Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-02-06)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Feb 6, 2018Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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Related Product Updates


Canvas Data Live Events: February 17
On February 17, Live Events will be available in Canvas Data in the production environment and conforms to the Caliper 1.1 standard. Live Events is not available for testing in the beta environment. For more details, please see the Live Events configuration document in the Canvas Data community space.

In this beta release, Canvas has updated features in Assignments, Conversations, Courses, Global Announcements, New Gradebook, People, Permissions, and Reports. Small design updates are available in the Canvas Interface, and Platform/Integration updates are available in Authentication, LTIs, and various APIs.

This release involves an authentication and API change that may 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.


  Updated Features




GPA Scale Grading Type Removal

In an assignment, GPA Scale is no longer included as a grade display option in the Canvas interface. This change supports upcoming grading scheme enhancements in the New Gradebook. GPA Scale assignments can still be created through the Assignments API, though the existing GPA Scale parameter has been deprecated.


Any existing assignments set to a GPA scale will not be affected with any grade calculations.


GPA scale assignments are not included as an option in the Canvas interface


Individually Graded Group Assignment Comment Options

When an instructor creates a group assignment with individual grading, the group assignment includes specified options that clarify how to send submission comments. This change helps clarify comment distribution in group assignments with individual grading. Previously if a student didn’t select the option to send the comment to the entire group, instructors were not able to view the comments in SpeedGrader.


For individually graded group submissions, students and instructors can view improved commenting options


For student roles, this change applies to the assignment submission page and the submission details page sidebar. Students can choose whether they want to send a comment to the instructor only or to the whole group.


For instructor roles, this change applies to the submission details page sidebar, the Gradebook comment window, and the SpeedGrader sidebar. Instructors can choose whether they want to send a comment to the student only or to the whole group.


Note: Comments are not currently supported in the New Gradebook.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Allow Instructors to See Comments Not Sent to Whole Group Submission comments from Group assignments 



Autocomplete Courses Menu

The Conversations Courses Menu has been updated as an autocomplete menu. This change improves accessibility for all users. This menu change is also located within the Compose Message window.


Users can either scroll to locate a course or group, or they can start to type the name of the course or group in the text field and click the full name when it appears.


Conversations Courses menu has been updated as an autocomplete menu to improve accessibility



Course Home Page Student View Button

The Course Home Page includes a Student View button. This change allows instructors to access student view without having to open Course Settings.


The Student View button can be accessed from the Course Home Page


Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions: Add a button to enter student view to the course home page 


Global Announcements

Trust Account Domain Restriction

Admins in a trust relationship can create global announcements and limit the announcement to a specific domain, which restricts the announcement from being viewed when a user logs in to a different domain.


Admins in trust accounts can specify if a global announcement should be for a specific domain


New Gradebook

Entered Grades Calculation Value

Instructors can enter grades in the New Gradebook in any format without having to confirm the grade display originally set for the assignment.


When the Enter Grades option is set to points, grades can be entered as points or percentages. The entered grade is converted into points and displayed appropriately. Percentage entries are calculated as percentages but displayed as the appropriate point value. For instance, for a 25-point assignment, entering 80% in a Gradebook cell or in the Grade Detail Tray calculates to 20 points and displays the grade as the point value.


New Gradebook Enter Grades as Point Value


When the Enter Grades option is set to a percentage, only percentage values are supported. Entries without a percent symbol are always calculated as a percentage, which helps graders save time by not having to always enter the percent symbol. For instance, for a 25-point assignment, entering 100% in a Gradebook cell or in the Grade Detail Tray calculates as 100%. However, entering 20 as a point value calculates as 20%. Submissions that should be graded as a point value or grading scheme should never be set with the Enter Grades option as a percentage, as the Gradebook will always display the grade as a percentage.


New Gradebook Enter Grades as Percentage


When an assignment includes the grading scheme option, and the Enter Grades option is set to a grading scheme, grades can be entered as the grading scheme, points, or a percentage. Grading schemes are only available for Letter Grade assignment types. The entered grade is converted into the grading scheme and displayed appropriately. For instance, for a 50-point assignment where an A is 50 points, entering an A in a Gradebook cell or in the Grade Detail Tray calculates to 100% or 50 points, but the Gradebook will always display the grade as the grading scheme value.


Note: the Enter Grades option is not supported for Complete/Incomplete assignment types.


New Gradebook supports grade values in any format



Last Attended Date

In the User Details page, an instructor can note the date that a student last attended in the course.


Dates can only be entered in Canvas individually on a per-student basis. Additionally, once a date is entered, it cannot be removed.


Enrollment data can be returned using the Enrollments API.


Note: This functionality is currently not supported for institutions using the Profiles feature.


Instructors can include the last attended date for a student



Modify Login Details for Users Subaccount Permission

In subaccounts, the Account Roles tab does not display the Modify Login Details for Users permission. This change supports permissions functionality, as user data resides in the root account. Admins who would like to enable this permission for subaccount admins should create a new role within the root account.



Grade Export Unposted Columns

The Grade Export report includes additional columns at the end of each row to represent unposted (muted) current and final scores.


MGP Grade Export Unposted Columns

The MGP Grade Export report includes additional columns at the end of each row to represent unposted (muted) current and final scores. Along with the existing current and final score columns, this report also includes individual unposted current and final score columns for each grading period.


SIS Export Group Categories

The SIS Export report includes a Group Categories CSV file, which exports group categories.



  Other Updates



Canvas Interface

New Scheduler Design Updates

This update applies to institutions using the New Scheduler feature. Canvas admins can enable this feature by contacting their Canvas Customer Success Manager.

In the Calendar, the Scheduler appointment creation window includes minor design updates to the date and time fields.


Module Files Download Icon Update

In Modules, the download icon used for a file added as a module item has been replaced with the attachment icon. This change clarifies user expectations when displayed in a page and helps align consistency throughout all Canvas areas and mobile apps.


Files added as a module item include the attachment icon


Terms of Use Terminology Update

Terms of Use has been renamed to the Acceptable Use Policy. Any link, window, or page in Canvas that previously referenced Terms of Use has been updated to reflect this new terminology. The Acceptable Use Policy link displays in the Canvas footer in the Login page and the Dashboard.


Terms of Use has been renamed to Acceptable Use Policy






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


Assignments API

GPA Scale Value Deprecation

This change involves a deprecation that may require user attention.

In the Assignments API, the gpa_scale value for the assignment[grading_type] parameter has been deprecated from Canvas. This value will be removed on 6 June 2018.



Entity IDs and SAML

This authentication method includes a change that may require user attention.

On February 17, Canvas will only accept SAML assertions from explicitly configured Entity IDs. If your IdP doesn’t use a consistent Entity ID, it must be configured to use a static Entity ID. If you have multiple IdPs that share the same certificate, you’ll need to explicitly list each one in Canvas.


Courses API

Default View Parameter

In the Courses API, the Create a New Course and Update a Course endpoints include the course[default_view] parameter, which displays the type of page that users will see when they first visit a course.


Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions:  default_view setting available in documentation 


Discussion Topics API

Specific Sections Parameter

The Discussion Topics API supports the specific_sections parameter in the List Discussion Topics and Create a New Discussion Topic endpoints. This parameter returns a list of comma-separated section IDs for the discussion topic.


Group Categories API

SIS Group Category ID and SIS Import ID Parameters

The Group Categories API returns the sis_group_category_id and the sis_import_id for a group category object.


The Create a Group Category and Update a Group Category endpoints support the sis_group_category_id parameter, which is the unique SIS identifier.


Groups API

SIS Group ID Parameter

In the Groups API, the Create a Group and Edit a Group endpoints support the sis_group_id parameter, which is the SIS ID of the group. Users must have the Manage SIS permission to set the SIS ID.



User Navigation Menu LTI Tool Visibility

When configuring XML for an external tool, the tool can be set in the User Navigation Menu and defined for admins only. This content will also be added to the Canvas APIs in a future release.


Plagiarism Detection Platform Users API

Group Index Endpoint

The Plagiarism Detection Platform Users API includes the group_index endpoint, which returns all users in a group. Tool providers may only access groups that belong to the context where the tool is installed.


SIS Import Format Documentation

Parent Account ID Sticky Field

In SIS Import Format Documentation, the parent_account_id field in the accounts.csv is sticky. Sticky changes are not overwritten on the next SIS import unless the Process as UI Changes checkbox is selected in the Canvas interface.


Groups CSV Group Category ID and Course ID Fields

The groups.csv supports the group_category_id and course_id fields.


The group_category_id field is the group category identifier from group_categories.csv. If none is specified, the group will be in the default group category for the account or course, or root account if there is no specified course ID or account ID.


The course_id field is the course identifier from courses.csv. If none is specified, the group will be attached to the root account.


Group Categories CSV

SIS Import files supports the group_categories.csv, which manages all group categories for an account and works in conjunction with the groups.csv. Group categories allow grouping of groups together in Canvas.

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