Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-11-09)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Nov 9, 2015Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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Upcoming Canvas Changes


Turnitin LTI (External Apps)

Turnitin has created an LTI tool to use for Turnitin assignments in Canvas. The Turnitin LTI will replace the Turnitin Canvas plugin (API), which will be deprecated at a later date. If you are a Canvas admin whose institution is using Turnitin and want to switch to the LTI, please contact your Turnitin account representative for your external app credentials. The Turnitin LTI can be configured for your account as shown in the External App URL lesson. All Canvas Guides Turnitin documentation will be updated as part of the November 21 release for institutions who have already enabled the LTI or want to learn more about the LTI.

In this beta release, Canvas has new features for the Gradebook, Grades, and the New Canvas UI and an updated feature in Assignments. We also have a performance improvement to the Dashboard, as well as some small design changes in Assignments, the Calendar, and Course and Account Settings. If you’re a Firefox user, we also have an update in SpeedGrader regarding Crocodoc.


Beta features are subject to change based on user feedback and testing.


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




Grading Period Totals

The Grading Period Totals feature requires the Display Totals for All Grading Periods course-level feature option. It is also used in conjunction with the Multiple Grading Periods course-level feature option.


When viewing the All Grading Periods option, instructors can choose whether or not they want Canvas to display total grades, including assignment group totals.


When the Display Totals feature is disabled (default setting), viewing All Grading Periods does not show total grades in the Gradebook or student Grades page. (Individual grading periods are not affected and continue to display the total grade for the selected grading period.)


Note: Support for weighted assignment groups in grading periods will be included in a future release.





When Display Totals is enabled, the Gradebook and student Grades page displays all grade totals, as well as any assignment groups created for the course.





Grading Period CSV Exports

When Grading Periods are enabled for a course, instructors can choose to export a specific grading period from the Gradebook. The Export button is linked to the grading period displayed in the Gradebook and the CSV file will include all associated assignments.


Gradebook exports also honor the Display Totals feature option; if the Display Totals feature is disabled, the Gradebook CSV does not include any final columns. If the Display Totals feature is enabled, the Gradebook CSV also exports the assignment group current and final scores, as well as the total column.



Grading Period View

When Grading Periods are enabled for a course, the global Grades page allows students to view the total grade for a course according to a specific grading period. The menu display defaults to the current grading period.


In the current UI, the Grades page is located in Global Navigation. In the new UI, the Grades button is located in the Dashboard sidebar.


In this page, the Display Totals feature option affects viewing the All Grading Periods option. When the Display Totals feature is disabled (default setting), the Grades global view does not include the All Grading Periods option in the drop-down menu. Students can only view the grade from the selected grading period.




If Display Totals is enabled, students can view the All Grading Periods option and view the total grade.




Note: For instructor views, courses that an instructor is taking are displayed by grading period. However, courses being taught continue to show the total average grade for all students. This view will be updated in a future release.


New Canvas UI

Dashboard Course Nickname

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.


In the new Canvas UI, users can create nicknames for their courses. This feature helps users organize their courses on the Dashboard according to a specified nickname. Most courses are created using Student Information Systems (SIS) that generate course names based on terms, departments, and section numbers, and users enrolled in similar courses have a hard time distinguishing each course.

To set a nickname, click the Settings icon for the course. Enter the nickname in the text field and click the Apply button. Course nicknames appear in the Dashboard, course navigation menus and breadcrumbs, and notification emails. However, this feature does not currently apply to the global Grades page and Dashboard sidebar elements such as the To Do list. Nickname functionality is being reviewed in these areas for a future release.



Course nicknames does not affect the course name at the account or course level; it only changes the name of the course for the individual user who created the nickname. If a user needs to know the original name of the course, they can hover over the nickname and the original name will appear. Users can also restore the original name completely by deleting the nickname. Additionally, the course code is not affected and always displays on the dashcard for course reference.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas Community.



  Updated Features




Anonymous Grading Student View

Students can view whether or not an assignment was graded anonymously in SpeedGrader. Anonymous grading is set by opening SpeedGrader options and selecting the Hide Student Names in SpeedGrader checkbox.

Notifications of the anonymous status are shown in both the student Grades page and the sidebar of the assignment submission page.







  Other Updates




Assignment Link

In the Assignments submission sidebar, the download link for the assignment is shown below the submission details link.



release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas Community.



Assignment Publish Toggle

When creating an assignment in the Calendar, the publish button has been changed to a toggle, where the toggle on the left (default) means the toggle is not enabled. In the calendar, a toggle on the left means the assignment is not published. This change helps align toggle functionality throughout Canvas.



Sidebar Performance Improvements

Canvas has implemented performance improvements to the Dashboard sidebar to improve speed and content data.



Feature Option Toggle

The Feature Options buttons have been changed to a toggle, where the toggle on the left (default) means the toggle is not enabled. In Feature Options, a toggle on the left means the feature option is not enabled. This change helps align toggle functionality throughout Canvas.


At the account level, updated toggles only apply to account-level options. If a feature has been enabled for all users by Canvas, the feature option displays the feature as On or Off. Course options enabled at the account level are not affected by the design change.




At the course level, if a feature is allowed to be enabled, the feature option includes a toggle. However, if a feature has been enforced at the account level by an admin, the course feature options displays the feature as On or Off.





Firefox Crocodoc Annotations

When an instructor uses Crocodoc annotations for a supported assignment submission type (primarily Word documents and PDFs), the Firefox browser frequently removes the last annotated comment when updating the score field in SpeedGrader. This behavior is a Crocodoc-specific limitation within Firefox that cannot be resolved by Crocodoc at this time. To warn about the effects of Firefox and Crocodoc annotations, Canvas displays a warning banner that says “Warning: Crocodoc has limitations when used in Firefox. Comments will not always be saved.” To avoid losing any annotations, instructors may choose to use another browser when providing Crocodoc annotated feedback, or try clicking the screen before navigating to another student.

Note: Crocodoc is not available in Canvas beta environments.