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Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-04-21)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-04-21)

In this production release (April 21), admins can set a default Dashboard view for new Canvas users and allow graders to add excess points to outcome criteria in SpeedGrader. Additionally, the account-level SIS Import process supports a feature option refactor that provides improved performance and stability.

In Conferences, individual recordings can be individually deleted. The Rich Content Editor expands auto-open inline files to display the full file preview and includes a word counter within each editor window. And the Announcements page includes an updated icon for the Reply icon. For institutions using the New Gradebook, Gradebook exports respect grading period filters.

Other updates are also available in various APIs and documentation.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

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


Canvas New Feature Screencast (2018-04-21)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: April 30
  • Production release notes: May 7
  • Production release and documentation: May 12

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.

  • Not all features will apply to mobile apps, and some functionality may be implemented in mobile apps at a later date.
  • Mobile features are updated and announced separately according to app and device in the Mobile release notes.

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.


  Updated Features


Account Settings

Dashboard Default View

Admins can select the Dashboard default view for new users in the account. This setting defaults to the Card View unless otherwise changed to the Recent Activity View. New users can change their Dashboard view at any time in the Dashboard Options menu. Once a user has selected a different view, the default no longer applies.

Account Settings includes the option to set the default view for Dashboard


Individual Recording Deletion

Conference recordings can be individually deleted. Previously, only the entire conference could be deleted, which would also remove all conference recordings. This change helps instructors who manage long-running conferences and create multiple recordings.

Additionally, concluded conferences display the date and time the conference was concluded.

Individual recordings can be deleted from a single conference

Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions: BigBlueButton feature: Delete recordings individually 

New Gradebook

Grading Period Filter Exports

Exports in the New Gradebook respect grading periods. When a grading period filter is applied in the New Gradebook, Gradebook exports display the filtered grading period results with the correct scores for that grading period.

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

Rich Content Editor

Inline Preview Document Height

When an auto-open inline preview file link is displayed in a Rich Content Editor browser window, the preview expands to a default height of 800px and displays the full file preview. Previously the preview only expanded to a default height of 400px.

Word Counter

The Rich Content Editor displays a word counter within the editor browser window. This change can help users know how many words they have typed in a discussion, page, assignment text entry, or other content location where the Rich Content Editor is supported.

The word counter calculates the number of words entered into the editor. A word is considered to be a single string of characters typed together without using the spacebar.

The word counter only displays for the user creating content in the Rich Content Editor. After the content is saved, the word counter is no longer visible unless the content is edited. Additionally, the total word count is not visible to any other user.

The word count within the Rich Content Editor window displays in the corner

Note: The Rich Content Editor does not have a word count limit. However, word count is not the same as a total character count, which does affect the Rich Content Editor and can vary based on HTML content and use of special characters.

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


Outcomes Extra Credit

This feature requires the Allow Outcome Extra Credit feature option, which can be enabled for an entire account or on a course-by-course basis. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

When an instructor grades a submission in SpeedGrader and uses a rubric for grading that includes outcomes, outcomes support excess points above the maximum point value. This change allows instructors to provide extra credit and award more points than allowed by the outcome.

SpeedGrader supports extra credit in outcomes when the feature option is enabled

Turning off this feature option does not affect excess outcome point values that have already been assessed in a rubric in SpeedGrader. When the feature option is not enabled, each outcome only supports the maximum criterion value. Any entries higher than the maximum value are not retained when the rubric is saved.

Note: Excess points for a rubric criterion can be awarded at any time and are not managed by the Allow Extra Credit Outcomes feature option.

  Other Updates



Reply Icon Update

In Announcements, the Reply icon has been updated to a Lock or Unlock icon, which displays according to the state of the announcement.

The Reply icon in Announcements has been updated to a lock and unlock icon

SIS Import

SIS File Refactor

This feature requires the SIS Import Refactor feature option, which can be enabled for an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

The SIS Import system has been refactored for improved stability in SIS processing. These changes benefit accounts importing large files with more than 1000 lines, provides more detailed error and troubleshooting information, and allows for future SIS Import engineering improvements.


SIS Imports are added to a queue that processes each imported CSV separately (whether uploaded individually or within a ZIP file). The SIS refactor prepares an entire CSV file and processes 1000 lines at a time for better efficiency within the queue. Previously the SIS import system had to break up each CSV file into smaller chunks, and process each one individually. No changes to the import process are visible to admins.


SIS Import errors continue to display in the SIS Import page. However, the SIS Import Errors API provides additional troubleshooting details in error lists and returns the CSV line number where an error occurred if the SIS Refactor is enabled. This API can also be used in accounts that have not enabled the SIS Import Refactor feature option, but they will not include the line number where the error occurred.



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

Accounts API

Permissions Endpoint

  • New endpoint that returns permission information for the calling user and the given account. The caller must have an account role or admin enrollment in a course in the account. Also relates to the Courses API Permissions endpoint.
  • Permissions parameter: returns the list of permissions to check against the authenticated user. Permission names are documented in the Create a Role endpoint.

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

When a user with a custom admin role tried to act as another user, Canvas returned an unauthorized error. Canvas code has been updated to include a new Accounts API endpoint to verify permissions for custom admin roles.

Courses API

Permissions Endpoint

  • Includes link to new Accounts API Permissions endpoint.
  • Permissions parameter: clarifies that permission names are documented in the Create a Role endpoint.

Discussion Topics API

Get a Single Topic Endpoint

  • Include parameter: new parameter in endpoint. Allowed values include all_dates, sections, sections_user_count, and overrides.

List Discussion Topics Endpoint

  • Include parameter: includes overrides as an allowed value

Modules API

Module Object

  • Returns the published parameter

ModuleItem Object

  • Returns the published parameter

ModuleItemSequenceNode Object

  • Returns the mastery_path parameter
  • Includes examples for the current and next items in the course sequence

ModuleItemSequence Object

  • Includes full examples for items and modules arrays

Sections API

Create Course Section Endpoint

  • Course_section[sis_section_id] parameter: notes the user must have the manage_sis permissions to set.
  • Course_section[integration_id] parameter: new parameter that sets the integration_id of the section. Must have the manage_sis permission to set.

SIS Import Errors API

Get SIS Import Error List Endpoint

  • Returns a list of SIS import errors for an account or SIS import. Import errors are only stored for 30 days.

SIS Import Format Documentation


  • Old_integration_id field: clarified in description that this field does not support group categories
  • New_integration_id field: clarified in description that this field does not support group categories
  • Type field: added group_category to the description

SIS Imports API

SisImport Object

  • Workflow_state parameter: returns whether the SIS import was aborted
  • Skip_deletes parameter: returns whether the import skipped any deleted objects

Import SIS Data Endpoint

  • Skip_deletes parameter: new parameter that can be used on any type of SIS import. When set, the import will skip any deletes. This parameter does not account for objects that are deleted during the batch mode cleanup process.

Users API

Get a Pandata JWT Token and its Expiration Date Endpoint

  • New endpoint that returns a jwt token, which can be used to send events to Canvas Data

  Fixed Bugs




The account-level Courses page include H1 headings at the start of the page content.

New Gradebook

The Grade Detail Tray supports the up and down arrow keys. These keys allow users to navigate each Gradebook status.


When an outcome value is deleted from the Decaying Average field, the cursor is retained in the same field.


In new pages, focus is retained in the title field.


When a keyboard user tabs to the Act As or Send Message buttons, the Enter key opens the appropriate window.

The account-level People page include H1 headings at the start of the page content. Additionally, the search results table includes row headings.


Posted Date Display

New announcements created without a Delay Until date display their posted date correctly.

Explanation: When an announcement created without a Delay Date was posted for a course, the Posted date would not display in the Announcements page. Canvas code has been updated to display the Posted date for new announcements. This change does not affect copied announcements, which never display a Posted date.


Student Rubric Range Results

In rubrics, students can view highlighted criterion range results in the grades page and the submission details page.

Explanation: When a student viewed an assignment with a rubric in both the grades page and submission details page, the rubric scores were displayed but the criterion range was not highlighted as shown in SpeedGrader to instructors. Canvas code has been updated to highlight rubric results for students.

Blueprint Courses

File Replacement

Replacing files in Blueprint course do not affect module items linked to the files in associated courses.

Explanation: When a file was replaced in a Blueprint course, any module that linked to the file in an associated course was deleted. Canvas code has been updated to retain all module file links in associated courses when files are replaced in Blueprint courses.

MasteryPath Assignments

Quizzes and graded discussion set as MasteryPath items are updated in associated courses.

Explanation: When a quiz or graded discussion was set as a MasteryPath item in a Blueprint course, the conditional item was not added to the same assignments in associated courses. Canvas code has been updated to update assignments in associated courses as MasteryPath items.

Module Prerequisites

Modified module prerequisites in Blueprint courses are also modified in associated courses.

Explanation: When a module prerequisite was removed or deleted in a Blueprint course, the prerequisite was not updated in the associated course. Canvas code has been updated to reflect modified changes to module prerequisites in associated courses.

Renamed Folders

Folders that are renamed in Blueprint courses generate an unsynced change for associated courses.

Explanation: When a folder was renamed in a Blueprint course, the Blueprint course did not trigger an unsynced change. This behavior did not affect renaming files, which does trigger a change in the Blueprint course. Canvas code has been updated to

generate unsynced changes when a folder is renamed in a Blueprint course.


New Courses Page and Instructor Show More Link

In the new account-level Courses page, the Show More link only displays when more than two instructors are enrolled in the course.

Explanation: When a course included only two instructors, but one of the instructors was enrolled in multiple sections, the Show More link displayed in the Courses page. Canvas code has been updated to only display the Show More link if more than two unique instructors are enrolled in a course.


SpeedGrader Link and Trust Accounts

For users in a trust account, the More Details in the SpeedGrader link displays the intended student’s submission in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When an instructor selected the More Details in the SpeedGrader link in the Gradebook for a student submission, and the student was part of a trust account, the link redirected to the first student listed in SpeedGrader instead of the intended student. This behavior affected both the current and New Gradebook. Canvas code has been updated to align the SpeedGrader link in the Gradebook with the intended student’s submission.

Weighted Assignment Groups and CSV Exports

When weighted assignment groups are enabled, exported CSV Gradebook files display the correct number of columns.

Explanation: When weighted assignment groups were enabled in the Gradebook, the exported Gradebook CSV included missing commas and affected the column display. This behavior affected both the current and New Gradebook. Canvas code has been updated to display the correct number of CSV columns with weighted assignment groups.


Act as User and Custom Admin Roles

Custom admin roles can act as users in the account.

Explanation: When a user with a custom admin role tried to act as another user, Canvas returned an unauthorized error. Canvas code has been updated to include a new Accounts API endpoint to support custom admin roles.


See the List of Users and Admin Roles

Admins with the See the List of Users permission can view another admin in the account.

Explanation: When a user with an admin role tried to act as another admin, Canvas generated an unauthorized error if the admin being viewed had at least one permission that the viewing admin did not. Canvas code has been updated to allow admins to view another admin if the viewing admin is granted the View the List of Users permission. This permissions change does not affect the Act as Users permission.

Rich Content Editor

Embedded Video Files in Firefox

Embedded video files in Firefox display above the video controls as shown in other browsers.

Explanation: When a user played an embedded video file in a course using Firefox, the video displayed below the video controls in a narrow iFrame. Canvas code has been updated to display embedded video files correctly in the Rich Content Editor.

Video Links

Text added before a video link does not affect the formatting of the video.

Explanation: When a video link was added to the Rich Content Editor, and text was placed before the video link, viewing the video broke the formatting and displayed the video under the video controls. Canvas code has been updated to correct media elements in the Rich Content Editor and prevent text from affecting video formatting.

SIS Import

SIS Import Error

Users do not view an unintended import error noting a field is over 255 characters.

Explanation: When an SIS file was imported for an account, Canvas occasionally displayed an error message stating that a field was over 255 characters. Canvas code has been updated to remove this error unless specific to the SIS import.

User Settings

Language Notifications

Notifications are sent in the language specified by the user.

Explanation: When a user’s settings page defaulted to English, users occasionally received notifications in other languages as detected by the user’s browser. Canvas code has been updated to use the Canvas language setting in the user settings page instead of a language detected by the browser.

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Hello! Looks like the Discussions updates were removed from the release notes, but I can still see the changes in Beta. Will these be moving forward to Production? If so, I still have the question from the Beta notes about....

"The Unread button has been changed to a menu, where users can filter between all discussions and unread discussions."

I'm not sure to what this refers. The Unread button in Beta seems to be functioning exactly the same way it has been (and currently is) in Production. Thank you!!

Hi, Crista,

Production notes indicate what features will be available in production. If a feature isn't going to be in production, it doesn't have to be removed from beta unless our product team feels the need to do so. So it will stay in beta even though it isn't going to production this release.

I apologize for missing your question in the beta notes about the unread button. The functionality is the same but the placement has changed. Here's an image comparison:

Production (how it is right now)

discussions production

Beta (how it is with the new Discussions interface)

discussions beta

Hope that helps!


Regarding the Permissions update, I think the permission is actually See the list of users, not View the list of users. It took me a while to find it. Smiley Happy

I actually  have a real question, though. We have two custom roles that have fewer permissions than "Account Admin" but DO have "See the list of users" and "Act as user" permissions. Does this change mean that those custom admins will be able to masquerade as higher-level admins and therefore have greater permissions?

Thanks Erin - that totally makes sense, and I can see the difference now! I was looking at the "Unread" filter on an individual Discussion, rather than at the Discussions landing page in general. I have to be 100% honest and say I have not used that filter before!

So to clarify - the Discussion updates are still on the beta site, but are not in the beta notes. Does this mean they will NOT be part of the release?


Oops - I mean the Discussion updates are not in the Production notes. So not sure if they are making the cut this weekend or not.

Thank you!


Just to double check, Section Specific Announcements are not going to Production in this update?




An admin can only "Act as [a] user"  that has the same or fewer permissions as the themselves. If a user has any permission that an admin does not have the admin will not be able to act as that user. This is to prevent privilege escalation.

An admin with "Act as user" permission can act as any user that has fewer permissions than that admin. If the role has only the "Act as user" permission, that would limit the admin to admins with the same role and users that do not have any admin level permissions.


Yup! Good to know that pandas can count. Let's hope that word count is visible to instructors even after editing.

"1600 Pandas" by DocChewbacca. https___flic.kr_p_6cwYP5

I know that was the case before, but the description of the fixed bug - "Canvas generated an unauthorized error if the admin being viewed had at least one permission that the viewing admin did not" - makes it sound like someone with less privileges can now masquerade as someone with more. I'm relieved by your clarification. Thanks! 

Quite happy for the Firefox video controls fix.

Just have to highlight  "In rubrics, students can view highlighted criterion range results in the grades page and the submission details page."

Finally!  There should be a big star next to this one.

BeforeAfter the update


Hi, Tracey,

We've corrected that writeup so it's a little more accurate. Thanks for helping us look into that a little more and getting that information clarified! And thanks to Rob for the help as well. :smileygrin:


Hi, Jake,

I'm guessing you mean section-specific discussions? The Discussions features are not included in the production notes as they are not being released to the production environment.



Hi, Gregory,

The release notes indicate that the number of words is only visible by the user who is creating the content, so no, the word count is not visible to any other user. If that's functionality you'd like to see, I'd encourage you to add your thoughts to" modifiedtitle="true" ..., if that idea is similar to your own ideas.



Hi, Crista,

Discussions will not be part of the production release.



Thank you erinhallmark‌!

I see that the bug in range rubrics still continues. When using a range rubric and you choose a value in the middle of the range, the highlighted cell is not displayed for all users. The instructor who created the rubric sees the correct view i.e. the correct cell is highlighted when a value within the range is chosen.

Instructor view:


However, when the student (and apparently, any other instructor who did not mark the rubric) views the rubric, the cell for the chosen range is not highlighted.

Student view:


With regard to the section about Outcomes Extra Credit, can you tell me what is the effect on the Learning Mastery Gradebook if extra credit is give to an Outcome in a rubric? Will it display as Exceeds Mastery (given when the student gets the maximum points allocated to the Outcome) or will an extra category be added since the student has received more points than allocated as maximum for the Outcome)?


Hi, Barbara,

Have you submitted a support case about this behavior? Support cases are the best way to have our teams investigate further.

Thank you!


Hi, Barbara,

The value scales according to the original points possible, as referenced with rubric point values as outlined as part of last release's updates: 

The point value contributes to the overall SpeedGrader score for the Gradebook, but the Learning Mastery Gradebook is only concerned about how the point value compares with the score set for achieving mastery. So when the point value is higher than the highest point value, the Learning Mastery Gradebook displays the outcome as Exceeds Mastery.

Hope that helps,


Hi erinhallmark‌. If features were listed in Beta but didn't make it into the Production release, it'd be really helpful to note these briefly at the top of the production release notes, kind of like you do if there are changes to the release notes after they're originally published. At least it'd help my team as we test and track these things. Thanks!

In regards to the Word Count update, it does not appear that the word count will be visible to the instructors when grading, only accessible to the person doing the writing. Is the addition of a Speedgrader word count in the works?

Just done.

Thanks for your questions about the admin Act As access  @tdelillo ‌. I was relieved to read the clarification by  erinhallmark‌.

Hello  @delayna_breckon ‌. You are correct, only the author will see the word count in the RCE. There's already a Feature Idea for‌ so check it out.

Is this just not being released yet...or has the plan been scrapped entirely?

Agreed. We just found out about this in our standing meeting with our CSM, but had communicated the possibility of this feature to a group on campus who was looking forward to using it in Summer courses. As far as we knew, it was scheduled to land. Calling out it's absence, rather than simply omitting it from the Production release notes would be helpful for us as we plan and communicate these changes to the platform with our users.

Hi  @bkompe ‌ Have you heard back regarding the support case where students don't see the middle range cell in the rubric feedback? I just checked on my end and the student can see it. Perhaps it's fixed now?

I was just working in Canvas this morning in the Rich Text Editor and it was great to see the word count. Smiley Happy 

Loving the cursor staying in the title position when making a new page. Bliss.

Following the update on Saturday 21st April, we are now unable to access student submissions via the "More Details In SpeedGrader" link within the GradeBook. We have anonymous marking set to "On" but we rely on this link to assist students with their submissions and to access particular submissions for administrative purposes.

Clicking on the "More Details In SpeedGrader" link now merely takes us to the first student in the SpeedGrader list of each and every GradeBook.

Canvas have advised us that this is intended behaviour:

"In the April 21st release, we deployed a fix which prevents teachers from directly accessing specific student's submissions in Speedgrader for assignments using anonymous grading. With anonymous grading enabled, student names are hidden in Speedgrader — allowing instructors to knowingly navigate to specific students using the Gradebook is seen as a easy way to work around the purpose anonymous grading is intended to serve. For this reason, the Gradebook no longer directs to specific student submissions when the assignment is using anonymous grading. However this functionality remains for assignments not using anonymous grading"

We understand the reasoning for this fix but this has huge implications for internal processes within our institution and the timing of this (a few months before the end of our academic year) is not good for us.

We have also not had any time to prepare ourselves for the update as there is no mention of this fix in the above release notes.

Hey, Richard,

We're sorry that we've affected your workflow at this crucial time for your institution. I checked this behavior with the Gradebook team, and they assured me this change was not intended to affect customers yet. They were starting to lay some groundwork for one of our new features in development, anonymous moderated marking—the anonymous change for SpeedGrader will be implemented but not until a later date. The team sends their apologies and will review that change for a correction as soon as they get back into the office tomorrow morning. Thanks for letting us know!


Many thanks for your response Erin. Do you have any information as to how long this will take to rectify and how we will be informed once it has taken place? Given that this is having an effect on university wide processes, we will have to send out communication to all of our university staff.

Hi Erin,

Thanks for the update - just to echo Richard's comments - we're starting to be made aware of issues in this area by staff who are currently marking, and as such we're trying to figure out a communications plan, and potential workarounds, at this stage. So any clarity around timescales would be really appreciated? This is a critical point in the assessment cycle for us and so all very concerning.

Best wishes,


Hi, Richard,

Our team just reproduced the issue and said this will be a quick fix. We've already notified our QA team so they're on standby to review. When I have further information I'll let you know.



Many thanks for your reply Erin. It's much appreciated. Hopefully this can be resolved soon. We look forward to the update and your response.

Hi, all,

The behavior with SpeedGrader links has been corrected in the production environment and should no longer be affecting your grading. Please let us know if you encounter any other concerns!



Hi Erin

Many thanks for the speedy fix on this! I think we all need a heads up on what's coming asap though, as you've said:

"the anonymous change for SpeedGrader will be implemented but not until a later date"

Is what we saw the intended behaviour for the future implementation? I would like to suggest a less disruptive way of solving this problem (and expanding on what the problem is):

Problem #1 (recognised by Instructure): anonymous grading can be circumvented by the teacher accessing a specific student submission via the 'more details in SpeedGrader' link in Grades

Problem #2 (not recognised by Instructure): non-teaching staff need to be able to access a specific student submission during anonymous grading for administrative purposes. These staff will not necessarily have the permissions to masquerade as students (the admin tasks required are varied, as are the roles that perform them).

Proposed solution: When anonymous grading is switched on in a course, the 'more details in SpeedGrader' link is hidden to users of role-type 'teacher'/'TA' (and any derivative custom roles). Admin staff can still see and use the link, teachers simply can't (unless anon grading is toggled off).

What do people think?

Thanks to Canvas for applying the fix and resolving the issue,

I totally agree with Adam. Whilst the anonymous process needs to be implemented for academic staff who are marking assignments, there will still be a need for non academic staff to access particular submissions. The solution proposed seems a very good one if possible.

Hi, Adam,

There's more to this project than just SpeedGrader links. See what's happening in Priority: Anonymous & Moderated Marking.



Thanks Erin - there is no doubt that there is a lot of exciting changes abound as part of this project. That said, what we've briefly experienced was a startling disruption to institution wide workflows, and if this is intended design for future release then we need to head it off at the pass, or it will significantly mar said exciting changes.

As the project is "not seeking new ideas" I have followed the recommendation to submit an idea to Canvas Studio, which can be found here: 

FYI rdudley‌ &  @g_bowie ‌, we may want to pursue this further via UKHE User Group

Hi, all,

Beta notes are now available for the next release: