Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-02-21)

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

In this production release (February 21), institutions can choose to require copyright information as part of all course files. Outcomes and outcome groups can be rearranged using a Move-To option, and Canvas Commons users can share and import images. The production notes also include other Canvas updates, platform integrations, and fixed bugs.

Next release schedule:

  • Beta release and notes: March 2
  • Production release notes: March 9
  • Production release and documentation: March 14

Production release notes indicate Canvas updates that will be included with Saturday’s release and are subject to change. New features may differ from those available in your beta environment.

  New Features



Usage Rights

As part of the new Files design, institutions can require their instructors to indicate usage rights for all course files before publishing the file to a course. (Currently, Usage Rights does not apply to files within Canvas Commons.)

Usage Rights is a course-level feature option called Require Usage Rights for Uploaded Files. A course-level feature option means that once the feature is enabled by the institutional admin, the feature can be enabled by instructors on a course-to-course basis.

  • If you are an institutional admin, please contact your Customer Success Manager to enable this feature.
  • If you are an instructor and do not see Usage Rights available to you as a Feature Option within Course Settings, please contact your institutional admin.

When usage rights is enabled, Files includes copyright information in a new column. Files can be sorted to view files that include or don’t include usage rights. Each icon shows the type of usage right assigned to the file. Files with a warning icon mean the files cannot be published until usage rights have been set.

Note: Only individual files display usage rights icons. File folders cannot hold an individual usage attribute and therefore do not display an icon, but folders can be used to specify rights for files within the entire folder.


Viewing Usage Rights for Existing Files

When the Usage Rights feature is enabled, files that were previously added to a course will display a warning icon but are not affected by the publishing limitation. Files that are already published remain published; to remove the warning icon, users can set usage rights at any time. However, if the state of the file (published, unpublished, restricted) needs to be changed, a usage right is required before the state can be changed.

Setting Usage Rights for New Files

Usage rights can be set directly by clicking the file’s warning icon. Users can also click the file and open the settings menu, or click the file and open the usage rights window in the files toolbar.


When setting a usage right, users can set the file with one of five usage rights. If you are an instructor and are not sure which usage right applies to your file, please consult your institutional admin for guidance:

  • I hold the copyright (original content created by you)
  • I have obtained permission to use the file (authorized permission by the author)
  • The material is in the public domain (explicitly assigned to public domain, cannot be copyrighted, or is no longer protected by copyright)
  • The material is subject to fair use exception (excerpt or summary used for commentary, news reporting, research, or analysis in education)
  • The material is licensed under Creative Commons; this option also requires setting a specific Creative Commons license

Users can also enter the copyright holder information in the Copyright Holder field.


On the Files page, usage rights can also be set for individual folders. Access the usage rights for a folder the same way you would open an individual file.

In the Manage Usage Rights window, users can set usage rights for all files that currently exist within the folder. Folders themselves cannot hold a usage right attribute, so the folder passes the usage right to the existing files in the folder at the time the usage right was defined. Therefore, users can create a folder, add all files to the folder, and then define the usage right for the folder and apply the right to all files at once.

This action does not apply to any files added to the folder after the usage right is set. If additional files are added at a later time, users will have to reset the usage right for the folder or set file usage rights individually.


Setting Usage Rights and Publishing New Files

Users can set a usage right and publish the file at the same time by clicking the file’s unpublished icon. The file window displays both the usage right options as well as the file state options. Files will not allow the file to be published until it has been assigned a usage right.


Viewing Usage Rights in Files

All copyright information is included as part of the file’s information. If allowed to view course Files, students can view the copyright icon on the Files page and view any additional usage rights information in the file preview window.


Usage Rights in the Content Selector

When Usage Rights is enabled, instructors can upload files and assign usage rights when uploading and adding files directly to an assignment or page in the Rich Content Editor. If a usage right is not selected as part of the upload process, the file will upload as an unpublished file. The file cannot be published until a usage right has been set.

If instructors choose to keep the file unpublished, the instructor may also want to keep the assignment or page unpublished as well so that students are not affected by files that they cannot access.


  Updated Features



Move-To Option

Outcomes and outcome groups can be rearranged using a Move option. Designed for keyboard navigation, each outcome displays a Move Outcome button, which can be used to move the outcome to another Outcomes group.


Outcome groups also display a Move Outcome Group button to allow groups to be arranged as well. These Outcome options are located at both the Outcomes account and course levels.


  Other Updates



Gradebook Toolbar

The Gradebook toolbar includes a revised design to help instructors manage their Gradebook data more easily. No functionality has been affected by this change.

The Settings menu and sections sorting menu are located on the right side of the Gradebook, and the import and export features have been removed from the Settings menu and replaced as standalone buttons.


Publish Button

As part of our interface redesign, Canvas publish buttons include a flatter design with no shading. More information can found in our Styleguide at

No functionality has been affected by this change. However, if you have changed the appearance of your publish button via custom CSS, please check to ensure your style works with the new design.


  Platform/Integration Updates


External Tools


Canvas sends an extension parameter for assignment launches that allows the tool provider to pass back a raw score value instead of a percentage. Learn more about Grading External Tools.



Users can set and remove usage rights and list licenses in the Files API. The List Files and Get File endpoints also include a usage rights parameter.


In the Enrollments API, users who are using the ID parameter and are not logged in to Canvas (authenticated with a valid token) will receive an unauthorized error. Previously the error message was an internal server error.


In the Outcomes API, the API displays more specific error messages when users specify invalid variables for the calculation_method and calculation_int parameters.

  Fixed Bugs




An assignment’s published status is not shown as a heading to screen readers.


Screen readers and keyboard users can view undated items in the sidebar undated items list.

After a user opens the detail view of an undated item, screen reader focus returns to the undated item.

Keyboard users can collapse and expand the undated items list. They can also edit undated items within the edit window.


Screen readers can navigate Conversations filters (Inbox, Unread, etc.). They can also identify the menus behind each button and read the number of items in each filter.

Screen readers can navigate the Groups search field. They can also view instructions for the search field and read the field filtering by user.


All accessibility updates relate to the Better Files Browsing (New Files) feature.

In the Files Move-To option, screen readers can read all folder names.

When a user clicks the publish icon, keyboard focus returns to the close icon. This change retains standard consistency for screen readers and keyboard users when closing a window anywhere in Canvas.

Files item names, settings menu, published icon, and restricted access icon—both in selected and hovered states—display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

After a user opens a file folder in the left side of the files page, screen readers can navigate the files list that appears for the folder.

The Files accessibility banner does not appear unless a user navigates Files via keyboard.


Users can add students to groups using keyboard navigation. The use of the Move-To option is not required.

Screen readers can read a warning if there are no groups in the course.

Screen readers can read a warning if a group is full and students cannot be added.

Media Comments

Screen readers and keyboard users can select and play audio and video comments throughout Canvas.


When a user adds a new content page through Modules, the page name text field includes a label.


The Groups tab is labeled as a tab.


In Quiz Log Auditing, when a user clicks the Skip to Content link, screen readers and keyboard users are redirected to the the content.

The Quiz Log Auditing attempt count buttons display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.


Screen readers can read the Make this course publicly visible checkbox and associated text, which appears as part of the label data.


Teacher Activity Reports

When an instructor adds a comment to a student’s assignment submission, the Teacher Activity Reports shows a student interaction.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed the Teacher Activity Report after adding a comment on a student’s assignment submission, the report was not showing any student interaction. Canvas code has been updated to include submission comments as part of the interaction report.

Course Analytics

Course Analytics load more quickly for larger courses.

Explanation: Users were reporting that Course Analytics were loading slowly for large courses and were not usable in the course. Canvas code has been optimized to improve loading times.


External Feeds

External Feeds can contain secure URLs.

Explanation: If an instructor added an external feed that was a secure URL, Announcements did not create a new announcement. Canvas code has been updated to support secure URLs in Announcements.

Delayed Announcements

When an announcement is scheduled to be delayed, users can view the availability date of the announcement.

Explanation: When an instructor posted a delayed announcement, users were not able to view the message that showed when the announcement would be available for viewing. Canvas code has been updated to restore the delayed announcement notification for users.


Account Reports API

When running a report within a beta or test environment, the Account Reports API file_url points to the appropriate environment.

Explanation: When a user ran the Account Reports API within the test or beta environments, any links to the downloaded reports were directing to the production environment for file_url, but they would direct correctly for the URL parameter. The Account Reports API has been updated to direct the file_url to the appropriate environment.

Assignments API

When a user creates an assignment using the Assignments API, users can only specify the grading types outlined in the API.

Explanation: When a user created an assignment using the API, any grading type was allowed as part of the API call. However, in the Gradebook, some assignments were not able to be rendered correctly. The Assignments API has been updated to validate grading_type as an accepted value and reject any values not defined per the API.

Courses API

In the Courses API, users cannot delete default terms or terms that contain active courses.

Explanation: When a user marked a term a deleted in a CSV file through the Courses API, the term was deleted but all associated courses remained and were applied to the Default Term. If the user tried to delete the Default Term within Account Settings, Canvas was not allowing the term to be deleted because of the associated active courses. The Courses API has been updated to not delete default terms or allow terms with active courses to be deleted.

Files API

The Files API endpoint supports individual folder names higher than two digits.

Explanation: When a user accessed the Files API endpoint to create folders within a course, Files created new folders up to 10 increments. Once the folder reached "New Folder 10", Files no longer incremented the folder count and repeated the last folder name, which broke the folder routing. Canvas code has been updated to support folder names in two-digit increments.


Observer Notifications

Observers who are linked to a student receive notifications about new assignments.

Explanation: When an instructor created a new assignment in a course, any observers in the course were not receiving the notification about the new assignment, even when they were linked to a student who did receive the notice. Canvas code has been updated to include observers in assignment notifications.

Unauthenticated Users and Unpublished Assignments

Unauthenticated users in a public course cannot view unpublished assignments.

Explanation: In public courses, users who are not authenticated (not logged in and enrolled in the course) were able to view unpublished assignments on the Assignments page. The content itself was inaccessible, but all titles, due dates, and points possible were able to be viewed. Unpublished content was not affected in any other Canvas page. Canvas code has been updated to hide unpublished assignments for unauthenticated users in public courses.


New Event Window

Users can view all options when creating a new event in the Calendar.

Explanation: When a user created a new event in the Calendar, the height of the New Event window was too short, restricting the course options at the bottom of the window. Canvas code has been updated to correct the height of the window.


Course Home Page and Course Names in Firefox 34

In Firefox 34, when a page is set as the Home Page for the course, long course names do not hide the edit button.

Explanation: When an instructor set a page as the Course Home Page for a course with a long name (over 100 characters), the edit button for the Course Home Page was not appearing if the instructor viewed Canvas in Firefox 34. Canvas code has been updated to allow access to the edit button for the Course Home Page in Firefox 34.

Course Imports

Examview Export Images

Examview exports with links to images render correctly after course import.

Explanation: When a user imported an Examview file that contained links to images within a quiz, the links were not retained in the import and displayed missing link warnings. Canvas code has been updated to improve file searching for imported content and retain all image links.

Quiz Settings

Course imports retain quiz settings for Only Once After Each Attempt and Show Response After Last Attempt.

Explanation: When the Only Once After Each Attempt setting or Show Response After Last Attempt setting was selected in a quiz, the settings were not being applied when copying the quiz to another course. Canvas code has been updated to retain all quiz viewing attributes when exporting and importing the quiz.


Discussion Pages in Unpublished Courses

Students in unpublished courses cannot view course Discussions.

Explanation: Students in unpublished courses were able to participate in discussions for the course by adding /discussion_topics to the course url. Canvas code has been updated to confirm read (published) access to discussion topics through direct URLs and display an unauthorized error.

Hidden Discussion Entries

Users in a course can view all discussion posts within a discussion topic.

Explanation: Users who participated in multiple discussion topics were not able to view all associated discussion posts within unthreaded discussions. Canvas code has been updated to correct the ordering of each post ID within the database.


Better File Browsing and Student View

When an instructor enables Better File Browsing (New Files) then removes the Files Course Navigation link, students cannot view Course Files.

Explanation: When an instructor enabled Better File Browsing for the course and later removed the Files Course Navigation link, students were able to view course files from their personal files until they logged out of Canvas. Canvas code has been updated to improve caching for Files permissions.

Grades (Student)

Show All Details

When a student selects the Show all Details link on the Grades page, all details will be shown for all assignments, including any assignment scores that are already opened.

Explanation: When a student opened the Grades page and viewed scoring details for an assignment, and then selected the Show all Details link, all the assignments on the Grades page would show details except for the assignment details that were already viewed. Canvas code has been updated to show and hide assignment details based on the state of the option being accessed rather than any prior view of the assignment.

CSV Assignment Sorting

In the Gradebook, sorting an assignment by due date does not affect the CSV download file.

Explanation: When an instructor requests to download the Gradebook as a CSV (comma separated value) file, Assignments in the Gradebook are sorted before the actual CSV export. When two assignments had the same Assignment Group ID and position, and one of them did not contain a due date, the CSV export failed. Canvas code has been updated to support assignments without due dates in CSV sorting.


Unassigned Students Section Hover

Hover text with all student section enrollments does not appear for unassigned students in course groups.

Explanation: For students who had not been assigned a course group, instructors were able to hover over the student’s name and view hover text that showed all active section enrollments for the student instead of enrollments specific to the course. Canvas code has been updated to remove the hover text for unassigned students.

Self Sign-Up Student Groups

On the Student Groups page, when a student joins a group, the links for all other groups in the group set update appropriately as Join, Switch To, or Leave.

Explanation: When a student joins a self sign-up group, the links for the other groups in the group set were not updating properly. For instance, when a student left a group, the group links were showing as Leave instead of Join. Canvas code has been updated to reflect the proper status for each group depending on the student’s involvement in the group.


Prerequisites Student View

If an unpublished module is a prerequisite to a second module, students have access to the second module until the first module is published.

Explanation: When an instructor created two modules, where the first module is a prerequisite to the second but is unpublished, students in the course were able to view all items in the second module. However, once the first module was published, students could still access the items in the second module even though the first module was listed as a prerequisite. Canvas code has been updated to invalidate module progressions with prerequisite changes.


Unconfirmed Channels

Users only receive Canvas notifications through confirmed channels.

Explanation: When a user added a communication channel but the channel was never confirmed, the user was still receiving notifications through the unconfirmed channel. Canvas code has been updated to verify the confirmation of the channel before sending notifications.


Rubrics and Outcome Criteria

When searching for an Outcome criterion in a rubric, courses without Outcome criteria display a link to the Outcomes page.

Explanation: When a user tried to search for an Outcome criterion to add to a rubric, courses that contained no Outcomes displayed a blank page. Canvas code has been updated to direct users to the Outcomes page.

Browser Zooming

In Chrome and Firefox, users can view all Outcomes when zoomed out of the Outcomes Index Page.

Explanation: When a user in Chrome or Firefox opened the Outcomes page and tried to zoom out of the browser, the Outcomes Group sidebar navigation was not displaying properly in the browser view. Canvas code has been updated to render Outcomes when users zoom out of the browser window.


Existing User Course Invitations

Inviting users to a course does not affect existing users with active enrollments.

Explanation: When a user with an active enrollment was manually re-invited to a course section, the user’s status changed to the pending/invited status. This behavior seemed to only affect the newest users in the course. Canvas code has been updated to retain the state of existing active user enrollments.

Concluded Course Invitations

Course invitations are displayed on a student’s Courses page until the course has concluded.

Explanation: If an instructor sent a course invitation, but the user did not accept before the course or term end date, the invitation was still showing on the user's Courses list under past enrollments. However, if the user tried to accept or reject the invitation, the page displayed an error message. Canvas code has been updated to hide course invitations for concluded courses.

Enrollment Section Options

Canvas does not display an error for enrollment privileges unless there is an actual error.

Explanation: When an instructor added a user and selected the let this user see all course users option or limit this user to only see fellow section users option, Canvas was displaying an "Enrollment privilege change failed" message, even though the enrollment option was applied. Canvas code has been updated to verify the state of the enrollment option before displaying the warning message.


Add/Remove Other Teachers/Designers/TAs

When adding users to a course, users can only view the designer role if they are granted the Add/Remove Other Teachers/Designers/TAs permission.

Explanation: When the Add/remove other teachers, course designers or TAs to the course permission is disabled, instructors were able to view the designer role when adding users to a course. Canvas code has been updated to verify permissions before displaying the designer role.

Faculty Journal

Users can only view and access the Faculty Journal if granted the "Manage faculty journal entries" permission.

Explanation: When the “Manage faculty journal entries” permission was disabled, TAs and Instructors were still able to access the Faculty Journal and make entries from various locations. Canvas code has been updated to verify permissions before displaying access to the Faculty Journal.


Extra Time Per Quiz Attempt

When multiple students are granted extra time in an additional quiz attempt, all students are able to complete the additional quiz attempt.

Explanation: When an instructor moderated a quiz and granted several students additional time in an attempt, only the last student updated was able to complete the attempt; all extra time and attempts given to the other students would disappear. Canvas code has been updated to include a small time delay in the timestamp when refreshing the moderate page so that all recent edits are displayed accurately.

Save it Now Quiz Button

When an instructor edits a quiz question or adds a new question to a quiz without saving, clicking the Save It Now button saves all changes to the quiz.

Explanation: When an instructor edited an existing question or added a

new question to a quiz without saving, clicking the Save It Now button was not saving the changes made to the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to save the quiz context with the quiz URL and quiz ID.

Deleted Questions in Quiz Statistics Question Limit

Quizzes does not count deleted questions when generating quiz statistics.

Explanation: When Quizzes generated quiz statistics for a quiz, deleted quiz questions were being incorporated into the default maximum question limit, which could stop quiz statistics from being generated. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the size of active quiz questions before turning off quiz stats in large courses. This fix was deployed to production on February 6.


Multiple Submissions

When multiple students submit assignments multiple times, SpeedGrader shows the most recent submission for each student.

Explanation: When multiple students submitted an assignment multiple times, an instructor who wanted to view the submission for the next student was being shown the same submission as the first student, whether that submission was the most recent or not. Canvas code has been updated to display the most recent submission when viewing the next student’s submission, unless an older submission is specifically selected in the sidebar by the grader.

Quiz Submissions with Incorrect Students

SpeedGrader shows the correct quiz data for each student submission.

Explanation: When an instructor updated a quiz score for a student and quickly clicked the Next Student arrow, the next student’s submission was displaying quiz data belonging to the previous student. Canvas code has been updated to confirm that the data and the student are aligned before displaying in SpeedGrader.


User and Browser Time Zones

User time zones are reflected in the course syllabus for each user, even if the user time zone is different from the browser time zone.

Explanation: When users changed their user time zones to something other than their browser time zones, the Syllabus was not able to render local dates and event times correctly. Canvas code has been updated to default to the user time zone if varied from the browser.

Public Syllabus File Previews

Users can preview files linked to a public syllabus.

Explanation: When a public syllabus contained links to files, users were able to download the files but were not able to preview the files. Canvas code has been updated to support previews for public users.

User Profiles

Space Exceeded Error Message

When users cannot upload a profile picture because they do not have room in their personal files, Canvas generates an error message telling the users they’ve exceeded the available space.

Explanation: When users tried to upload a profile picture but the upload failed, the Canvas error message did not help the users understand why the upload failed, which was usually because the users were out of space in their personal files. Canvas code has been updated to improve the error message regarding files storage space.

Labels (1)