Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-12-18)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Dec 18, 2017Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has updated features in the New Gradebook. Other updates are also available in the student Grades page, Rich Content Editor, and SpeedGrader, as well as in various APIs and integration tools.

This release involves API and login path attributes that have been deprecated and require user attention.

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



New Gradebook

These updates apply to institutions using the New Gradebook feature. Canvas admins can allow this feature option in Account Settings.


Please be aware of a change to the New Gradebook feature option as noted in the Feature Option Change section.


For more information about the New Gradebook, please see the [ARCHIVED] New Gradebook Users Group.

Late Policies

For full details and scenarios regarding Late Policies, please see the Late Policies FAQ in the New Gradebook Users Group.


The New Gradebook supports late policies, which allows instructors to automatically apply grading rules for late and missing submissions in their courses. This feature improves the Late and Missing functionality introduced in previous releases and helps instructors establish and manage policies related to each status. Late policies can be noted to students through the course syllabus.


In the New Gradebook, submissions are automatically labeled as missing if they are never submitted by the student; submissions submitted after the due date are labeled as late. On-paper (in-class) assignments are not automatically included in Late Policies as they do not include online submissions that can be calculated by Canvas and must be managed individually by the instructor.


Late and Missing assignment statistics are also shown in the Student Context Card feature (if enabled).


Late Policies can be specified in the New Gradebook Settings window. Late Policies only apply to the course where they are configured; they do not apply to any other course.


New Gradebook Settings Menu and Late Policies Option


Missing Submissions

The Missing submissions policy allows instructors to apply an automatic grade to missing submissions. Grades are noted as a percentage of the total points possible and must be entered as a number. For instance, if an instructor set the missing submission grade at 20% and an assignment is worth 10 points, all missing submissions for the assignment are awarded a grade of 2 points (10 x 20%).


If an instructor wants to award all missing submissions with a grade of 0, the Missing submission grade can be set to 0%.


New Gradebook option to add a missing submission grade


When a submission applies to a missing policy, both the Gradebook and the Grade Detail Tray display the given grade. Instructors can change the grade at any time by applying a new grade in the Grade field. Once a grade has been manually assigned, the Missing submission policy will no longer apply.


New Gradebook Grade Detail Tray shows missing policy percentage applied to assignment


Students can view the adjusted grade for the Missing submission policy in the student Grades page, along with the Missing label. However, as the Missing submission policy only applies grades for students, the policy itself does not display to students.


Late Submissions

The Late submissions policy allows instructors to apply an automatic deduction to the grade in a late submission. Grade deductions as noted as a percentage of the total points possible and must be entered as a number. Additionally, deductions are applied to a specific time interval—day or hour—that the submission is late. For instance, an instructor grades an assignment worth 10 points and awards the full 10 points. If the late policy is set to deduct the grade 10% each day the assignment was late, and the assignment was 1 day late, the student’s 10 points would be deducted 1 point for a grade of 9 points.


Instructors can also set a percentage as the lowest possible grade a student can receive for the assignment. If the same assignment included a lowest possible grade of 60% and was submitted 8 days late, the late policy would deduct 8 points (1 point each day) for a grade of 2 points. The lowest possible percentage, however, notes the lowest point value as 6 points (10 x 60%), so the final grade for the student’s submission would be 6 points instead of 2 points.


New Gradebook allows deducting a percentage from a grade for each day or hour the submission is late


When a submission applies to a late policy, the Gradebook displays the final grade. However, the Grade Detail Tray displays the value deducted from the student’s grade according to the selected interval.


The late policy interval can be adjusted manually in the Grade Detail Tray if needed (number of days/hours late). For instance, an instructor grades a on-paper assignment worth 10 points and awards the full 10 points. If the student submitted the assignment 1 day late, the Late label could be set and the interval changed from 0 to 1, and the Late policy would adjust the grade accordingly.


New Gradebook Grade Detail Tray displays the deduction applied to any late assignments using the late policy


Students can also view the adjusted grade in the student Grades page, along with the Late label. The late deduction is displayed in the grading details.


Student view of seeing the late penalty applied to the submission details in the Grades page


Policy Adjustments

Late and Missing policies should be set before grading submissions. Changing the Late policy will affect all submissions that have already been graded. The Missing submission policy can be changed at any time but still applies to all missing submissions.


For full details and scenarios regarding Late Policies, please see the Late Policies FAQ in the New Gradebook Users Group.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Deduct X% or X points per day for each day an assignment submission is lateAutomatic zero in gradebook after a dateMissing Assignment Tag in GradebookInstructor override of missing submission badge  


Feature Option Change

When an admin allows the New Gradebook at the account level, instructors can individually enable the New Gradebook at the course level. Previously admins had to enable the New Gradebook in each course.


This feature option change should be used with caution. Previous to this release, admins who had enabled the New Gradebook in a course could disable the New Gradebook for an instructor at any time. However, with this release, instructors can enable the New Gradebook on their own, and the New Gradebook cannot be disabled by any user when one or both of the following features are applied:

  • Manually adjust a submission status to none, late, missing, or excused
  • Enable late or missing policies in the Settings menu


The above features are not compatible with the current Gradebook, so enabling their functionality will prevent an instructor from returning to the current Gradebook.


In affected courses, the course-level feature option may take up to 1 hour to display the status change.


Grading Icon Update

When an assignment needs to be graded, the New Gradebook only displays one assignment icon regardless of assignment type. Each submission type uses the same logic to show a submission icon, and this change helps simplify the various items presented in the New Gradebook.

  • A submission is noted as needing to be graded in the following conditions:
  • A submission has been received but has not been graded
  • A submission was graded but the grade was removed by the instructor
  • A submission was resubmitted


New Gradebook with new consistent icon indicating assignments that need grading



  Updated Features




Grades Page Menu Update

The student Grades page menus have been updated for improved accessibility.


For courses associated with a grading period, the Grading Period menu displays first and includes a menu heading. Previously the menu was always at the top of the page and did not contain a heading.


The Course menu allows students to view any of their other courses, both active and concluded. Previously the menu only displayed active courses. Concluded courses display unless the students have been restricted from viewing the course after the course end date.


The page also includes an Apply button, which must be clicked to generate content selected within each menu. Previously the page reloaded immediately once a menu was selected.


If a menu or the Apply button is grayed out, the menu content already matches the selected content loaded in the page.


All menus and the Apply button are responsive to browser window size, so the placement of menus may vary.


Student Grades page menu adjustments with menu headings and the Apply button


Rich Content Editor

Accessibility Checker Content Contrast Rule

The Accessibility Checker verifies content color contrast without having to enable High Contrast Styles. Both linked and non-linked content validate with a contrast of higher than 4.5:1.


Please note that High Contrast Styles must still be enabled for verification if a user overrides a link color in the Rich Content Editor.


Note: Canvas engineers are currently investigating behavior where a link with a contrast issue displays as two issues.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: High Contrast Toggle 


Accessibility Checker Design Adjustments

The Accessibility Checker sidebar includes minor design adjustments, which are already available in the production environment. These adjustments include placement of the Next and Previous issue buttons and the Help icon that provides clarification about each issue.


The Accessibility Checker includes adjustments to the placement of several items in the sidebar


Audio Controls Whitelist

The Rich Content Editor supports the Controls attribute for audio HTML tags.


Image Alt Text Field

In the Content Selector, when a user opens the Images tab and selects an image to upload, the sidebar displays a text field to add alternative text for the image.


The image can also be specified as a decorative image, which does not require alternative text. If the Decorative Image checkbox is selected, the alternative text field is grayed out.


The Content Sidebar in the Rich Content Editor supports adding alternative text after selecting an image file for upload or marking the image as decorative


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Images – Easier Way to add ALT TextAlt Text "Decorative Image" Option in Rich Content Editor 



Excess Rubric Criterion Points

When an instructor grades a submission in SpeedGrader and uses a rubric for grading, the rubric supports excess points above the maximum point value for each criterion. This change allows instructors to provide extra credit through rubric criteria and aligns consistency with other Canvas features that support additional point values.


Rubrics being used in SpeedGrader for grading support additional points for a maximum criterion value






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



Canvas Login Path POST Requests

This change involves a deprecation that requires user attention and was previously announced in Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-12-09) 

The /login path will stop accepting direct POST requests. Any custom LDAP forms should be updated to avoid using this path. This behavior only affects institutions with a login form on a non-Canvas page making a POST request for a user’s username and password.


For institutions not using Canvas authentication, posting to /login/canvas will not be valid if Canvas authentication is disabled. The URL endpoint must be updated for the authentication type:

  • LDAP: POST to /login/ldap
  • SAML: POST to /login/saml


LTI Standards


This feature requires the Encrypted Sourcedids for Basic Outcomes feature option, which applies to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

The lis_result_sourcedid LTI parameter can be encrypted through an account-level feature option. This parameter is used in grade passback integrations and historically includes a combination of known information such as course id, tool id, and assignment id.


When the feature option is enabled, an opaque ID will be sent for the lis_result_sourcedid passed during assignment launches. LTI tools currently parsing the lis_result_sourcedid will be impacted; although the ID is still required for grade passback, the ID will no longer include identifiable information.


LTI Variable Substitutions and

LTI Variable Substitutions includes the following substitution variables:

  • returns the current course’s term name
  • returns the display name of the launching user—only available when launched by a logged-in user


Users API


This change involves a deprecation that requires user attention and was previously announced in Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-12-09) 

The deprecated sis_login_id attribute in the Users API will be removed from Canvas. Any applications using the sis_login_id attribute should replace the deprecated attribute with the login_id attribute.

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