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Canvas Release Notes (2019-04-20)

Canvas Release Notes (2019-04-20)

In this Canvas release (April 20), the BigBlueButton Conferences interface has been redesigned using HTML5 for improved usability.

Feature Options

  • The Content Security Policy allows institutions to enable a content security policy that restricts custom JavaScript for an institution’s Canvas account and whitelist up to 50 domains.
  • For institutions using the New Gradebook, the Final Grade Override option is treated as a course setting and is persistent for all graders in the course. And in account-level Reports, the New Gradebook Final Grade Override scores are included in the Grade Export and Multiple Grading Periods Grade Export reports.

External Tools (LTI)

  • For institutions using the Commons LTI, the Filter window in the Search page includes wider spacing between icons and for search filters. Additionally, status banners have been updated or removed for messaging clarification.

Release notes also include API updates and fixed bugs.

Release notes describe upcoming Canvas functionality and are subject to change.

 

Feature Options

The following feature options are addressed in this release:

  • Account: Content Security Policy (added)
  • Course: Final Grade Override

Canvas release summary by user roleCanvas New Release ScreencastCanvas Release Collaborative ChatCanvas API Change Log


Release Notes Change Log

New Features

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Account Settings

Content Security Policy

This feature can be enabled in Canvas through a feature option in Account Settings. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about feature options, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Feature State

Beta

Location to Enable Feature

Account Settings

Configuration Details

Contact Customer Success Manager

Affected Canvas Areas

Account Settings - Security Tab

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Permissions

Account-level settings - manage

Related APIs

Content Security Policy Settings (beta)

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Admins

 

Summary

Admins can enable a content security policy that restricts custom JavaScript for an institution’s Canvas account and whitelist up to 50 domains. Subdomains can inherit the policy and whitelist from the main account or create their own policy.

 

Change Benefit

This change allows admins to manage their own content security policy and domain whitelist.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Admins

When enabled, Account Settings displays a Security tab that manages an account’s content security policy and manage the whitelist. The whitelist can be enabled and disabled by the admin at any time.

Each policy includes a Whitelist section that can support up to 50 individual domain names. Using wild cards within a domain is recommended. Canvas and Instructure domains are included automatically and do not count against the 50 domain limit.

Content Security Policy page in account settings

Domains from installed LTI tools are automatically added to the whitelist and also do not count against the 50 domain limit. To remove a domain for an LTI tool, the LTI tool must be removed from the account or subaccount. Associated tools are only listed once in the list of whitelisted tool domains, even if they have been installed in multiple subaccounts.

Content security policy LTI tools

Subdomains can inherit the policy and whitelist from the main account or create their own policy.

Subdomain page for content security policy

Any courses that reside in a domain or subdomain with an enabled content security policy display a Content Security Policy checkbox. This checkbox can only be managed by a Canvas admin and can be used to disable the policy for selected courses.

Course Settings Content Security Policy Checkbox managed by Admins

Feature Idea Contributions

Canvas features are always welcome to feedback. Product teams may make adjustments at any time via the Canvas Feature Idea process.

Updated Features

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Conferences

BigBlueButton Interface Redesign

Location to Enable Feature

Conferences Interface

Configuration Details

Conferences

Affected Canvas Areas

Conferences

Beta Environment Support

test.bigbluebutton.org

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

All Users                                           

Summary

The BigBlueButton Conferences interface has been redesigned using HTML5 for improved usability.

 

The new Conferences interface is not supported on Internet Explorer or Edge browsers. For best results, BigBlueButton recommends using Firefox or Chrome on desktop and Safari or Chrome on mobile devices.

Premium tier customers can choose to opt out of the new interface by contacting BigBlueButton support. All other Canvas users with questions about using the new interface should contact their Customer Success Manager.

 

Change Benefit

This change makes the Conferences interface faster and easier to use and removes the requirement for extensions or plugins.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

All Users

The new BigBlueButton Conferences interface provides improved usability and performance for all users. Users can still participate in a conference using their computer microphone and webcam, communicate using public and private chat, share notes, and annotate presentations using the multi-user whiteboard. Users can select between viewing the presentation area or displaying webcams only.

BigBlueButton Conference New Interface with HTML5

Shared Notes includes additional functionality for formatting notes text. Users can also export their notes to an HTML, TXT, DOC, PDF, or ODC file. There is now a single Shared Notes window; opening additional notes windows is no longer supported.

Shared Notes page

The Conferences interface supports a Settings menu that includes new features for improved usability. Users can now enable icon animations that highlight conference participants who are speaking and audio and popup alerts for chat notifications. The Settings menu also includes options to disable webcams and desktop sharing to improve bandwidth. These data saving options are intended for use on mobile browsers but can be enabled on any device. Additionally the Settings menu includes previously-available options to select a default language and fault size.

Conferences Settings

The Settings menu also includes an option to enable closed captioning in a conference. Closed captioning options are not currently supported in the HTML5 client of the Conferences interface. These features will be supported in a future release.

Presenters

Presenters can upload a YouTube video to a conference. When the video is playing, all users will see the same playback time and speed that is selected by the presenter. However, users can enable their own captions. Shared YouTube videos will not appear in conference recordings.

YouTube integration

YouTube within the conference window

When uploading a presentation file, presenters can upload multiple files at the same time.

Presenter files multiple uploads

Screen sharing is only supported through WebRTC. Previously, presenters could select to use WebRTC or Java for screen sharing. Screen sharing is only supported in Chrome and Firefox browsers on desktop.

Presenter screensharing window

Users may experience errors if the screen that is shared includes the Conferences interface. To correct these errors, simply share another window or application that does not display the Conferences interface.

Poll results are now only viewable to presenters after results have been published. Previously, poll results would display to presenters in real time.

Feature Idea Contributions

Canvas features are always welcome to feedback. Product teams may make adjustments at any time via the Canvas Feature Idea process.

New Gradebook

Final Grade Override Setting Persistence

This feature is used in conjunction with feature options in Canvas. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about LTI tools, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Location to Enable Feature

New Gradebook, Individual Gradebook

Configuration Details

New Gradebook Feature Option

Final Grade Override Feature Option

Affected Canvas Areas

New Gradebook, SpeedGrader, Student Grades

Related APIs

Enrollments API

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

 

Summary

The Final Grade Override option in the New Gradebook is treated as a course setting and is persistent for all graders in the course. When enabled in the New Gradebook, the Override column displays for all other instructors who view the New Gradebook or the Individual View Gradebook.

 

Change Benefit

This change provides viewing consistency for all graders in the Gradebook.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Graders

When a grader such as an instructor or TA enables the Final Grade Override option in the New Gradebook Settings Menu, the setting is applied for all graders in the course. All other graders who view the New Gradebook will see the Override column if it has been enabled by another instructor. Likewise, the Override column will be hidden if disabled as an option by another instructor.

Feature Idea Contributions

Grade Override as a course feature

 

Canvas features are always welcome to feedback. Product teams may make adjustments at any time via the Canvas Feature Idea process.

Reports

Final Grade Override Column

This feature is used in conjunction with feature options in Canvas. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about LTI tools, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Location to Enable Feature

Account Settings - Reports

Configuration Details

Reports

Affected Canvas Areas

Reports

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Permissions

Courses - View Usage Reports

Related APIs

Account Reports API

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Admins

 

Summary

New Gradebook Final Grade Override scores are included in the Grade Export and Multiple Grading Periods Grade Export reports. Grades are displayed in the override_score column.

 

Change Benefit

This change helps admins view final grade overrides in grading reports if the Final Grade Override feature option has been allowed or turned on in an account.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Admins

When the Final Grade Override feature option has been allowed or turned on in an account, the Grade Export and Multiple Grading Periods Grade Export reports include the override_score column.

Feature Idea Contributions

Canvas features are always welcome to feedback. Product teams may make adjustments at any time via the Canvas Feature Idea process.

Other Updates

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Commons

These features are used in conjunction with an external tool (LTI) in Canvas. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about LTI tools, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Location to Enable Feature

Commons LTI

Configuration Details

Commons LTI

Affected Canvas Areas

Commons LTI

Any area with imported content

Beta/Test Environment Support

Functionality affects content in the beta environment only; New/updated features not available until production release

Permissions

Course Content - add / edit / delete

Discussions - view

Assignments and Quizzes - add / edit / delete

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

 

Filter Tray

 

Summary

The Filter window in the Commons Search page includes wider spacing between icons and for search filters.

 

Change Benefit

This change improves accessibility with an updated design.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

When searching Commons, instructors can more easily filter resources with the updated filter design.

Commons Filter Tray 

Status Banners

 

Summary

Status banners have been updated or removed for messaging clarification.

 

Change Benefit

This update simplifies and clarifies existing banner messages and removes redundant messages in Commons.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

Various messages have been updated or removed from the interface.

  • Messages do not display for sharing a new resource or when an instructor views a resource that is still processing, including messages for successful and failed sharing.
  • Success and Failure messages still appear in the Preview area while a resource is processing.
  • Import status banner message text has been updated for clarity.

Commons Messages

Course Import

Pages Terminology

 

Location to Enable Feature

Course Import

Affected Canvas Areas

Course Import

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Permissions

Course Content - add / edit / delete

Related APIs

Content Migrations API

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors, Admins

 

Summary

In the Course Import Tool, Wiki Pages terminology has been changed to Pages.

Change Benefit

This change aligns consistency with Pages terminology throughout Canvas.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors, Admins

When an instructor or admin uses the Course Import Tool and selects specific content to import or copy, the Wiki Pages section heading has been renamed to Pages.

Platform/Integration

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API

API Change Log

Adjustments have been made to the following APIs as noted in the API Documentation change log:

  • Submissions API
  • Users API

Plagiarism Detection Platform

LTI Tool Assignment Associations

 

Location to Enable Feature

N/A

Configuration Details

Plagiarism Detection Platform API

Affected Canvas Areas

Assignments

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors, Admins

Summary

LTI tools that use the plagiarism platform in an account retain associations with assignments if the tool is removed and re-added at a later date.

Change Benefit

This change helps instructors save time from having to individually edit existing assignments and re-associate the LTI tool.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors, Admins

Admins or Instructors who remove and re-add an External Tool (LTI) that uses the plagiarism platform will not have to edit any assignments to re-associate the LTI tool.

Fixed Bugs

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Accessibility

Course Import

The Content Import page error text and error report link can be read by screen readers.

Dashboard

Dashboard View menu items are read to screen readers according to their menu position.

ePortfolio

Keyboard users can add submissions to ePortfolios.

Grades

The Hide/Show Details button in the student Grades page does not include a custom aria-relevant label.

Grading Schemes

Grading scheme buttons include contextual labels for screen readers.

Rubrics

The Outcomes ratings table has been refactored as a data table for screen readers.

Theme Editor

The Create Theme Based on menu button can be read by screen readers.

The Delete This Theme window retains focus until either Delete or Cancel are selected.

API

xAPI with LTI Tools

Links within the xAPI with LTI tools documentation direct to their intended location.

Explanation: When a user accessed a link within the xAPI with LTI tools documentation, the links generated an error. Canvas code has been updated to correct the links within the page.

Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions: Update xAPI links

Authentication

Authentication Refresh Tokens

Newly generated refresh tokens return the correct access_token value.

Explanation: When a refresh token was generated multiple times within five seconds, a null access_token value was returned on subsequent calls after the first. Canvas code has been updated to return access_token values correctly.

Browsers

Firefox ESR Minimum Requirement Banner

The browser minimum requirement banner only displays for Firefox ESR browsers older than version 60.


Explanation: When a user accessed Canvas in a browser older than version 64 in Firefox, the browser displayed a banner noting that the browser did not meet the minimum requirements for Canvas. This behavior occurred intentionally to more closely aligned browser alerts with supported versions. To avoid alerting users of Firefox ESR, which is not officially supported but is used by some customers, Canvas code has been updated to only alert versions before Firefox 60. This change does not affect the supported versions in Canvas but removes the banner to improve the user experience. The banner will continue to alert users of Chrome versions older than 66, as Chrome does not have a specific ESR version designation.

Commons

Copyright Resource Additional Info Tooltip

In the Resource Details page, the license info for a copyrighted resource displays additional info in a tooltip.

Explanation: When a user hovered over the license info in the Resource Details page for a copyrighted resource, the additional info did not display. Canvas code has been updated to display tooltips for copyrighted resources.

Course Import

Copy a Canvas Course Option and Future Restricted Courses

The Copy a Canvas Course option uses active term dates to display available courses in the drop-down list.

Explanation: When a course was copied using the Course Import Tool, future courses that instructors did not have access to displayed in the drop-down list. Attempting to import content from a future course caused the import to fail. Canvas code has been updated to use active term dates to display available courses and disregard future courses. This behavior does not affect courses whose term dates have ended or future courses where instructors have access before the start date.

Rubrics

Edge Page Jumps

In the Edge browser, scrolling down a page with a rubric open retains the location of the page scroll.

Explanation: When a user was viewing a rubric and scrolled down the page using the Edge browser, the page jumped back to the top every five seconds. This behavior affected Edge version 42. Canvas code has been updated to retain the location of a page scroll when viewing a rubric.

SIS Import

Timestamp Update

Abort SIS Import updates the updated_at column.


Explanation: When an SIS import was aborted, the timestamp was not updated and did not show the time of import. Canvas code has been updated to update the updated_at timestamp.

Release Notes Change Log

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Date
2019-05-07               

Removed—Fixed Bugs

  • Files: Google LTI Upload State
2019-04-25                

Added—Fixed Bugs

  • Browsers: Firefox ESR Minimum Requirement Banner

Changed—Fixed Bugs

  • Course Import: Copy a Canvas Course Option and Future Restricted Courses
    • Clarified that future courses are defined as courses that instructors do not have permission to access
2019-04-10

Added—Fixed Bugs

  • SIS Import: Timestamp Update
2019-04-08Release Notes Published
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So, it would appear that Canvas finally pulled the plug on jQuery UI as part of the last release. There have been messages for at least the last year that they were working towards removing it but it would have been nice to know that they had reached that point. I have battled through this over the last week and thought I had a working solution to load jQuery UI back into Canvas to drive accordions as needed. Unfortunately, adding jQuery UI back in broke some other functionality inside of Canvas.

I believe I finally have a working solution but it is relatively involved. I am going to let it simmer for a bit to make sure it doesn't cause any other issues and then I can share what I discovered.

Hi Kenneth,

I would be very interested in hearing about your solution. I too have been monitoring the "possible" change, but would have appreciated a heads up. Our entire site is broken.

Thanks,

Kathleen

 @sendres ‌
Yes, I am failing the pain as well. As this change wasn't mentioned in the release notes, it caught us unaware, and I am not amused by this. 

I have filed a support ticket for this, as I think your suggestions are very good: informing ESR users that they're using an ESR version is rather pointless, and the message appears every time they log in. This is very frustrating for our users, and I will take this up with our CSM as well.

Edit: I think the same problem could pop up for users of Chrome's Enterprise version, depending on the version they use. The solution would preferably be applied to Chrome Enterprise as well.

 @cwhermsen  Good point about Chrome for Enterprise. I'll count that as two votes to except Firfox ESR and Chrome for Enterprise from the unsupported browsers list.

 @sendres ‌ I agree fully with your suggestions! 

It would also be great to have some additional information on why ESR browser releases are not supported, it seems very odd given that Instructure is operating in the Education market where ESR type browsers would be popular in lab and classroom managed deployments.  erinhallmark‌ Do you have any input on that?  Thanks

We use Chrome for Enterprise in all of our campus locations. No reports of any issues, but certainly agree that needs to be exempt from any unsupported browsers list.

I agree with  @cwhermsen ‌, Both Firefox ESR and Chrome for Enterprise *should* be supported by Canvas.  Most IT teams (ours included) are not going to let users switch to the regular release channel (or consider that organization-wide) just for Canvas.  Even if the ESR/enterprise browsers are not "fully" supported, there should be some minimal level of support, and the latest versions of ESR/Enterprise should not see the unsupported browser banner.

-Chris

Hi, Aaron,

Supporting a browser means our QA department is dedicating time to confirm Canvas functionality and actively test against that browser. Our teams frequently review browser usage to help make decisions about which browsers they will support. In fact, our teams just announced that we will be deprecating support for Internet Explorer 11, where usage has dropped down to just over 1% in favor of using Microsoft Edge.

ESR browsers are not updated frequently and would be a harder resource for our teams to maintain, especially as fast as Canvas moves. The majority of our Firefox users are using version 65, and ESR users are less than 1%.

We realize the banner warnings are inconvenient, and we're chatting with our QA team to see if we can remove the banners by lowering the noted version of Firefox in our code file. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks,

Erin

+1 for having the QA team tweak the file a.s.a.p. so Firefox ESR isn't flagged.  That would get us over this hump.  Going forward, it's really a philosophical question about whether a warning as prominent as the one that just reappeared should apply to browsers that aren't ideal and aren't tested against, vs. browsers that are old enough to be really problematic. I understand the desire to keep two simple categories ("supported" and "not supported") and that creating a vague category of "not supported but we won't nag you about it inside Canvas yet" isn't fun to manage. But in our case Firefox ESR is on our campus image so our Tech Desk is starting to get calls from concerned faculty who think Canvas is broken because their Firefox reports that it's up-to-date. (The fact the warning can't be dismissed by users or controled by us campus admins is really unfortunate.)

erinhallmark‌ I certainly understand the concern around QA time, however - this is honestly one of the first product I've seen that are using that as a reason around not supporting the ESR release.  The whole purpose of an ESR browser is to maintain a stable product, while still pushing through security updates. I certainly understand that Canvas is "fast moving", however - as long as the engineers and developers are operating inside of a set of standards and guidelines, I would think it would be possible to minimize the amount of QA testing needed.

As far as accessibility is concerned, the only supported solution is to use Firefox according to https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-2061-accessibility-within-canvas .  For students who only have access to a computer lab with Firefox ESR deployed, they are now going to consistently be notified of an unsupported browser in a setting where they have no control to make any changes.

Hi erinhallmark‌,

I'm glad to hear that suppressing the Firefox ESR warnings is under consideration. That fix would give us back some sanity at a time (end of semester finals) we could really use it.

I will also respectfully challenge the point that "ESR browsers are not updated frequently." Firefox ESR is updated with the same frequency as the consumer release version, it's just that the scope of the ESR update is limited to security and stability updates. Feature enhancements are deferred until the next major release.

I am looking through recent release notes and it seems that the feature enhancements generally center on improving the user experience (faster loading, more convenient to use, etc.). I haven't seen anything that would cause Canvas to break, nor would I expect to, given that we have been using it without issue.

Erin,

When was this backend file first implemented?
Where did this backend file originate?
How do I have access to this backend file?
Who is responsible for keeping this backend file up-to-date?

If I cannot have access to this backend file, is there a method I can use to call and control this file's message displaying?

I created a JavaScript called "System Information Checker" on 10/18/2007 for our Blackboard LMS to check student's web browser versions and operating system versions, and on 08/09/2017, I had to convert this JavaScript when we migrated over to Canvas LMS.   My Blackboard Original Version had more features than the one I converted to my Canvas Version.  However, I had to convert the original because there was no system checker in Canvas. I had several conversations with cyScape about the possibility of developing an integration version of their "BrowserHawk IQ"  to work with Canvas.

Now after the 2019-04-20 update, two browser checker shows for unsupported version:

System Information Checker

Not an issue if OS and WB are supported version:

System Information Checker Supported

I would like to know if it possible for me to control the Canvas Checker and use customized message or force redirect or block users when they are using unsupported browsers.   

Once awhile we still encounter students still trying to use Windows XP (Extended support ended on April 8, 2014) and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (Unsupported as of February 25, 2014).

Thank you.

Erin, last Thursday before the update everything was fine with Canvas Conference. I was using Flash. It was not a choice I made, that is just what happened when I logged in. Today I, and all my students, were forced into HTML5. It was a bit of a surprise as it looked different. Again, not sure why that happened. and not a choice, just what happened. When I logged in I had my webcam but screen sharing was not working. I logged out of the conference and logged back in, hoping for a different result.  At that point, I lost access to my WebCam and Screen sharing still didn't work.  I could share a  Chrome tab, so stumbled my way through class using that technique. I must say today was a teaching challenge. Still no webcam.  As some background, about a week or two ago WEBRCT stopped working for screen sharing for me and I had to use Java to activate screen sharing. Java worked fine, but does not come up as an option any more. Please help!!! 

by the way, I am using Chrome

I have posted our workaround and temporary solution to fix the accordion here.

Hope it will be helpful to all who needs it.

 @straussi ‌ We don't have that issue on Windows 10, Chrome Enterprise version 69, but it does show up on virtual machines that are still running windows 7 and Chrome Enterprise 53. 

@ Anyone from Instructure reading this: I realise that is a very old browser indeed, and I am not asking for it to be supported - I just want the message to never show up to users in Firefox ESR or Chrome Enterprise, no matter the version. Instead, take up this issue with the admins instead.

Yep, we're on Version 74.0.3729.108 (Official Build) (64-bit), but no issues. 

 @gibbonsd ‌ That JavaScript is way cool! Are you able to share your code?

Hi, Norma,

Sorry to hear you're experiencing behavior with the screen sharing and camera. Have you reached out to Canvas support? You can contact them (or your local IT department, depending on your institution's preference) by going to your Canvas Global Navigation Menu and clicking the Help link. They'll be more than happy to help you triage what's going on and get your conferences back to normal at no time!

Thanks,

Erin

My IT guy did and was told that there was nothing new, which of course there was.

I suspect he will try again.

For some unknown reason my camera came back after my recent restart. This is after restart did nothing after trying it at least twice. Technology is mysterious.

The screensharing is still not working, and I suspect Glenn may contact you for that.

Norma

Thanks, Chris. Looks like our engineering team has received a ticket from support but they haven't triaged it yet. When there's progress to note, our support team will let you know!

Erin

Hi, Sylvia,

We'll definitely clarify this in the guides!

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, all,

We've made a change in our browser file to reflect Firefox version 60 as the minimum browser. Any Firefox versions 60 or above will not display the warning banner. Details posted in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-16493-canvas-release-notes-2019-04-20#jive_content_id_Brows... 

Thanks!

Erin 

Thank you erinhallmark‌, that is awesome! I can't wait to see these warnings go away (we, too, are an ESR school).

Hi, everyone,

The next release notes document is up and available for review! https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-16624-canvas-release-notes-2019-05-11 

Thanks,

Erin