Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-07-02)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Jul 2, 2018Last modified by on Jul 16, 2018
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Release Notes Changes


Updated Features

  • Added DocViewer: Single Page Comments
  • Added Files: Microsoft Office 365 Files Access Update


In this beta release, Canvas has new features in Assignments, Grades, and Users. Updated features are also available in Commons, Developer Keys, DocViewer, Microsoft Office LTI Files, and Permissions. Other Updates have been made for Pages, Quizzes.Next, SpeedGrader, and User Settings (international users only). API changes are noted in the API Change Log.


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




Anonymous Moderated Grading

This feature requires the Moderated Grading and Anonymous Grading feature options, which can be enabled for an entire account or on a course-by-course basis. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.


The current anonymous and moderated grading features have been updated to provide improved assignment flexibility with fully anonymized, multiple grader anonymity, and moderated options. Additionally, moderated grading has been simplified for a better user experience.


For more information about anonymous moderated grading, please see the Canvas Release: Anonymous Moderated Grading document.


Grade Summary page for anonymous moderated marking


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: multiple moderated grading feature ideas



Non-Scoring Rubrics

This feature requires the Non-Scoring Rubrics feature option, which can be enabled for an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.


Rubrics can be created without point values to create a non-scoring rubric. This feature promotes learning engagement by helping students focus on assignment feedback instead of point values. Additionally, improvements have been made to the Learning Mastery Gradebook and Student Learning Mastery Gradebook interfaces for a simplified user experience.


At the account level, the rubrics page allows admins to customize learning mastery ratings for their institution.


For more information about non-scoring rubrics, please see the Canvas Release: Non-Scoring Rubrics document.


Non-scoring rubrics in SpeedGrader


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Rubric for Informational Text with No Point Value  Rubric without points 



Self-Registration Observer Pairing Codes

This update applies to institutions who have enabled self-registration with Canvas authentication.


Institutions that have enabled self-registration can use pairing codes to pair students with observers. This update replaces the current process for linking an observer to a student and does not require the observer to know a student’s username or password. Students can automatically generate pairing codes for themselves, and account admins can generate pairing codes for all students.


Other admins and instructors can generate pairing codes for students if the Generate Observer Pairing Codes for Students permission is enabled for their role. This permission is disabled by default and cannot be enabled for students.


Note: Currently pairing codes can only be used in the Canvas web browser. This feature will not be supported until the Parent app 2.0 update, which will be available in a future release.


Pair with Observer Button

Students can generate a pairing code by using the Pair with Observer button from their User Settings page. This button will generate a pairing code that the student can give to the observer.


Pair with Observer button in the User Settings page


Other user roles with the pairing code permission enabled can generate a pairing code using the Pair with Observer button in the User Details page of any student.


Pair with Observer button in the User Details page


Observer Pairing Code

Pairing codes are six-digit alphanumeric codes that will expire after 24 hours. There is no limit to the amount of pairing codes that can be created by a user.


Pairing code for a observer


Observers can use a pairing code to pair with a student in the Observing page in their User Settings.


Pairing code is entered on the Observing page for the observer



  Updated Features




Canvas Commons updates will be included in the Canvas release notes.  Commons-specific release notes have been discontinued.


Grade/Level Search Filter Design Update

In Canvas Commons, the Grade/Level search filter includes an updated design using checkboxes to filter search results. This change allows users to select specific grade levels when searching for resources in Commons and provides improved accessibility for all users.


Commons Grade and Level Search Filter Design Update to Checkboxes


Developer Keys

API Key Management and Token Scoping

This feature requires the Developer Key Management and Scoping feature option, which can be enabled for an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.


Admins can manage the state and actions of API keys created for third-party tools. These changes allows admins to control direct access and specific API endpoints for a third-party tool associated with their institution. Previously, all API permissions were scoped to the role of the user, and the same permissions were always shared with the third party tool.


Developer Keys can only be managed by users with the Developer Keys permission. Additionally, developer Keys are only available at the root account level and are not currently available for sub accounts.


Key Types

Developer Keys page includes two tabs: account and inherited. Account keys are keys created and managed at the account level by account admins. Inherited keys are keys created and managed at a global level by Instructure staff for all accounts.


Developer Keys Account Tab


Inherited Keys

To avoid breaking existing integrations, inherited keys issued prior to this release are opt-out only; newly generated inherited keys will be opt-in. However, if a key is grayed out, it has been enabled globally and cannot be modified on a specific account level.


Developer Keys Inherited Tab


Admins can control the state of each key type as being on or off, which enables or disables access for the third-party tool. Additional management benefits include visibility details for each account-specific key and an improved user interface.


The state of new developer keys, whether account-specific or inherited, defaults to off.


API Scopes

As part of creating a new developer key, scopes for all API endpoints are disabled, which allows tokens to access all endpoints available to the authorizing user.


Developer Key Scopes disabled scopes page


To enforce scopes, click the Enforce Scopes button.


To scope all Read Only endpoints, select the Read Only checkbox, which will automatically select all GET endpoints for the developer token.


Read only developer keys


To customize API scopes, admins can search for specific endpoints or scroll down the list of endpoints. To select all endpoints in a scope, click the checkbox next to the scope name. All selected request types for an API endpoint—GET, PUT, POST, or DELETE—display to the right of the scope name. However, endpoints can be selected individually by selecting the associated checkbox. The scope name will display the selected request types.


Select individual scopes for an endpoint


Scopes can be edited for a developer key at any time and update access tokens for the authorizing user appropriately.


Existing Global Development Keys

Existing global development keys will remain global and provide access to all endpoints until Instructure is able to work with vendors to migrate them to a scoped developer key.


Admins should contact their vendors to ensure the vendors can support scoping for their developer key. Enforcing or restricting scopes will deactivate any previously issued API tokens, so the tool should request authorization using the newly scoped key. For more details about this change, see the notes in the API documentation.


OAuth2 Workflows

Once a developer key has scope enforcement enabled, tools that rely on that developer key for API access will need to adjust their OAuth2 workflow to explicitly declare their scopes in the initial OAuth2 request.


Technical documentation for implementing scopes for OAuth2 are available in the Canvas API documentation OAuth2 section. These documents should be fully reviewed to understand Developer Key Scopes and their associated considerations.



Single Page Comments

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

DocViewer comments have been updated to improve comment usability and management. Comments remain on the same page as the annotation. If there are too many comments to display, comments near the top or bottom of the page are automatically hidden, and comments become scrollable within the page. An indicator shows how many comments are hidden on the page.


DocViewer single page comments



Microsoft Office 365 Files Access Update

These changes were deployed to production on July 3.

Microsoft has modified some functionality that affects the Microsoft Office 365 LTI integration in Canvas.


Files Access

All users must re-login to Microsoft Office 365 to access their files. When accessed from the Office 365 link in Course Navigation, files display directly in the Microsoft Online editor, making it easier for users to edit and save files. PDF file types cannot be edited.


Microsoft Office 365 LTI File Editor


Options Placement

This update also improves file accessibility for users when a file is embedded in an assignment. When an instructor embeds a Microsoft file in an assignment using the External Tool submission type, the accessibility, edit, print, and share options display at the top of the frame.


Microsoft Office 365 LTI Instructor View


The accessibility, edit, print, and share options also display for student users when they view an embedded Office file. Additionally, students can click the More Options icon for additional file options.


Microsoft Office 365 LTI Student View



New User Interface

The Permissions page has been updated with a new interface for simplified permissions management. This change allows admins to learn about each permission directly in the interface and manage permissions by user role.


Permissions page updated interface


Admins can search for individual permissions by name, or they can use the user drop-down menu to display all permissions assigned to one or multiple roles. Additionally, the Permissions column is static while allowing the rest of the table to scroll appropriately. Role order is assigned by base role.


Permissions names have been adjusted and are grouped according to function. Some names may continue to be adjusted for consistency through the release or in future releases. No permissions functionality has been affected.


Note: The Roles API documentation will be updated with the revised permission names in the next release.


Permissions icons have been updated within the page. As part of managing permissions, the permissions menu also includes a simplified design that displays a checkmark next to the selected permission status.


Permissions links display a sidebar that includes the assigned and unassigned roles associated with a permission. Individual roles can be edited directly by clicking the status icon. Grayed out icons cannot be modified.


Permissions new UI with permissions sidebar


Role links display a sidebar that includes the assigned and unassigned permissions associated with a role. Role names can also be edited or deleted. Individual permissions can be edited directly by clicking the status icon. Grayed out icons cannot be modified. If any changes are made to the role, the date displays in the sidebar for reference. Permissions changes within the same day only display the time.


Permissions new UI with users sidebar


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Permissions Page improvements 



  Other Updates




Wiki Terminology Update

To ensure additional consistency throughout Canvas, Pages terminology has been changed from wiki to page(s) in the following locations:

  • Content menus (e.g. Modules)
  • Page titles
  • Email notifications
  • Rich Content Editor sidebar


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Remove "wiki" and "may make your life easier" from Page change notification 



Course Home Page Quiz/Test Button

This update applies to institutions using the Quizzes.Next LTI. As of 29 June 2018, all Canvas admins can enable this feature by contacting their Customer Success Manager.


When a course home page is set to the Assignments List, the home page displays the +Quiz/Test button. This change helps content creators easily create a new Quiz from the home page instead of having to access the Assignments page.


Quiz button on Home Page for Quizzes LTI when enabled for assignments



Menu Icon Changes

In the SpeedGrader menu, the Keyboard shortcuts and Help links have been moved to the Settings menu. This change helps consolidate icons in the menu and provide more space for assignment information.


Updated SpeedGrader menu icons


User Settings

Delete My Account Button

This update only to users with accounts located outside the United States.


For accounts located outside the United States, the User Settings page no longer displays the option for users to request to delete their accounts. Users who want to delete their Canvas account should contact their institution. Users who created a free account and are not associated with an institution should contact Canvas support.


Please note that deleting a Canvas account cannot be undone and will delete all Canvas information including courses, assignments, grades, and participation.







API Change Log

Please see the API Change Log for details on the following modifications:


API Changes

API Additions

  • Plagiarism Platform APIs
  • Proficiency Ratings API
  • API Token Scopes
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