Canvas Mobile Update - May 2020

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Everything’s green and the driveway is covered in sidewalk chalk and life is totally normal, so that means it’s time for a mobile update!

As you would expect, all of our teams have been racing to remove impediments to remote learning in Canvas for most of the past eight weeks. The Canvas mobile teams, for their part, have shipped 20 updates over the same time period across all apps and both platforms. Here are some highlights of those updates in case you missed them.

QR login. Logging in can be hard on multi-tenant platforms. It’s harder still on multi-tenant platforms that allow for vanity domains and web portals and multiple authentication providers and cross-listed courses. Not only do you have different keys for different people, but you have multiple locks on each door! You can think about finding your school in the Canvas mobile apps as an adventure in getting you to the proper door and lock. But the happy path on this adventure can get narrow, and there are dragons in these woods! With the addition of QR login, we submit that if you’re already through the door, you’re allowed to bring your phone through the door, too. There’s some tweaking underway on the implementation, but with well over 100,000 successful QR logins so far, the concept is working to reduce unnecessary friction.

Conferencing upgrades. Since video conferencing usage is up, we wanted to make it easier for students to join conferences from mobile devices. If you use BigBlueButton for conferencing in Canvas, the student mobile experience is significantly better than it was a few weeks ago. We created a native conferences list, and more importantly, we added alerts for active conferences to students’ dashboards so they can join conferences as soon as they launch the student app. That alert looks like this:

Conference alert on Canvas Student dashboard

Student View. With more course content than ever making its way onto Canvas, we wanted to make it easier for teachers to see how students experience their courses on mobile devices. You can launch Student View from within any course in the teacher app to be redirected to the student app as Test Student. That flow looks like this:

Canvas Teacher launches Student View

We have a few other irons on the fire, namely improving discussions, exploring a lightweight offline mode, reducing friction in parent/student pairing, and something about confetti. If there’s something we can do to boost your sanity or better serve your students, make sure you've created a feature idea in our Ideas space—post the URL to your idea in the blog comments, and we’ll see what we can do!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I'm going to see if the idea was already posted -- if not, I will submit one.    One thing a lot of Math teachers, and a lot of elementary teachers want:   some kind of white board response, on quizzes and assignments.

Community Member

I would love to see the mobile app on Android be able to support SCORM packages without navigating out to a browser. Idea here: canvas scorm scorm mobile scorm content mobile-app 

About the Author
I’ve worked in product management at Instructure for five years. I love my teams, and Canvas, and solving problems to make Canvas better.