Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-03-19)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Mar 19, 2018Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
Version 8Show Document
  • View in full screen mode

Release Notes Additions


Updated Features

  • Deployed to production—Account Settings: Similarity Detection Platform Originality Score Default


Other Updates

  • Dashboard: Coming Up List Calendar Link


In this beta release, Canvas has new features in Outcomes and Reports. Updated features are also available in Account Settings, DocViewer, and the New Gradebook. A browser support change affects Internet Explorer 11, and other updates are also available in the Dashboard and various API 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 as available in web browsers. Features are subject to change at any time. Beta features will be available in production environments as noted in Canvas release schedule.

  • Not all features will apply to mobile apps, and some functionality may be implemented in mobile apps at a later date.
  • Mobile features are updated and announced separately according to app and device in the Mobile release notes.


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




Bulk Import

Outcomes can be imported for an account or course using a CSV file. This feature allows users to manage a large number of outcomes and import them at the same time.


CSV Import

Outcomes can be imported in the Outcomes page by any user with permission to manage learning outcomes. This permission is available for both account and course roles.


outcomes import files can be dragged and dropped or located directly from a computer


Imported CSV files must be formatted according to the Outcomes Import Format API Documentation documentation. Existing outcomes can also be downloaded using the Outcome Exports report.


Large CSV files may take time to process, however, and users can leave the Outcomes page at any time.

Note: Currently, only CSV files are supported. The JSON format will be supported in a future release.


Imports may take a while to process in the Outcomes page


Import Success

When a CSV import is completed successfully, the page displays a confirmation message.


The user who uploaded the import also receives an email confirming that the outcomes were imported and can be managed in the Outcomes page.


Note: Email notifications are not supported in the beta environment.


Successful imports display in the Outcomes page


Import Error

If the import contains errors, the page displays an error message.


The user who uploaded the import also receives an email confirming an error with the import and displays the first 100 errors. Each error includes the CSV row number and a description of the error.


Import errors display in the Outcomes page


The following types of errors may occur in CSV files:

  • Required headings are missing
  • Other headings are placed after the ratings header
  • Invalid headers are present
  • Rating tiers have missing points
  • Rating tiers have invalid point values
  • Rating tiers have points in wrong order
  • Object type is incorrect
  • Parent group refers to missing outcomes
  • Required fields are missing
  • Parent groups are invalid
  • Workflow state is invalid
  • Invalid UTF-8 string
  • Calculation validation method not specified
  • Group receives invalid fields


Outcome Edit Functionality

Outcome edits are updated in outcomes for both assessed and unassessed rubrics. Updates include text (title, label, description), ratings, calculation, and mastery points.


Unassessed Rubric Confirmation

When the outcome has not yet been used to assess a student, saving the outcome displays a confirmation message noting that the outcome edits will apply to all rubrics that have not yet been assessed. This confirmation also displays for any rubric that is only aligned with one assignment.


Some edited outcomes display a warning that all rubrics will be updated


Unassessed Rubric with No Confirmation

If a confirmation message does not display for an outcome, the outcome is in a rubric that is associated with more than one assignment. Although the outcome can still be edited, edits will not be updated for that rubric.


Outcome edits also do not apply to new assignments unless the new assignment also includes the outcome in a new rubric. Existing rubrics do not apply outcome edits if the rubric has already been used to assess a student, or if the rubric is unassessed but already aligned with another assignment.


Assessed Rubric Confirmation

When the outcome is associated with an assessed rubric, the outcome displays a message above the Edit button, noting that the outcome has been used to assess a student.


Outcomes that have been used to assess a student display a message in the outcome


Non-Scoring Edits

When non-scoring changes are made to the outcome, saving the outcome displays a confirmation message that the changes were made successfully.


Scoring Edits

However, if any scoring changes are made to the outcome, such as a points rating or scoring method, saving the outcome displays a confirmation message noting that scoring criteria edits will affect all students previously assessed using the outcome.


Editing scoring criteria affects all students previous assessed using the outcome


Scoring changes only affect a student’s learning mastery score in the Learning Mastery Gradebook for the edited outcome. When scoring criteria is edited, the learning mastery value scales for assessed rubrics according to the original points possible. For instance, if a learning mastery score has a top rating of 5 points, and mastery is achieved at 3 points, a student earning full mastery would score 5/3. If the outcome is later edited to give a top rating of 10 points, and a mastery score of 5 points, the assessed student’s total score would be adjusted appropriately to 10/5.


The student graph showing mastery scores continues to display as a percentage of the total score and is not affected by changing a calculation type or the value of a rating.


Scoring changes only affect a student's learning mastery gradebook, and graph percentages are not affected


API and CSV Outcome Edits

If an outcome is updated and uploaded in an Outcomes Import CSV file, or if an outcome is updated through the Outcomes API, the same functionality applies to the outcome as when changed in the Canvas Outcomes page. The Outcomes API can be used to view if an unassessed rubric is able to receive updates from any edited outcomes.


Manage Rubrics Button Update

The Manage Rubrics button displays directly in the Outcomes page. Previously, the Manage Rubrics button could be viewed by clicking the Options menu icon, which has been removed from the page.


The Manage Rubrics button is directly in the Outcomes menu



Outcome Export

The Outcome Export report shows all learning outcomes that exist within an account. No configuration is required for this report. The resulting CSV file includes one row per outcome and shows the details of all associated attributes with each outcome. This report allows admins to export, modify, and re-upload multiple outcomes in the account. Updated outcomes only apply to unassessed rubrics.


This report does not show which outcomes have been assessed in individual courses. Specific outcome results in a course can be viewed through the Outcome Results API or the Outcome Results account report.


Outcome Results and Student Competency

The account Outcomes Results and Student Competency reports include the following fields:

  • Account name and ID
  • Section name, ID, and SIS ID
  • Assessment/quiz URL
  • Outcome friendly name
  • Points possible, mastery score, and whether the outcome was mastered


When generating either report from the account or subaccount level, all outcomes are included for the appropriate context or a parent sub-account level. Additionally, reports include all child subaccount outcomes and all course level outcomes.



  Updated Features



Account Settings

Similarity Detection Platform Originality Score Default

This feature was deployed to the production environment on March 21.

For institutions using the similarity detection platform, admins can set a default value for the originality score at the account or subaccount level. This change applies to all courses so a value does not have to be changed individually within each assignment. The default value is to allow students to view originality scores immediately. Additional value options include after the assignment is graded, after the due date, or never.


The account default is not required and can be changed at any other level. Subaccounts can set a separate default from the account, and individual assignments within a course can have different visibility levels as well.


Note: The Similarity Detection Platform section is only supported for plagiarism LTI tool integrations.


Originality score visibility can be set at the account or subaccount level



DocViewer features are not available for testing in the beta environment.

Non-Author Annotation Comments

Users can comment on annotations if they are not the author of the annotation. This change allows any user to comment on annotations made by another user if a comment does not already exist.


Annotation Comment Icons

Individual comments include an icon that displays the type and color of the annotation. This change helps associate each comment with its annotation. The annotation icon displays next to the commenter’s name and only displays in the primary comment for an annotation. Replies to a comment do not include the icon.


Comments can be added by any user, and comments include an icon that display the annotation type


Free Draw Stroke Widths

The Free Draw annotation supports varied stroke widths. This change allows users to choose one of three different widths for line annotations. Each ink annotation can only have one width. Individual annotations must be saved before creating a new line with a different width.


Line width can be specified in free draw annotations


New Gradebook

Filter Persistence

When a filter is applied to the Gradebook and later removed, all filters are cleared from the Gradebook. This change requires instructors to not have to clear filters individually before removing a filter.


New Gradebook filters are cleared when filters are removed


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Filter View Reset after unchecked in New Gradebook 


Display Grade Assignment Grading Scheme

For each grading scheme or letter grade assignment, the New Gradebook confirms and displays the grading scheme set for the assignment. Previously the New Gradebook always used the default Canvas grading scheme, regardless if a grading scheme was set for the course. Any grade entries that were not supported in the default Canvas grading scheme were removed from the New Gradebook.


The grading scheme is also validated in the New Gradebook. If an entry is made that is not supported in the grading scheme, the New Gradebook displays an error next to the invalid entry.


Invalid grades display an error message


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

When an assignment included a course grading scheme, the New Gradebook was not validating the course grading scheme and always using the default Canvas grading scheme. Canvas code has been updated to confirm if an assignment includes a course grading scheme before applying the default Canvas grading scheme. The course grading scheme displays in the assignment and the New Gradebook to verify the correct grading scheme.


Grading Scheme Entry Menu

Grading scheme assignments include a menu to select a value in the grading scheme, along with Excused. This change allows the grading scheme values for the assignment to be viewed directly in the New Gradebook. Grades can also still be entered directly in the cell.


The Grade Detail Tray does not include the menu for grading scheme assignments and reflects the grade displayed in the New Gradebook.


Letter grade and grading scheme assignments include a grading scheme menu

Complete/Incomplete Entry Menu

Complete and incomplete assignments include a menu to select a value for the assignment: Complete, Incomplete, Ungraded, and Excused. This change makes complete/incomplete assignments easier to grade in the New Gradebook for all users.


Complete and Incomplete grades can be added using a menu


Grade Detail Tray Final Grade Calculation Warning Icon

The Grade Detail Tray displays a warning icon for assignments that are not calculated as part of the final grade. This icon displays for assignments that have selected the option to not count the assignment toward the final grade, or if the assignment is within a weighted assignment group with no weighted percentage.


The Grade Detail Tray includes warnings for grades not calculated in the final grade



  Other Updates




IE11 Functional Support

Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) will transition from a fully supported browser to a functionally supported browser. As future Canvas releases take place, Internet Explorer may begin to exhibit slight visual differences from other browsers, but these differences will not restrict product functionality or accessibility.



In the Coming Up list, the Calendar link and icon have been removed next to the Coming Up heading. This change applies to the To Do list for the Dashboard and the sidebar in the course home page.






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


Account Reports API

Date and Time Report Object

The Account Reports API returns the created_at, started_at, and ended_at date and time for a report object.



LDAP No TLS Support

In the Canvas authentication page, the LDAP TLS preference defaults to Simple TLS. The No TLS option is no longer supported. Admins who are affected by this change should work with their institution’s LDAP vendor to encrypt traffic and verify their TLS port.


Calendar Events API

Calendar Event All Day Parameter

In the Calendar Events API, the Create a Calendar Event and Update a Calendar Event supports the calendar_event[all_day] parameter. When this parameter is set to true, the calendar event is considered to span the whole day and times are ignored.


Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions: Document API parameter calendar_event[all_day]


Custom Gradebook Columns API

Read Only Column Object Status and Endpoint

The Custom Gradebook Columns API returns the read_only status for a custom column object. Read-only columns cannot be edited in the Canvas Gradebook interface for both the current Gradebook and New Gradebook.


The Create a Custom Gradebook Column endpoint supports the column[read_only] parameter, which prevents the column from being editable in the Canvas Gradebook interface.


LTI Variable Substitutions

Course Group ID Variable

The LTI Variable Substitutions Documentation includes the com.instructure.Course.groupIds variable, which returns the Canvas IDs of all active groups in the current course.


Outcome Imports API

Import Outcomes and Get Outcome Import Status Endpoints

The Outcome Imports API allows users to import outcome data. This API supports the Import Outcomes and Get Outcome Import Status endpoints.


Outcomes API

Updated Rubrics Outcome Object

The Outcomes API returns the has_updatable_rubrics value for an outcome object. This value notes whether updates to an outcome will propagate to unassessed rubrics that have imported the outcome.


Update an Outcome Assessed Endpoint Updates

In the Update an Outcome endpoint, updated parameters are also updated for assessed outcomes, even if the outcome cannot be updated in the Outcomes page. For assessed outcomes, when the point value for the top rating is updated, the learning mastery values scale for assessed rubrics according to the original points possible. The student graph showing mastery scores continues to display as a percentage of the total score and is not affected by changing the value of a rating.


Outcomes Import Format Documentation

Outcomes CSV Format

Outcomes Import Format Documentation allows users to update learning outcomes in bulk by using the Outcomes Import API. Each row in a CSV file represents either a learning outcome or a learning outcome group to create or update.


SIS Import Format Documentation

Enrollments CSV Enrollment Start and End Date Fields

In SIS Import Format Documentation, the Enrollments CSV includes the start_date and end_date fields, which note the enrollment start and end date, respectively. When used in the CSV file, both dates must be set.


Users API

List Counts for To Do Items Endpoint

The Users API supports the List Counts for ToDo Items endpoint, which counts the number of different to do items for a user, such as the number of assignments that need grading or the number of assignments that need to be submitted.

13 people found this helpful