Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-09-08)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Sep 8, 2015Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has new features for the Calendar, Conferences, and Groups. We also have updates for the Gradebook, the New Canvas User Interface (UI), Permissions, Theme Editor, SpeedGrader, User Files, and developer tools. Several other Canvas features have updated styles though functionality is unaffected.


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


  New Features




Recurring Events

When creating a new calendar event for a course, instructors can choose to create multiple copies of the event every day, week, or month.

Recurring Calendar Events is a course-level feature option. This feature must be enabled at the account level before it can be used for individual courses.

When a course has enabled recurring (repeating) calendar events, an instructor can add the event details, select the course, then click the More Options button.




The repeat button appears as part of the new calendar event. By default, events are repeated every week.


  • Weekly events are replicated on the day of the week of the first event. For instance, if an event is created on a Monday and repeats weekly, the next instance of the event will appear on the following Monday, regardless of the actual date.
  • Monthly events are replicated on the day of the month of the first event. For instance, if an event is created on July 6 and repeats monthly, the next instance of the event will appear on August 6. 

Users can also choose to select the Count option, which adds a number to the end of each event title (e.g. Event 1, Event 2, etc.)




This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas community.





Presenters can create polls for participants to use during a conference. Polls can be created ahead of time, such as during a presentation, or created as part of an informal discussion.

Because of a distributed rollout for this feature, many institutions may already be able to see polling in their production environment. However, the beta environment should always be used to test new features if admins or instructors are uncertain about functionality or performance.

Presenters can create a poll at the bottom of the presentation window. Polls can be Yes/No, True/False, or letter responses up to six answer choices (A through F).




Presenters can also create a custom poll where they can specify their answer choices.




Polls can also be created automatically from a presentation slide. Conferences is able to read the slide and automatically include polling options that match the polling options.




For the conference participants, the polling options appear on the page automatically.




Once a poll is started, presenters can see the participant responses as they are made in real time.





Presenters can also see if one or more participants in the conference have not responded. However, polls are always anonymous and voting is not required.




Presenters can publish poll results to appear for all conference participants at any time. They do not have to wait for all participants to vote.





Conclude Groups at Course Conclusion

When a course concludes in Canvas, groups in the course also conclude. Concluded groups do not appear in the Courses & Groups menu. Users can still access their previous and current groups in the Groups page.




Note: Currently groups still appear on the Courses page and will be addressed in a future release.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:


Explanation: Users were not able to be removed from a course group unless an admin or instructor manually removed the student from the group. This behavior occurred because groups were not associated with the course status. Canvas code has been updated to show courses groups as concluded in the Groups page and remove associated groups from the Group favorites list.



  Updated Features




Muted Assignments

When an instructor mutes an assignment, scores are muted from the student’s Total score, but not the instructor’s Gradebook. When an instructor mutes an assignment in the Gradebook, the Total column will display a warning indicating that the total score is different than shown to students.




New Canvas UI

The New Canvas User Interface (UI) is an account-level feature option, which can be enabled by any Canvas admin in Account Settings. Enabling the New UI affects the user interface for the entire Canvas account. Adjustments to the New UI will be made throughout the upcoming year.


The New Canvas UI will be an account opt-in feature until approximately mid-2016. Watch the release notes for more details and updates on this feature.

Admin Navigation

In the Admin link, Admins can access all their managed accounts. The All Accounts link shows the accounts page, which is specifically helpful for admins who manage more than 10 accounts and subaccounts.




Login Page Layout

When the new Canvas UI is enabled, the Canvas login page has a new layout, which allows for customization in the Theme Editor.


This change does not affect multi-authentication or account sign-up screens, which still display in the lighter color scheme. By default, there is no login background image.






A user can view and manage course rubrics with the Create and Edit Assessing Rubrics permission.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:


Explanation: When an admin tried to manage rubrics through a course, they received an unauthorized error if the Manage Courses permission was disabled. This behavior occurred because rubrics would not allow users to manage rubrics without the Manage Courses permission. Canvas code has been updated to allow rubric management without the Manage Courses permission.


Global Announcements

The Manage Global Announcements permission is enabled for root accounts only and is not shown as a permission for subaccounts.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:


Explanation: When an admin granted a subaccount admin permission to manage global announcements, subaccount admins were not able to view the global announcements tab. This behavior occurred because global announcements can only be used by root account admins. Canvas code has been updated to remove the Manage Global Announcements permission from subaccounts.


Theme Editor

The Theme Editor is used in conjunction with the new Canvas User Interface (UI) feature option. Enabling the New UI affects the user interface for the entire Canvas account.

K12 Theme Template Access

In the Theme Editor, the K12 Theme is only available as a template if the K12 Styles feature option is enabled in Account Settings.




Login Customization

As part of the New Canvas UI, Admins can customize elements of the login page for their institution including body background images, logos (or other graphical images), border options, and button customizations.




Currently the login page cannot be edited directly in the Theme Editor. The image below shows login page components that match with the customization label fields in the Theme Editor. To see login changes, apply the theme editor changes and then log out of Canvas.





Manual Quiz Question Grading

In a manually graded quiz question, instructors no longer have to remove the dashes in the point field. Once an instructor starts typing a score, the dashes are removed automatically. However, if no value is entered and dashes are still present, the question is still considered ungraded.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:


Explanation: When an instructor opened a manually graded quiz in SpeedGrader and clicked the dashes in the points field, any scores typed in the field were inserted around the dashes instead of remove them completely. This behavior occurred because the points field was not focusing correctly on the dashes. Canvas code has been updated to remove the dashes when points are entered in the field.


Hiding Names in Anonymous Surveys

When grading an anonymous survey (quiz) in SpeedGrader, instructors can view the Hide Student Names checkbox in SpeedGrader settings, but the checkbox cannot be disabled. Anonymous surveys require names to be hidden.




User Files

Student Submission Files

Students cannot delete user files if they are associated with a submission in active course. This change allows instructors to always download assignment submissions in SpeedGrader.




This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:


Explanation: When a student submitted an assignment and then deleted it from his or her user files, the student’s instructor was not able to download the submission file from SpeedGrader. This behavior occurred because downloads for student files are  associated with the submitted file in the student’s user files area. Canvas code has been updated to prevent students from deleting submitted files in active courses. This change also improves a fix originally added to the July 18 release related to student submission files and SpeedGrader downloads.



  Other Canvas Updates




Post Grades to SIS Button

For institutions that use the Post Grades to SIS feature, the Post Grades button has been moved to the top of the Gradebook.





Notification Styles

Canvas Global Announcements have been updated for both the current and new Canvas UI. The colors and icons have been updated to match the new look and feel of Canvas. Dashboard notifications have also been updated to match global announcements. '





  Platform/Integration Updates



Account Navigation

Developer Keys

Admins can create developer keys for root accounts. This feature requires an account-level permission. Admins can use this permission to grant access to an IT or development group to create and manage developer keys for their institution.


Required fields include key name, owner email, tool ID, redirect URI, and icon URL.





SIS Integration API

In the SIS Integration API, the description field is not returned for any assignment.


Submissions API

In the Submissions API, submissions are ordered by user ID.


Outcome Results API

In the Outcome Results API, users can request SIS user IDs using the format user_ids[]=sis_user_id:1234.


Previously the ID for an OutcomeResult object was always returned as a string. To maintain consistency with other object IDs, the value returned is now an integer by default.