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Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-03-11)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-03-11)

In this production release (March 11), admins can manage parent and observer access to the Canvas Parent app and edit the default Help Menu links.

Instructors can add quick links to new pages in the Rich Content Editor and include the Abbr attribute for screen readers in course content. In SpeedGrader, instructors view a warning when they unmute an assignment, and when adding users to a course, instructors can enroll users by pasting CSV file data.

Students can better manage graded discussion peer reviews and see when a peer review has been completed. Additionally, students who can add attachments to discussion replies can remove an attachment if the instructor also allows students to edit or delete discussion replies.

For all users, the Canvas login page includes style updates for links and the Login button.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.


Canvas New Feature Screencast (2017-03-11)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: March 20
  • Production release notes: March 27
  • Production release and documentation: April 1

Production release notes indicate Canvas updates that will be included with Saturday’s release and are subject to change. However, some features may already be deployed to production as indicated in the release notes.

New features may differ from those available in your beta environment. Learn more about the Canvas Release Schedule.


Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts.

  Updated Features



This update applies to institutions using the Canvas Parent feature option and requires an external app that must be enabled by a Canvas Customer Success Manager (CSM). If you are a Canvas admin, please contact your CSM for assistance.

Canvas Parent Tools (LTI)
For institutions that allow users to create parent accounts in the Canvas Parent mobile app, admins can view and manage all parent accounts associated with the institution’s Canvas account through Canvas Parent Tools. Parent accounts also include any users who are registered as Canvas Observers. Once enabled for an account, Canvas Parent Tools can be accessed by an admin in the Account Navigation Menu. 


To manage all parents for an account, admins can use the options at the top of the page to filter and export parent accounts.

The filter option allows admins to filter the list by connections (all existing connections or just blocked connections).


The export feature provides more details about the parents in the account in a downloaded CSV file, which displays columns for the parent name, parent username, parent Canvas login domain, parent ID, student name, student ID, student Canvas ID, parent last activity date, student connection date, and blocked status (yes or no).


Parent Options

For each parent, the page displays the name of the parent, the linked student, the date the parent linked to the student, and the last time the parent accessed content within the app. The settings menu for each parent allows an admin to manage access to the Canvas Parent App by resetting passwords and blocking access.


Reset Password
Parents can request a password reset from the Canvas Parent app at any time, but if necessary, admins can also reset passwords for parents. However, admins cannot reset passwords for users registered as a Canvas observer. When an admin resets the password, the parent receives the same email that is sent if the parent were to request the password reset from the Canvas Parent app.

Block Parent
Additionally, admins can block individual parents from accessing the Canvas Parent app. If a parent is blocked, a blocked status displays next to the parent’s name.


If a parent is registered as a Canvas observer, however, blocking an observer displays a message that although the observer is blocked from the Canvas Parent app, the observer can still access the student’s account through Canvas in a web browser. To completely block an observer from viewing the student’s course information, admins can manually remove the observer from the student’s course.

  Updated Features


Account Settings

Default Help Link Customization
In the Help Menu, admins can edit and customize all the default help links for a specific account. This change allows admins to change the name, description, and user availability options for a default link. However, the URL within each default link cannot be changed.

Note: Changes to help links only display in web browsers and do not apply to the Canvas mobile app.



Attachment Edits
If an instructor enables discussion settings to allow students to add attachments and edit discussion replies, the Edit option allows students to remove a file attached to a reply.

Currently, attachments can only be removed from the reply and cannot be replaced with another file.


Peer Review Discussion Completion
When a student completes a peer review in a graded discussion, the discussion page indicates that the peer review for a specific student has been completed. This change aligns consistency for students in peer review assignments.


release-notes-bug-fix-icon.png This feature resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:

When a student completed a peer review for a graded discussion, the discussion always provided the link to the peer review but did not indicate if the peer review had been completed. Canvas code has been updated to display notice of completed peer reviews.


Add Users CSV File Entries

This update was deployed to production on March 6.

When adding a user to a course, instructors can copy and paste user information from a comma separated value (CSV) spreadsheet file. This change helps instructors manually enroll multiple users at one time. Only users with appropriate permissions can manually add users to a course.

Email Addresses
Instructors can enter email addresses using several formats, which also support associated user names:


If Open Registration is enabled and Canvas is not able to find a match for a user using an email address, the instructor can create a new user enrollment for the course by selecting the user.

The search results allow instructors to select all users with the Select All check box in the table heading, or instructors can select individual check boxes for specific users.

If the search entry included a user’s name, any selected users will automatically display the users’ names in the enrollment list. If a user’s name was not included, the instructor can choose to add a name to associate with the user’s email address. Otherwise, Canvas will use the user’s email address as the user’s name.



Login IDs and SIS IDs

Instructors can search for login and SIS IDs (if allowed) by entering the login or SIS ID in the search field. IDs must be entered without quotation marks. Login and SIS IDs do not support entries that include a user’s name; any entered content in either ID search field will be treated as the search content.

If an instructor wants to add a user to the course, an email address is required for the user. Canvas will associate the user by the entered email address. Additionally, the instructor can also choose to add a name to associate with the user. Otherwise, Canvas will use the user’s email address as the user’s name.



Rich Content Editor

Abbr Whitelist

The Rich Content Editor supports the abbr attribute, which supports additional accessibility context for screen readers.

Sidebar New Page Links

This update was deployed to production on March 6.

Rich Content Editor sidebars in the Pages and Syllabus once again include functionality to add a link to a new page, which already exists in other sidebar feature areas. This link is located in the Links tab in the Pages section.

This option allows users to enter a name for a new page, which will be linked inside the Rich Content Editor. However, the new page link simply acts as a placeholder for the page and will not be added to the course until the user opens the new page, adds content, and either saves or publishes the page.



Unmute Assignment Warning

When an instructor unmutes an assignment, SpeedGrader displays a warning indicating that the assignment will be visible to all students. This change matches the behavior when an instructor unmutes an assignment in the Gradebook.


release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions:" modifiedtitle="true" title="Assignment un-mute notificat... 

  Other Updates


Canvas Login

Links and Button Styling
In the Canvas login page, all hyperlinks are underlined by default. This change improves accessibility to differentiate hyperlinks from content text.

Also for accessibility support, the Log In button has been updated to use the same color set for the Login Link customization in the Theme Editor.




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


Enrollments API

The Enrollments API includes the created_at and role_id properties in the Enrollment object example model.

SIS Integration API

The SIS Integration API includes the include parameter, which returns individual student override information. The example response field also displays user override information for the users and the assignment.

  Fixed Bugs



Account Settings
In the Navigation tab, the settings menu for each navigation item includes the name of the navigation item.

Discussion subscription options are read by screen readers. When a user unsubscribes from or subscribes to a discussion, the screen reader indicates the subscribed status.

When a user clicks the link to add a course submission, focus is retained on the list of submissions. Selected submissions are also read by screen readers.


In the Gradebook, keyboard navigation is only supported when the Course Navigation Menu is expanded.

In the student Grades page, when a student clicks the Show All Details button, screen readers announce that the content of the page has changed.

When a student creates a What-If Grade for an assignment, screen readers announce that the student can type into the grading field.

In the quiz log auditing page, the View Table button screen reader messaging has been updated and the message is hidden after focus has been removed.

Rich Content Editor
Keyboard users can select images from the Rich Content Editor sidebar using the Space or Enter key.

Student Context Card
Each student’s name is associated with the masquerade, message, grades, and analytics links.

Account Navigation
Navigation Link Width
If a navigation link includes a long name that expands past the default menu width, the name wraps in the navigation menu.

Explanation: When a navigation link included a long name that expanded past the default menu width, the name included ellipses to indicate the name was longer than the width of the menu. Canvas code has been updated to include word breaks and wrap the names of links instead of adding ellipses. Depending on the preference of each browser, some browsers may insert a hyphen to break up long words that require wrapping but do not include a space.

Global Navigation Help Link
In the Global Navigation Help window, the page title matches the Help Menu custom name.

Explanation: When an admin set and saved a custom name for the Help Menu in Account Settings, and then clicked the Help Menu icon in the Global Navigation Menu, the page title defaulted to Help instead of the custom name. Canvas code has been updated to align the Help menu page title with the Help Menu’s custom name.

Open for Comments Option
When the option to disable comments on course announcements has been locked at the account level, instructors cannot view the Open for Comments button.

Explanation: When an admin locked announcements for all courses at the account level, an instructor could click the settings icon for a locked announcement and view the Open for Comments button, even though the button had no effect on the announcement. Canvas code has been updated to hide the Open for Comments button to instructors.


Analytics API
In the Analytics API, the course-level participation data displays an accurate example reponse where the returned json is ordered by date instead of by type.

Explanation: When a user made an API call to get course-level participation data, the example response in the documentation was different from the information that was returned. Canvas code has been updated to update the intended example response.

Importing Extended Tool Configurations
Under the Course Navigation External Tool Examples section, the Teacher/Admin-only navigation heading has been renamed to Admin/Teacher/TA/Designer-only navigation.

Explanation: In the Navigation Tools documentation, the visibility setting for admin was defined as meaning only Teachers, TAs, Designers and account admins could see the link. However, in the Importing Extended Tool Configurations documentation, the Teacher/Admin-only heading also mentioned the admin visibility setting, yet the heading was inconsistent with the definition. Canvas code has been updated to rename the Teacher/Admin-only navigation heading to Admin/Teacher/TA/Designer-only navigation.

Peer Reviews API
In the Peer Review API, the second documented heading for Create Peer Review has been changed to Delete Peer Review.

Explanation: The Peer Review API documentation included two headings titled Create Peer Review, though each section displayed separate content about creating and deleting a peer review. Canvas code has been updated to change the appropriate heading to Delete Peer Review.

Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions: simple documentation error


Moderated Grading and Submission Comments
When an instructor posts moderated grades for an assignment, any assignments that only include a comment display with a zero grade.

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment and required moderated grading, the instructor viewed an error when trying to post grades for submissions that only included a comment. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructors to post moderated grades for submissions that only include comments. Submissions that did not receive a grade display as zero points in the Moderate page.

Language Date Display
Course conference dates display in the format set for the course language.

Explanation: When a course was set with a specific language, conference dates would always display as MM/DD/YYYY, regardless of the language date format. Canvas code has been updated to display course conference dates according to the language date format.

Entire Course Message Sent Filter
In the Sent folder, conversations sent to all users individually display in the selected course filter.

Explanation: When a user was enrolled in multiple courses that allowed the user to send messages to all course users, but opted to send messages individually, the Sent message always displayed the message regardless of the course filter. Canvas code has been updated to not include a copy of the sent message to the user, which associated with all the user’s courses, and only show sent messages sent for a specific course.

Course Import

Blackboard Module Files
In Blackboard course imports, files that contain parentheses are linked to modules correctly.

Explanation: When a user imported a Blackboard course that contained modules, any files within the module that included parentheses in the file name were not being linked to the module. Canvas code has been updated to look for the file ID instead of course name when linking imported files.

Module Imports
Canvas restores any previously added modules according to their original order.

Explanation: When a user imported content from a module, deleted the module, and later re-imported the same module that was previously deleted, deleted modules were added inconsistently among existing modules. Canvas code has been updated to restore deleted modules according to their original import order.

Coming Up List and Unpublished Courses
The Coming Up list does not display assignment due dates from unpublished courses.

Explanation: In an unpublished course, when an instructor added student enrollments and created published assignments with due dates within seven days, students were able to view the due dates from the unpublished course in their Dashboard Coming Up list. Canvas code has been updated to not display any due dates from unpublished courses in the Dashboard.

Group Discussion Settings
Group discussions inherit their settings from the course discussion.

Explanation: When an instructor created a group discussion in a course and then changed the discussion settings, some settings would not apply to the group discussion, such as the Users must post before seeing replies setting. Canvas code has been updated to retain course settings in group discussions.

Image Embedding

Embedded images in a discussion reply still retain the image after the user refreshes the page.

Explanation: When a user embedded an image in a discussion reply, refreshing the page showed a broken image link. This behavior affected displaying images for graded discussions in SpeedGrader. Canvas code has been updated to display embedded images in discussion replies.

Peer Review Discussion Completion
When a student completes a peer review in a graded discussion, the discussion page indicates that the peer review for a specific student has been completed.

Explanation: When a student completed a peer review for a graded discussion, the discussion always provided the link to the peer review but did not indicate if the peer review had been completed. Canvas code has been updated to display notice of completed peer reviews.

Student View
Discussion settings are enforced for the Test Student in Student View.

Explanation: When an instructor disabled Discussion settings such as allowing students to create discussion topics, the Test Student was still able to view the Add Discussion button and create discussion topics. Canvas code has been updated to enforce discussion settings in Student View.

File Extensions
When a user renames a file that includes an extension, the file name is preselected for the user.

Explanation: When a user renamed a file, Canvas preselected the entire file name, which caused users to completely remove the file type extension. This behavior caused the file to be downloaded as a generic system file. Canvas code has been updated to preselect only the file name and omit the extension.

Grading Periods and User Status
Grading periods do not restrict instructors from viewing inactive or concluded students and display grades according to the grading period status.

Explanation: When a course enabled Multiple Grading Periods, inactive students were able to be graded by instructors in a closed grading period. Additionally, when instructors viewed concluded enrollments in the Gradebook, concluded students’ scores did not display for a specific grading period, and any assignment that had not been graded displayed an error message. Canvas code has been updated to respect user status settings in grading periods.

Discussion Replies and Module Requirements
Modules reevaluates discussion replies when an instructor modifies a module requirement.

Explanation: When an instructor added a graded discussion to a module, students were able to add a discussion reply and advance through the module. However, if the instructor edited the module, required students to contribute to the discussion, and also required students to complete requirements in sequential order, any student who had already posted a reply was not able to advance through the module. Canvas code has been updated to reevaluate discussion replies when an instructor modifies a module requirement.

Trust Accounts and User Enrollments

This fix was deployed to production on March 6.

When users in trust accounts are enrolled in a course, enrolling the user via Login or SIS ID enrolls the correct user.

Explanation: When a user was enrolled in a course using a Login or SIS ID, the correct user was not always enrolled in the course. This behavior occurred when users were part of a trust account. Canvas code has been updated to ensure IDs are being recognized with the correct global identifier for users in trust accounts.

Assignments and Manage Courses
Admins without the Manage Courses permission can view items in the Assignment Index Page.

Explanation: When an admin was added to a custom role that could manage assignments and view course content but could not manage courses, the admin was not able to view items in the Assignment Index Page. Canvas code has been updated to allow admins without the Manage Courses permission to view items in the Assignments Index Page.

File Upload Questions
In File Upload questions, a file that is submitted for the question type is retained for the quiz.

Explanation: When a student submitted a file for a File Upload question, the file was not saved for the question. This behavior occurred when students could view one question at a time and navigated through questions using the sidebar instead of the Next or Previous buttons. Canvas code has been updated to save a file uploaded to a File Upload question type regardless of how the quiz is viewed.

Rich Content Editor
Caption Files
In Pages and the Syllabus, users can upload captions to media files.

Explanation: When a user uploaded a caption file to media in the Rich Content Editor, the caption file would not upload and the user viewed an error message. Canvas code has been updated to allow captions in media files.

HTML Editor and Sidebar Content

This fix was deployed to production on March 1.

In the HTML Editor, users can add links or files from the sidebar.

Explanation: When a user switched to the HTML Editor in Pages or the Syllabus and tried to add a link or file from the sidebar, no content was added to the page. Canvas code has been updated to allow content to be added via the sidebar in the HTML Editor. 

Image Link Replacement

This fix was deployed to production on March 1.

In Pages and the Syllabus, users can replace an image by highlighting the existing image and selecting a new image.

Explanation: When a user viewed the Rich Content Editor in pages or the Syllabus, highlighted an existing image, and selected a new image from the sidebar, the image was not able to be replaced without deleting the existing image. Canvas code has been updated to not require existing images to be deleted.

Media Comments
Media controls are accessible for media comments in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When a user added audio or video recordings in submission comments, clicking the thumbnail opened the window that played the media but did not display any controls to manage the media comment. Canvas code has been updated to resize the media comments window to view media controls.

Student Context Card
Custom Student Roles
Custom student roles generate a student context card.

Explanation: When an institution created a custom student role, the student role was not being treated like the base student role. Instructors and admins were not able to view a student context card for custom student roles. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the enrollment type for user roles.

Student Grades

This fix was deployed to production on February 28.

For courses using Multiple Grading Periods, the current grade displays as the grade for the current grading period.

Explanation: When a course enabled Multiple Grading Periods, the student context card displayed the grade for all grading periods. Canvas code has been updated to always display the grade for the current grading period. The grading period view in the Gradebook to show a specific past or future grading period does not influence the grade display. 

User Names

This fix was deployed to production on February 28.

Canvas reflects changes made to a user’s name and email address in the user’s details page.

Explanation: When an admin edited a user’s name and saved the page, no change was visible. This behavior also affected email addresses updated through any method (UI, SIS, or API). Canvas code has been updated to retain changes made to user attributes. 

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With the New Parent App Admin dashboard, will I be able to view all observers in my account or just parents who signed up with the Parent App and became an observer? Will I be able to see parents who became an observer via the web? 

Thank you for bring back the Link to New Page button!  I noticed it today!

Hi  @paul_goodenough  - From what I understand, you'll need to talk with your CSM. They'll enable the tools for your institution! I hope you're as excited about the addition to Canvas Parent as I am!! 

Hi, Paul,

Canvas Parent Tools essentially controls access to the Canvas Parent app, so only users of the app will display in the page. You will be able to view any parents who created an account using the Canvas Parent app and linked a student.

Terminology is a little confusing, I know, but a parent is technically an observer. However, a parent doesn't have the official role of observer unless the parent either (1) registered in Canvas as an observer (using the self-registration option at the account level) or if an instructor/admin added the parent to a course in an observer role, and the parent accepted the course invitation. Observers will only show in Canvas Parent Tools if the observer is using the Canvas Parent app. 

Canvas Parent Tools allows you to block user access to the app. If you block a parent, the parent is immediately blocked, since the app is the only way a parent can view student data. However, if you block an observer, you only block the observer's access in the app—the observer still has access to the student's information using the web version of Canvas, so to completely block the observer, you must also unenroll the observer from the student's course(s) as well.

Hope that helps!


So if they have a Canvas observer account that they used to login to the Parent App, they will appear in the Canvas Parent Tools? If they have never used the Parent App, they will not?


Paul J. Goodenough M.S., NBCT

Director of Instructional Technology

Jenks Public Schools<>;

9182994415 Ext 2387<tel:9182994415;2387>

Text: 9188720674<tel:9188720674>

Never Stop Learning!

Can I ask: what are peoples' experiences using peer review discussion assignments?  And how do you assess that?

Instructure, can you PLEASE. STOP. MESSING. WITH. THE. LOGIN. PAGE. Every time you do we have now. When I saw you were updating it in the release notes I knew we were headed for problems. Now our users can't log in consistently.

Hi, Sean,

You may want to consider asking your question in Find Answers‌, which is the best space for discussion and feedback about Canvas features.



Hi, Rob,

I'm sorry you're experiencing trouble with the login page! The changes to the Login page were required to improve our accessibility standards, which changed the configuration of the Login button and also removed unused code. Are you using custom CSS on your page or are you using the Theme Editor? If you are using the Theme Editor, please let our Canvas Support team know what you're experiencing so we can help troubleshoot.

If you're using custom CSS, we always recommend using your beta environment to verify that upcoming changes do not aversely affect your coding. And if you are using custom CSS, our UI team is always considering how they can improve Canvas to remove custom dependencies. From your use of the login page, do you feel there is functionality missing from the Theme Editor?

Thank you,


When I saw in the description that, "Parent accounts also include any users who are registered as Canvas Observers." I was excited that we were getting some admin access to parental observer accounts that they made from the login screen. Smiley Sad Instead of hundreds of parents I have access to 11 (one of which is my web programmer that was testing the parent app). Smiley Sad

Great start on a much needed tool and data.  Here are some questions about the Canvas Parent Tools:

  •  Is this real time or batch data?
  • Is there any way to search for a particular parent or student?
  • What is the "Connection Date"?  In all 1,800 rows of my export CSV it says N/A
  • My last activity date starts on 3/13/17.  I'm assuming that is the day this feature was released and/or enabled on my account?  So nothing prior to that?
  • Are all the rows in the export CSV indicative of how many total downloads and accounts there have been since the introduction of the app in the fall?

Hi, Joe,

Thanks for the questions. You can find more information about Canvas Parent Tools in our documentation: 



Hi, everyone,

Thanks for your feedback during the last release. 

Beta release notes for the next release have been published: Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-03-20) 

 @joseph_allen  Thank You for your helpful questions that improved the information about Canvas Parent Tools.

Have a great evening!