Canvas Beta Release Notes (2016-10-17)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Oct 17, 2016Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, new features are available in Assignments and Global Navigation. Updated features are also available in Account Settings, Assignments, Authentication, the Dashboard, Groups, the Learning Mastery Gradebook, and Multiple Grading Periods. As a general Canvas update, all icons throughout Canvas have been updated to reflect the new Instructure icon library.


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




Intra-Group Peer Reviews

Group assignments supports intra-group peer reviews. This option allows or prevents automatic peer review assignments from within a student's own group. The intra-group peer review option is only available in group assignments when an instructor automatically assign peer reviews.


The default for the Allow intra-group peer reviews checkbox is always set to off, which means Canvas filters out members of the same group when automatically assigning the reviews. However, if the checkbox is selected, Canvas allows submission assignments to be truly random without any regard for group delegation.

The intra-group peer review setting is only available in the Canvas interface. For new group assignments, the setting displays in the peer review section.




Peer reviews require a student to review an individual submission by another student. However, group assignment submissions are made by one group member on behalf of the entire group, and all group members have the same submission.


In peer reviews, group assignments are treated the same as regular assignments and are still assigned by student. As part of automatic peer reviews assignments, the intra-group setting tells Canvas whether or not to consider group membership when assigning peer reviews. For instance, if an assignment is assigned to several groups, and Emily and Jessica are in the same group, selecting the Allow intra-group peer reviews checkbox allows Canvas to potentially assign Emily’s peer review to Jessica. However, if the checkbox is not selected, Emily and Jessica can only be assigned peer reviews from other students in other groups.


intra-group peer reviews.png


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Peer Reviews for Groups outside their Group (a)

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

When an instructor assigned peer reviews to students in a group assignment, members of a group would sometimes receive a peer review from their own group. Canvas code has been updated to only allow intra-group peer reviews if the option is specifically enabled for an assignment.


Global Navigation

Global Navigation Menu Width

The Global Navigation Menu can be manually collapsed to hide the menu text. This update was originally implemented automatically for smaller screen resolutions. When users collapse the menu, the menu persists even if they log out of Canvas or switch browsers. When collapsed, the menu also displays text if a user hovers over an icon.




release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: New UI: Collapsible Global Navigation Menu



  Updated Features



Account Settings

Custom Help Link Telephone URL Scheme

In the Help Menu, custom help links support the telephone (tel:) URL scheme, which allows institutions to create a click-to-call link in the Help Menu. The Link URL field supports tel:+, followed by the phone number in the internal format (country code, area code, and number). If a user’s device supports voice calls, the user receives a confirmation alert before the call is placed.




release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Inactive Links in "Help" Menu



Group Assignment Menu and New Group Button

In group assignments, the process of creating a new set of groups has been moved from the drop-down menu to an individual button.

Once a group set is either created or selected, the name of the set displays in the assignment.



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

In group assignments, new group sets can be created by screen reader and keyboard users.



Additional Federated Attributes

Open ID, GitHub, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Clever authentication support federated attributes, which complements JIT provisioning. When users log into Canvas, more information beyond just ID is passed to Canvas, and that information is associated with their existing user accounts. Additional information includes display name, email, given name, integration ID, locale, name, SIS user ID, sortable name, surname, and time zone. More information can also be found in the Authentication Providers API.


Canvas Authentication Password Characters

[Update: This feature is no longer in beta. Please watch for updates in a future release.]

Passwords for Canvas authentication are being changed from six characters to eight characters. This change mostly affects Free-for-Teacher accounts since FFT accounts have Canvas authentication enabled by default. Institutions using other external authentication methods will not be affected.


The eight-character length requirement only applies when a user creates a new password or resets a password. Existing six- and seven-character passwords are not affected unless the password needs to be changed or reset. For new accounts, institutions using any specific processes involving pre-populated passwords in Canvas authentication will need to update their processes to meet the eight-character requirements.


SSO Login Theme Editor Settings

In the Canvas login page, single sign-on (SSO) links inherit settings from the Theme Editor. Links can be updated in the Theme Editor Login section.



To Do List Due Date Items

All items with a due date display in the To Do list. These items include ungraded quizzes and assignments that do not require a submission.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Assignments appearing in To Do list, Put everything with a deadline into the to-do list, Ungraded Assignments - To Do List


Icon Updates

Assignment, discussion, quiz, and peer review sidebar icons have also been updated to reflect the new Instructure icon library.





Group Navigation Menu Course Link

In groups, the Group Navigation Menu no longer includes the name of the course as a link back to the course home page. Instead, users should access the breadcrumbs links for course access, or they can view the course through the Courses link in the Global Navigation Menu.




Instructor Group Links

When instructors visit a group’s home page, the icon to switch to another group has been expanded to a full link. This change allows instructors to more intuitively access other groups within a group set.




File Status Icons

The Files page within groups does not display the status icon for a file. File statuses could include published, unpublished, or restricted. This change simplifies the Files page since all students in a group can access group files regardless of their status.




Note: If Usage Rights is enabled for a course, Usage Rights also apply to group files. File status icons are available in the Usage Rights settings window, and by default the file is unpublished. The status can be changed in the Usage Rights settings window but the updated status does not appear in the Files page.


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

When a student added a file to a group and set a file restriction, all other students in the group were able to view the file because all students in the group had the same access to group files. Canvas code has been updated to remove file status icons from the Files page in groups.


Learning Mastery Gradebook

Aligned Outcome Artifacts

Outcomes display all artifacts aligned to an outcome instead of just the last eight artifacts. Artifacts are displayed with the most recently graded artifact listed first.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Show all outcome alignments in Mastery Grade Book


Multiple Grading Periods

Close Date Verification in Assignments, Gradebook CSV Files, and Quizzes

Assignments, assignment groups, Gradebook CSV files, and quizzes validate grading period close dates. Close dates were originally introduced in grading periods in the 2016-10-08 Canvas release. Grading period restrictions only apply to instructors; they do not apply to admins.



Instructors cannot delete individual assignments for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period.


If a course includes assignment groups, instructors cannot delete assignment groups if they contain an assignment or quiz for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period. Additionally, instructors cannot move assignments and quizzes that are part of a closed grading period to another assignment group. However, instructors can move open assignments and quizzes to another assignment group.


Assignment Group Settings

Assignment group weights can only be managed through the Assignments page. Once an assignment group has any assignments in a closed grading period, instructors cannot change any assignment group settings, including assignment group weights, drop rules, and whether or not assignment groups are weighted. When settings can no longer be edited, the assignment group settings window is grayed out. Instructors can still view the assignment group weights and drop rules, if any.


Gradebook CSV Files

The Gradebook verifies grading periods as part of a CSV upload. Grades cannot be changed for an assignment in a grading period. If grades have been changed for an assignment in a closed grading period, Canvas generates an error message after the CSV upload has completed. This behavior also considers differentiated assignments when verifying uploaded files.



Instructors cannot delete quizzes for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period.


If a course includes quiz groups, instructors cannot delete quiz groups if they contain a quiz for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period. Additionally, instructors cannot move quizzes that are part of a closed grading period to another quiz group. However, instructors can move open quizzes to another quiz group as necessary.


Note: Discussions currently do not apply to grading periods and will be updated in a future release.



  Other Updates



User Interface

Canvas Icons Update

The existing Canvas icon font has been updated with a new Instructure icon library that compiles icons as SVG files. This new library also enables consistency across all Canvas apps. All Instructure icons can be viewed in the Github Instructure Icons documentation page.

All icons throughout Canvas have been updated to reflect the new Instructure icon library. No functionality has been affected.


Note: Some icons may not display and/or appear smaller than others. These icon behaviors will be resolved in the next few weeks.







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


SIS Integration API

The SIS Integration API lists user override data for assignments in Canvas.

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