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Canvas Deploy Notes (2021-03-31)

Canvas Deploy Notes (2021-03-31)

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



Submit Assignment Button Wording


For student assignments, the Submit Assignment button has been changed to the Start Assignment button.

Change Benefit

This change clarifies the assignment workflow and intended submission behavior for students.

Affected User Roles


When a student views the details for an assignment, a submission can be started by clicking the Start Assignment button.




Once the student uploads or adds a submission according to the submission type, the Submit Assignment button will submit the assignment.

Note: The spacing below the assignment description field has been changed to remove a minimum height requirement. This change removes excess whitespace for shorter assignment descriptions.


If the student is allowed to resubmit the assignment, the Resubmit Assignment button has also been updated to the New Attempt button.



Related Community Idea: Changing the "Submit Assignment" Button


Fixed Bugs



Course Settings

When a feature option state is changed, focus is retained in the button.


Assignment Enhancements and Windows Zip Files

Students submitting assignments on Windows devices can upload Zip files even when file extension restrictions exist.

Explanation: When the Assignment Enhancements feature was enabled for a course, and an online assignment included Zip file extension restrictions, users accessing Canvas on Windows devices received an error when trying to upload a Zip file. Canvas code has been updated to correct Zip file upload submissions.

Limited Attempts and External App Submissions

When an assignment allows one attempt, submitting an assignment via an external app displays one submission.

Explanation: When an assignment only allowed one attempt, and a student submitted an assignment through an external app such as TurnItIn, the assignment showed the student had two submissions. Canvas code has been updated to prevent multiple submissions for relevant external app uploads.


Gradebook Views and Page Refresh

Switching Gradebook views does not refresh the page.

Explanation: When a user switched from the Gradebook view to the Individual View, the Gradebook would refresh. The same process occurred when switching from Individual View to the Gradebook view. Canvas code has been updated to remove the page refresh when switching Gradebook views.



Deploy Notes Change Log


2021-03-19 Deploy Notes Published


Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you for addressing the "Submit Assignment" button on Assignments!!

My concern is that this is being rolled out in the middle of the school year. We are building our own lessons (Modules) from our curriculum that is pushed out to our virtual students and all of the documentation/videos says to click the "Submit Assignment" button. We do not have adequate time to update all of this prior to this deployment. (I know it doesn't seem like a major change, but with some of our parents/students even the slightest change will send them into a tailspin.)

I am guessing there is no way for this to be a "Feature Option" that admins can turn on when the time is right for them? Believe me, I WANT this to happen, the timing is just my concern (with 8 weeks left in the school year).


Agreed!!  The change is great, but the release timing needs to be adjustable.  4th quarter is stressful enough for our teachers, and I don't want to force another changes unless necessary. 

I'd argue that the wording should really be "Start submission", because in many/most cases students have already viewed the assignments instructions and done their work in word/powerpoint/etc.  Start assignment feels a bit weird to me in this context, but this doesn't seem too major to me.  For consistency, I'd also say that if more than one attempt is allowed, the button should be "Start resubmission", As first having "start" something then "new" something seems like it could cause more confusion than anything.


Will the screenshots in the Canvas Guides be updated to reflect this change before it deploys?

Hi @DorothyLH,

The Canvas Guides will be updated to reflect this change at the same time the change is deployed to Canvas. Our objective is always to update the guides so that they match the production environment of Canvas.

I strongly agree with @chriscas. The description in the deploy notes even says "a submission can be started by clicking the Start Assignment button". 

@chriscas I couldn't agree more! It makes it seem like you would do the assignment "within" Canvas. Start Submission is much better.

I thought there were not any visual changes to the UI for deploys? This seems to be a larger change than a bug fix and faculty will need time to prepare.  I find it strange that this was not in the Release Notes for April since it seems to be something the community seems to have a lot of feedback to share. I am also concerned about the timing of this change. 

I agree with @chriscas and others, Start Submission seem like a much better wording than Start Assignment.

This change doesn't feel like it has helped - the wording is still confusing, perhaps more so now.

I think what's missing from the language in the buttons is that they are now trying to convey the idea of the submission process having several steps, yet this is not made clear to the user - 'Start assignment' sounds like they have not started their work, or that it's a timed assessment, which is misleading.

I think that how the "Start Assignment" button is labeled is far from being among the more important usability issues in Canvas, though it surely is among the easier ones to address.  If the button said "Beeblebrox", my guess is that (at least) 99 students out of 100 coming to that page would click it and be able to proceed.  But whether "Start Assignment" or "Start Submission" is more accurate depends on the type of submission the assignment requires.  The button could use the ambiguous "Proceed" to cover all possibilities, but I'll bet neither that or any of the candidates would result in more assignments being "started" or "submitted."

I'm fine with Start Assignment, but only if the Submit Assignment is changed to submit.jpg

Will this change be made in the Canvas app as well as the web? Don't want to assume....


@tom_gibbons HAHA

@hesspe  Agreed.  I'm not sure 1% is correct however, I get 1-3 in each class of 30.  Those are the same students who complain, I can't turn in "x" because canvas says I have to do "y" first... (Solution the words that tell them to do "y" are literally a link to "y" and canvas is correct, they need to do that first - just like it says in the instructions.)  I had detailed instructions in assignments for where to find the submit button, until I learned that the reason students could not find it, was that they were using mobile devices.  (It was called something else and/or located in a different place...) 

Start assignment seems clear enough to me.  Submit assignment can be missed by students who have to wait for their file to upload - regardless of the name on the button.  Is there an autosave for uploaded files, and will uploaded files auto submit at the due or until date?  That would resolve issues my students have that leave them insisting that they submitted something that they only uploaded, and it would make the name of the submit button less important, too.

Is this change still happening? I don't see the change in our instance yet.

Thank you.

It looks like some of the Canvas Guides have been updated to reflect the new change (example:, but not all of them (

We link these and other guides in our help course. When can we expect the guides to be fully updated?

Hi, everyone,

@robertlbishop Studio is an associated Canvas product and isn't managed on the exact same schedule. However, I'll put in a note to my teammates and see if they plan to get those updated soon.

@lezonl2 deploys can contain UI changes; we try not to put in any changes that affect workflows. However, some exceptions can be made by our product team, especially if a feature was not created as a feature option. And yes, our teams are creating fewer feature options. 

@jlgathright as Canvas is a worldwide platform, there is no perfect time for any institution. We are aware of this challenge, and our product teams try to make the best decisions possible as to when to release a feature. Feature development is always ongoing.

Re: mobile apps, they have their own engineers and roadmaps. Once a change is deployed in the production environment by the web team, they can consider it as an update to the mobile apps.

@amoore6 @chriscas and everyone else—In this case, the Submit Assignment button wasn't actually submitting anything and was causing confusion. Even though this wording change is now in production, our product teams are still paying attention. This part of their process is called the Release phase, where they evaluate how the feature is being used "out in the real world" and how it's being received by actual users. If a change needs to be made, they'll do so appropriately. 


Notes for the next deploy are now available:  Canvas Deploy Notes (2021-04-14) - Canvas Community