Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-02-06)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Feb 6, 2017Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has updated features in Discussions, Groups, and People. We also have other updates in Global Announcements, Languages, and the User Interface, as well as a variety of updates for platform and integration users.


Beta features are subject to change based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.


The beta environment is for testing new and updated features, which are subject to change at any time. Learn how to access the beta environment.


Beta features will be available in production environments according to the Canvas release schedule.


Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts.


For advanced CSS and JS users: This release includes changes to the way Canvas loads and displays JavaScript files, which may affect styles and code in custom applications. Please view the Platform/Integration section for more details and view your Beta environment for any customization conflicts.


  Updated Features




Deleted Reply Management
When instructors allow students to delete discussion replies, or when an instructor deletes a discussion reply for any user, the reply is shown as deleted. If there are multiple deleted replies in a discussion thread, the discussion can become difficult to navigate among the deleted replies.


In discussions, instructor roles can view all notices of deleted individual replies with the Show icon. (Non-instructor roles cannot view this icon.) If a user replies to a discussion topic and then deletes the reply, the notice of the deleted individual reply is not visible to any users except when viewed by the instructor.


Being able to view deleted individual replies can show instructors how many times a student has deleted a reply or can help troubleshoot student concerns with discussion replies. As with current behavior, users cannot view the actual post that was deleted, and any deleted replies for graded discussions do not appear as needing to be graded in the Dashboard or in SpeedGrader.



Course discussions always retain the current discussion structure. If a reply is deleted as part of another reply in the discussion, the deleted reply cannot be hidden and shows to all users as being deleted.



release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Remove "Deleted By...." from Discussions 



Collaborations User List

In Google Docs collaborations created within a group, the Collaborations user list includes the name of all group members in addition to the name of any user with an instructor-based role in the course. This change allows instructors or TAs to be added to a group collaboration directly in Canvas. Previously instructor-based roles could only be added to collaborations by sharing the collaborations document manually.


Note: This change does not currently apply to collaborations using the Google Apps LTI or Office 365 LTI.



Add Users Process

When adding a user to a course, instructors benefit from an improved workflow process. This change clarifies how to manually enroll a user in a course and avoid unintentional enrollments. Only users with appropriate permissions can manually add users to a course.


In addition to email address, users could always be added to a course by SIS ID (if they had permission) or login ID, but the user window didn’t clearly show instructors how to use the alternative options. The enhanced workflow asks instructors to specifically select how they are adding a user and provides examples relevant to each addition type.


Instructors may have the option to select up to three search types: email address, login ID, and SIS ID.



Email Addresses & Login IDs
The majority of Canvas users have an associated email address or login ID with their accounts. If an instructor has permission to add a user to a course manually, the instructor can use email addresses or login IDs for searching and adding users.



If Canvas finds multiple user matches for a search entry, the instructor can choose which user to select.


Open Registration

In Canvas accounts, admins can allow instructors to add users to a course via email address or login ID even if the users do not yet have a Canvas account. This option is called Open Registration. Open Registration functionality only affects instructor-based roles; admins can always add user enrollments regardless of the Open Registration setting.


If Open Registration is enabled and Canvas is not able to find a match for a user using the selected search option, the instructor can add a name to associate with the entered information and create a new user enrollment for the account and the course.



If Open Registration is disabled and Canvas is not able to find a match for a user, the instructor will not see the option to add new users to the course. The only users that can be added to the course are users who already have an account and display in the search results list, if any.



The SIS ID option only displays to users who have SIS permissions. Users without SIS permissions can only add users via email address or login ID.



For course roles, the SIS ID option displays to users with permission to read SIS data. This permission also allows users to view the SIS ID column in the People page.


For account roles, the SIS ID option displays to users with the account permission to Manage SIS data or the course permission to read SIS data. (If both permissions are disabled, the user cannot view the SIS ID option.)



  Other Updates



Global Announcements

Default Announcement Type

The default type for global announcements has been changed from warning to information. This change aligns with global announcement behavior, as global announcements are most commonly not associated with warnings.



Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole (Kreyòl Ayisyen) has been added as an available language in Canvas.


User Interface

Canvas Icon Updates

Several Canvas areas have been updated for icon consistency or simplicity and do not affect Canvas functionality:

  • Assignments: Student assignment submission sidebar and submission detail page
  • Outcomes: Aligned Items & Outcome Artifacts (accessed by viewing an outcome in a course)
  • Rubrics: Aligned outcome icon (displayed when an outcome is aligned within a rubric)
  • People: User Details sidebar and User Access Report






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



Enrollment Terms API

The Enrollment Terms API displays override start and end dates for an enrollment type in a term (student, instructor, TA, designer). The Create Enrollment Term endpoints includes parameters for an enrollment type start and end date. The List Enrollment Terms endpoint also includes a parameter to include enrollment type overrides.


External Tools API

In the External Tools API, the Create an External Tool endpoint example requests include -X POST curl commands.


Submissions API

The Submissions API clarifies the User ID in submission objects and the Grader ID in the List Assignment Submissions endpoint. The Grader ID is shown as a positive or negative number depending on the process used for the grading. Canvas returns external tool assignments with the grader ID as the tool ID appended with a dash (e.g. "-1234") instead of a null value. This change was made related to multiple grading periods and allows Canvas to ensure grades are not being made by non-admins during a closed grading period.


The API also includes the List Multiple Assignments Gradeable Students endpoint. Similar to the existing List Gradeable Students endpoint, the new endpoint lists students eligible to submit multiple assignments and can accept multiple assignment IDs.


Users API

In the Users API, the Get User Profile endpoint also returns the LTI user ID.


External Tools

Grade Passback Tools

In the Grade Passback Tools documentation, the Data Return Extension section shows how to pass an LTI Launch URL.


Importing Extended Tool Configurations

The Importing Extended Tool Configurations documentation includes a Launch URL section, which includes the oauth_compliant parameter as a possible XML configuration option. The Launch URL section shows how to configure an external tool so that Canvas omits launch URL query parameters from the POST body.


Variable Substitutions

The LTI Variable Substitutions documentation has been updated for clarity. The documentation includes information about how to use and configure variable substitutions using the UI, API, or XML, as well as examples for each type.


New substitution variables include Canvas.course.workflowState, which returns the current course workflow state, and, which returns the institution-assigned email of the launching user.



Webpack Module Bundler

JavaScript modules are now loaded into Canvas using Webpack instead of RequireJS. This change allows Canvas to take advantage of conveniences available in a more modern JavaScript ecosystem while continuing to deploy JavaScript packages for all supported browsers. Canvas engineers have reviewed all existing JavaScript code against Webpack and have deployed Webpack in all beta environments.


Canvas admins should view their Beta environments and check for any customization conflicts with custom JavaScript files. The majority of institutions should not be affected. However, a minority of Canvas customers have been using the RequireJS build system for custom integrations by uploading a custom JavaScript file in the Theme Editor. Admins with custom JavaScript should confirm whether their file depends on the `require()` or `define()` functions. Canvas engineers have already coded a temporary adjustment for these functions without requiring any immediate changes, though the adjustment will log a deprecation warning to the browser’s console and include information about how to correctly adjust the JavaScript moving forward. For concerns about jQuery loading, admins should use the global $ variable that will be loaded before the script. 


If you are a Canvas admin who discovers a contrary behavior with custom JavaScript that you cannot resolve, please contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance.



SIS Import Format Documentation

The SIS Import Format Documentation includes clarification for Batch Mode functionality in that the option only affects data that has been involved in a previous SIS import.


The documentation also includes information about sticky fields in CSV imports.

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