Canvas Beta Release Notes (2016-02-08)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Feb 8, 2016Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has new features for Account Settings and SpeedGrader, as well as updates for Analytics, Announcements, Assignments, the Dashboard, Grades, Outcomes, and Settings. Canvas also has other updates for the user interface, password reset form, Theme Editor, and API page.


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


Unless otherwise mentioned, features apply to both the current and new Canvas user interface. On July 9, 2016, the new Canvas user interface will no longer be a feature option in Canvas and will be enabled for all institutions.


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



Account Settings

Restrict Future Enrollments in Courses List

As part of selecting the Restrict students from viewing future enrollments before the course start date checkbox, admins have an additional option that allows them to restrict students from viewing those courses in their Courses (or enrollments) list. This checkbox option is called Restrict students from viewing future courses in the enrollment list and only appears if the start date restriction checkbox is selected.


This feature removes the name of the future enrollment course from the Courses list so that students do not see they are enrolled in the course. This setting can also be locked for sub-accounts.


This change also rearranges the account restriction checkboxes so the course start date checkbox is listed first. (This change has not yet been applied at the course level.)




Crocodoc Student Feedback Document Review

When an instructor adds Crocodoc annotations to a student’s submission, instructors can view if the student has viewed the feedback. This change does not affect any student behavior in Canvas.


Students view Crocodoc feedback by viewing the submission details page and click the View Feedback button.


Note: Crocodoc only supports specific file types, such as Microsoft Word and PDF documents. If a student submission does not support Crocodoc, SpeedGrader renders the document in the Canvas document previewer and the submission details page shows the Preview button.


Student View



Instructor View




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



  Updated Features




Graph Enhancements

Course analytics graphs have been improved for accessibility and readability; changes do not affect current functionality.


To maximize graphs in the page, all explanatory text that was shown to the left side of each graph has been replaced with a summary key directly above the graph. Additionally, because the page includes breadcrumb text, the course name at the top of the page has also been removed for redundancy.


The Activity by Date graph shows the number of page views and participation activity by date. Specific participations and page views can be viewed by hovering over the date. The graphs have been changed to display light and dark bars for contrast instead of bars with similar brightness.




The Submissions graph uses different colors and shapes to distinguish missing, late, and on-time assignment submissions. Specific percentages for each submission status can be viewed by hovering over the assignment.




The Grades graph has a more simplified Y axis with fewer point lines only displayed on the left side of the graph. The percentile color has also been updated for better accessibility contrast.




The individual student graph at the end of the page has been replaced with numerical data. Submission data is identified individually as the number of assignments that were on time, late, or missing. Data also includes the student’s current score in the course. The page views, participations, and current score columns can be filtered in ascending or descending order.





Announcement Likes in Student Replies

When an instructor creates an announcement, they can choose to allow students to like a reply. This feature is only applicable to courses that allow students to respond to announcements. When a student responds to an announcement, other students can view and click the like icon below the reply.

Announcements mirror the functionality of Discussions in that instructors can set other options for liking as part of the announcement settings. They can choose to allow only graders in the course to like an announcement reply and sort replies by the number of likes.





External Tool URL

When an instructor created an External Tool assignment submission, previously instructors could only add an External URL by clicking the URL field. This functionality has been improved by allowing a direct URL to be entered in the link field. Instructors can still locate an External Tool by clicking the Find button.





Sidebar Enhancements

Dashboard sidebar content includes more white space and enlarged font sizes for better readability. All sidebar areas include the name of the course, and assignments also include the total number of points.


The Coming Up section includes the specific date of the assignment or event instead of the day of the week. Additionally, any assignments that have already been graded include the assignment score.

For instructors, the To Do list assignment icons are replaced with an indicator representing the number of submissions that require grading. The indicator matches the primary color of the account's theme as set in the theme editor.




Course Nicknames (New UI Only)

The sidebar supports course nicknames. When a student creates a nickname for a course, the course nickname is displayed with all associated assignments or events.





Grade Sorting

When students view the Grades page, they can sort grades by due date, module, assignment title, or assignment group. By default, sorting is by due date.





Single Calculation Methods

When calculating a decaying average, outcomes creates a calculation when only one assessment has been made. Previously the calculation wouldn’t return a calculation unless two submissions had been made.




Additionally, when calculating for n number of times, outcomes supports a calculation that is set to achieve mastery only once.





Masquerade and Student View Notification Bars (New UI Only)

The admin masquerade and instructor Student View notification bars has been updated to stretch the full width of the browser window. This change keeps the notification bar below the Canvas footer and helps prevent content from being hidden inadvertently. Additionally, the bar color has been updated to match the action menu in the Canvas style guide, which also helps draw more attention to the functionality and reminds admins and instructors that they are viewing Canvas as another user. The color also borders the entire browser window.

Note: Currently the notification bars cover the Help icon in Global Navigation. Our UI team is aware of this behavior and working on a resolution.





  Other Updates



User Interface

Font Sizes

The user interface has been updated to support relative font sizes throughout Canvas. This change does not apply to any specific text sizes as noted in HTML, vendor libraries’ css, or through font size editing in the Rich Content Editor.



Password Reset Field

For users who can reset their own passwords through Canvas, the password reset field verifies password reset information by user login. This feature also supports functionality for institutions who set the login label field as something other than email. If a user enters a login credential (e.g., username or student ID) that is associated with multiple email addresses, the user will receive a password reset email at each address.


Theme Editor (New UI only)

Custom CSS/JS Upload Warning

The Theme Editor upload tab contains a warning message about custom CSS/JS files. Although custom CSS and JS files can be updated, custom CSS and Javascript may cause accessibility issues or conflicts with future Canvas updates.









For details about using Canvas APIs, please see


API Page

The Canvas API page has been revised to help users better view API calls and documentation. Request parameters are shown in columns for easier readability. To access the beta API page, visit [institution]




Multiple Grading Period IDs

When using multiple grading periods, the Courses API and Users API includes the current grading period ID. This parameter can be viewed as part of the following endpoints:

  • /api/v1/courses
  • /api/v1/courses/:course_id
  • /api/v1/users/:user_id/courses
  • /api/v1/users/self/favorites/courses