Canvas Beta Release Notes (2016-07-05)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Jul 5, 2016Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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Upcoming Canvas Changes


New Canvas User Interface (UI): July 9

In the beta environment, the New Canvas Interface (UI) has been enabled for all Canvas accounts.


On Saturday, July 9, 2016, the New Canvas UI will no longer be a Feature Option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas users as a standard feature.

In this beta release, Canvas has new features in Account Settings. Feature updates are available in Grades, Reports, the Rich Content Editor, and the User Account Menu, and minor changes have been made in Assignments, Conversations, Course Settings, the Rich Content Editor, Outcomes, User Settings, and APIs.


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



Account Settings

Customized Help Link Text and Icons (New Canvas UI)

In Account Settings, admins can change the Help icon and text that displays throughout Canvas.




Help link text displays in the Global Navigation Menu, the footer of the login page, and the top menu bar in SpeedGrader. Link text should be no more than 30 characters.


The navigation icon currently only displays in the Global Navigation Menu. Navigation icons can be chosen from the included icon set, with the question mark icon as the default.





  Updated Features



Account Settings

Sub-account Theme Editor Management

In Account Settings, admins can enable and disable the Theme Editor for all sub-accounts in their account. When enabled, sub-account admins can view the Themes link in Account Navigation and manage Theme Editor branding for the sub-account.

Note: The sub-account checkbox only affects access to the Theme Editor in sub-accounts; it is not associated with custom CSS/JS files. In the Theme Editor, the Upload tab only displays if CSS/JS files have been enabled for the entire account. For assistance with CSS/JS files, admins must contact their Customer Success Manager.





Grading Period Terms

Grading periods have been reorganized to be associated by term and only managed at the account level. Each term can only be associated with one grading period set, but multiple terms can be in the same grading period set. This functionality is the first of several upcoming improvements to grading periods and provides more versatility across institutions.


Grading Period Sets

The Grading Periods account-level tab displays all grading period sets and their grading periods. Grading periods can be filtered by viewing a term in the Terms drop-down menu or by searching for the name of a term or grading period in the search field.


Terms are added to a grading set if the courses in the term use the same grading periods. Courses associated with a term automatically inherit the grading periods created specifically for the term.


Grading periods can be added to the grading period set in any order and are organized by start date. However, start and end dates cannot overlap in a grading period. As grading periods do not directly affect any course assignments, grading periods can be deleted or their start and end dates can be changed. However, changes should generally be made before a term begins. Changing grading period dates during a term will affect grade totals.

Note: Terms should be created in the account before being added to a grading period.




Once a term is associated with a grading period, the name of the grading period displays with the term in the Terms page.




Multiple Terms and Grading Periods

Each term can only be associated with one grading period set, but multiple terms can share the same grading period set. If an institution requires different grading periods to be active at the same time, admins can create additional terms and add them to a new or current grading period set. For instance, if various schools in a district need grading periods for semesters and quarters, admins can create a new term for each school and place the terms within different grading period sets—one created for semesters and one created for quarters. In the Terms page, each term will display its associated grading period.




Sub-Account & Courses View

As sub-accounts and courses associated with a term automatically inherit the grading periods created specifically for the term, grading periods are displayed in a read-only state.

  • Sub-accounts display all grading period sets for the account and associated grading periods.
  • Grading periods are enabled on a course-by-course basis. When enabled, courses only display grading periods associated with the course term.

Grading periods for the term can be viewed within the course, but grading period start and end dates do not display in the Gradebook.




To view the dates associated with each grading period, instructors can view the grading periods tab in the grading schemes page (located at




Current Grading Periods

Any existing grading periods for an account have been retained at the group level as one grading period set. The name of the grading period set is the date a grading period was first created. Admins may prefer to separate the terms into individual grading period sets (reflecting the grading periods for each term). Terms can be moved to another grading period set as long as it is removed from its existing set first.

Retaining existing and concluded terms with their associated grading periods aligns accuracy with grading reports. Reporting functionality will be added to grading periods in a future release.




Existing Course-level Grading Period Changes

Instructor Modifications: Currently at the course level, instructors can modify grading periods inherited from an account for their individual courses. After these grading period code changes are made on July 16, grading periods cannot be edited at the course level by any user. Any current and active courses with instructor-modified grading periods will not be affected; this behavior is to retain the existing grading periods of the course and not disrupt grades and assignment due dates. Once the course has concluded, prior grading period data will be retained with the course for reporting purposes, but any course copies will be subject to the grading periods in the new term.


Future Grading Periods

Once a grading period has concluded, existing grading period sets should never be edited and reused for future terms. Future terms should be added to a new grading period set, with dates defined specifically for the future term. As term dates most commonly last an entire year, new grading period sets should only have to be created annually.

Retaining concluded terms and their associated grading periods ensures accuracy in grading reports. Reporting functionality will be added to grading periods in a future release.



Course Storage Report Total File Size

The Course Storage report shows the total of all files in a course. Previously the report only showed the storage used for each course, which did not account for any files that had been copied or referenced from previous courses. The report shows the amount of storage actually used in the course as well as the total of all files.

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



Rich Content Editor

Sidebar Assignment Links

When an instructor created a new discussion or quiz, the page sidebar included links to create a new assignment, discussion, or quiz, respectively. These links have been removed from Discussions and Quizzes creation pages.




MathML Whitelist

In HTML View, the Rich Content Editor supports MathML tags, including presentation and content tags.


User Account

Profiles User Account Menu

The Profiles feature applies to an entire account and must be enabled by a Canvas Customer Success Manager.

When the Profiles feature is enabled, the User Account Menu does not include the Home or Logout links. This change removes redundancy and improves coding consistency between the non-Profiles user navigational menu.





  Other Updates




Turnitin Submissions

When a student submits an assignment through Turnitin, Canvas waits five minutes to request the submission and originality report.


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

When a student submitted a Turnitin assignment to Canvas, Canvas immediately sent a request to Turnitin to receive the submission and originality report information. This behavior sometimes resulted in the request being sent before the submission was ready for processing, and either the submission or originality report would not appear in the SpeedGrader. This behavior only affected institutions using the Turnitin LTI. Canvas code has been updated to wait five minutes (previously 60 seconds) to request the submission and originality report from Turnitin.



Send Individual Messages Checkbox

In the message composition page, the Send Individual Messages checkbox option no longer includes an information icon. This icon previously explained the purpose of the checkbox, which has now been added to the checkbox description. This change improves accessibility for keyboard users.




Course Settings

Add Section Button

In the Course Sections tab, the Add Section button match similar button styles throughout Canvas.




Rich Content Editor

Remote Version of Rich Content Editor and Sidebar

The Rich Content Editor sidebar update is used in conjunction with the Use remote version of Rich Content Editor and Sidebar account-level feature option, which can be enabled by an institutional admin in Account Settings.

The Rich Content Editor sidebar has been updated with backend improvements, resulting in small interface changes. The sidebar includes a visual style update, and each content section supports pagination. Currently, the Rich Content Editor sidebar update only affects Pages and the Syllabus. Additional feature area updates will be available in a future release.

To manage performance, the sidebar change is associated with an account-level feature option. During the next few weeks, Canvas engineers will be enabling the feature option across all Canvas accounts. However, the feature option can be enabled by a Canvas admin at any time in Account Settings.





Outcomes Buttons

At both the account and course levels, the buttons for adding an outcome and an outcome group match similar button styles throughout Canvas. Additionally, the buttons to move, edit, and delete an outcome and outcome group have been reordered for consistency and include shortened text.




User Settings

International SMS Country Additions

International SMS functionality is used in conjunction with the International SMS account-level feature option, which must be enabled by a Canvas Customer Success Manager (CSM).

Canvas offers SMS notification support to additional users outside the United States. Unlike in the United States, international carrier details are not required as part of the communication setup.


The following countries have been added to SMS notifications: Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Paraguay, Poland, South Korea, and Uruguay.


Note: Notifications cannot be sent from the Canvas beta environment.







For details about using Canvas APIs, please see the Canvas API Policy page.


Calendar Events API

The Calendar Events API includes documentation of the assignment_overrides return value in the AssignmentEvent object.


Conversations API

In the Conversations API, the List Conversations API endpoint includes an optional request to include an avatar URL key for each user participating in the conversation.


Enrollments API

In the Enrollments API, the Enroll a User API endpoint includes the enrollment[associated_user_id] parameter. For an observer enrollment, this parameter returns the ID of a student to observe. Users can make this call if they have permission to add/remove students for the course.


The Conclude or Deactivate an Enrollment API endpoint has been renamed to Conclude, Deactivate, or Delete an Enrollment. The description has also been updated to clarify that if the task argument isn't given, the enrollment will be concluded.


Grading Periods API

In the Grading Periods API, the Create a Single Grading Period API endpoint has been deprecated. Grading periods can no longer be made at the course level.

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