Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-09-28)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Sep 28, 2015Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has new features for Modules and the Calendar. We also have updates for Assignments and the New Canvas User Interface, as well as some other Canvas updates and platform/integration updates.


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




And/Or Requirements

When creating requirements in a module, instructors can give students an option between two or more tasks. This change allows students to choose which task they prefer to complete to demonstrate their learning and move forward in the course content.


Note: If you choose to use this feature for graded items, please note that all assignments with their current grades are reflected in the Gradebook. For instance, if a module requires a student to submit one of three assignments, the two assignments that aren’t submitted still factor into the Gradebook as unsubmitted.


If instructors would like students to select one assignment from a list of added module item requirements, the instructor may choose to manually configure assignments appropriately, either by using the differentiated assignments feature or excusing assignments as necessary in the Gradebook.


To enable the And/Or option, instructors can edit a module, add a requirement, and select the Students must complete one of these requirements option.




The requirement for the module appears as part of the module header (either Complete One Item or Complete All Items). Module prerequisites also appear in the module header.




Students view the same information in the module header, showing them they must complete one or all items. Requirements are shown with the task item. The circles next to the module item show the state of the item. Blank circles indicate the requirement has not yet been completed.




When a student completes the prerequisite, the module item changes to a green check mark icon. If the student fails the prerequisite, the module item changes to an orange dash icon. An orange icon can also mean the assignment is overdue. Students can hover over the icon to view the details about the item.


The module header also indicates the status of the entire module. If a module includes requirements, an orange icon indicates the module has been started. A green check mark icon indicates the module has been completed. If a module doesn’t include requirements, the status will not appear in the module header, but each module item will still indicate if an item (such as an assignment) is overdue.


Modules still display gray text and a lock icon for modules that have not yet been unlocked.





Scheduler Comments

When students sign up for an appointment slot in the Scheduler, they can add a comment as part of the reservation. However, this field is optional. In the student’s calendar, the student can view the submitted comments by viewing the reserved appointment group event.


Scheduler-Comments.png  Scheduler-Student-View.png


Instructors can view any comments left by students by viewing the reserved appointment group slot.





  Updated Features




Peer Review Notifications

When instructors enable anonymous peer reviews, notifications sent to students about the peer review assignment are also anonymous. Notifications do not include the name of the student whose work is to be reviewed.


This feature was originally suggested in the Canvas community.



Usage Rights and Publishing State

Usage rights is used in conjunction with the Require Usage Rights for Uploaded Files course-level feature option.

Instructors can specify usage rights and the published state of the file at the same time.


When instructors set a usage right for a file, the published state management options appear at the bottom of the window. By default, the option is set to publish the file.




Once updated, the icon next to the file is updated with the published state. If the item is also included in a module, the published state is also updated next to the module item.

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.

Term Dates

If a course includes term dates, the term date appears as part of the course listing in the courses list, as well as on the Dashboard course card.


Term-Dates-Dashboard.png       Term-Date-Course-List.png


Global Navigation Groups Icon

The Groups icon has been updated to differentiate the icon from the Courses list.




Login Styles

Login styles for the New Canvas UI are included in new user registration pages, multi-user authentication pages, Canvas request permissions pages, and the User Terms pages.



Quiz Question Breakdown by User

When instructors view the breakdown of a quiz question, they can see the number of respondents for each answer choice. This statistic is in addition to the percentage of respondents. Instructors can click the respondents link to view the names of the students who chose each specific answer.




This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas community.


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.

Logo Sidebar Branding

Admins can add a right sidebar logo as part of the Theme Editor. By default, this logo is always blank.


This logo is part of the Watermarks & Other Images components and displays a full-size logo on the right sidebar on the Canvas Dashboard. This logo is not viewable on any other Canvas page.


The editor can support images of any size; however, the ideal image size is 360x140 px. When viewed on tablet devices, or in browser windows with smaller screen resolutions, the logo is not visible because of space constraints.





  Other Canvas Updates




Muted Assignments Total Column Icon

As introduced in the previous production release (2015-09-19), 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. The icon has been changed to the mute icon to help differentiate between icons in the total column. This icon also takes precedence over the warning icon for weighted assignment group errors.






Maori is now a supported Canvas language.



Manage All Other Course Content

Admins can view course analytics if View all Grades, Edit Grades, and View Analytics Pages are enabled permissions. Manage All Other Course Content is no longer required as a permission.



  Platform/Integration Updates




Unique Page Titles in API Documentation

The Canvas API documentation includes the subject of the API in the page title.


This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas community.


Authentication Providers API

The account setting for Canvas authentication has moved to the Authentication Providers API. In the API, any authentication that should be the default needs to be set with the position parameter and placed above the Canvas authentication.


In Canvas, Authentication options are viewable in the Authentication link in Account Navigation. If your institution is using the Authentication Providers API, changes to the Canvas interface will disrupt your authentication settings.


If your institution is interested in using the Canvas interface to control authentication settings, Canvas engineers are still working to improve the user experience for enabling authentication services. Full functionality will be announced in a future release.


Canvas Substitution Variables

LTI Launch Dates

Substitution variables for sending LTI launch dates in ISO8601 format:

  • $Canvas.assignment.unlockAt.iso8601
  • $Canvas.assignment.lockAt.iso8601
  • $Canvas.assignment.dueAt.iso8601


Developer Keys

Deactivate Keys

If admins have permission to manage developer keys, admins can deactivate developer keys for the root account by clicking the lock icon. This feature allows the key to be deactivated without being completely deleted. Deactivated keys are shown with a red background. Keys can also be reactivated.




External Apps


Canvas has incorporated additional LTI support to expand capabilities for Turnitin and is working with the Turnitin product team to update their documentation.

  • When a student submits a document for a Turnitin assignment, Turnitin shows the submission as pending in SpeedGrader. (SpeedGrader may take a few minutes to display the pending status after the submission.)
  • For submissions with failed LTI responses, Canvas displays an error message if Turnitin exceeds the number of resubmission attempts.
  • Turnitin generates scores for PowerPoint files.
  • Canvas copies submissions uploaded to Turnitin and displays the file in SpeedGrader.


Canvas Substitution Variables

By adding the following custom fields in the external app configuration, assignment dates and other information will sync between canvas and Turnitin:

  • custom_duedate=$Canvas.assignment.dueAt.iso8601
  • assignmentid=$
  • custom_submission_title=$Canvas.assignment.title
  • custom_maxpoints=$Canvas.assignment.pointsPossible
  • custom_startdate=$Canvas.assignment.unlockAt.iso8601