Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-03-20)

Document created by Erin Hallmark Administrator on Mar 20, 2017Last modified by on Jul 15, 2018
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In this beta release, Canvas has new features in Grades and Modules. Updated features are also available in the Calendar, Courses, the Student Context Card, and the SIS Import Format Documentation.


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.



  New Features




Weighted Grading Periods

This feature is associated with Multiple Grading Periods, which is an account-level feature that previously required two course-level feature options. This feature now affects all courses associated with a grading period term.

In Multiple Grading Periods, admins can choose to set weights for individual grading periods within a grading period set. When this feature is enabled, the overall grade for each term is calculated by taking the final grades for each grading period and applying each grading period’s weight.


In a grading period set, selecting the weighted grading periods checkbox displays a grading percentage field in each grading period set, which allows admins to set a specific weighted percentage.



The grading period percentages can total any number and does not have to add up to 100%. However, each grading period percentage cannot be negative.



Multiple Grading Periods Workflow
The weighted grading feature changes the workflow for setting up grading periods and no longer requires enabling the Multiple Grading Periods feature option. If a term is associated with a grading period set, all courses in that term will automatically display Multiple Grading Period drop-down menus and functionality. However, if institutions need to have courses that do not use grading periods, admins should set up a separate term for those courses and not associate that term with a grading period set.


Additionally, the View Totals for All Grading Periods feature option has been repurposed as a second checkbox in each grading period set. If selected, users will be able to view the Total column when they view the All Grading Periods drop-down option in the Grades page or Gradebook, respectively. Otherwise, users can only view the Total column for an individual grading period.



Weighted Grading Periods and Weighted Assignment Groups
Weighted grading periods can also support weighted assignment groups in a course. The weight of an assignment group is applied to the grading period’s final grade, and each grading period’s final grade is added together to calculate the overall grade.


The due date of an assignment determines the grading period where the assignment appears in the Gradebook. If no due date is set, the assignment defaults to the last grading period available.


If instructors choose to use weighted assignment groups, separate assignment groups should be created for each grading period in the course. If an assignment group contains assignments that fall into multiple grading periods with different weighted percentages, grades may have unintended consequences, especially in relation to calculating assignment group rules and dropped grades.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Grading period weights 




Course Content Export

Course Content Export is an account- or subaccount-level feature, which must be enabled for an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature by contacting their Canvas Customer Success Manager.


This feature is separate from the ePub Exporting feature option, which is a course-level feature option that allows users to download simple course content as an ePub file on a course-by-course basis. Enabling course content exports will replace ePub exporting functionality and ePub downloads will no longer be available.

Canvas supports exporting course content into an HTML format for offline viewing on a computer. This feature supports courses that use complex HTML or dynamic linking to downloaded files. Exports are based on modules, so instructors must allow students to view the Modules page to export course content. Even if a course does not include modules, Course content export packages include all course files, pages, and embedded files as long as the user has permission to view them.


Note: Exported content does not expire, so before enabling this feature, institutions should ensure they have specific online user agreement guidelines as exported content files cannot be managed by the institution. Students are notified that they may not reproduce or communicate any of the content on this course, including files exported from this course without the prior written permission of their institution.


Once the export feature has been enabled for the entire institution, offline course exports are enabled for each course. If an instructor does not want to allow students to export course content, instructors can disable the export in Course Settings.



Users can view the course Modules page to export course content. Content is exported as a ZIP file and downloaded to the user’s computer. The file is essentially a snapshot of how the course existed at the time of the content export.



After opening the ZIP file, the user can view all Modules content by viewing the included index.html file. Within offline content, users can view assignment descriptions, points, and due dates. In quizzes and discussions, only the descriptions display in the export.


Users can only interact with course activities when online, such as submitting an assignment, taking a quiz, or replying to a discussion.



If a link can only be accessed online, the link includes an external icon identifying the content as online only.



Users will need to re-export the course any time they want to view updated course content. After the initial export, the export page shows the history of each export, and the Modules page shows the last time the content was exported.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Print all feature for entire course or modules 



  Updated Features




Scheduler Workflow

This update applies to institutions using the Scheduler feature but will not be enabled without additional configuration. Canvas admins can enable this feature update by contacting their Canvas Customer Success Manager.

For institutions using Scheduler, Scheduler appointment group functionality is more closely integrated with Calendar workflows. This update allows instructors and students to more intuitively view and manage appointment groups created for a course.


Instructor View
For instructors, creating a Scheduler appointment group is a new tab in the Add Event window. Existing functionality for appointment groups has not been affected. However, instructors can only create appointment groups for courses that are displayed in the Calendar sidebar.



Once an appointment group is created, the appointment dates and times display directly in the instructor’s calendar. Time slots that have been claimed are shown as a solid color; unclaimed time slots are slightly faded. However, please note that if an appointment group is added to more than one course, appointment slots only display in the calendar for the first course shown in the appointment group.


Instructors can click each appointment to view individual signups, student comments, or remaining slots available. Instructors can also edit the number of users who can sign up for an individual appointment slot.


Within each date and time, instructors can also click the Group Details button to view the entire appointment group, which opens in a new window. In the Group Details page, instructors can view all details for the appointment group as per existing Scheduler functionality, add new appointment slots, and message students. Additionally, instructors can view the status of each appointment slot along with the name of each user in the reservation.



Student View

Students can find appointments with the Find Appointments button in the Calendar sidebar and display an appointments window. Any available appointment group in any calendar will be displayed for the students to select. Previously students could only view appointment groups for courses being displayed in their Calendar sidebar.



Once a student selects a course from the appointment window, all available appointments display in the student’s calendar. Faded time slots indicate the time slot has been reserved.



The student can reserve any appointment slot by clicking a date and time.



Once a time slot has been reserved, the student can close the appointment group view by clicking the Close button in the sidebar. Only the reserved time slot will display in the student’s calendar.


If students want to change their time slots, they must click the Find Appointment button again and repeat the appointment process.



Course End Date and Past Enrollments

In the Courses list, the Past Enrollment section displays courses that include a course end date in Course Settings. This update applies to all user roles and helps resolve past courses that Canvas never considered to be concluded unless they were concluded by term dates or the course override participation checkbox.



Previously, courses were only designated as concluded if the course was concluded by term or included an override date. However, if a course did include a course override date, the course was only considered to be concluded if the course end date accompanied the users can only participate in the course between these dates checkbox.


Now, if a course includes a course end date, the end date applies to course enrollment status regardless of the participation checkbox setting. Therefore, when a course end date is included in Course Settings, the course displays in the Past Enrollments section once the end date has passed.



For clarification, the users can only participate checkbox restricts users from participating in the course, such as replying to discussions, submitting assignments, etc. If an instructor is using course dates to override term dates and prefers the course be placed in a read-only state after the course has ended, the users can only participate checkbox should be selected. Otherwise, students can still participate in the course after the course end date.


Student Context Card

Graded Item Assignment Names

This update applies to institutions using the Student Context Card account-level setting, which must be enabled for an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

When an instructor views a student context card and hovers over the name of a graded item, the name of the assignment displays as part of the card details. Assignment names can also be read by screen readers.







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


SIS Import Format Documentation

Enrollments CSV

The Enrollments CSV Data format includes the limit_section_privileges field, which limits enrolled users to only see and interact with other users in the same section (set by course section ID). This field defaults to false.

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