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Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-06-06)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-06-06)

Upcoming Canvas Changes

Ticketing System Choice: June 27

On June 27, 2015, Canvas Support is moving from Zendesk to Salesforce Service Cloud. Your institution can use Service Cloud, or you can choose to send your tickets elsewhere with our Ticketing System Choice feature. Beta testing for this system is  available through your Customer Success Manager (CSM). If you aren’t already part of Canvas Labs, which is the space in the Canvas Community containing all the details about this transition, please contact your CSM.

Differentiated Assignments: July 18

On July 18, 2015, Differentiated Assignments will no longer be a Feature option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas users as a standard feature. This change includes both Differentiated Assignments by section and individual users, which is part of this production release.

In this Canvas release (June 6), all users benefit from new customization and assignment management features, and instructors receive several small changes that generate big results for keeping track of assignments and grades at a granular level. Multiple feature areas display enhanced design changes, which includes incorporating the New Files interface as a standard feature in Canvas. Admins should also take note of infrastructure upgrades to core Canvas technology and authentication processes.

The production notes also include updates to existing Canvas features, other Canvas updates, platform/integration updates, and fixed bugs.

Canvas New Feature Screencast (2015-06-06)​

Next release schedule:

  • Beta release and notes: June 15
  • Production release notes: June 22
  • Production release and documentation: June 27

See you at InstructureCon!

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. Learn more about the Canvas Release Schedule.

  New Features



Custom Colors

Canvas allows users to set their own colors for each calendar in their account. Canvas will assign an arbitrary color for each calendar unless a custom color is chosen. Each calendar contains 15 default colors, but users can insert a Hex code to create any color of their choice.

Note: The Calendar can only display up to 10 calendars at one time.


This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas community.


Differentiated Assignments by Individual

This feature is used in conjunction with the Differentiated Assignments feature option until July 18.

In Assignments, instructors have the flexibility to differentiate assignments between individual students and select which students are required to complete specific tasks.

When enabled, this feature is available for all assignments: Assignments, Quizzes, and Graded Discussions.

When creating or editing an assignment, instructors can specify whether the assignment should be for everyone in the course, for specific sections, or for individual students. Only the section(s) or student(s) specified in the assignment details can view the assignment. Varied due date functionality remains available for each assignment.


This feature can also be used with the existing ability to create an assignment by section. If the assignment is not created for everyone, Canvas will notify the assignment creator that course sections have not been added to the assignment.


In the Gradebook, assignment grade cells are grayed out for students who have not been included in the assignment. Assignments that are not assigned to a student are not factored into the student’s overall grades.


Note: On the student grades page, students can only view assignments that are assigned to them, either individually or as part of a course section.

This feature was originally suggested by the Canvas community.

User Profile

Student Submission Exports

On their User Profile page, students can download all of their assignment submissions from Canvas. Submissions are for both current and concluded courses and only includes any files that were submitted to fulfill an assignment; they do not include any submissions modified by instructors, such as annotated submissions.

The download also includes submissions for group assignments, even if the submission was made by another student in the group.

When the export has finished generating, submissions are downloaded as a ZIP file.


  Updated Features


Admin Settings


The Provisioning and SIS Export reports include sortable name, full name, and short name in the user.csv downloads. This change allows the user.csv files to display all name types as shown in an SIS system, including names with suffixes.



Collaborations no longer includes Etherpad as a collaboration tool. This change resolves concerns with Canvas user authentication. Only Google Docs will be available to create new Collaborations in Canvas.

Users that have links to existing collaborations will see a warning message notifying them to migrate any necessary content before August 8, when all Etherpad collaborations that are hosted by Canvas will be permanently deleted.

Institutions who still want to use Etherpad as a collaboration tool can set up their own Etherpad server and integrate it with Canvas. Learn more about the open source Etherpad project at



Persistent Gradebook Columns

Canvas saves a user’s custom Gradebook preferences and associates them with the user’s profile. This change allows users to rearrange a column in the Gradebook, including the size of the column, and have the changes persist across any computer or browser. This feature only relates to assignment columns in the Gradebook.

Total Grade Rounding

If the Total Grade column is shown as a percentage, the percentage is rounded to two decimal places. This change is also shown in Gradebook CSV exports. For instance, if the Total Grade for a student is 99.567, Canvas previously rounded the grade to 99.6%. With two decimals, the grade is now rounded to 99.57%.

This feature was previously announced in Canvas Studio.


Conferences Recordings

Users who create a conference with a recording can receive a notification to know when the conference recording is ready for viewing. By default the notification is set to ASAP.


  Other Canvas Updates



Canvas Login Parameters

With changes to the authentication workflow in Canvas, the ?canvas_login=1 parameter has been deprecated and replaced with /login/canvas. This parameter also no longer applies to any URL that is not the root of the domain (e.g. Root accounts with the ?canvas_login=1 parameter will be redirected to /login/canvas for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, /saml_consume has also been deprecated and replaced with /login/saml.

With these changes, any pages where users are redirected for an account login, or redirected after a successful login, may have a different URL but is functionally and visually identical to the former login form.


Instructor To-Do List and Ignore Forever Link

In the Instructor Dashboard To-Do list after removing a reminder, the Ignore Forever button has been renamed to Ignore. To-Do items are ignored from the list for six months, which is when they can reappear in the list. This change better indicates that hiding the item is temporary and may reappear on the To-Do list.


Better File Browsing Enabled Feature Option

The new Files interface (Better File Browsing) will no longer be a Feature Option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas users as a standard feature. This change will enable New Files on the course and user levels.


User Validation Column Header

When an institution manually enrolls a user to a course using the Add People button and use a login that is not an email address (e.g. SIS ID or student number), the user validation column always displayed the header text as Email. To support the variety of login types, the header text has been changed to Email/Login. This change helps clarify the user experience when manually adding and confirming users.



Feature Options Buttons

At both the account and course levels, the buttons on the Feature Options page have been updated to match the Canvas style guide, which provides better clarity in seeing which features are enabled.


Technology Upgrades

Ruby 2.1 and Passenger 5

Canvas has upgraded two key technologies underpinning Canvas: Ruby, the programming language where Canvas code is written, and Passenger, a web/application server technology. Both technologies are being upgraded to Ruby 2.1 and Passenger 5, respectively. These upgrades help us create features more quickly with improved functions and optimized processes and keep us current from a security perspective.

Both upgrades have been deployed to a subset of beta environments, and we’re ready to start an equally cautious deployment plan. No downtime will be required for these upgrades, and we have a quick and effective rollback process at the ready in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

On May 27, the upgrades were deployed to the Free For Teacher accounts (hosted at Barring any complications, the remainder of beta environments and all production environments will be upgraded as part of the June 6 production release.

  Platform/Integration Updates




In the Groups API, users can get a single group membership, which returns the group membership with the given membership id or user id.

Quizzes API

In the Quizzes API, users can get the current timing data for a quiz attempt, both the end_at timestamp and the time_left parameter.

Submissions API

In the Submissions API, author information is hidden in submission comments if the current user doesn’t have rights to view the information; the author_id and author_names appear as anonymous and the author object is empty. This change also incorporates changes to the UserDisplay object in the Users API.

Users API

In the Users API, users can get and update custom colors with three new endpoints. Getting a custom color has two options: return all custom colors that have been saved for a user, or return the custom colors that have been saved for a user for a given context.

SIS Reactivation Endpoints

Admins who can manage SIS rights can use the enable_sis_reactivation parameter to search by SIS ID and try to reactivate a deleted course with a matching sis_course_id. This parameter is found in the Sections, Courses​, and Users API endpoints when creating a section, course, or user.

  Fixed Bugs




Screen readers can read search results in the Announcements search field.


On the student submission details page, the rubric drop-down menu retains focus when open. Keyboard users can also close the rubric window.

On the student submission details page, video and audio files retain focus when the media player is expanded.

Keyboard users can open video and audio files that have been opened previously.


Deleting a collaboration retains focus on the previous conference. If no more collaborations exist, the focus is retained on the Add Collaboration button.

Keyboard users can switch between listing people and groups when creating a collaboration.

Removing all users from a collaboration retains focus on the Remove All button.

Editing a collaboration retains focus on the original collaboration.


Deleting a conference retains focus on the previous conference. If no more conferences exist, the focus is retained on the Add Conference button.

Editing and closing a conference retains focus on the original conference.


Keyboard users can access the revision history for a page and restore prior versions.


The Gradebook Individual View can export and download submissions for a published quiz.


When a user opens a SpeedGrader media comment and opens a second comment, the first comment window is closed. When the comment window is open, focus is retained on the close icon.


When a keyboard user edits the syllabus description, focus is retained on the Jump to Today link.


Sub-Account Course Count

Canvas displays the number of active courses in a sub-account.

Explanation: When an admin viewed the courses page for a sub-account, the course count was inaccurate. This behavior occurred because Canvas was counting all courses regardless of status. Canvas code has been updated to include active courses in the course count.

New User Accounts

Canvas generates localized error messages for invalid email addresses used for new user accounts.

Explanation: When an admin attempted to create a new user at the account level with an invalid character in the email field, Canvas generated an error that said the entry was invalid. When the email field did not include an email address, Canvas generated an error that said the entry was too short. These behaviors occurred because the email entries did not meet the minimum requirements for email addresses, but the error messages were not explained clearly for the admin. Canvas code has been updated to generate a specific message related appropriately to either the email field or the included email address.

Admin Settings

Account Reports and Name Suffixes

Account Reports users.csv export data matches data in Canvas regardless of name type.

Explanation: When an institution exported a file from their Student Information System (SIS) where a user’s first name contained a suffix, the users.csv file export name column did not match the SIS data. This behavior occurred because Canvas data did not properly account for suffixes in full names. Canvas code has been updated to add all name columns to the users.csv files in SIS export and Provisioning reports.

SIS Exports and Pending Enrollments

The users.csv file from the Canvas SIS export report ignores users with a pending status, and the users.csv file from the Provisioning report shows pending enrollments with an invited status.

Explanation: When an institution exported a file from their Student Information System (SIS), the SIS export report contained rows without a status. This behavior occurred because the report had no status to display for pending enrollments, which cannot be imported via SIS. Canvas code has been updated for the users.csv file in the SIS export report to ignore invited enrollments, and for the the users.csv file in the Provisioning report to show pending students with an invited status.


Delayed Announcements and Post Order

Announcements are organized by post date on the Announcements index page.

Explanation: When an instructor created an announcement with a delayed posting, the announcement was being displayed to students on the Announcements page as the same time the instructor created the announcement. This behavior occurred because the announcement was being indexed based on the original creation date instead of the delayed post date and time. Canvas code has been updated to verify and sort announcements by post date on the student Announcements page.


Users API

In the Users API, using a search term includes zeroes in the SIS user ID.

Explanation: When a user called the list of users in an account, the API was ignoring zeros within the sis_user_id if search_term was used. This behavior occurred because Canvas was searching for a numeric ID instead of the SIS user ID. Canvas API endpoint documentation has been updated to clarify the search values, which are not necessarily just (or even including) SIS ID.


Student View Reset and Assessments

Student View assessment requests are deleted from the course when Student View is reset.

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment with manual peer reviews and accessed Student View to submit the assignment, the peer review page showed that the test student should be assigned a peer review. When the instructor tried to reset Student View, Canvas generated an error message. This behavior occurred because an assessment request still existed in the course for the test student. Canvas code has been updated to not include the test student for peer review assignments and to remove all assessment requests when resetting Student View.

Deleted Group Categories

Assignments attached to deleted group categories prompt users to create a new group.

Explanation: When an assignment with no submissions was attached to a user group category, and the group category was later deleted, the user group select menu on the assignment edit page automatically selected the next group alphabetically. This behavior occurred because the assignment was set to select the next available group. Canvas code has been updated to automatically select the [New Group Category] option and prompt users to create a new group.

Group Assignments and External Tools

External Tools cannot be used for group assignments.

Explanation: When an instructor created a group assignment, and then later edited the assignment and changed the submission type, the group assignment setting was not cleared. This behavior occurred because Canvas didn’t know not to associate groups with external tools. Canvas code has been updated to remove the groups setting for group assignments that are changed to include an external tool submission type.

Assignment Index Page

The Assignments index page shows all assignments regardless of due date.

Explanation: When an assignment was accidentally created with a time in the due date field, such as 09:00, Canvas interpreted the time as the year and could not display the assignment on the Assignments index page. This behavior occurred because date formatting was not designed to support date years below four digits. Canvas code has been updated to better support date and time formatting with assignment entries.


Scheduler Appointment Groups

When scheduler is enabled, instructors can delete all time slots in an appointment group.

Explanation: When an instructor created an appointment group within Scheduler and needed to delete a time slot, a scroll bar covered the time slot after three or more time slots had been created. This behavior occurred because Scheduler elements were overlapping on the calendar page. Canvas code has been updated to make the scheduler column wider to prevent overlap.

Scheduler Sign-up Link

When scheduler is enabled, students can sign up for an appointment group until every time slot is filled.

Explanation: When an instructor created a Scheduler appointment group containing multiple appointment slots with a limit to the number of students in each slot, students were no longer able to view the You can sign up for this link once an entire slot was full. This behavior occurred because of a misalignment with logic between multiple appointment slots. Canvas code has been updated to verify signup link visibility among multiple appointment slots.

Scheduler and Syllabus Events

When scheduler is enabled, accessing a link to a calendar event from the course syllabus displays the event in the calendar.

Explanation: When a user clicked a link to a calendar event from a course syllabus, and the user’s institution has Scheduler enabled in the Calendar, the Calendar opened to the Scheduler instead of directly displaying the calendar event. This behavior occurred because of an error with the context code reference number generated from the page redirect. Canvas code has been updated to direct course event links to the month view in the Calendar and open the event’s display window.


Message Processors

Messages with a content type of text/HTML generate appropriate text and HTML emails.

Explanation: When a user replied to a conversation outside of Canvas, some HTML formatting was being displayed in raw text. This behavior occurred because the message processor assumed the message to be a text/plain content type. Canvas code has been updated to generate missing text content when necessary for incoming messages.

Course Imports

Folder Names with Question Marks

Canvas can import links from files within a folder that contains a question mark in the title.

Explanation: When a user tried to import a file within a folder that contains a question mark in the title, the file could not be imported. This behavior occurred because the question mark became part of the path URL, causing the link to break. Canvas code has been updated to support question marks in folder names without disrupting the file import.

Moodle Quizzes

Moodle 2.7.1 quiz questions are associated with the appropriate question bank after import.

Explanation: When a user imported a Moodle 2.7.1 course into Canvas, quiz questions were not being associated with their question bank after import. This behavior occurred because Canvas required a more current code element to support Moodle quiz files. Canvas code has been updated to include a more recent Moodle dependency.


Concluded Courses and Student Grades

Students can view grades in their concluded courses.

Explanation: When students tried to view grades in a concluded course, they received an unauthorized error. This behavior occurred because Canvas was using an active student participation permission to deny access to concluded courses. Canvas code has been updated to allow students to view their own grades in concluded courses.

Concluded Courses and Instructor Assignment Access

Instructors can access course assignments in concluded courses.

Explanation: When instructors opened a concluded course to view an assignment with an Until date in the past, but the instructor still had access to the course through term dates, Canvas generated a message showing that the assignment was locked. This behavior occurred because of a conflict with course and term dates for instructor access. Canvas code has been updated to always show read-only access to assignments for instructors with concluded access.


Concluded Courses and To-Do Items

On the dashboard, instructors do not see To-Do items for concluded courses.

Explanation: When a course has concluded and an instructor no longer had access to grading for the course, ungraded items such as ungraded peer reviews were still appearing under the To-Do column heading. This behavior occurred because Canvas was coded to display To Do items for courses with an instructor, not specifically active courses. Canvas code has been updated to confirm activity for a course before displaying To Do items.


Discussion Replies and Hyperlinks

After a user inserts a hyperlink into a discussion reply, the browser places the page view back on the reply.

Explanation: When a user created reply as part of a long discussion thread and inserted a hyperlink as part of the reply, the browser would not return the view back to the reply. Instead, the browser returned to a reply farther down the page, causing the user to scroll back up to find and complete the reply. This behavior occurred because of a miscalculation with the page offset, which retrieves the current position of the reply relative to the entire discussion. Canvas code has been updated to not configure the offset as part of the page position.


User File Previews

Users can view file previews in User Files.

Explanation: When a user tried to view a file from the main directory in their User Files, the file was not able to be previewed. This behavior occurred because a routing path file error and was only affected when Better File Browsing was enabled at the account level. Canvas code has been updated to fix file paths to allow previews in User Files.

HTML File Previews

Files generates HTML previews in course and user files.

Explanation: When a user tried to preview an HTML file, Files was not able to generate a preview for the file and included a download link. This behavior occurred because New Files was not coded for HTML previews. Canvas code has been updated to support HTML file previews.

Course Files and Instructor User Files

Instructors can copy files from their User Files to Course Files.

Explanation: When an instructor accessed User Files and tried to copy a file into files for a course, the file was not copied into the course. This behavior occurred because file copying was not supported for files. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructors to copy files between user files and course files.

Group Files Page Links

Links to a group’s file page within a course (such as in a course page) direct to the group.

Explanation: When an instructor created a course group and included a link to the group’s files page within the course, the link redirected to the course’s files page. This behavior occurred because of incorrect handling of links between courses and groups. Canvas code has been updated to retain the group location when linked within the course.


CSV Downloads in Safari

In Safari, exported Gradebook files download as CSV files.

Explanation: When a user accessed the Safari browser to export a Gradebook file, the CSV file downloaded as a TXT file. This behavior occurred because Canvas didn’t define the type of file being downloaded and only affected users who didn’t have a default program installed on their computer that could open CSV files. Canvas code has been updated to set the content type for Gradebook export attachments as CSV files.

Individual View and Upload Scores

Users in the Gradebook Individual View can upload scores in the Gradebook.

Explanation: When a user accessed Gradebook Individual View and tried to upload scores using the Upload Scores button, the button did not upload the CSV file. This behavior occurred because the button wasn’t properly coded with the proper action. Canvas code has been updated to upload scores with the Upload Scores button.


LTI Tools

LTI tools cannot be accessed in locked modules.

Explanation: When a user tried to access an LTI tool in a locked module prior to meeting the unlock conditions, the LTI tool was not restricted to the user. This behavior occurred because the LTI tool was not restricted to direct access, only to module prerequisites and progression. Canvas code has been updated to match other course content in locked modules and not allow direct access to LTI tools.

Files and Modules Prerequisites

After a Student Views and completes a file requirement in a module, Canvas updates/unlock the next module.

Explanation: When a Student Viewed and completed a file requirement in a module, Canvas was not always updating and unlocking the next module. This behavior occurred because some Canvas accounts are being hosted across several databases, and module progression was not always evaluated in the same database. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the current database before verifying module progression.

Pages and Module Requirements

If a student tries to open a page that has not been unlocked in a module, Canvas displays the module lock information and prerequisite list.

Explanation: When a student tried to view a page that is locked by an unmet module requirement, Modules created errors that differed from other module item types. If students were required to move through module requirements in sequential order, the Module displayed an error message explaining that the student had to complete the previous module. If students were required to view the page, the requirement was marked as completed even though students were not able to view the page content. The behaviors occurred because previously Modules used a standard lock message for all pages that did not have all the features of the lock explanation used elsewhere in Canvas. Canvas code has been updated to use the standard Canvas lock message/prerequisite list for Pages.

Quizzes and Module Requirements

Locked quizzes display module prerequisites.

Explanation: When a quiz was added to a module and the module required students to complete the items sequentially, the lock information was not appearing on the quiz page. This behavior occurred because the module prerequisites API endpoint was not correctly identifying quiz items. Canvas code has been updated to correct the module prerequisites API endpoint.

Publish Icons

Instructors can collapse and expand modules without affecting the module Publish icon.

Explanation: When an instructor collapsed a module, refreshed the page, then expanded the module, the Publish icon for the module disappeared. This behavior occurred because collapsing a module filtered out invisible templates for modules as well as real data relating to module status. Canvas code has been updated to retain the Publish icon when collapsing a module.

File Module Items

Adding a file as a module item does not affect module performance.

Explanation: When a user added a file a module item in a course with a significant amount of files, the files list took a few minutes to load. This behavior occurred because modules only allowed a certain amount of file pages to load at one time. Canvas code has been updated to increase the page size for loading files and folder content.


Rejected Enrollments

Account alerts are not sent to users with rejected enrollments.

Explanation: When a Canvas activity triggered an alert, notifications were being sent to users who had rejected their course enrollments. This behavior occurred because notifications were not confirming the state of users. Canvas code has been updated to check enrollment status and only send notifications to users with active or pending enrollments.


Instructors receive Announcement notifications with HTML formatting.

Explanation: When an instructor set the Announcements created by me notification and then created an announcement, any HTML formatting in the announcement was missing from the notification. This behavior occurred because the notification was converting HTML to text content. Canvas code has been updated to convert content into simple HTML for proper HTML formatting.

HTML Characters in Announcement Links

Announcement notifications are sent to users even if the announcement contains an invalid hyperlink caused by HTML-converted characters.

Explanation: When an instructor created an announcement and included a hyperlink that included a special character, such as an ampersand or an equals sign, the special character converted to an HTML character and caused notifications not to be generated. This behavior occurred because Canvas generated the hyperlink error and didn’t finish generating the notification. Canvas code has been updated to send announcement notifications regardless of invalid links.


If notifications are enabled, users receive notifications for all collaboration invitations.

Explanation: When a user created a collaboration in Canvas, users were not receiving an invitation to join the collaboration. This behavior occurred because the collaboration was not correctly inheriting the information from the course to send the notifications. Canvas code has been updated to route data correctly to distribute notifications.


Edit Page Window Size

When a user edits a page, the edit window does not display scrollbars. In Internet Explorer 11, the window does not cover any additional elements on the page.

Explanation: When an instructor edited a page, the edit window displayed a title field with horizontal and vertical scrollbars. If the instructor viewed this window in Internet Explorer 11, the window also blocked other elements on the page. These behaviors occurred because of inaccurate sizing for the window. Canvas code has been updated for compatibility with all browsers and set the minimum window width as 450 pixels and minimum height as 230 pixels.


Pending Course Invitations

Pending course invitations reflects the number of invitations that have not been accepted.

Explanation: When an instructor added a student to a course, the People page indicated that one course invitation had not been accepted. When an instructor added an observer, the People page also performed the same way. However, when the page was refreshed, any outstanding invitation messages disappeared. This behavior occurred because pending enrollments were being treated as accepted enrollments. Canvas code has been updated to retain the course invitation count for pending students and observers.

Rich Content Editor

Hyperlinks and Internet Explorer 11

In Internet Explorer 11, when users include a hyperlink in the Rich Content Editor, the Update Link button includes the highlighted text as the link.

Explanation: When a user entered text in the Rich Content Editor and created a hyperlink, the Update Link button inserted the word link instead of using the highlighted text as the link. This behavior was caused because Internet Explorer 11 lost focus on the hyperlink window, meaning the Rich Content Editor no longer knew what text had been previously selected. Canvas code has been updated with a plugin that will allow accurate link interactions with selected content in the Rich Content Editor.

Table Spacing

Vertical spacing in a Rich Content Editor table is retained after the content is saved.

Explanation: When a user created a table in the Rich Content Editor, the vertical spacing inside a table changed to single spacing after the content was saved. This behavior occurred because of conflicting code in prior installments of TinyMCE. Canvas code has been updated to retain table spacing with a 10px margin at the bottom of the table.


Section Dates Override

Section dates only override course and term dates if the section Users can only participate in the course between these dates checkbox is enabled.

Explanation: When an instructor created section dates for a course without enabling the “Users can only participate in the course between these dates” checkbox, Canvas was always overriding the section dates regardless of the checkbox setting. This behavior occurred because Canvas did not confirm the status of the participation checkbox. Canvas code has been updated to only override course and term dates if a section has the checkbox enabled.

Student Learning Mastery Gradebook

Outcome Alignments

Outcomes with aligned items only display the last eight alignments in the outcomes alignment window.

Explanation: On the student grades page, outcomes with more than eight alignments were not showing all the items in the alignment window. The outcome would show the total number of alignments, but the window would only display eight of them. This behavior was caused by a pagination setting for alignments. Canvas code has been updated to retain showing eight alignments in the window, but the alignments reflect the eight most recent alignments for the course, which also matches the eight alignments shown in the outcome details line graph. Additionally, when an outcome does include more than eight alignments, the outcome will show the total number of alignments.


Multiple Assessments

SpeedGrader does not support new assessments for rubric-based grading.

Explanation: In courses with multiple instructors, when one instructor assigned a grade using a rubric, and another instructor created a new assessment with a different rubric grading, the scores for the second instructor were being saved under the first instructor’s assessment. The second instructor’s changes also appeared in the grading history as if they were made by the first instructor as well. This behavior occurred because SpeedGrader did not properly support multiple assessments with rubrics-based grading. Canvas code has been updated to remove the option to create new assessments for rubric grading, which will be improved as an enhanced Gradebook feature in a future release.

Student View and Graded Assignment Count

Graded Student View (test student) submissions are counted in the total number of submissions that have been graded.

Explanation: When an instructor created a published assignment, accessed Student View, and submitted the assignment for the test student, opening the assignment in SpeedGrader showed that no assignments had been graded out of one submission (0/1 graded). When the test student was assigned a grade, the assignment count was not updated (e.g 1/1 graded). This behavior occurred because Student View enrollment submissions were being counted toward the number of submissions that needed grading but not toward the number of submissions that had been graded. Canvas code has been updated to include Student View graded submissions toward the assignment graded count.

Student View Reset and Graded Assignment Count

Resetting Student View also resets the number of test student submissions that need grading in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When an instructor created a published assignment, accessed Student View, and submitted the assignment for the test student, opening the assignment in SpeedGrader showed that no assignments had been graded out of one submission (0/1 graded). However, when Student View was reset, the count of ungraded assignments was increased by one. Any additional Student View submissions would also increment the ungraded count for each test student submission. This behavior occurred because the grading count was not specifically coded to be reset when test student submissions were removed from the course. Canvas code has been updated to reset the grading count when Student View is reset.

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This is a breathtaking release. Thanks to the entire instructure​ team and canvas community​ for coming together to bring this about.

I'll echo stefaniesanders​ - major stuff here, both user-facing and admin. Hats off! It's going to be a busy summer incorporating all the new goodies for the fall. 🙂

Can't tell you how big of an impact the individual differentiated assignment is going to be!!  Now if I could only get more votes on ​  Smiley Happy

Many impressive updates, well done!

But we're very sad to see Etherpad go, because this raises the barrier for our students and teachers as very few have added a google account!

hi all - so how does one "migrate" content from Etherpad? I can't seem to find a Save, Print, or Archive that saves it locally. Is the only strategy to tell faculty/students to 'Select All' and then Copy/Paste into something like Word?

Thanks in advance!

Lots of goodness in here, but I'm most excited for the improved Files ​going full time, and Differentiated Assignments, which was a big request from some of my former faculty. Amazing work as always!

I believe it's in the gear menu and called "export". Then you can chose the document type (HTML, PDF, DOC) you want to save the etherpad document as.

Hi  @Adrienne_J_Gaut ​ -

I think that the 'double arrow' Import/Export button in the Etherpad toolbar may be what you're looking for - it lets you choose to export the current pad in a variety of formats - pdf, docx, and others.


There is a version of Etherpad still in development and you could run it on your institution's servers then integrate it into Canvas. Not as convenient as built in, but it is an option.

On the other hand Google accounts are free so at least there's that. 🙂 I require students to have one for a class I teach (they can setup a new one, it doesn't have to be their personal account) and I haven't run into problems yet.

I kind of mentioned this in the Beta thread but I think I made the mistake of saying a specific tool which derailed my question. Since EtherPad is going away are there any possible replacements? I only ask because we have had certain use cases where having a non Google authenticated system can be useful. It's not a huge priority to my institution but I'm always a fan of options.

Ah! Thank you! Totally missed that, thanks!

thanks --- not sure why I didn't see it! (need moar coffee)

Student Submissions Download

Under the Student Submissions download section it states that students can download their submissions for active AND concluded courses.

I'm curious why instructors aren't able to download student assignments in concluded courses.  It would seem that if students can, instructors should also be able to once their have selected to "show concluded enrollments".

Grades .csv Bug in Safari

Also, I see there is a fix for this bug in Safari, but I'm wondering about the status of the fix for the bug in all browsers with unpopulated CSV export files for concluded enrollments.  I know our institution has a ticket in for this one.


We've had a bug report on the "download submissions" links in gradebook not working for teachers in concluded courses for quite a few months now.  This is something that used to work just fine until sometime between sept 2014 and dec 2014 (hard to tell when it got broken for sure).  I'd bring it up with your CSM, as it seems more complaints about the issue might cause it to get more attention from the dev team in a shorter timeframe.

Great idea - I just voted for it!!

Hi  @LesleyCryderman ​​ and chriscas​ -

Standard IANAL disclaimer (and please jump in, anyone, who's more knowledgeable!), but I wonder whether there's an issue of intellectual property here. Faculty have an educational interest in accessing students' creative work during a 'live' course, but once a course is complete, my understanding has always been that (1) students retain their own copyright, and (2) faculty rights to the work do not automatically extend beyond the course. It would seem odd to extend faculty access to creative works to which they no longer have a claim.


Well....that makes sense,  @G_Petruzella ​ - however instructors can download one submission at a time from concluded courses. Also, as chriscas​ mentions, the bulk download was working just a few short months ago. So it does seem a little broken. Hoping this can get fixed because it is a fairly frequent request.

That being said, LOVING the ability for students to download their own submissions!! This is a fabulous feature. Question for the community - how will you promote this to your student body? We have channels for faculty, but not so much for students. Any suggestions/input would be greatly appreciated. Smiley Happy

True enough,  @ccalderon ​! I do hope that Instructure resolves the issue, especially as it seems there's demand for it.

As to the question you pose: does your institution do anything with Global Announcements? That springs immediately to my mind, since admins can send Global Announcements by role.

Thanks for the suggestion  @G_Petruzella  we have used this feature sparingly, but maybe this provides an opportunity to broaden that a bit!

I really love the functionality of Differentiated Assignments, works well for multiple purposes (Undergrad / Grad only assignments, make up assignments, early/late access to assignments, etc).  I'd love to see just some small tweaks...

Specifically consistency in the format displayed to instructors may help remind them of how they have them setup :

  • It makes sense that if only one group is assigned something, it shows with that due date.
  • On the Assignments Page and on the Quizzes page, "Multiple Dates" appears when there are two different due dates for two different groups.

1) Upgrade suggestion - On the Modules and Discussions page I'd love to see the same terminology of 'Multiple Dates' as it's so helpful to be able to mouse over and see the multiple dates. 

2) Upgrade suggestion - On the Calendar, one of the dates appears really nicely, would be great if both due dates would appear if two distinct groups are assigned an assignment (i.e. Joe has a late due date of June 8th and the rest of the class has a due date of June 5th results in only Joe's due date appearing on the calendar)

I'll take it the way it is for now though Smiley Happy

- Melanie

hensonj​ and I were just mentioning that this needed to be added. I have voted as well!!

I think I am missing something on the Differentiated Assignments. When I only chose one section I get a message saying the other doesn't have a due date and gives me the following popup:

6-3-2015 11-08-23 AM.png

Clicking the "No Due Date" option then assigns the assignment to "Everyone Else" with no dates.

6-3-2015 11-10-21 AM.png

I thought it would only assign to the one section. Smiley Sad

Yes Matthew,

I was confused as well as there is no indication to you that Differentiated Assignments is not yet enabled.  But if you do NOT have differentiated assignments enabled at the institution and/or course level what you are seeing happens.

Check under your Settings in your course and choose Feature Options.  If you don't see the Differentiated Assignments option then your admin has not yet made this feature available.  If you see the option, then enable it and try again Smiley Happy


I'm not quite clear on how differentiated assignments work in modules. Will students not assigned to the assignment still see it if it is in Modules? If so, how will they know it is not assigned to them?

Thanks. I will check with the University admin. It is not showing as an option in my sub-account but I thought that they had turned it on a while back.

That is a good question, Patrick! Also, how do module view, completion, and grade requirements effect the selective release? For instance, if there is a requirement to score 90 out of 100 on an assignment in a module, but that assignment is not released to a student, what happens? Can the student still move forward in the module?

When I tested it, my student did not see the differentiated assignment in their Todo List, Calendar, Grades, or Tool (i.e. Discussions, Assignments, and Quizzes).

Instructors could not enter a score in the Grades (it was greyed out for students that were not assigned it) and students not assigned something would not appear in the Speedgrader.

Dallas has a great question about how module requirements work though, I haven't tested this.  And we were curious about any odd interactions with Group assignments/Peer review as well that I haven't thought through yet.

- Melanie

Could they see it in the Module though? Many of our instructors hide most navigation and students access everything in Modules.

Oops I knew I missed one.  It does not appear in Modules for students that are not assigned an activity.

- Melanie

Thank you for the information!

With regards to the authentication changes, is there a change to the metadata?  Does the ACS url change?



Hi Ed,

I was told that the metadata has been updated to include the new ACS url, but the old one hasn't been removed yet and is still the primary.

Hope that helps!


It looks like that ticket is in progress, meaning that engineering is looking into it. However, there are a few related tickets that are also open, so I don't have a timeframe as to when it may be completely resolved.

The best way to get traction on any feature that doesn't appear to be functioning properly is by submitting a support ticket. CSMs would recommend the same protocol, which helps our support and engineering teams know how many institutions are being affected by the feature and how to prioritize it in the queue.


UPDATE: So the odd part was that differentiated assignments is turned on in our production instance (like I thought), but was off in our beta site (which I assumed had the same settings as production), thus causing the problem. Well at least I figured out the problem. Thanks again for the reminder to check the settings.

This is going to be an interesting release! Tis the season of InstCon!

Does anyone else feel these new button checkbox styles are inverted?

I feel like OFF should be faded while ON be brighter.

I suggest the Collaborations creation page get's a redesign or at least a text update.  It mentions options that are no longer present. 

The second part is around the Google Docs requiring user accounts for everyone.  Requiring students to get an account at an external site has traditionally been a major restriction for us when there is no legal agreement with the University.  Is anyone using another collaboration tool they can point us to? 

What do we mean by collaborations? We're talking about web-based tools that most likely your students are already familiar with. Students can use resources like Google Docs andEtherPad to work collaboratively on tasks like group papers or note-taking. This page gives them (and you) an easy place to keep track of those collaborations, and also to set them up without having to swap emails.

To find out more about a particular type of collaboration, click "Start a New Collaboration" and then choose that type in the dropdown list.

Hi Andy,

Thanks for pointing that out! We'll make sure the Collaborations description text is updated appropriately.


I would like to second the language rework around Google Docs Collaborations and User accounts.  We have had about 6 support tickets just this quarter around this.

Our students are allowed to change the default email address associated within Canvas.  If they do so and apply a hotmail, yahoo or other than Google account, when Collaborations are initiated it can return a weird error message to the instructor (or end user).  Leaving the user to believe something is wrong with Canvas or Google; and neither are the case.  The same happens when instructors open this up for students to create collaborations. 

It would be nice to at least reiterate that you must have a Google Account associated with Canvas prior to initiating the Collaboration.

Here is an example of what I've seen

In the new Differentiated Assignments by individual, once you click the X to remove "Everyone", we only see a list of the first 5 students in the course; no scroll bars, no way to search. If you just start typing the name, it will populate a list of matches, so there is a way to get the students (if you know their names and don't spell them wrong). But we are getting reports on this from faculty (it is finals week here, so....). Anyone else find this confusing?

Thanks Kona, I'm following that one now.

I submitted a potential bug about the requirements for a given module now appearing to the right of the titles (which truncates the title) instead of below like it used to appear (see: 2015-06-10_1455 - jem259's library)​. Support responded that this was a design change as part of the latest release. I didn't remember reading about this and just re-skimmed these notes and can't find anything about this (unless it's considered a bug fix?). I get that shorter titles work better for responsiveness purposes and I'll make an adjustment to how I do things moving forward, but I thought I'd share here in case others noticed this as well.

I am noticing this too in our courses even on modules without requirements, all of the items are now severely truncated. This is in multiple browsers on very wide screens. This very much hurts usability! It also does not seem like the responsive break-points are correct (there is jumping when resizing the browser window). I am going to submit a bug report and would encourage others to do so as well.

morris_admin​ and  @Adam_King ​,

Thanks for your comments about this. We're always trying to make Canvas a little more user friendly for various devices and screen sizes. After a little bit of research we discovered that this was indeed a change made in the last release, mostly as groundwork for changes in a future release, but the change wasn't as isolated as we had intended. We apologize for missing this understated change.

This design adjustment focused on how item groups are positioned on Canvas pages, especially for smaller screens like tablet devices. Previously, items and info to the right of the titles took up a fixed amount of space, and titles squeezed into whatever was left; when viewed on smaller screens, longer titles were breaking the interface and looking pretty ugly, like The updated design prioritizes the item title at smaller screen sizes, and keeps everything cleaner and more orderly, like​. Hovering over the title still reveals a tooltip that contains the complete title.

Again, we're sorry for the inconvenience, and we've made some adjustments to improve how we confirm and announce design enhancements moving forward. And yes, if you are seeing anything strange with this design change, we welcome support tickets so we can review and revise if necessary.

Thank you,


Thanks Erin for this information and looking into it. The screenshots you posted do show an improvement with this change for very small screens, but I fear that this may be at the expense of other users? One feedback item that I hope you can pass along to the design team: if the goal is to improve usability on tablets (in browsers), keep in mind that most tablets don't support hover states, so users on these devices won't be able to see the full titles for items in modules. Text-wrapping may be a better way to go. Although it may not be a best-practice, I have seen many professors include important instructions in the "Text Header" module items.


Consider it done!



Hey all! Next set of Beta notes are now available. Go check them out: Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-06-15)