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Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-10-28)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-10-28)

In this production release (October 28), the Rich Content Editor Accessibility Checker helps verify common accessibility errors in Canvas content.

In Discussions and Assignments, the Move-To menu has been changed to a sidebar, and discussions can be duplicated from a discussion’s Settings menu. In course rubrics, the Create or Edit Rubric view visibly displays all add, edit, and delete icons in a criterion. Additionally, ratings also support rating descriptions. And in DocViewer, comments with multiple lines are collapsed by default and can be expanded to view the entire comment, and the Delete icon only displays when creating an annotation.

The Gradebook History page has been redesigned for improved performance and includes display filters for a specific student, grader, assignment, and start and end date. Additionally, the student Grades page includes an updated table design. For admins, the Act as User page displays all login details for the requested user.

Various changes have been made to APIs and integration documentation.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

Features are subject to change throughout the release based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.


Canvas New Feature Screencast (2017-10-28)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: November 6
  • Production release notes: November 13
  • Production release and documentation: November 18

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.

The Canvas product team welcomes feedback according to Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines. Release notes comments are subject to release notes comment policies.

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

Flash Content Reminder: Canvas displays Flash content as supported within major browsers. Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox default to HTML5 as the preferred method for displaying website content, which promotes a faster, more secure browsing experience. These browsers will eventually block all Flash content. For best performance in Canvas, course content should be designed to support HTML5. Any affected content can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser. Using the camera and microphone to record media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers.

Advanced CSS and JavaScript users: Canvas releases may include undocumented changes that affect styles and code in custom applications. Please make sure to view your Beta environment for any customization conflicts.

  New Features


Rich Content Editor

Accessibility Checker

The Rich Content Editor Accessibility Checker assists instructors and course designers to maintain accessibility requirements in Canvas content. This tool only verifies content created within the Rich Content Editor. An institution may also use other accessibility tools to verify additional content in Canvas.

The Accessibility Checker is located in the Rich Content Editor menu bar. Depending on the size of the browser window, users may have to scroll the menu bar horizontally to view the Accessibility Checker icon.

Rich Content Editor Accessibility Content Checker Icon

The Accessibility Checker verifies attributes within the editor and notifies the content creator of common accessibility errors. The Accessibility Checker provides a user-friendly explanation about any errors and provides the fields or menus needed to fix the error. The explanation also provides a link to additional resources to educate content creators about the accessibility guideline. The content creator can easily correct the error and apply the fix using the editor.

Rich Content Editor Accessibility Content Checker sidebar and error message

All components are designed according to the template set in the institution’s Theme Editor.

This tool verifies the following accessibility rules:

  • Table captions: Tables should include a caption describing the contents of the table.
  • Table header scope: Tables headers should specify scope and the appropriate structure.
  • Table header: Tables should include at least one header.
  • Sequential headings: Heading levels should not be skipped (e.g. H2 to H4). However, the tool does not check if the first header starts with H2 or whether the headings are sequential with the rest of the content in the page. Tables do not begin with H1, which is allotted to the page title.
  • Heading paragraphs: Headings should not contain more than 120 characters.
  • Image alt text: Images should include an alt attribute describing the image content. In an upcoming release, alt text can be included when uploading an image to help minimize this error. Additionally, users can identify image as decorative, which do not require alt text.
  • Image alt filename: Image filenames should not be used as the alt attribute describing the image content. Currently, files uploaded directly to Canvas create a redirect that does not properly verify image filenames, which will be corrected in an upcoming release.
  • Image alt length: Alt attribute text should not contain more than 120 characters. In an upcoming release, alt text can be included when uploading an image to help minimize this error.
  • Adjacent links: Adjacent links with the same URL should be a single link. This rule verifies link errors where the link text may include spaces and break the link into multiple links.
  • Large text contrast: Text larger than 18pt (or bold 14pt) should display a minimum contrast ratio of 3:1.
  • Small text contrast: Text smaller than 18pt (or bold 14pt) should display a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1.

Note: For text contrast, the Accessibility Checker verifies color using the same calculations as the WebAIM tool. However, currently the checker only verifies against Theme Editor templates with High Contrast Styles. To verify color contrast, enable High Contrast Styles in user settings before enabling this feature.

  Updated Features



Move-To Menu Sidebar

The Move-To Menu within the Assignments page has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas.

When a user clicks the Settings menu for an assignment and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the new assignment group, then select the placement of the assignment. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Assignments page.

Previously the Move-To Menu included both the assignment group and the placement fields in the same window.

Assignments page with the move-to assignment sidebar and move options


Discussion Duplication

Discussions can be duplicated in the Discussions page or the Assignments page. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for every available discussion. When a discussion is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the discussion name.

Discussions page with the option to duplicate a discussion

Duplicating a discussion defaults the copied discussion to an unpublished status. All items in the discussion are duplicated including the name, description, and options. The person who copied the discussion is shown as the author of the discussion and is immediately subscribed to the discussion, and the date the discussion was copied displays as the last posted date.

In graded discussions, duplication exceptions include the following situations:

  • Copied peer review discussions retain the peer review setting and Assign Review date, but the number of reviews per user will be set to zero.
  • Copied discussion are always assigned to everyone in the course; differentiated discussions are not retained for individual users, groups, or sections.
    • If a differentiated discussion includes an Everyone Else date, the copied discussion retains the Everyone Else due date, if any.
    • If a differentiated discussion does not include an Everyone Else date, the copied discussion does not include a due date.

Note: If applicable, the Discussions page displays any Blueprint Course icons after the page is refreshed.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: 

Move-To Menu Sidebar

Within Pinned discussions, the Move-To Menu has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas and applies to both course and group discussions.

When a user clicks the Settings menu for a pinned discussion and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the placement of the pinned discussion. If the Before or After option is selected, the user can select the order of the discussion compared to other pinned discussions. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Discussions page.

Previously the Move-To Menu only moved a discussion before an existing discussion and did not provide any other location options.

Discussions page with the move-to discussion sidebar and move options


Comment Expand and Collapse Link

DocViewer is an independent feature within Canvas that may deploy updates outside the regular Canvas release schedule. This change is available in the beta and production environments for all users.

When an annotated comment includes multiple content lines, the content box displays an ellipses notifying the user of additional content. This change helps minimize comments in a document and improve the number of comments that can be displayed within a page.

DocViewer comments with condensed content

Users can click the ellipses to expand the comment. If a comment includes multiple replies, all replies are also expanded.

DocViewer comments with expanded content

Annotation Delete Icon Visibility

DocViewer is an independent feature within Canvas that may deploy updates outside the regular Canvas release schedule. This change is available in the beta and production environments for all users.

When a user creates an annotation, the Delete icon only displays as part of the initial placement. Once a user clicks away from the annotation, the Delete icon no longer displays in the page. The Delete icon only displays again if the user directly clicks the annotation. This change hides the Delete icon so it does not obscure annotation content.


Gradebook History Filters

The Gradebook History page has been redesigned for improved performance and includes display filters for a specific student, grader, assignment, and start and end date. Previously the Gradebook History page only displayed the name of the assignment with a grade change. Additionally, this feature is redesigned based on existing data in Canvas, so displayed content is still retroactive.

In the beta environment, the Grades page never displays any grade changes from the production environment and is always blank. Content for this feature can only be displayed in the beta environment when course grades are changed in the beta environment.

Gradebook History page results with no filtered history

This change removes the previous limit of 2000 grade changes and allows instructors to view all grade changes in the course. For admins, the Gradebook History page integrates with the Admin Tools Grade Change Activity log, which also does not include a grade change limit. Additionally, since all grade changes can be viewed, this feature no longer supports functionality to revert grades.

For individual filters, results are generated dynamically. Users will need to know the name of the student, grader, and/or assignment to type in the search filter. Matching results can be selected from the results list, and multiple filters can be used at the same time. However, filters are not applied without clicking the Filter button.

Gradebook History filter with entered student name

Gradebook History filter with student name and filtered page results

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: 


Student Grades Table Design

To improve typography and design consistency across Canvas, the student Grades page includes updated CSS for the table display. Table content always displays with a white background except for assignments affected by a grade rule set in the Assignments page. Previously all graded assignments also displayed a gray background.

Student Grades page old design with gray assignment background for graded assignments

Student Grades page new design with white assignment background


Criterion Icon Visibility

In the Create Rubric or Edit Rubric view, criteria visibly display all add, edit, and delete icons. Additionally, the Delete criteria column has been removed from the rubric table; the delete icon for each criterion is located above the criterion description.

Rubrics edit window showing all action icons

Previously, when a user created or edited a rubric, criteria icons could only be viewed by hovering over a rating. This change also removes previous functionality of adding ratings with additional incremental point values, though any point value can still easily be added by splitting a rating or editing the point value of a rating.

Ratings Rubric Descriptions

When a user splits a rating, the rubric displays an Edit Rating window that includes the rating score, rating title, and rating description. Rating descriptions are not required, though any content in the description also displays as part of the rating in the rubric. Rating titles and descriptions are never truncated, though content should generally be short and concise.

Rubric with Edit Rating window, rating title, and rating description

Rubric description ratings display in all areas where rubrics can be viewed including the course and account rubrics pages, associated assignments, and the student Grades page. In SpeedGrader, descriptions are included when a rubric is used for grading, but they are not included in the rubric summary after grading is complete.

Note: Description ratings only apply to rubric ratings; they are not currently available in outcome ratings. Outcomes added to a rubric only display the rating title and point value.


Act as User Multiple Login Display

The Act as User page displays all login details for the requested user. Logins are displayed in the same order as shown in the Login Information section of the user’s account-level profile page.

Act as User page showing multiple logins for the user

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

When a user with the Act as User permission requested to act as a Canvas user, the Act as User page only displayed the most recently updated login for the user, which may not have included the user’s SIS or authentication IDs. Canvas code has been updated to display all login information for a user.



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


Blueprint Courses API

In the Blueprint Courses API, the BlueprintTemplate object includes the associated_course_count parameter, which displays the number of associated courses for the Blueprint course.

Modules API

In the Modules API, the ModuleItemSequence object example shows mastery_path api data.

Outcome Groups API

In the Outcome Groups API, the List link outcomes and List subgroups endpoints clarify that returned lists are paginated.

Quizzes API

In the Quizzes API, the Quiz object displays the anonymous_submissions attribute, which displays whether survey submissions will be kept anonymous.

SIS Imports API

In the SIS Imports API, Diffing Mode includes the diffing_drop_status parameter, which is also included in the SIS Import Format Documentation. This parameter allows enrollments to be marked as complete or inactive; by default enrollment objects are marked as deleted when they are not included for an import.

SIS Integration API

The SIS Integration API includes examples of seven objects attributes and their API responses.

Submissions API

In the Submissions API, the Submissions Object displays the graded_at attribute.

This change was deployed to the production environment on October 19.

In the List Submissions for Multiple Assignments, the post_to_sis parameter has been clarified for SIS submissions. If the argument is set to true, the response will only include submissions for assignments that are set to be passed back to the SIS for user enrollments added through the SIS.

External Tools

LTI Variable Substitutions

LTI Variable Substitutions include substitutions for brand config URLs: com.instructure.brandConfigJSON.url and com.instructure.brandConfigJS.url.


SIS Import Format Documentation

In the SIS Import Format Documentation, Diffing Mode includes the diffing_drop_status parameter, which is also included in the SIS Import API. This parameter allows enrollments to be marked as complete or inactive; by default enrollment objects are marked as deleted when they are not included for an import.

In the Courses CSV file, Blueprint Courses can be removed by passing dissociate in place of the ID.

  Fixed Bugs


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


Admin Tools

In the View Notifications tab, the links to user names can be navigated by keyboard users. Additionally, user search results are not read to screen readers until all user search results have been displayed.


Calendar end dates include end dates and times for screen readers.

Course Import

The Export Type heading displays as a H2 for screen readers.


The Login page heading displays as a H1 for screen readers.


For admins, the link to change the profile picture for a user is read as the user’s display name to screen readers.


The Permissions page displays the state of each permission to screen readers and is keyboard accessible.

Rich Content Editor

YouTube video alt text displays the title of the video.

Switching between the Rich Content Editor and the HTML Editor retains focus in the content area.


Student Submission Totals

In student analytics, the the submissions column displays submission totals for assignments that include a submission by the student.

Explanation: When an assignment was created in a course, the student analytics submissions column showed a submission for each assignment even if the assignment had not yet been submitted by the student. Canvas code has been updated to only count a submission if the assignment includes a submission by the student. Online assignments with a due date in the past that have not received a submission continue to be counted as a missing assignment.


Authentications Log API Expiration

The Authentication Logs API notes that logs are stored for one year.

Explanation: When a user made an API call for the Authentication Logs API, no results were returned for dates older than one year. Canvas code has been updated to note that authentication logs are only stored for one year.


Enrollment State and Differentiated Due Dates

Enrollment state in differentiated assignments do not affect assignment due dates.

Explanation: When an assignment was differentiated for individual students, and one of those students was changed to an inactive or concluded state, the student’s differentiated assignment due date could not be changed. Canvas code has been updated to include all differentiated students when making assignment edits.

Submission Comment Length

Long non-breaking words in submission comments are wrapped within the comment field.

Explanation: When an assignment submission comment contained long non-breaking words such as a web address, the comment covered up the re-submit button from the Assignment page and overlapped the submission in the Submission Details page. Canvas code has been updated to wrap long words within submission comments.


Unordered Lists

The event details window displays formatting for unordered lists.

Explanation: When a user included <ul> tags to create an unordered list in an event, the event details window did not display the unordered list formatting. Canvas code has been updated to support and display unordered lists.

Course Import

Google Links and Embedded Files in Imported Courses

Google links and embedded files configure correctly in imported courses. This change only applies to new course imports with newly added Google LTI integrations or existing integrations that include a new configuration variable.

Explanation: When Google links and embedded files were included in a course, and the course was exported and re-imported into another course, the links were no longer authenticated and displayed a tool misconfiguration message. Canvas code has been updated to maintain Google file configurations in imported courses. Newly added Google LTI integrations include this functionality by default. Existing integrations require the LTI tool to be edited before course copies can be made, as the configuration file must include the following variable: previous_context_ids=$Canvas.course.previousContextIds.


Blueprint Course Navigation

Navigation link visibility in a Blueprint course is synced to associated courses.

Explanation: When a course hid external tools in the Course Navigation menu, the hidden links were visible in the associated course. Canvas code has been updated to retain navigation link visibility in associated courses.

Blueprint Module Changes

Module changes in a Blueprint course are synced to associated courses.

Explanation: When a Blueprint course is synced with an associated course, any additional changes to modules are not reflected in the associated course. Canvas code has been updated to sync Module changes in associated courses.


Point Annotation Tool

This change was deployed to the production environment on October 18.

Clicking the Point annotation tool does not affect other annotation tools.

Explanation: When a user clicked the Point annotation tool and then switched to another tool, the Highlight and Strikethrough annotation tools were not able to be used until the page was refreshed. Canvas code has been updated to allow other tools to be selected after using the Point annotation tool.

Global Announcements

Account Notifications and Trust Accounts

For users in a trust account, global announcements display in the user's Dashboard regardless of the announcement's originating account.

Explanation: When a global announcement was posted to an account for a user's role, and that account was part of a trust account, users with the intended role could only view the announcement if the user logged in directly to the account where the announcement was created. Canvas code has been updated to display global announcements in a user's Dashboard regardless of the announcement's originating account.


Default Grade Percentage Assignments

The Set Default Grades window includes text specifically for percentage grade assignments.

Explanation: When an assignment was set to display as a percentage grade, using the Set Default Grade option displayed a message to enter a grade based on a point value and not a percentage. Canvas code has been updated to change the message for default grades assigned to assignments with percentage grades.


Global Navigation and Trust Accounts

For users in a trust account, the Global Navigation Groups menu displays all groups for a user regardless of the group’s originating account.

Explanation: When user was enrolled in a course group, and that group was part of a course in another account as part of a trust account, users could only view the group in the Global Navigation Menu if the user logged in directly to the account with the course where the group was created. Canvas code has been updated to display all groups for a user in the Global Navigation Groups menu regardless of the group’s originating account.


External Tool Assignments

In the Modules progression bar, Next and Previous buttons display for external tool assignments.

Explanation: When an external tool assignment was added to a module, and a user viewed the external tool assignment, the Next and Previous buttons were not available in the Modules progression bar. Canvas code has been updated to display Next and Previous buttons for external tool assignments.


Observer Roles and See the List of Users

Observers with the See the List of Users permission can view the People link in Course Navigation.

Explanation: When an observer with the See the List of Users permission tried to view the People link, the People link was not displayed in Course Navigation unless the Manage All Other Course Content permission was also enabled. Canvas code has been updated to allow the See the List of Users permission to display the People link in Course Navigation. Canvas code has been updated to allow observers with the See the List of Users permission to view the People link.

Read SIS Data and Sync Grades Button

Instructors can view the the Sync Grades button in the Gradebook if they do not have the Read SIS Data permission.

Explanation: When the Read SIS Data permission was not enabled for an instructor in a course with multiple sections, the Sync Grades button did not display in the Gradebook when viewing a specific section. However, the button displayed when viewing all sections. Canvas code has been updated to display the Sync Grades button for instructors in all sections.


Student Quiz Errors

Students do not view an error message after submitting a quiz.

Explanation: When a student submitted a quiz, the page generated an error message. This behavior was caused by an incorrect user permission sequence and did not affect the actual quiz submission. Canvas code has been updated to remove the quiz error message for student quiz submissions.

Rich Content Editor

Content Sidebar and Theme Editor

The Content Sidebar matches color settings in the institution’s Theme Editor.

Explanation: When a theme was updated and applied in the Theme Editor, the Content Sidebar remained the same color as the default template. Canvas code has been updated to display colors set in the Theme Editor for the applied theme.


Peer Review Comments

When an instructor adds a rubric to a peer review, all students can complete the rubric even if they have already commented in the peer review.

Explanation: When an instructor added a rubric to a peer review assignment after other students had left comments, those students were unable to fill out the rubric. This behavior did not affect students who had not yet commented in the peer review assignment. Canvas code has been updated to allow all students to view and complete a rubric included in a peer review assignment.

Rating Range Edits

When ranges are enabled in a rubric, the lowest value in a rating displays the greater than symbol.

Explanation: When rating ranges were enabled for an account, and a new rating was added to a criterion, the lower value in the range didn’t include the greater than symbol. Canvas code has been updated to include the greater than symbol and clarify distinction between range values in a rubric criterion.


Group Assignments and Group Grading Status

Group assignment grades update in the group list without a page refresh.

Explanation: When a group assignment is graded in SpeedGrader, the group grading status was not updated in the group list without refreshing the page. Canvas code has been updated to change the group’s grading status when the group assignment is assigned a grade.

Rubrics and Student List Grading Status

When a rubric is used for grading, SpeedGrader updates the student list to indicate the assignment when graded.

Explanation: When a student’s submission in SpeedGrader was graded with a rubric, the student’s grading status was not updated in the student list. Canvas code has been updated to change a student’s grading status when an assignment uses a rubric for grading and the submission is graded with the rubric.

Theme Editor

Theme Previews and Firefox 54

In a theme preview, the Theme Editor does not display any color changes unless the color was changed before the preview.

Explanation: When an account was previewed using Firefox 54, generating the preview set any color that had not been changed to #000000. This behavior only affected color values when generating the initial preview; any additional previews did not reset any color values. Canvas code has been updated to retain color values that were not changed before the generated preview.


Act as User Multiple Login Display

The Act as User page displays all login details for the requested user.

Explanation: When a user with the Act as User permission requested to act as a Canvas user, the Act as User page only displayed the most recently updated login for the user, which may not have included the user’s SIS or authentication IDs. Canvas code has been updated to display all login information for a user.

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I'm disappointed that none of the issues with the Accessibility Checker that several of us have documented here and in tickets have been addressed in the bug fixes. Please don't roll out this feature in its current state. It will cause so much confusion with what it flags and what it does not flag.

I cannot agree with this enough!  I have not had the time to do full checking, but found out three things, at least.  I repeated the test that mvandevelde did of having a heading 3 on a page being corrected to a heading 1 (though the issue of the heading being out of order was caught) and the default hyperlink color in Canvas is flagged with a contrast issue.  And yes, an image with the alt= of "img2.jpg" passed just fine.  Surely you can do better than this, Instructure.

To give credit where credit is due:  Instructure listened to the concerns about the new admin search functions as well as the DocViewer annotation management, and wisely pulled both from production, as erinhallmark‌'s final comments on the Beta Release notes indicated.  So well done, on that account.

But given the many, many comments posted about the issues with the Accessibility Checker, it is very disheartening to see that it is (so far) being pushed ahead.  This is simply too important a feature to roll out in its current state.  Yes--I was delighted to see this as a feature; it was most unexpected (by me, at least).  But I cannot state emphatically enough that it should not be released in its current state.  The fact that it (correctly) flags Canvas' own hyperlinks as an issue should be validation enough that much deeper work needs to be done within Canvas itself first.  Accessibility is too important an issue. 

I fully realize that any accessibility checker is going to give faculty a false sense of security, depending on the issues within a page that may be flagged.  But this one simply has too many issues. 

What good does a feature do if, immediately upon release, we administrators warn faculty not to use it at all?


That's exactly what we're going to have to tell our faculty: "Please don't use this tool, it has bugs. Here are some better alternatives for checking accessibility ...."

I definitely agree with  @sbj  and  @kblack  on this!

While I know Canvas uses the agile development model, it feels like some features are just rushed out the door with a too many known issues.  This puts admins and support staff in a bad position, because we have to explain all the issues to faculty or tell them not to use these new features (both of which then make Canvas look bad in turn).  I know nothing will be perfect or bug-free, but the whole point of having betas available is to find problems and prevent them form getting to production.  Pushing things with a lot of known issues to production seems like a bad practice, especially when the issues are sometimes not addressed for many many release cycles.

I hope there is some reconsideration for this feature, or a lot of fixes for the identified issues before it goes to production this weekend.

My colleagues with expertise in accessibility also have concerns about the tool as-is.  Assuming this does go to production in its current state, I have asked my accessibility experts for guidance in how they would like us to communicate about something with these identified issues.  I like the idea of this tool, and I'm fine with helping users understand agile methodology adding functionality over time, but going into production with big known issues is really hard to sell as a positive.

I was testing the Accessibility Checker in our beta instance and continually got the warning that 'Heading levels should not be skipped' despite the first header on my page being an H2. It is a known fact that the page title is an H1 and the fact that 'Heading 1' is not an option within the paragraph styles menu.

Could someone expand or explain a bit on the LTI Variable Substitutions and if this is something we need to be concerned over? Meaning - if there a change an LTI provider needs to make or be aware of, and isn't, and an integration breaks when this goes into Prod. Anyone?

Hi, Adrienne,

The LTI Variable Substitutions documentation explains the functionality of the variables, which are used for LTI tools. They're just extra variables that can be used for LTI launches and a tool provider can choose to use them at any time. No changes are required when new variables are made available.

Hope that helps,


I also have concerns about the accessibility checker. It is a great idea and has potential, but in its current state I can't recommend that people rely on it. From some initial testing I have found the following issues:

  • It will notify you if a heading level has been skipped, unfortunately this also happens when you start the page with a header 2. Applying the fix changes it to a heading 1, which should not be used since that is already the page title

Text color:
  • The tool gives you ways to change the text color but I can't seem to apply these changes from the tool itself. The apply fix button is not working for me for color contrast errors.
  • When you are using the tool to pick new colors it does not tell you the contrast ratio or if you're choosing a color that is better (or worse). You would have to run the checker again to verify this. 
  • In the release notes it says it will catch if an image alt text is the filename - this did not seem to be the case for the images I tested, it seemed to pass these every time
  • It will catch if an image has an empty alt attribute, however for some reason if you remove the alt attribute altogether (which you shouldn't do) it seems to break the checker (it just continually tries to load)


  • It checks for adjacent links that are the same and allows you to merge them into a single link. This seems like a very uncommon issue and there are other things it should be catching instead (like if you use a URL instead of link text) 
  • Example: If you have Google” and “” side by side and choose to merge them they are turned into a single link that looks like this "" - I don't see why you would ever want to do this.

Hi, all,

Production notes are issued to identify what features are being put into production. For the Accessibility Checker, beta release notes indicated that our engineering and product teams were reviewing all feedback. Putting a feature into production means that our product and engineering teams have reviewed the feature and feedback and will make necessary changes in time for the release. You will not see any changes in the beta environment just yet as no new updates have been made directly to the beta environment and may not be for a day or two. 

After the production release, should you feel like something is still amiss, you're welcome to submit a support case for additional review.

Thank you!


From the production notes it sounds like the issue with the Alt attribute accepting filenames will be resolved.  I really hope so!  The other big issue is the Skipping heading levels" indicating an error because everyone starts the RCE edit with H2.  Will that also be resolved?

I agree with Matthew that the Links "fix" is unnecessary and very unhelpful.  The link problem to check for would be the one in which the complete URL is listed or the words "click here", "here", or "more" were links rather than descriptive text.


Thanks Erin, that makes sense. I will spend more time with it once it is released in production and go from there if I still have additional feedback. Thanks again!

Not sure if anyone else had any complaints about the auto-collapse feature for comments in the DocViewer, but several of our TA's have relayed to us that they aren't super happy with this new implementation. When adding comments through the document, they would just scroll and look at the comments at a glance to see what comments they've already given, or if they need to refer to something and see if it was already posted by someone else it would be easier for them to do so quickly.

Now they have to click on the ellipses to expand all of the comments one by one which they've stated is more of an annoyance. Any thoughts on this, it doesn't seem as UX friendly according to them.

We haven't received any faculty complaints about it (that I know of) yet, but I agree with the basic premise you brought up.  I know the collapsed comments were a community-driven idea (and I can see some usefulness for them), but I think what really needs to be added is "expand all" and "collapse all" buttons for the comments.  Those who make extensive use of comments may want to see all of the comments, and it's very likely that students will *need* to see every comment easily.  I'd probably even argue that the default (at a minimum for students) should be to have all comments expanded fully, with the option to collapse them if they'd like.  Right now, I think it's going to be very easy for students to miss things hidden inside of a collapsed comment.


Definitely agree with the default option being set to expanded, and including expand all and collapse all buttons!

"Note: Currently the background displayed by a grade rule is being reviewed by Canvas engineers."

Is this something that there's a place for us to give feedback on? I have opinions. 


I'm not sure I agree about it being unnecessary or unhelpful.  It's addressing something specifically called out in the WCAG 2.0 success criteria here: H2: Combining adjacent image and text links for the same resource | Techniques for WCAG 2.0 

I think as a user (myself) who doesn't primarily navigate by keyboard, it seems inconsequential, but the explanation on WCAG is pretty compelling:

For a keyboard user, it is tedious to navigate through redundant links. For users of assistive technologies, it can be confusing to encounter successive identical links.

That's not to say what shouldn't or shouldn't be a higher priority in the checker, but this is definitely one that needed to be done at some point.  That's my $0.02 anyways (worth +/- $0.02 :smileygrin: )

Yes, it is a problem, but a very uncommon one.  I just find it odd that this was something that was focused on for this release.  It also sounds like the implementation is messed up, making it unhelpful, if it is really forcing the two pieces of text together as described.  

True, addressing any of the WCAG 2.0 success criteria is a good thing, there are just many other potential issues with links that are more common and I hope could be added in the future. Also, the fix of merging the two links together is not good in its current state because it just combines the link text into one.

Hi, Alexander,

The team is bringing some additional enhancements to this feature in an upcoming release, and I've been told there will be some additional expand/collapse functionality.



Hi, Linnea,

This change to the Grades page is just to align the look with other areas in Canvas. And the display change for grading rules has been added to the beta environment, which grays out the text itself like the prior behavior. We just made that note as grading rules weren't entirely functioning correctly at the time.

Our team would actually like to work on some functionality enhancements for the student Grades page, so the best way to share ideas about how you'd like to see enhancements would be to submit a feature idea, as our product teams review those frequently with our community managers. Perhaps your idea will be considered as part of a future project!

Thank you,


Hi, everyone,

We've made some clarifications in the Accessibility Checker section to explain more of the intended functionality. We've also listed a couple of known behaviors that are being resolved by our engineering teams as quickly as possible.

Thank you,


Thank you, Erin--that's good to hear! This was one of my concerns, as well.

Thank you Instructure for changing the Accessibility‌ checker to reflect some of the feedback from the (short) time it was in beta only. I am sure that the improvement will continue and hopefully our future will include an‌.

The Grades history update removed the "revert" feature. Got confirmation from support that it's not a bug: "It looks like the feature to revert was removed in this latest update." I'm a little sad since I've always been a fan of this feature, but I'm just an admin. Not sure if it was heavily used by teachers. Still, I think it should be mentioned in the notes.

The new ranges rubric has just been activated on the production server. I just tried it by getting a fake student to make a submission and then marking it.

Case 1: I just clicked on one of the ratings in each row. The maximum in the rating was allocated for the row and the rating highlighted in green. The rubric displayed correctly for the student displaying the points for the row and the highlighted rating in each row.

Case 2: I wrote an amount of points which was between the minimum and maximum for one of the ratings. The rubric displays correctly for the instructor with the relevant rating displayed:

However, when the student displays the rubric, the points are correct but the selected ratings are not selected:


I presume that this will be the most common way that a ranges rubric will be used so can something be done to correct this bug?

I was just informed that this page had a version 2, so I went to check the changes and it says that the document is too large for versioning to be viewed. Is that something that can be fixed? It kind of makes the versioning useless for general users if not.


While I submitted a ticket through one of the schools I teach at, I would like to note some unanticipated changes to SpeedGrader following this release..........

  • The score boxes for individual quiz items have reverted back to a very old version in which the up/down arrows are not there.
  • All of my previously set  quizzes reverted to "Sort by Student name", instead of my set "Sort by submission status", and
  • The running total box in the bottom left, no longer updates automatically when you adjust an item score, and only updates after you click the Update Score button.

I hope this helps.

Excellent to hear, thanks for following up!

I'm so excited to see that the checker recognized the H2 correctly and also correctly fixes heading structure (e.g. fixed a H4 to H3.. headings can't be skipped) 🙂 


Today I noticed a few new issues I would like to report:

1) A change in the behaviour of links to files (added with the content sidebar): Before, the link would prompt a download when clicked upon. Now, clicking the link takes the user to his own "/files" section, with a preview of the file, and to download the file (which is what we want our users to do) he now has to make an extra click, and then go back to the original page/assignment. This only happens to links added after the patch, previously-added ones still behave as expected. I can add back the download-on-click functionality by copy/pasting the link directly from the "files" section, but that means the convenience of the edit sidebar is moot now.

Is this an intended, undocumented change? What's the reason for this change? Having an option to enable/disable immediate downloads, just as currently we can disable embedded previews, would be useful.

2) An iframe bug: whenever I try to edit a page which already has an iframe (a youtube link), the preview will not only fail to load but it will somehow disable any buttons on the edit page, which means I can't use the RCE, switch to the HTML editor or save/cancel the edition page. The text box does work though, so the solution so far I've had to work with is to delete the entire iframe (which makes everything work again), apply the edit I wanted to do in the first place, and then add the iframe back with the HTML editor, saving the page without going back to the RCE (because that triggers the bug again).

Here's how it looks like whenever the preview is broken. Whenever it is like this nothing can be clicked but the text-box and the course navigation bar.

258511_iframe preview bug.PNG

I can echo the first complaint. Some of our instructor has setup a schedule page where everything is laid out and student can download all necessary material from (Files for course is disabled), why was the embedding behavior changed and is there a quick way to embed the old /download?=wrap=1 link without going through files.

Abraham, we have encountered the same issue with linked files.  Support told us that it was a known issue but there was no eta on a fix.  

Can confirm the same occurs for us with the linked files. As hfchen noted, the link structure changed as well, and I believe it may have been a bit more secure in obscuring the direct links?

Regarding the second bug, I had reached out to Instructure yesterday, and they were aware of the issue and working on an immediate fix. Today, at least for me it looks like I am able to at least click around the RCE and enter a newline of text after the placeholder for the video (yesterday I could not). To add a newline atop of the video, you'll have to click to bring your cursor underneath the placeholder, and then hitting Ctrl + Home worked for me and it should jump the cursor to the line above the placeholder.

It's still far from perfect, or what it used to the RCE earlier this year where you could actually just click on the placeholder and hit enter to move it down a newline and easily manipulate it (Ctrl + X). I'm not sure if this current state is better than the "live" previews in the placeholders before the recent release.

Regarding the second bug, I am able to add <p> in front of the iframe and close it with </p>

The above fix was shared by our Canvas Support Team.

Although it worked, we are hoping the Canvas Developer can have a permanent fix about the iframe issue.

I'm seeing this, as well, with the document preview, as opposed to download. 

Further, when you link a document on a content page in a Blueprint Course, then push that content to the dependent courses, the file links do not function. The files are pushed into the the dependent courses, the content pages are there, but clicking on the link to a file in a content page routes you to your /files page, and then displays "File Not Found" in the preview area. You have to remove the old link and relink the file. 

Yes, that works! Likewise we are hoping for a permanent fix regarding the iframe issue as well so that it is more user friendly for our staff that are not as proficient with HTML.

Hoping to see improved functionality for embedded content in that we should be able to click on it to select and manipulate like we could previously, without any extra gimmicks.

We love the new interface and features, but there is one item that is really becoming problematic to our families. You guys removed the graying out of completed assignments on the Grades page. When a student completed an assignment, the assignment would gray out on the Grades page, and it was very easy to visually discern the student progress in the course. Our students, parents, advisors, and even administrators have been complaining about that because it is much more difficult to visually discern the student progress. The rest of the features with this update are great, and I like the new look of the Grades page, but there should be some easy way to determine where the student is at in the course.

We've had complaints about the spacing on the new student grades page. We're K-12, so teachers will often print a grade sheet to give to a student, parent or other vested party. In the old layout, the grades printout generally used one sheet of paper. The new layout adds a lot of unnecessary space, making the printed grade sheet twice as long as they previously were. The top quarter of the printed page is mostly white space, leaving room for only 9 assignments on the first page of the printout.

I also noticed the first and last items you mention.  The loss of the running total really slows my grading down. 

Our support team reported the loss of the running total to Canvas and it was initially acknowledged as a bug, but later we were told that this was the intended behavior.  If this change was intended, it should be discussed in these release notes.  Separately, I have trouble understanding why this would be an intended change since it makes the running total box pointless.

Aha, thank you for this! The problem is of course editing existing pages because I cannot get into the page to add the P tags. I hope there will be a fix soon!

Thank you  @kmeeusen ‌ for sending me here!

You are very welcome, Laura!

I must agree,  @woodsdm2  !

If this was intended, then  they should tell folks, and make the now useless Total Score box away. This is quite an aggravation because I use FIB quizzes extensively, and they require hand-grading because of the nature of the curriculum. the Total Score box helped me keep track of my grading.

Not a happy camper, not at all!

I have been unable to trigger a contrast warning when setting a large or small text size and deliberately choosing a too-low-contrast text color for the default white background. I also tried deliberately setting both text and background color to be too low contrast and no warning appeared during an accessibility check with the new feature.

Hi, Cheryl,

Currently contrast is only supported when you have your user settings in High Contrast Mode. So turn that on in your account and you should be good to go. 



Hi, John,

Unfortunately that is a limitation with the Jive platform when the document is too long, which this one is, but most aren't. To help with this behavior, I make a note in the comments when notable changes are made so you don't have to worry about checking a previous version if the platform doesn't allow.



I can also echo the first issue. In additional to the behavior described when clicking the link, if the user clicks the preview icon to use the document previewer to view the file, the icon disappears, but the previewer does not open. Again, this is only for file added since the update. This is a very serious issue for us, as we are in the process of developing our Spring courses, and time is running short.

Same for us - reported it and added our institutional complaint to the list.

It's also happening in the Canvas app, which just got reported to me. It has an added glitch that it asks to re-authenticate the user (we use SSO).

We've given the work-around of copying the link from the Files area and doing a direct link to a few faculty. However, those links might have issues in future clones of the course in future terms.

Adding the file as a module item also seems to still work as expected. So, that's another alternative that may work for some contexts. 

We are seeing the issue you mention in 1) as well - have reported