Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-12-19)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Dec 7, 2015Last modified by jivedocs@instructure.com on Jul 15, 2018
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Upcoming Canvas Changes

 

December 12 release postponed to December 19

The release scheduled for this Saturday, December 12, will move back one week to December 19. Canvas has experienced a few performance hiccups over the last few days, and although we’re very confident about the quality of the release, we will wait to introduce new features and other changes to the production environment until after the end of the traditional final exam window next Friday. We apologize for the short notice on this change.

 

January 2 release postponed to January 9

The release scheduled for Saturday, January 2, will move back one week to January 9. We want you to enjoy your New Year’s weekend without having to worry about the Canvas changes.

 

Please contact your Customer Success Manager if you have questions or concerns about these changes.

 

In this production release (December 19), instructors can use new course tools to provide draft or provisional grades, export course content for offline viewing, confirm broken links in a course, and require anonymous grading. Students can view assignment descriptions when viewing calendar exports, and admins can limit all user roles to interaction with a specific section. Other small changes have been implemented to improve user workflow and interaction. The production release notes also include fixed bugs.

 

Note: In the January 9 release, all Canvas documentation lessons will be changed so all images display functionality in new Canvas User Interface. However, to assist institutions that have not switched to the new Canvas UI, all lessons displaying contrasting navigation will still include a step showing functionality for the legacy interface.

 

watch-screencast-red.png

Canvas New Feature Screencast (2015-12-19)

 

 

The next release schedule will be extended by one week in observance of the New Year:

  • Beta release and notes: December 28
  • Production release notes: January 4
  • Production release and documentation: January 9

 

The following release schedule will be shortened by one week and dates adjusted as follows:

  • Beta release and notes: January 13 (Wednesday)
  • Production release notes: January 18
  • Production release and documentation: January 23

 

Production release notes indicate Canvas updates that will be included with Saturday’s release and are subject to change. New features may differ from those available in your beta environment. Learn more about the Canvas Release Schedule.

 

  New Features

  < BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Assignments

Moderated Grading

When creating an assignment, instructors can choose to have multiple graders evaluate a student’s work and create draft or provisional grades before the grade is marked as final for the course. This feature can also be used to create a sampling of students for assignment review to ensure grading is consistent and allows secondary grade reviews. Students cannot view any comments or grades until the grade is published.

 

Moderated grading refers to two specific user roles: moderators and reviewers.

  • Moderators can be any user in the course who has been granted the course-level Moderate Grades permission (commonly instructors).
  • Reviewers can be any user in the course who has been granted the course-level Edit Grades permission (commonly TAs). Reviewers interact with SpeedGrader as they can with any other SpeedGrader assignment.

 

For each assignment that needs to be moderated, instructors must select the Allow a moderator to review multiple independent grades checkbox. Moderators can be any user in the course who has been granted the course-level Moderate Grades permission.

 

Moderated-Grading-1.png

 

Once an assignment has been published, moderators will see the Moderate button on the assignment page. Moderators can select checkboxes next to students whose assignments should be moderated, then click the Add Reviewer button to add the students to the moderation set and create quick-access links to SpeedGrader.

 

Moderated-Grading-2.png

 

The Moderate page only supports up to two provisional grades and one moderator grade. The moderator grade can be edited or overwritten by any user with the moderate grades permission. Several provisional grades can exist for a submission, but a submission does not need to have more than one reviewer.

 

Reviewers interact with SpeedGrader as they would with any other Canvas assignment, including grading with rubrics and leaving comments. Once a reviewer grades the assignment, the grade appears in the Moderate page as a provisional grade in the appropriate reviewer column. Provisional grades are not included in the Gradebook and are only visible to moderators.

 

Notes:

  • Students not in the moderator set can only be assigned one provisional grade.
  • When a course includes more than one moderator, each institution will need to set their own policies for which moderator controls official grade posting for the assignment.

 

Moderated-Grading-4.png

 

Moderators can also view any previous reviews by opening SpeedGrader. Previous reviews display the grade and any comments, as well as any rubric results. The moderator can also use the Add Review link to add a second review (if one does not already exist), add a moderator review, or copy a previous review as the moderator review.

 

Copying a review applies the grade as the final. The copy retains the grade and existing comments but allows the moderator to make additional comments or edits. When copying a grade as the final, SpeedGrader will generate a warning and override any existing grade in the Moderator column.

 

Moderated-Grading-5.png

 

To assign and post a final grade for the assignment, the moderator can click the radio button in any reviewer column (or click the Select button in SpeedGrader). Then click the Post button. The final grade is the grade that will appear in the Gradebook once the assignment grades are posted.

 

Moderated-Grading-6.png

 

Once a grade is published, the grade in the moderator page cannot be changed; all content is considered read-only for historical reference. However, grades can still be changed in the Gradebook.

 

Course Settings

ePub Exports

ePub Exports is used in conjunction with the ePub Exporting course-level feature option. 

Instructors can allow students to download a course as an ePub file. This feature allows students to view course content when they are offline, such as files, pages, assignment details, discussion topics, or quiz instructions. Students cannot interact with the course in ePub material; course materials are displayed in a read-only state and any tasks such as submitting an assignment must be completed online.

 

The default ePub organization is by module, meaning only items that students have access to view in each module will be included in the ePub file. Locked modules list either their pre-requisites or the unlock date, as well as the items that are contained within that module (though not the actual content of those items themselves). Instead of Modules, however, instructors can set their course organization by content type (e.g. assignments, quizzes, etc.). This option can be changed by checking the ePub Export checkbox located in the Course Settings Course Details tab.

 

ePub-Course-Settings.png

 

Any user can generate ePub files in the current user interface by opening their User Settings page and clicking the Download Course Content button. (In the new Canvas user interface, click the Global Navigation Account link to access user settings.)

 

ePub-Student-1.png

 

Any available courses appear in the ePub content page and can be generated as needed using the Generate ePub link. Once the ePub is completed, the user can download the file or regenerate the ePub file. If a course includes a file that isn’t supported in an ePub, the page also includes a link to download associated files, which downloads the non-supported files in a zip file to be viewed in their native apps.

 

ePub-Student-3.png

 

Downloaded content can be viewed in any ePub reader, such as iBooks (Mac) or Azardi (Windows and Android). Other ePub applications can be used, but iBooks and Azardi are recommended as they provide the best support for embedded media. In ePub content, students cannot interact with course content directly such as completing an assignment, but they can view the assignment details, availability dates, and point values.

 

ePub-Student-4.png

 

Link Validator

Instructors can verify all published and unpublished links throughout a course to ensure they are valid. This option is available in the Course Details tab in Course Settings.

 

Validate-Links-in-Content.png

 

The course link validator searches through course content and returns invalid or unresponsive links. If links are found, Canvas provides the name of the content item with a link so instructors can correct the error.

 

Course-Link-Validator.png

 

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

 

 

SpeedGrader

Anonymous Grading

Anonymous Grading is used in conjunction with the Anonymous Grading course-level feature option.

When grading assignments, the SpeedGrader option to Hide Student Names can now be enabled for all courses in Canvas as a course-level feature option. When the Anonymous Grading feature option is enabled, the Hide Student Names checkbox is enabled by default.

 

Anonymous-Grading.png

 

If at any time the feature option is changed to allowed or off, the SpeedGrader option will be retained and must be changed manually.


As noted in the October 31 and November 21 releases, the admin logging tool shows whether an assignment was graded anonymously. Students can also view whether or not an assignment was graded anonymously in both the student Grades page and the sidebar of the assignment submission page.

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

 

 

  Updated Features

  < BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Calendar

Calendar Export Assignment Descriptions

Calendar feeds include the description of an assignment, in addition to the title and time of the event.

 

Calendar-Export.png

 

People

Section-Limited User Roles

When adding a user to a course, all user roles have the option to be limited by section so that users can only participate with other section enrollments. Previously only instructor-based roles could be limited by course section.

 

Section-limited-enrollments.png

 

Limiting students to interact by section only affects Collaborations, Chat, People, and Conversations. Discussion topics and Pages are not affected by section limitations and can be viewed by any student. These feature areas could be restricted by creating content in course groups. However, course groups cannot be organized by section and would have to be created manually.

 

When enrolling instructors and TAs, section limitations only allow those users to grade students in their same section(s).

 

 

  Other Updates

  < BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Assignments

Display Names in Downloaded Submissions

When an assignment submission is downloaded, the student name is merged together in the file.

release-notes-bug-fix-icon.pngThis feature resolves a fixed bug in Canvas.

 

Explanation: When an instructor downloaded student submissions, the download added a double dash between the last name and first name in the file (e.g. Smith--Jane). This behavior occurred because of a change in the file pattern where the separator was changed from an underscore. However, changing the dash to an underscore broke names of uploaded files. Canvas code has been updated to remove separators in a display name when included in the name of the file.

 

Calendar

Scheduler Messages

When instructors use the Message Students Who feature in the Scheduler, messages that include over 100 recipients are automatically sent as individual messages.

 

Grades

Ungraded Quizzes and Student Grade Totals

When a student submits a quiz that has a manually graded component, the ungraded quiz does not factor into student’s grades view. Student grades are only updated when the manually graded question has been graded by the instructor.

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

 

New Canvas UI

High Contrast Styles and Institution Logo

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.

The High Contrast Styles user-level feature option does not support viewing the institution logo at the top of the Global Navigation Menu. When users enable High Contrast Styles, the first item shown in the Global Navigation Menu is the Dashboard link.

 

People

Observers and Active Enrollment State

Users added to a course with the Observer role default to an active state so observers can participate in a course without having to accept a course invitation. This change does not change the process of removing an observer from a course; when the observed student is removed from the course, the observer is also removed from the course.

 

 

  Platform/Integration

  < BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

APIs

Submissions API

In the Submissions API, users can use the [grouped] parameter to group responses by student groups.

 

  Fixed Bugs

  < BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Accessibility

Analytics

In Account Analytics, the Grade Distribution tooltip displays the same distribution percentage as shown in the distribution graph.

 

Calendar

Calendar date range fields, undated items, link drop-down menus, and calendar checkboxes retain focus for keyboard users.

 

Dashboard

To Do and Coming Up Lists display assignments with their respective icon in gray text. The Recent Feedback section shows a green check mark next to the content link and is the only section that includes the color green. The names of calendar event, quiz, discussion, and assignment icons can be read by screen readers.

 

Course Setup Checklist

The Course Setup Checklist displays list elements and can be navigated by screen readers.

 

Discussions

Discussion expand and collapse links can be identified by screen readers.

 

Files

File previews are accessible for both screen readers and keyboard users.

 

APIs

Enrollments API

The Enrollments API consistently applies the course section parameter to both students and instructor enrollments.

 

Explanation: When enrolling a user in a course via the API, the parameter enrollment [limit_privileges_to_course_section] behavior was inconsistent in enrollment behavior. For new student enrollments, the parameter was not honored; when creating a new teacher enrollment, the parameter was always honored; and when updating a student or instructor enrollment, the parameter was not honored. This behavior occurred because section enrollments were previously not applied to student enrollments. Canvas code has been updated to support student section-limited enrollments, both through the API and when adding users via the People page.

 

Gradebook History API

The Gradebook History API ignores deleted submissions.

 

Explanation: When a user tried to access the Gradebook history via the API, the API returned an error message. This behavior occurred because the API controller was not ignoring deleted submissions for an assignment. Canvas code has been updated to ignore any deleted submissions.

 

Submissions API

The Submissions API returns the complete submission history for an assignment.

 

Explanation: When a user called the submission history for an assignment, the complete submission history wasn’t always returned. This behavior occurred because the parameter to include the submission history was not implemented. Canvas code has been updated to include the submission_history parameter.

 

Quiz Submission API

The Quiz Submission API returns the status of excused quizzes.

 

Explanation: When a user made a call to view quiz submissions through the API, the quiz wasn’t able to tell if the quiz was excused. This behavior occurred because the API didn’t support excused assignments. Canvas code has been updated to add the excused status to the Quiz Submission API.

 

Assignments

Downloaded Submissions File Names

Student names are not separated by a hyphen in submission download files.

 

Explanation: When an instructor downloaded student submissions, the download added a double dash between the last name and first name in the file (e.g. Smith--Jane). This behavior occurred because of a change in the file pattern where the separator was changed from an underscore. However, changing the dash to an underscore broke names of uploaded files. Canvas code has been updated to remove separators in a display name when included in the name of the file.

 

Long Assignment Submission File Names and Turnitin

Long file names wrap around Turnitin originality reports and submission download options.

 

Explanation: When an assignment submission includes a long file name, the file name overlapped Turnitin originality reports and submission download options. This behavior occurred because the SpeedGrader CSS didn’t include word wrapping for submission names. Canvas code has been updated to include supported word wrapping.

 

Authentication

Microsoft Office and Shibboleth

Students can access Canvas links placed in a Microsoft Office document if their institution is using Shibboleth for authentication.

 

Explanation: When an instructor created a Word Document with links to Canvas pages, students trying to view the links through those documents received an error message. This behavior affected institutions using Shibboleth for Canvas authentication and occurred because Microsoft Office applications use an internal browser that tries to handle all online communication and cannot pass user credentials from previous sessions. Canvas code has been updated to provide authentication support in Microsoft Word documents and was originally reported to be updated in the October 31 release.

 

Conversations

Group Individual Messages

Users can send a group message and select the checkbox to send individual messages.

 

Explanation: When a user tried to send a message to members in a group but chose to send messages individually, the page failed and generated an error message. This behavior occurred because context type wasn’t being considered when sending the messages. Canvas code has been updated to support individual messages for groups.

 

Recorded Media and File Names

File names for recorded and uploaded videos/audio files display in Conversations.

 

Explanation: When a user composed a new message and included recorded/uploaded media, the file name for the media file was undefined or missing. This behavior occurred because the conversation was not detecting the media file. Canvas code has been updated to display media file names in Conversations.

 

Files

File Downloads and Text-Based Files

Downloading a link to a text-based file immediately downloads the file.

 

Explanation: When a user clicked the link to download a file, most text content-type files were not downloading and required the user to view the preview page first. This behavior occurred because of a consistency issue between browsers. Canvas code has been updated to add text as a valid download type.

 

Folder Names

Folder names can be no longer than 255 characters.

 

Explanation: When a user created a folder in a sub-folder with a name longer than 255 characters, the folder redirected to the parent folder. This behavior occurred because the Files API could not support folder names longer than 255 characters. Canvas code has been updated to limit folder names to 255 characters.

 

Files Move Menu

After searching for a file in the search field, users can move the file via the Move option.

 

Explanation: When a user searched for a file in the search field, clicked the Settings icon for the file, and selected the Move option for the file, the file was not able to be moved. This behavior occurred because the Move option was not supported from the search field. Canvas code has been updated to move files that have been located in the search field.

 

Folder File Previews

Folder previews are not supported in Canvas.

 

Explanation: When a user tried to preview a folder, the folder was showing the preview of a file with the same ID. If the file did not include an ID, the folder created a File Not Found error. This behavior occurred because Canvas was not completely supporting file previews for folders as originally updated in the July 18 release. Canvas code has been updated to disable previews for file folders. When a folder is selected, the files toolbar does not include a preview option.

 

Gradebook

Message Students Who and Large Enrollment Courses

Users in large enrollment courses can use the Message Students Who feature in the Gradebook.

Explanation: When an instructor used the Message Students Who feature in the Gradebook in a large course, not all messages were able to be sent and generated a browser timeout message. This behavior occurred because of a JavaScript error. Canvas code has been updated to prevent timeout errors in large courses.

 

Grades

Multiple Grading Period Availability Dates

Users can change Multiple Grading Period availability dates when cached data overlaps the new data.

 

Explanation: When an instructor or admin user created a grading period in either the course or admin level, respectively, the start and end dates were not updating if the dates currently in the grading period overlapped with the updated data and generated an error. This behavior occurred because of a caching error. Canvas code has been updated to refresh availability date data when modifying grading periods.

 

Account-Level Grading Schemes and Courses

Users cannot edit account-level grading schemes in a course.

 

Explanation: When an instructor with an admin role tried to modify grading schemes, the instructor could delete account grading schemes from the enrolled course. This behavior occurred because of the dual role permissions. Canvas code has been updated to not allow admins with instructor roles to delete account grading schemes at the course level.

 

Modules

Firefox and Long File Names

In Firefox, files with long continuous names added to a module in Firefox are truncated after 50 characters.

 

Explanation: When a user used the Firefox browser to add a file with a long continuous name to a module, the name was not displaying in the Modules page. This behavior occurred because of an error in Firefox when wrapping styles are not present in the style sheet. Canvas code has been updated to truncate long file names in Firefox.

 

Module Requirement Removal and Sequential Order

When all requirements have been removed from a module, users can view the module content in any order.

 

Explanation: When an instructor removed all requirements from a module, the Students must move through requirements in sequential order option was not disabled, causing viewing difficulties for public course enrollments. This behavior occurred because of the October 31 release, which changed the placement of the sequential order checkbox and the view of the checkbox state. Canvas code has been updated to disregard sequential completion if no requirements exist.

 

Uploaded Files and Published State

When using the Usage Rights feature option, files uploaded from the Modules page are unpublished until changed by the user.

 

Explanation: When a user uploaded a file from the Modules page, the file was always published by default. This behavior occurred because files was not verifying the Usage Rights feature option, which allows the user to set the state of the file. Canvas code has been updated to retain uploaded files as unpublished.

 

Notifications

Differentiated Assignments

Due dates in differentiated assignment are included in the assignment creation notification.

 

Explanation: When an instructor created a differentiated assignment, the due_at field was set to null in the Assignments API, which was the source of visible due dates in assignment creation notifications. The dates were included in the assignment but ignored in the notifications and were read as No Due Date when there was a due date. This behavior occurred because Canvas notifications weren’t correctly coded to differentiated between differentiated assignments and assignments assigned to everyone. Canvas code has been updated to apply due dates when an assignment includes differentiated due dates.

 

Pages

Page Display Limit

Users can view all pages in the Pages sidebar.

 

Explanation: When an instructor created or edited a page and tried to add an existing page from the wiki pages list in the Content Selector sidebar, the list stopped displaying pages after showing 150 titles. This behavior occurred because the page display limit was set to 150. Canvas code has been updated to not set a limit for the list of wiki pages. However, pages must be published to appear in the list.

 

Permissions

Change Course State

Account roles do not require the Manage Courses permission to publish a course.

 

Explanation: When an admin user with the Change Course State permission tried to publish a course, the admin was unable to publish the course. This behavior occurred because the setting was also trying to verify the Manage Courses permission. Canvas code has been updated to allow a user to change the state of a course without the Manage Courses permission.

 

Admins and Course Selection

Admins can send a message without selecting the name of a course.

 

Explanation: When an admin tried to send a message to a user without selecting the name of a course, the message failed in the background. This behavior occurred because conversations requires a course context for sending messages. Canvas code has been updated to make messages without context more accurate. Admins with the See the list of all users permission can send messages without specifying a course context. This change does not apply to any other user role.

 

Admin Masquerading

Admins do not require the Modify Login Details permission to masquerade as a user.

 

Explanation: When an admin with the Become other users and See the list of users permissions tried to masquerade as a user in the course, the admin was unable to masquerade. This behavior occurred because the setting was also trying to verify the Modify Login Details permission. Canvas code has been updated to allow a user to masquerade without the Modify Login Details permission.

 

Quizzes

Access Code Quiz Previews

Instructors can preview and submit a quiz that requires access codes.

 

Explanation: When an instructor attempted to preview and submit a quiz that required an access code, the page generated an internal error. This behavior occurred because the quiz was set to delete the access code once the quiz was submitted and wasn’t compatible with previews. Canvas code has been updated to show submission results after submitting the quiz preview. This fix was deployed to production on November 26. This change also resolved a concern where the access code was being stored in multiple sessions, allowing students multiple quiz attempts.

 

Images and Quiz File Name

When adding images in the Rich Content Editor, instructors receive a warning message about the alt-text image file name.

 

Explanation: When an instructor created or edited a quiz and used the Rich Content Editor to add an image, the quiz file name could be displayed to students, opening possibilities for cheating due to broken links or slow internet connections. This behavior occurred because alt text is part of Canvas images for accessibility use, and the alt text defaults to the file name. Canvas code has been updated to display a warning that the image alt text could be displayed to students. Instructors can change the name of the alt image when adding an image to quizzes. This warning does not apply to other content areas with the Rich Content Editor, such as Pages.

 

Quiz Regrade

After saving a changed question, Canvas applies the quiz regrade option.

 

Explanation: When an instructor edited the answer to a quiz question that supported quiz regrade (multiple choice, true/false, or multiple answers), the regrade option was not retained for the quiz question. This behavior occurred because the quiz only retained the quiz ID and not the question data. Canvas code has been updated to display the regrade option after updating the quiz.

 

Symbols and HTML Encoding

Symbols in quiz question answers are not HTML encoded.

 

Explanation: When a quiz was created or edited, saved, then edited again before saving the quiz, symbols in the question’s answers become HTML ended. This behavior occurred because the symbol was being treated as a web connection object. Canvas code has been updated to set timeouts for HTTP requests in quizzes.

 

Question Banks and Multiple Questions

Question Banks only display one version of each question.

 

Explanation: When an instructor set a quiz to pull from a question bank, pulling more than the available questions from the question bank was delivering each question twice, causing grading errors. This behavior occurred because the question bank duplicated questions if the number of questions that should be pulled exceeded the number of questions available in the question bank. Canvas code has been updated to create a warning when the number of questions exceeds the number of questions available in the question bank. Additionally, when a question is duplicated, the points possible field shows as twice the question value.

 

Course Sections with No End Date

Students can take a quiz when a section date is still open.

 

Explanation: When a course was assigned to a term that had ended but the section had no end date, students in the section were not able to take quizzes. However, students were able to participate in all other content areas. This behavior occurred because section dates with no end dates was not defined as a valid date restriction to participate in quizzes. Canvas code has been updated to allow no end date in a section to pass quiz eligibility restrictions.

 

Quiz Grade Fields

Quiz grade fields support multiple characters for grade entry.

 

Explanation: When an instructor graded a quiz question and entered a quiz value with more than two characters, the additional characters were hidden behind the window, such as 5.75. This behavior occurred because the quiz grade field was not large enough to support more than two characters. Canvas code has been updated to increase the side of the quiz grade field.

 

SpeedGrader

Student Resubmissions and Original Markups

When an assignment is resubmitted, admins are able to view the original Crocodoc submission.

 

Explanation: When a student resubmitted an assignment that was previously graded using Crocodoc, only the instructor could view the original assignment markup in SpeedGrader. This behavior occurred because of an error with Crocodoc permissions when multiple submissions existed. Canvas code has been updated to associate Crocodoc with each submission file and verify admin permissions for Crocodoc-enabled file types.

 

Submission Status Sorting in Various Browsers

Sorting in SpeedGrader is consistent in all browsers.

 

Explanation: When an instructor sorted student submissions by submission date or submission status, the submissions were not sorting accurately in various browsers. Incorrect sorting by submission date occurred in all browsers except Chrome and Safari, and incorrect sorting by submission status occurred in all browsers except Firefox. This behavior occurred because SpeedGrader relies on a browser’s native sorting capabilities, which weren’t consistent. Canvas code has been updated with a Javascript sorting library to ensure stability across all browsers.

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