Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-07-27)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Jul 27, 2015Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
Version 9Show Document
  • View in full screen mode

In this beta release, Canvas has new features for People. We also have updates for the Calendar, Course Navigation, Gradebook, Grades, Outcomes, Quizzes, and the Rich Content Editor. This beta release also introduces new and updated features to the New Canvas User Interface. View the beta release notes and let us know your thoughts!


The beta environment is for testing new and updated features, which are subject to change based on user feedback and testing. Learn more about Canvas Beta.


  New Features



New Canvas User Interface

Theme Editor

This feature is used in conjunction with the New UI Feature Option, which can be enabled by any Canvas admin in the account-level Account Settings. Enabling the New UI changes the user interface for the entire Canvas account.

The Theme Editor allows admins to create custom Canvas themes for their institution using colors and images. No custom CSS or JavaScript files are required.

The Theme Editor can be accessed in the Global Navigation Admin link for each root account. Each Canvas account has its own Theme Editor. Note that currently the Theme Editor only applies to root-level accounts. The Theme Editor will be added to sub-accounts in a future release. 




In the Edit tab, Admins can create a custom theme using either the Canvas Default Theme or the K12 Theme. Both of these themes can be used as a template. If at any time an admin needs to reset existing branding changes, open the theme drop-down menu and select the desired theme again; all changes will be reset back to the default style components for the respective theme.

Note: If an institution is using the K12-Specific account feature option, the K12 Theme will be enabled by default.




Theme components are organized into three expandable menus: Global Branding, Global Navigation, and Watermarks & Other Images. The following components can be customized within each menu:


Global Branding

Global Navigation

Watermarks & Other Images

  • Primary Color
  • Primary Button
  • Primary Button Text
  • Secondary Button
  • Secondary Button Text
  • Link Text
  • Navigation Background
  • Navigation Icon
  • Navigation Active Icon
  • Navigation Text
  • Navigation Active Text
  • Navigation Avatar Border
  • Navigation Badge
  • Navigation Logo Background
  • Navigation Logo (svg, png, jpg)
  • Watermark (png, svg)
  • Favicon (16x16, 32x32, 48x48 ico)
  • Mobile Homescreen Icon (180x180 png)
  • Windows Tile Color
  • Windows Tile Image Square (1.8x the standard tile size: 558x558 svg, png, jpg, gif)
  • Windows Tile Image Wide (558x270 svg, png, jpg, gif)


Admins can specify color components by entering a css hex code, rbga, or any other valid css color into the text box. Or, in browsers that support native color inputs, the color selector can be used to choose a value. The box to the right of the input previews the selected color.




Image components can be added by clicking the Select Image link and selecting a supported image type from a computer upload. Each image will show its respective supported file type, with most images accepting PNG files.




If custom overrides are required, admins can click the Upload tab and upload custom CSS and JavaScript files. These files apply to all pages for the account.




Once a theme has been set, Canvas requires admins to preview their changes before they will be applied to the entire account. The preview helps confirm color and image choices throughout the user interface.




Once the preview has concluded, admins can view all Canvas areas to see the changes as they will appear in the account. Until the changes are applied, Canvas will display a reminder at the top of each page.

To apply changes, click the Apply button. Canvas will reconfirm the theme application. To close the Theme Editor and cancel changes, click the Cancel button. Canvas will generate a warning about unsaved changes before proceeding.





Student Interactions Report Overview

Instructors who access the People page in their course have a corresponding button to the Student Interactions Report.




The Student Interactions Report shows an overview of the last interaction with each student in their course, in addition to the student’s current score, final score, and any ungraded assignments. Instructors can also access individual course access reports by clicking the name of a student.




The report can also be accessed by locating the name of an instructor, selecting the Settings icon, and selecting User Details. The Student Interactions Report link appears in the sidebar of the user details page.





  Updated Features





Canvas no longer supports Etherpad as a collaboration tool. All existing Etherpad collaborations that are hosted by Canvas will be permanently deleted. Institutions who still want to use Etherpad as a collaboration tool can set up their own Etherpad server and integrate it with Canvas. Learn more about the open source Etherpad project at As a product alternative, users can also create Google Docs collaborations in Canvas.


Course Navigation

Gradebook Link

For consistency in all user roles, the instructor Gradebook link in Course Navigation has been changed to Grades.






Excuse an Assignment in Individual View

In the Gradebook Individual View, instructors can excuse an assignment for a student. After an instructor selects the student and the assignment from the drop-down menus, instructors can excuse the assignment by clicking the Excuse an Assignment checkbox.




This feature was deployed to production on July 28.




Total Column Decimals

In the Gradebook, if the Total Grade column is shown as a percentage, the percentage is rounded to two decimal places. The student Grades page also now shows the percentage rounded to two decimal places.

This change also retains two decimals in student view when an instructor uses percentage-weighted assignment groups in the Gradebook.




This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas Community.



New Canvas User Interface

This feature is used in conjunction with the New UI Feature Option, which can be enabled by any Canvas admin in the account-level Account Settings. Enabling the New UI changes the user interface for the entire Canvas account.

Global Navigation Links

Global Navigation includes links to the Dashboard, Courses, Groups (if any), Calendar, Inbox, the user’s account, and Help. Admins will also see an Admin tab. To avoid duplication in the Course Navigation links, Grades is no longer included in Global Navigation and has been moved to the Dashboard sidebar.


Dashboard View Button

The Dashboard includes a new button to change the view from course listing to activity stream. This change helps show the action for the button page display and indicates the current view.




Course Navigation and Breadcrumbs

When viewing page content in a course, the content breadcrumbs have been placed above the Course Navigation Menu. Previously the breadcrumbs were located to the right of the menu directly over the page content.






Decaying Average Calculation

In the Decaying Average calculation method, at least two scores are required before the method returns a score. This clarification has been added to the outcome method description when creating outcomes at both the account and course levels. Additionally, the clarification also appears in the description for a Decaying Average outcome alignment in the Learning Mastery Gradebook and the Student Learning Mastery Gradebook.






Quiz Item Analysis Calculation

Canvas has changed the minimum calculation method for quiz item analysis. Canvas Quiz Quiz item analysis will generate a Cronbach’s alpha score so long as there are two or more questions and the test variance is greater than zero. A variance greater than zero implies two or more submissions produce different scores. To maintain optimum course performance, the maximum values for calculation remain at 1000 submissions or 100 questions.  For instance, a quiz with 200 questions will not generate quiz statistics. However, a quiz with 75 questions will generate quiz statistics until the quiz has reached 1000 attempts.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:

Explanation: Canvas generated alpha data in the item analysis for quiz statistics with a minimum of 15 submissions. However, this minimum was creating data inconsistencies related to the number of quiz questions as related to submissions. Canvas code has been updated to calculate alpha data when there are two or more questions and variance is zero.


Rich Content Editor

Default Icons

The default Rich Content Editor icons have been updated for consistency and style. Updated icons include link to URL, embed image, insert math equation, and record/upload media. Icons added from LTI tools are not affected.