Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-01-15)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Jan 15, 2018Last modified by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has updated features in Blueprint Courses, New Gradebook, and the Rich Content Editor. Other updates are also available in External Apps and User Settings, and minor design updates have been made to the Canvas interface. Platform and integration updates have been made in various APIs, authentication, LTI tools, and other documentation.

This release involves a change to SAML authentication that requires user verification.

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.


  Updated Features



Blueprint Courses

When a course is associated with a Blueprint Course, the associated course displays a link to the Blueprint Course in Course Settings.
If the user viewing the associated course does not have permission to access the Blueprint Course, the name of the course does not include a link.


Associated courses show the name of the Blueprint Course in Course Details, Course Settings


In the Course Details sidebar, the associated course also includes a Blueprint Information button, which displays information about the most recent course sync.


Associated courses include a link to the Blueprint information in Course Details, Course Settings

The Blueprint Information page shows information about the last sync from the Blueprint Course


New Gradebook

Entered Grades Display

In the New Gradebook, the Enter Grades as menu allows the assignment grade to be entered and viewed in a different format than the default display for the assignment.

Previously the New Gradebook always displayed the grade in the Grade Detail Tray by the default grade display.


Note: Changing the Enter Grades display option is for grading convenience only and does not affect the actual grade.


Users can set the way they want to enter grades in the Gradebook

Changing the Enter Grades as option also displays the grading choice in the Grade Detail Tray


Unpublished Assignments Indicator

When unpublished assignments are displayed in the New Gradebook, unpublished assignments are indicated as Unpublished in the assignment column header.


Unpublished assignments that are also muted will not show the assignment is muted until the assignment is published. This change also indicates muted assignments as Muted in the assignment column header instead of displaying an icon.


When unpublished assignments are shown in the New Gradebook, the assignment header indicates an unpublished status


Minimum Column Width

New Gradebook assignment columns have been resized and support a minimum width of 214 px.


Rich Content Editor

Decorative Image Checkbox

When a user clicks the Embed Images icon and selects an image source, the Attributes section displays a decorative image checkbox, which indicates the image is for decorative purposes.


Decorative images do not require alternative text. If the Decorative Image checkbox is selected, the alternative text field is grayed out.


Decorative images and alt text can be applied when embedding any image type: URL, Canvas (previous uploads), and Flickr.


The Rich Content Editor Image window includes a Decorative Image checkbox for images



  Other Updates



Canvas Interface

Menu Design Updates

Some Canvas Settings menu icons have been replaced with an Options icon. These changes clarify user expectations when displayed in a page and helps align consistency throughout all Canvas areas.

  • If a menu includes options that actively change the interface in the page, the menu displays as a Settings icon.
  • If a menu includes options that link to other Canvas areas or pages, the menu displays as an Options icon.
  • If a menu includes both types of options, the menu displays as an Option icon.


Items within each menu have not been affected.


Some Canvas areas have changed the Settings icon to an Options icon


Icons have been updated in the following Canvas areas:

  • Assignments
  • Course Details (Course Image upload; Navigation tab)
  • Dashboard View
  • Discussions
  • Modules
  • Pages
  • People
  • Quizzes


Privacy Policy links have been added to the Canvas footer. The Canvas footer displays in the Canvas Login page and the Dashboard.


External Apps

Duplicate Application Warning

If a user manually adds an external app to a course, account, or subaccount, and then adds the same external app again, Canvas asks the user to confirm whether or not the app should be saved. This change helps users identify previously installed external apps. Confirmations only take place on the same context for an existing external app (course, account, or subaccount).


Note: This warning only applies to new applications added to a course, account, or subaccount, and is not retroactive for previously installed external apps.


Duplicate external apps added to the same context verify whether or not they should be installed


User Settings

International SMS Country Additions

International SMS functionality is used in conjunction with the International SMS account-level feature option, which must be enabled by a Canvas Customer Success Manager (CSM).

Canvas offers SMS notification support to additional users outside the United States. Unlike in the United States, international carrier details are not required as part of the communication setup.


The following countries have been added to SMS notifications: Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Pakistan, China, South Africa, Oman, Hungary, and Keyna.


Note: Notifications cannot be sent from the Canvas beta environment.






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


Announcements API

Include Parameter

The Announcements API supports the include parameter, which returns an optional list of resources to include with the response.



SAML Authentication Change

This authentication method includes a change that requires user verification.

SAML authentication requests are generated with a new SAML library, allowing future improvements. Structurally, SAML authentication should not be affected, but some XML Namespace declarations have moved. Admins using SAML should test authentication in the beta environment and contact their Customer Success Manager with any inconsistencies as soon as possible.


Discussion Topics API

Sections and section_user_count Values

In the Discussion Topics API, the List Discussion Topics include parameter supports sections and section_user_count values. The include parameter returns an optional list of resources to include with the response.


Enrollments API

Accept and Reject Course Invitation Endpoints

The Enrollments API includes endpoints to accept and reject course invitations.


Unposted Grade/Score Objects

This change was deployed to the production environment on January 17.

For a grade object, the Enrollments API returns the unposted_current_score, unposted_current_grade, unposted_final_score, and unposted_final_grade.

  • unposted_current_score and unposted_current_grade: These will include muted assignments, counting points possible and points earned toward the totals; they will exclude ungraded assignments.
  • unposted_final_score and unposted_final_grade: These will also include muted assignments, but they will treat ungraded assignments as zeros, counting points possible toward the total.


These fields are only returned if the API user has the manage_grades or view_all_grades permission.


LTI Variable Substitutions


LTI Variable Substitutions includes the following substitution variables:

  • Canvas.course.previousContextId returns the context ids of the courses from which content has been copied (excludes cartridge imports).
  • Canvas.course.previousContextIds.recursive recursively returns the context ids of the courses from which content has been copied (excludes cartridge imports).



Terms CSV date_override_enrollment_type

In SIS Import Format Documentation, the Terms.csv file includes the date_override_enrollment_type field. When set, all columns except term ID, status, start date, and end date will be ignored for this row and can only be used for an existing term. If the status is active, the term dates will be set to apply only to enrollments of the given type. If the status is deleted, the currently set dates for the given enrollment type will be removed. Enrollment must be student, teacher, TA, or designer.

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