Canvas Beta Release Notes (2016-03-21)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Mar 21, 2016Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has new features for Account Settings and Permissions. Updates are also available in Assignments, Global Announcements, the Gradebook, Notifications, People, Quizzes, SpeedGrader, and the Theme Editor, as well as several elements in the Canvas interface and APIs.


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

Course Storage Report

In Account Settings, the Reports tab includes the Course Storage Report. Configured by term, this report pulls the current statistics for storage space used for every course (shown in megabytes). The resulting CSV file will have one row per course and will show the course id, course sis id, course short name, course name, account id, account sis id, account name, storage used in MB.





SIS Import and Manage

SIS Import permissions for account roles have been split into separate permissions: Import SIS data and Manage SIS data.

  • Disabling both permissions hides the SIS Import link in Account Navigation.
  • Manage SIS data allows a user to view the SIS Import link in Account Navigation and view any prior imported information. When manually adding a new user to the account, admins with this permission can also add an SIS ID as part of the user’s account details.
  • Import SIS data allows a user to do everything that the Manage SIS data permission allows in addition to importing SIS data. This permission is not available in sub-accounts.




Note: Read SIS data (account permission) is not affected by this change.


Change Course State Delete Addition

The Change Course State permission at the course level includes the option to delete a course. This permission controls the Permanently Delete this Course button in Course Settings.




Note: This change does not affect the same permission at the account level. For users granted account permissions, the Permanently Delete this Course button is still associated with the Manage Courses permission.


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

When an admin disabled the Change Course State permission, the course removed the Conclude button, but it still allowed a user to delete a course. Canvas code has been updated to associate the Change Course State course permission with deleting a course.



  Updated Features




Submission Details View (New Canvas UI)

The Submission Details page is responsive within a browser window and allows the Preview/View Feedback link to be viewed in smaller screen resolutions. A scrollbar is no longer shown in the page. When the window is viewed at a smaller size, the comments sidebar is moved to the bottom of the page.



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

In the New Canvas User Interface, when users on smaller screen resolutions tried to view the Submission Details page for an assignment, the Preview/View Feedback link could only be viewed when the browser was a specific minimum width or if the user scrolled horizontally across the page. Canvas code has been updated to make the Submission Details page responsive to smaller browser windows.



Global Announcements

Global Announcement Edits

As part of creating a Global Announcement for an account, admins can edit existing  announcements. However, the edit feature should only be used for minor changes, such as spelling errors, etc.


Once a Global Announcement passes its start date, the announcement is immediately visible to users, who can read and dismiss it from the Dashboard. Any edits made to an existing Global Announcement after its start date will not force the message to reappear for users who have already dismissed it. Any substantial changes to the Global Announcement should be created as a new Global Announcement so that it reappears for all users.

Similarly, admins will not be able to change the start date after the Global Announcement has gone live. For example, if an announcement is set to run from March 1 until April 30, the starting date can only be edited before March 1, and the ending date can only be edited before April 30.



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




Individual View Final Grade Decimal Places

In the Gradebook, Individual View shows two decimal places for a student’s final grade. This change helps improve consistency with rounding in the Gradebook.



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

When an instructor was using multiple grading periods and was able to view total grades in the Gradebook, Individual View showed total grades rounding to the nearest tenth, while other places in Canvas showed two decimals. Canvas code has been updated to show the final grade as two decimal places.



Module Sorting and Non-Module Assignments

In the sort by Modules option, assignments that are not in a module sort below the last module item alphabetically by title.

Modules sorting is available in the student grades page; if instructors have permission, they can also sort when viewing individual student grades from a user’s details page.




Note: If a course is using multiple grading periods, assignments that are not in a module and do not include a due date appear in the last grading period.


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

When a student sorted grades by module, modules was not considering quizzes and discussions in the modules list. Assignments were being sorted correctly but all quizzes and discussions were being displayed at the bottom of the module list. Canvas code has been updated to include quizzes and discussions as part of the modules sort list.




Notification Preference View

In the Notification page, the notification option menus can be changed without hovering over a communication channel column. This change improves accessibility and allows notification options to be accessed by all users. Enabled notifications are shown with a highlighted background. Changing a notification option applies the option immediately.

Users who have enabled push notifications will still be able to manage push notifications in the Push Notifications column. Please note that enabling push notifications only allows notifications to be sent immediately or not at all (daily and weekly notifications are not currently supported).





User Menu Analytics Link & Profiles Addition

The Analytics link has been added to the people page menu for easy access.




Additionally, in the User Details page, the Analytics button always displays in the sidebar for users who have permission to view analytics. Previously, the Analytics button only displayed in the User Details page for institutions who were not using the Profiles feature. Profiles creates an additional space in the user details page where users can show contact methods and links and create a small biography. Admins can enable Profiles for their account by contacting their Customer Success Manager.


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

When an institution enabled the Profiles feature for an entire account, the user profile page was not displaying the Analytics button, even if the user had permission to view analytics. Canvas code has been updated to add the Analytics button to a user’s profile independent of the Profiles feature.




Manually Graded Question Quiz Statistics

In addition to showing a link to SpeedGrader, quiz statistics show relative grade performance for manually graded essay and file upload quiz question types.


In quiz statistics, manually graded question types are shown in the same table format as other quiz types. A manually graded quiz type is marked as correct if it contains a student score greater than or equal to the question points possible.

Grade breakdown responses are shown as the top 27%, middle 46%, and bottom 27%. The statistics also show submissions that have not yet been graded. However, if all scores are identical, a response category may show more than the percentage number of students (e.g., all students score 100%).





Group Submission Individual Comments View

SpeedGrader does not display individual comments made in group assignments. Group assignments are assignments where the instructor requires students to submit their assignment as a group and the same grade is given to all group members. This change was made so instructors can always verify that comments are made for the entire group; SpeedGrader defaults the comments field so that it cannot be changed.




Private comments can still be viewed and given for each student in the group by accessing the Submission Details page for an individual student's group assignment. Instructors can also view the Conversations Inbox Submission Comments filter.




Note: Groups assignments with individual grading are not affected by this change; this option is created when an instructor creates a group assignment but selects the option to assign grades to individual users. When grades are assigned to individual users, SpeedGrader shows the submission menu by individual student name (and not by group).



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

When an instructor created a group assignment where one grade counted for all group members, SpeedGrader was not showing any individual comments made by group members. Canvas code has been updated to remove individual comments in SpeedGrader for group assignments with group grading, which helps instructors inadvertently respond to private comments in a public setting.



Theme Editor (New UI)

High Contrast Alert

The Theme Editor does not support branding when users enable High Contrast Styles in their User Settings. When an admin has enabled High Contrast Styles, the Theme Editor displays an alert to notify the admin that branding previews are not supported. The alert includes a link to disable High Contrast for the admin’s user account.





  Other Updates



Canvas Interface

12pt Font Size Updates

Announcements, Assignments, Calendar, the Syllabus, the Course Home Page, and the Gradebook include minor text and icons that have been enlarged to 12pt for better readability.


Page Footer Removal (New Canvas UI)

The Instructure footer has been removed from every page in Canvas except for the Dashboard.


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

When Course Navigation included at least one external tool link, or the Course Home Page content was shorter than all the Course Navigation links, the links were descending beneath the page footer content. Canvas code has been updated to remove the footer from all pages except the Dashboard.



Dashboard Card Width (New Canvas UI)

Canvas browser breakpoints have been simplified to avoid page content overlapping with sidebar content. This change visually affects the Dashboard course cards, which are always set at 264px wide and no longer scale to fit the browser window. This change makes the design more consistent with other Canvas feature areas.




User Settings

High Contrast Styles Page Scrollbar Color

When High Contrast Styles is enabled, scrollbars in page browser windows have been changed from light gray to dark gray for better contrast. This change only applies to browsers that support WebKit webpage rendering (Safari and Chrome).


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






SIS Import Formats

For details about using Canvas APIs, please see



The users.csv includes the ssha_password field, which allows users to pass pre-hashed passwords using the SSHA password generation scheme.



The parent_account_id field is required in CSV files. Even if all the values in the column are blank, the column must be included to differentiate the file from a group import.