the BlueprintTemplate object includes the associated_course_count parameter, which displays the number of associated courses for the Blueprint course.

 

Modules API

In the Modules API, the ModuleItemSequence object example shows mastery_path api data.

 

Outcome Groups API

In the Outcome Groups API, the List link outcomes and List subgroups endpoints clarify that returned lists are paginated.

 

Quizzes API

In the Quizzes API, the Quiz object displays the anonymous_submissions attribute, which displays whether survey submissions will be kept anonymous.

 

SIS Imports API

In the SIS Imports API, Diffing Mode includes the diffing_drop_status parameter, which is also included in the SIS Import Format Documentation. This parameter allows enrollments to be marked as complete or inactive; by default enrollment objects are marked as deleted when they are not included for an import.

 

SIS Integration API

The SIS Integration API includes examples of seven objects attributes and their API responses.

 

Submissions API

In the Submissions API, the Submissions Object displays the graded_at attribute.

 

This change was deployed to the production environment on October 19.

In the List Submissions for Multiple Assignments, the post_to_sis parameter has been clarified for SIS submissions. If the argument is set to true, the response will only include submissions for assignments that are set to be passed back to the SIS for user enrollments added through the SIS.

 

External Tools

LTI Variable Substitutions

LTI Variable Substitutions include substitutions for brand config URLs: com.instructure.brandConfigJSON.url and com.instructure.brandConfigJS.url.

 

SIS

SIS Import Format Documentation

In the SIS Import Format Documentation, Diffing Mode includes the diffing_drop_status parameter, which is also included in the SIS Import API. This parameter allows enrollments to be marked as complete or inactive; by default enrollment objects are marked as deleted when they are not included for an import.

 

In the Courses CSV file, Blueprint Courses can be removed by passing dissociate in place of the ID.

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