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Canvas Deploy Notes (2021-03-03)

Canvas Deploy Notes (2021-03-03)

Canvas deploys contain code changes that are intended to fix bugs, improve performance, and prepare for new features, but they do not affect customer workflows. These deploys take place every two weeks and can be tested in the beta environment before the production deploy date indicated in the title of this document. Intended changes in workflow are noted in the Canvas Release Notes published monthly.

Deploy notes may include notable fixed bugs, resolved fixes in Known Issues, and other updates that do not affect user functionality.


  • Subscribe to the deploy notes page to be notified of posted deploy notes
  • For Canvas Platform Service changes (API, GraphQL, Canvas Data), please see the appropriate page in the Change Log 
  • Other questions? Visit the Canvas Deploy FAQ 


Deploy Notes Change Log


Interface Updates



Direct Share Copy To Sidebar


The Direct Share Copy To sidebar includes several enhancements to copy content to active or future courses.

Change Benefit

These changes help instructors more easily locate and copy course content into applicable courses.

Affected User Roles


The following updates have been made to the Copy To sidebar in Direct Share drop-down menus:

  • When searching for courses, instructors can view courses where they have active or future enrollments; content cannot be copied to a concluded course
  • Search results are sorted by terms, with the default term first, followed by most recent term start date
  • Search results within each term are sorted alphabetically and display the course name (or nickname, if applicable), course code, and term name
  • Long text for any field wraps after two lines and then displays an ellipses; hovering over the ellipses displays the full content

Related Idea Conversation: Add a term date filter in the 'Copy To' assignments menu


Rich Content Editor

External Tools (LTI) Description Link


In the External Tools (LTI) list, descriptions are hidden by default.

Change Benefit

This change corrects an accessibility behavior where the entire description was read even if only half the description was visible in the page.

Affected User Roles

All Users

When the External Apps (LTI) button is clicked in the Rich Content Editor, the list of LTI tools is displayed. Each tool includes the View Description link, which must be clicked to view the description of the tool. Previously the description was always visible in the list, and if the description was long enough, half of the description would be condensed and had to be expanded to view the remaining content.





Developer Keys

HTTP Redirect URIs

All content hosted by Canvas is secure content with the HTTPS protocol. To ensure the security of Canvas content, redirect URI protocols must match in developer keys and include secure links. 

To prevent disruption to external tools, admins and providers should confirm that developer key redirect URIs include HTTPS protocols.


Fixed Bugs




The Message Student window can be reopened after closing the window with the Close button.


The Flag This Question button in Classic Quizzes identifies which question is being affected for screen readers. 

Files that are added or removed to a Classic Quizzes File Upload question are read by screen readers. 

Rich Content Editor

Removing alternative text from an image and marking the image as decorative does not get flagged in the Accessibility checker.

When the External App (LTI) list is viewed from the Rich Content Editor, screen readers only read the description when it is viewed in the list.

When selected, Unsplash images can be read by screen readers.

Student Learning Mastery Gradebook

After a filter option is selected from the drop-down menu, focus is retained in the Options menu. Additionally, the menu is read as Display Student Filter Options to screen readers.


Assignments API

The Edit an Assignment Endpoint does not allow submission types to be changed after submissions have been made.

Explanation: When submissions had been made to a graded quiz in the Classic Quizzes tool, quizzes could be changed to a regular assignment via the API, which generated a page error for any student that tried to submit a quiz while it was still a quiz type. Canvas code has been updated to prevent changing quizzes to an assignment type via the API after submissions have been made. This change is noted as a deprecation in the API Change Log and will be effective 2021-05-19.


Assignment Enhancements and Future Courses

Students cannot view assignments for courses in future terms.

Explanation: When a course has enabled the Student Assignment Enhancements feature, and the course was included in a future term date but was not restricted by access dates, the assignment broke when students tried to access the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to prevent students from viewing assignments in courses as part of future terms.

Assignment Enhancements and Multiple Attempts

When the Student Assignment Enhancements feature is enabled, multiple assignment drafts are not created with the same draft number. 

Explanation: When the Student Assignment Enhancements feature was enabled and an online assignment was created with a text entry, saving the text entry as a draft created multiple drafts. Canvas code has been updated to prevent duplication of text entry drafts.


Announcements Link Visibility

Adding an initial announcement to a course does not affect the visibility of the Announcements link.

Explanation: When an announcement was created in a course, the Announcements link intermittently remained hidden from students until the course was updated. Canvas code has been updated to not make an initial announcement affect visibility of the Announcements link. 


Course Files Permission and Course Links

Users without the Course Files permission can link to non-files course content.

Explanation: When the Course Files - add / edit / delete permission is disabled for a role, users with that role were unable to link to non-files course content, as the option for Course Links was not visible in the Rich Content Editor. Canvas code has been updated to allow users without the Course Files permission to add course links.

Manage Files Permission and File Uploads

Users who cannot manage files for a course cannot view the Drop Files Here to Upload window.

Explanation: When a student navigated to an empty folder in a course’s Files, the Drop Files Here to Upload window was shown. Clicking the message opened the file navigator, but the button to select a file did not respond. Canvas code has been updated to not show the Drop Files Here to Upload message for users who are not able to manage files in a course.


Student Groups and Sections

When a group set includes the option to automatically split students into groups with a certain number of students in each, and group members are required to be in the same section, the number of students added to each group does not exceed the number set for the group.

Explanation: When a group set was created with the option to split students into groups with a certain number of students in each, and group members were required to be in the same section, sometimes the number of students for each group was exceeded with no error. Canvas code has been updated to improve handling of multiple sections factored into student group assignments.


Assignment Enhancements and Future Assignment Prerequisites

Assignments that are locked display the intended reason for being locked.

Explanation: When the Student Assignment Enhancements feature was enabled for a course, assignments that would unlock in the future falsely indicate the previous module item is a prerequisite. Canvas code has been updated to show correct reasons for locked assignments.

Assignment Enhancements and Mark as Done Button

The Assignment Enhancements feature includes a Mark as Done button for students.

Explanation: When the Student Assignment Enhancements feature was enabled for a course, assignments in modules with a requirement to Mark as Done were not able to be completed. Canvas code has been updated to add the Mark as Done button for assignments. 

Group Assignments

When assignments from an assignment group are added to a module, all assignments in the group display in the Modules list.

Explanation: When a course contained more than 200 assignments in a group, and an assignment was added to a module, only the first 183 assignments displayed in the assignment group. Canvas code has been updated to remove the assignments limit and display all assignments in the group.


Mathematical Formulas and Classic Questions

Mathematical formulas are rounded correctly in Classic Quizzes.

Explanation: When a mathematical formula was created in a Classic quiz, some formulas were not rounding correctly and were being treated as if they had trailing numbers even though they did not. Canvas code has been updated to round decimal places correctly.

New Quizzes and Peer Review Settings

New Quizzes created after an assignment set to assign automatic peer review do not inherit the peer review setting.

Explanation: When a New Quiz was created right after a regular assignment that included automatic peer reviews, the New Quiz inherited the peer review setting and displayed a review in the student To Do list. Canvas code has been updated to not inherit peer review settings for previously created assignments.

Numerical Questions with Precision Answers

Auto-generated decimal places are not added to numerical questions with precision answers in Classic Quizzes.

Explanation: When a numerical question with precision answers was added to a Classic quiz, and the precision answer had at least two numbers to the left of the decimal and one to the right, the student’s answers were automatically adding trailing numbers to create additional decimal places and round incorrectly. Canvas code has been updated to remove unwanted auto-generated decimal places.

Respondus LockDown Browser and Extensions

Students who are granted an extension in a new quiz and are using the Respondus LockDown Browser are able to take the quiz.

Explanation: When a student is given an extension in a New Quiz with an Until date set after the Until date for everyone else, and the student is using the Respondus LockDown Browser, beginning the quiz created a spinning wheel that never loaded the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to allow students with extensions to complete a quiz using the Respondus LockDown Browser.

Rich Content Editor

Files Download Icon

Files added to the Rich Content Editor do not amend an extra /download addition to the URL.

Explanation: When a file was added to the Rich Content Editor before the New Rich Content Editor was enforced, the download icon added /download to the end of the link, even if the link already included /download, which created a page error. Canvas code has been updated to correct the behavior of the download button for legacy file links.


Assignment Enhancements and Google Drive Submission Previews

Google Drive submissions in Assignment Enhancements display a preview in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When the Student Assignment Enhancements feature was enabled for a course, and a student submitted an assignment via Google apps, SpeedGrader did not display a preview. Canvas code has been updated to display the submission preview in SpeedGrader.

User Settings


Users can change their pronoun to None.

Explanation: When a user opened User Settings and changed his or her pronoun to None, the change was not saved. Canvas code has been updated to retain None as a pronoun option.


Source Code Summary


To view a summary of all code included in the deploy, please see the Deploy Source Code Summary (2021-03-03) reference sheet.




Deploy Notes Change Log


2021-02-23 Added Platform/Integration: Developer Keys—HTTP Redirect URIs
2021-02-19 Deploy Notes Published


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Re: the RCE: External Tools (LTI) Description Link...  I just chatted with Canvas Support (Ticket #07369531), so I'm not sure if this is related or not...but posting here just in case...

When I am editing a content page in a course using the RCE, I select the "Apps" icon, and then choose "View All" to see all my available integrated apps that we have integrated in our Canvas environment.  When I place my mouse on any of the bolded app names such as CK-12, Microsoft Teams Meetings, Quizlet, YouTube (as shown in these Deploy Notes), my mouse cursor changes from an arrow to a text cursor (like it thinks I want to start typing text in a word processor).  This is not intuitive to I would expect to instead see a hand cursor with the pointing finger because the bolded app name is really a "selection" that can be clicked on.  Strangely, even with the text cursor displaying over the bolded app name, I can still click on it to tell Canvas this is the app I want to use.  Also, the current gray app description below the name of an app does display the hand cursor if I need to expand the I assume the hand cursor will also display with the new "View description" link, too.

I'm hoping this can be corrected at some point...thanks.

Edit: I was asked to create a Feature Idea, and you can find that here: Selection Cursor for LTI Apps in the Rich Content ... - Canvas Community.

Regarding the New Quizzes and Peer Review Settings, will the fix update existing settings for quizzes that already display this behavior? 

Hi @MLentini, this fix only applies to quizzes created after March 3, when the code is deployed to the production environment.



I agree with @Chris_Hofer . This is not intuitive to me as well. I would expect the hand cursor when I hover over a title of an app. 

@snugent ...

I've heard back from Instructure folks on that cursor, and they are going to be fixing it soon.  Woot woot!  😎

I'm curious why the issue re: the cursor shape in the new RCE >  apps > select app has taken so long to be addressed. I commented on the issue way back in Nov. 2019 Select App: Insert icon instead of pointer shape? 

Thanks @Chris_Hofer for submitting this Feature Idea. I was under the impression that the engineers have been aware of this since @erinhmcmillan comments on 03-06-2020.

I hope "soon" is soon

As of this morning, I noticed that some of the features in the RCE have been stripped (for example: style="font-weight: lighter;"). This can be a problem, especially when a teacher wants to be artistic and make the headers in a lighter font.

@Kelvin_Dean would you please submit a support case with the features that have been stripped so our teams can address them?

Thank you,


@Kelvin_Dean Yes, font-weight is being completely stripped for me as well! All my font-weight:bold's have vanished, leaving me to use strong tags instead when they don't fit semantically. I will also file a support case.

@erinhmcmillan I filed a support request and was told that font-weight is not an allowed "HTML element" 😑 T1 support is really frustrating. I asked it be kicked further up the chain. 


@Kelvin_Dean Have you happened to hear anything, hopefully a bit more constructive?

@erinhmcmillan I've scoured the deploy and release notes for the past few months, and I was unable to find any reference to the fact that linking an observer through a course's People tab now links the observer to the student globally instead of only at the course level. Thus, a teacher with the ability to add/link observers can now globally pair an observer with a student, as if that observer was the student's parent. Reversing the process by removing the link at the course level doesn't remove the global link—only an admin with permissions can unlink them, and then only through the API.

I raised this question with L1 support and the K-12 Priority Support team and was told this was an intended behavior (ticket #07367344):

 When observers were being added to students via the course roster "Link to Students" UI the UserObserverLink was not being created. This was causing the observer enrollment to be able to get out of sync with the student they were observing which could cause some view/permissions bugs. Now the link is being made and the observer's enrollment should always align with that of the observee's.

Since we adopted Canvas, we have used Observers at the course level to give visibility into course grades/assignments to paraeducators who support SPED students in Gen Ed classrooms. They often support different students in different terms, so permanently linking is extreme oversharing.

We can't be the only institution that has encountered this change. Since it appears to have been an intentional change, maybe it would be worth publicly documenting this deploy? (Personally, I'd like to see the functionality restored to its previous state, but documentation would at least let the community discuss the change and its impacts.)

@agessama I'm not sure about that so I'll have to look into it further. I'll also review the support case as well (also @and-hu).

Deploy notes for March 17 are now posted: Canvas Deploy Notes (2021-03-17) - Canvas Community