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Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-04-01)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-04-01)

In this production release (April 1), admins can can weight individual grading periods for all courses in a term, allow courses to support course exports for students, and use an SIS Enrollments CSV file to enroll users to only see and interact with other users in a course. Admins can also enable workflow enhancements in Scheduler.

Instructors can include the playsinline video tag attribute in the Rich Content Editor and can view the assignment name of a recently graded item in Student Context Cards.

For all users, the Chat tool includes interface enhancements.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

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Canvas New Feature Screencast (2017-04-01)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: April 10
  • Production release notes: April 17
  • Production release and documentation: April 22

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

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

       

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

 

  New Features

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Grades

Weighted Grading Periods

This feature is associated with Multiple Grading Periods, which is an account-level feature that previously required two course-level feature options. This feature now affects all courses associated with a grading period term.

In Multiple Grading Periods, admins can choose to set weights for individual grading periods within a grading period set. When this feature is enabled, the overall grade for each term is calculated by taking the final grades for each grading period and applying each grading period’s weight.

In a grading period set, selecting the weighted grading periods checkbox displays a grading percentage field in each grading period set, which allows admins to set a specific weighted percentage.

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The grading period percentages can total any number and does not have to add up to 100%. However, each grading period percentage cannot be negative.

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Multiple Grading Periods Workflow
The weighted grading feature changes the workflow for setting up grading periods and no longer requires enabling the Multiple Grading Periods feature option. If a term is associated with a grading period set, all courses in that term will automatically display Multiple Grading Period drop-down menus and functionality. However, if institutions need to have courses that do not use grading periods, admins should set up a separate term for those courses and not associate that term with a grading period set.

Additionally, the View Totals for All Grading Periods feature option has been repurposed as a second checkbox in each grading period set. If selected, users will be able to view the Total column when they view the All Grading Periods drop-down option in the Grades page or Gradebook, respectively. Otherwise, users can only view the Total column for an individual grading period.

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Weighted Grading Periods and Weighted Assignment Groups
Weighted grading periods can also support weighted assignment groups in a course. The weight of an assignment group is applied to the grading period’s final grade, and each grading period’s final grade is added together to calculate the overall grade.

The due date of an assignment determines the grading period where the assignment appears in the Gradebook. If no due date is set, the assignment defaults to the last grading period available.

If instructors choose to use weighted assignment groups, separate assignment groups should be created for each grading period in the course. If an assignment group contains assignments that fall into multiple grading periods with different weighted percentages, grades may have unintended consequences, especially in relation to calculating assignment group rules and dropped grades.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1547 

Modules

Course Content Export

Course Content Export is an account- or subaccount-level setting that applies to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature by contacting their Customer Success Manager.

This feature is separate from the ePub Exporting feature option, which is a course-level feature option that allows users to download simple course content as an ePub file on a course-by-course basis. Enabling course content exports will replace ePub exporting functionality and ePub downloads will no longer be available.

Canvas supports exporting course content into an HTML format for offline viewing on a computer. This feature supports courses that use complex HTML or dynamic linking to downloaded files. Exports are based on modules, so instructors must allow students to view the Modules page to export course content. Even if a course does not include modules, Course content export packages include all course files, pages, and embedded files as long as the user has permission to view them.

Note: Exported content does not expire, so before enabling this feature, institutions should ensure they have specific online user agreement guidelines as exported content files cannot be managed by the institution. Students are notified that they may not reproduce or communicate any of the content on this course, including files exported from this course without the prior written permission of their institution.

Once the export feature has been enabled for the entire institution, offline course exports are enabled for each course. If an instructor does not want to allow students to export course content, instructors can disable the export in Course Settings.

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Users can view the course Modules page to export course content. Content is exported as a ZIP file and downloaded to the user’s computer. The file is essentially a snapshot of how the course existed at the time of the content export.

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After opening the ZIP file, the user can view all Modules content by viewing the included index.html file. Within offline content, users can view assignment descriptions, points, and due dates. In quizzes and discussions, only the descriptions display in the export.

Users can only interact with course activities when online, such as submitting an assignment, taking a quiz, or replying to a discussion.

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If a link can only be accessed online, the link includes an external icon identifying the content as online only.

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Users will need to re-export the course any time they want to view updated course content. After the initial export, the export page shows the history of each export, and the Modules page shows the last time the content was exported.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/2112-print-all-feature-for-entire-course-or-modules 

  Updated Features

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Calendar

Scheduler Workflow

This update applies to institutions using the Scheduler feature but will not be enabled without additional configuration. Canvas admins can enable this feature update by contacting their Canvas Customer Success Manager.

For institutions using Scheduler, Scheduler appointment group functionality is more closely integrated with Calendar workflows. This update allows instructors and students to more intuitively view and manage appointment groups created for a course.

Instructor View
For instructors, creating a Scheduler appointment group is a new tab in the Add Event window. Existing functionality for appointment groups has not been affected. However, instructors can only create appointment groups for courses that are displayed in the Calendar sidebar.

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Once an appointment group is created, the appointment dates and times display directly in the instructor’s calendar. Time slots that have been claimed are shown as a solid color; unclaimed time slots are slightly faded. However, please note that if an appointment group is added to more than one course, appointment slots only display in the calendar for the first course shown in the appointment group.

Instructors can click each appointment to view individual signups, student comments, or remaining slots available. Instructors can also edit the number of users who can sign up for an individual appointment slot.

Within each date and time, instructors can also click the Group Details button to view the entire appointment group, which opens in a new window. In the Group Details page, instructors can view all details for the appointment group as per existing Scheduler functionality, add new appointment slots, and message students. Additionally, instructors can view the status of each appointment slot along with the name of each user in the reservation.

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Student View

Students can find appointments with the Find Appointments button in the Calendar sidebar and display an appointments window. Any available appointment group in any calendar will be displayed for the students to select. Previously students could only view appointment groups for courses being displayed in their Calendar sidebar.

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Once a student selects a course from the appointment window, all available appointments display in the student’s calendar. Faded time slots indicate the time slot has been reserved.

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The student can reserve any appointment slot by clicking a date and time.

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Once a time slot has been reserved, the student can close the appointment group view by clicking the Close button in the sidebar. Only the reserved time slot will display in the student’s calendar.

If students want to change their time slots, they must click the Find Appointment button again and repeat the appointment process.

Chat

Chat Enhancements

The Chat tool has been modified as an LTI tool to allow for functionality enhancements. Chat includes updates for the interface, chat management, and chat history.

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Chat Interface
The top of the Chat window displays the number of users who are online, and toggling the arrow shows the names of each user. Chat presence is based on being logged in to the browser. When a user leaves the chat, the user count and list updates automatically.

In a chat dialog, the name displayed for each user is the designated Full Name in the course. Additionally, course instructors and admins are identified by an Instructor label.

The first message for each user displays the user’s profile picture, message date, and time. When a user posts multiple chat messages in a row, users can hover over each message and view the specific time stamp for each message. However, messages directly below a profile picture do not display a time stamp.

As new features, user can see when other users are typing and can add emojis in their messages. If a user includes a special character in a message (such as a copyright symbol), the character becomes part of the character library as an emoji.

Chat Management
To moderate Chat, instructors and admins can delete chat messages if necessary. Students cannot delete their own chat messages.

Please note that for users with masquerade permissions, Chat is not available when masquerading.

Currently there is no load limit for a course chat, but larger numbers of course users may affect performance.

Chat History
All existing chat history for each course is included as part of the Chat tool update. However, instead of being viewed in a separate page, chat history can be accessed indefinitely by scrolling through previous course chats.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/3782-deleting-in-chat 

Courses

Course End Date and Past Enrollments

In the Courses list, the Past Enrollment section displays courses that include a course end date in Course Settings. This update applies to all user roles and helps resolve past courses that Canvas never considered to be concluded unless they were concluded by term dates or the course override participation checkbox.

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Previously, courses were only designated as concluded if the course was concluded by term or included an override date. However, if a course did include a course override date, the course was only considered to be concluded if the course end date accompanied the users can only participate in the course between these dates checkbox.

Now, if a course includes a course end date, the end date applies to course enrollment status regardless of the participation checkbox setting. Therefore, when a course end date is included in Course Settings, the course displays in the Past Enrollments section once the end date has passed.

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For clarification, the users can only participate checkbox restricts users from participating in the course, such as replying to discussions, submitting assignments, etc. If an instructor is using course dates to override term dates and prefers the course be placed in a read-only state after the course has ended, the users can only participate checkbox should be selected. Otherwise, students can still participate in the course after the course end date.

Rich Content Editor

Playsinline Whitelist

The Rich Content Editor supports the playsinline tag attribute for videos.

Student Context Card

Graded Item Assignment Names

This update applies to institutions using the Student Context Card account-level feature option, which must be enabled for an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

When an instructor views a student context card and hovers over the name of a graded item, the name of the assignment displays as part of the card details. Assignment names can also be read by screen readers.

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  Platform/Integration

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

SIS Import Format Documentation

Enrollments CSV

The Enrollments CSV Data format includes the limit_section_privileges field, which limits enrolled users to only see and interact with other users in the same section (set by course section ID). This field defaults to false.

Limiting students to interact by section only affects Collaborations, Chat, People, and Conversations. When enrolling instructors and TAs, section limitations allow those users to grade students in their same section(s).

Discussion topics and Pages are not affected by section limitations and can be viewed by any student. These feature areas could be restricted by creating content in course groups.

  Fixed Bugs

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Accessibility
Calendar
When a user closes the Calendar feed window, focus is reset to the top of the page.

Courses
In the Public Course Index page, the Join this Course button includes an aria-label for screen readers.

Dashboard
In the Dashboard, each course card activity icon is identified by screen readers along with the icon’s associated course.

Discussions
In the Discussions Index Page, graded discussion icons and peer review icons include alt text for screen readers.

Global Navigation
The active link color in the Global Navigation Menu displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Grades
The Gradebook Upload CSV example link is visible to screen readers.

API

Files API and File Uploads
In the Files API, uploading a file using the URL endpoint does not ignore the content_type parameter.

Explanation: When a user uploaded a file using the Uploading via URL API, the API was ignoring the content_type parameter, which prevented the user from previewing the file. Canvas code has been updated to show the content_type as part of the file upload. If content_type is not provided, Canvas will provide a type based on the file name or the upload serve’s content type.

Files API and URL Previews
In the Files API, the preview_URL in the example file only applies to the user making the API request.

Explanation: When a user made an API request with the preview_URL parameter for an attachment file, the parameter used the ID of the user making the API call, not the user who attached the file. Canvas code has been updated to clarify the behavior of the preview_URL as only applying to the user making the API request.

Enrollment Terms API
In the Enrollment Terms API, the Update enrollment term endpoint includes all available parameters.

Explanation: When a user made an API request to update an enrollment term, the parameters were not listed as shown in the POST request to create an enrollment term. Canvas code has been updated to include the parameters supported for updating an enrollment term.

Users API
When a user registers for a Canvas account, the pseudonym[send_confirmation] parameter set to true does not create a pseudonym communication channel.

Explanation: When a user is added to an account and the pseudonym[send_confirmation] parameter was set to true, when the user logged in to register, Canvas created a pseudonym communication channel along with the actual communication channel. When the user tried to reset his or her account password, the password reset email notification was being sent to the pseudonym communication channel instead of the default email. Canvas code has been updated to disregard creating a pseudonym after the user’s registration and only create valid default email addresses.

Authentication

Facebook Login
Users can log in to Canvas with Facebook authentication.

Explanation: When an institution enabled Facebook as an authentication method and a user tried to log in, the authentication failed. Canvas code has been updated to adjust the credentials required by Facebook for authentication.

Calendar

Delete Event Button
In the calendar event page, the Delete button deletes an event.

Explanation: When a user viewed the calendar and tried to delete an event, the Delete button did not delete the event. Canvas code has been updated to correct the behavior of the Delete button.

Course Import
Desire2Learn Text Entry Questions
Desire2Learn text entry (essay) questions are imported correctly in Canvas.

Explanation: When a user imported a Desire2Learn course with a text entry question, the question was imported as a Fill-in-Multiple-Blanks question. Canvas code has been updated to import extended text entry questions from Desire2Learn quizzes as essay questions.

Courses

Course Home Page Recent Announcements and HTML Content
In the Course Home Page, recent announcements do not display HTML content.

Explanation: When an instructor showed recent announcements in the course home page, the body of the announcement displayed the HTML content when the announcement was expanded. Canvas code has been updated to remove HTML from recent announcements.

Course Home Page Recent Announcements and Public Courses
In the Course Home Page, recent announcements do not display to unauthenticated users in a course with public visibility.

Explanation: When unauthenticated users viewed a course with public visibility, and the Course Home Page displayed recent announcements, users viewed a spinning icon in place of the recent announcements. Without logging in, they were not able to view the recent announcements. Canvas code has been updated to not load recent announcements for unauthenticated users.

Grades
Multiple Section Enrollments
If a student’s enrollment with existing grade data is added to another section in the same course, existing grade data is applied to the student’s enrollment in the new section.

Explanation: When a student’s enrollment contained grade data and was added to another section in the same course, the original enrollment’s grade data was not applied to the second enrollment. This behavior resulted in duplicate entries and conflicting grades. Canvas code has been updated to include and apply existing grade data to new enrollments for existing students.

What-If Scores and Quiz Submissions
Applying a What-If Score does not update a quiz submission.

Explanation: When a student opened the Grades page and added a What-If Score to a quiz that required manual grading, the quiz would update as a new submission. This behavior affected instructors as the quiz would display a quiz icon and have to be regraded. Canvas code has been updated to disregard What-If Scores and retain any existing quiz grades.

Modules
Page Name Edits
When a user edits a page name in a module item, the instructor is recorded as the user who made the page edit.

Explanation: When a user edited a page name by editing a module item, the revision history for the page listed the prior editor as the user who made the page edit. Canvas code has been updated to retain the name of the user who edited the page.

People
Manually Concluded Enrollments
Manually concluding a student or observer enrollment through the User Details does not change the enrollment state to inactive.

Explanation: When a user opened the User Details window for a student or observer and manually concluded the enrollment, the enrollment displayed as inactive instead of completed. This behavior affected institutions not using the Profiles feature. Canvas code has been updated to display manually concluded users enrollments as completed.

Permissions
LTI Add and Edit
Account-level users can access the Apps tab with only the LTI add and edit permission.

Explanation: When an account-level user had the LTI add and edit permission but not the Manage Courses or Manage account-level settings permissions, the user was not able to view the Apps tab in Course Settings. Canvas code has been updated to only require the LTI add an edit permission for account-level users to view the Apps tab.

Manage Courses and Rubrics
Account-level users can manage rubric assessments without the Manage Courses permission.

Explanation: When an account-level user did not have the Manage Courses permission, the user was not able to save rubrics assessments when grading in SpeedGrader. Additionally, users could not delete rubrics attached to assignments and discussions. Canvas code has been updated to allow account-level users to manage rubrics without the Manage Courses permission.

Manage Courses and Student Context Card
Account-level users can view Student Context Cards in the course People page without the Manage Courses permission.

Explanation: When an account-level user did not have the Manage Courses permission, the user was not able to view Student Context Cards from the People page. Canvas code has been updated to allow account-level users to view Student Context Cards in the People page without the Manage Courses permission.

Quizzes
Quiz Statistics Sections
The quiz statistics Sections filter displays all sections in a course.

Explanation: When a user filtered quiz statistics by section, the Sections filter only displayed up to 10 sections. Canvas code has been updated to display all sections in a course.

Graded Surveys

This fix was deployed to production on March 17.

A graded survey retains the total point value assigned for the survey and not the sum of the individual questions.

Explanation: When a user created a graded survey and assigned a total point value, the survey disregarded the total point value and only applied the value of all individual questions. Canvas code has been updated to retain the total point value assigned to a graded survey.

Reports
LTI Report
In the LTI Report, LTI tools are not included in deleted courses and sub-accounts.

Explanation: When a user opened Account Settings and ran the LTI Report, the report included data for deleted courses and sub-accounts by default. Canvas code has been updated to exclude LTI tools in deleted courses and sub-accounts.

Sections
Section Validation Dates
A section end date cannot be set before the section start date.

Explanation: When a user set a section end date before the start date, the section allowed the dates to be saved. This behavior affected user enrollments from accessing the course. Canvas code has been updated to validate section dates the same as course and term dates and not allow an end date to be before the start date.

SIS
Course Deletion
Deleting a course through SIS import affects user enrollment status.

Explanation: When a user tried to delete a course through an SIS import, user enrollment statuses and course invitations were not updated. This behavior caused active users to always view the course invitation in the Dashboard and view the course in the Calendar. Canvas code has been updated to not display deleted courses to active users in the Dashboard or the calendar.

Post to SIS and Multiple Grading Periods
Instructors can toggle the Post to SIS icon for assignments in a closed grading period.

Explanation: When an instructor tried to toggle the Post to SIS icon for assignments in a closed grading period, the icon did not update. This behavior affected instructors who had not enabled the Post to SIS setting before the grading period close date. Canvas code has been updated to allow the Post to SIS icon to be toggled regardless of grading period.

Terms
Term Validation Dates
A term end date cannot be set before the term start date.

Explanation: When a user set a term end date before the start date, the term allowed the dates to be saved. This behavior affected user enrollments from accessing courses in the term. Canvas code has been updated to validate term dates the same as course or section dates and not allow an end date to be before the start date.

Labels (1)
Comments

YAY!!!!!!!! Deleting in chat!!! I had stopped recommending that our faculty use chat because of the inability to delete messages! Once this goes through I'll start recommending it again!! Awesome surprise for this release!! Thank you!

Excited for the Chat Updates!!!!  Deleting chat lines are going to be awesome for instructors in the K-12 settings when Students may not make wise choices.

Excited for the weighted grading periods!

Also: it's worth noting that the Files API updates regarding Preview URLs apply to _everywhere_ that preview URLs are generated, although the documentation doesn't reflect that. For example, this is true of the preview URL generated for a submission attachment.

As happy as I am about the Chat updates (and I am loving the improvements) I am quite perturbed that these changes were not included in the BETA release notes first.  Why did these updates not follow standard release procedures?

We also will need to inform our users right away that "Chat will be unavailable for 24 hours." as this will greatly affect our online-only courses.

Chat enhancements are very welcome improvements!

I am also happy that chat history can now be deleted, but still wish there would be an option to set an "away" message.  As both an LMS admin and faculty member I am often logged in, but may not be readily available for immediate chat. Our faculty have expressed this same concern.  I am still on the fence if I will recommend this tool.

I am also happy that many of the features have controls for release (like the course content export) since we will wait to introduce this functionality to our faculty until a later date.  Like many other new features, I wish that when we do decide to enable this for the institution that it would be disabled in the course by default and that the instructor could enable it if they wish to use it in their course.

Yay for the Chat tool upgrade (although boo on the very short time to announce a 24 hour outage)!

I'm going to post some hopefully condensed information on the Course End Date change, since there was some discussion about this in Beta, but no changes based on the feedback appear to have been made before moving to production.  Please note these comments are based on my own testing in the Beta environment, so if anything is wrong here, I apologize.

The course is now moved to past enrollments, based on the end date set in the course (even if the override button is not checked and term settings still allow for full access to the course).  When the course is moved to past enrollments based on the course date, it also appears that the course is unfavorited and moved off the dashboard.  I think this is going to be a big problem if the course date is set incorrectly by a teacher, or if the term settings allow certain roles to have extended full access.  The "access" doesn't go away, but the user will have to go back into all courses and re-favorite the course to get it back on the dashboard, and then apparently manually unfavorite it again later to get the course back off of the dashboard.

We use javascript to disable teachers ability to input course-level dates, as we really want to use the term settings for almost all courses (our admins can do an override in the rare case that one of our courses goes outside of the standard semester).  Unfortunately, when course dates are left blank (because we want the term to take precedence), doing a course import and using the date adjust feature ends up also populating the course dates of the new course.  While there may be javascript to prevent the date adjustment from being used, that would be a big change in functionality.  In the past this hasn't mattered too much, but if the course dates are getting functionality overriding other date settings, I'd rather not see an import populate the course dates.

Reports (provisioning, sis export) don't show the course dates unless the "override" box is checked. This makes is very difficult to find courses that may have an incorrect end date populated, which will now have some affects after this release.  In the past, the boxes didn't do much without the override being checked, so the reports made sense, now if the boxes are getting functionality regardless of override, I really think the reports need to be adjusted (include the dates regardless of the override box, and have a new boolean column showing if override is enabled or not).

We really want to use term dates for everything, as we allow early access to the course for faculty and students, and also allow extended access to faculty for final grade changes and copyright content removal.  With the changes in this release, we won't be able to assure this will always work as it has in the past anymore.  The access will remain, but when the course is moved off the dashboard automatically, it gives the impression that access is gone.  This can be partly a training item, but it's going to be a huge annoyance.  It may not only affect faculty (if the course end date is correct), but also students (if faculty somehow get an earlier date than the real one put in that box).

Some solutions were proposed in the Beta notes and through conversations with our CSM...

  • Add a permission for the course dates (feature idea here: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8338-permissions-for-course-date-settings ).
  • Don't have course imports set course dates (allow the date adjustment for all assignments, quizzes, etc, but just leave the date fields in course settings alone, whether they are blank or not). 
  • Have an option for this new moving to past enrollments feature, similar to what exist now for allowing access after a course is concluded (have a "__ Move non-concluded courses to past-enrollments after course end date, regardless of availability" option with a corresponding "__Lock this setting for sub-accounts and courses", and then in the course settings have the  "__ Move non-concluded courses to past-enrollments after course end date, regardless of availability" option, which would be a faculty option if the admin doesn't lock it.).
  • Have term end dates (by role, if present) take precedence over the course end date for this feature.  This would most closely mirror current functionality, but perhaps make things function better for those that don't use term dates.

I know all of these proposed solutions would add some complexity to code, but they would allow institutions/schools more power in having Canvas respect our rules/policies, rather than having to rephrase policies or retrain all faculty on functionality that's been there and working generally well for us from Day 1 of Canvas adoption.

I'm hopeful Instructure might still have a change of heart about releasing this change without taking everything I've written above into consideration.  I did want to make sure the above points were included though, as I think some of them were unintended consequences of that Instructure thought was a minor change (though at least for us, I wouldn't consider this minor at all).

I've been asking for this for months. Way to go Canvas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am absolutely delighted for the delete feature in Chat. I had stopped using Chat because I don't like using any phase of Canvas where neither I nor my campus admin has control. I'll be glad to reclaim the tool. Thanks so much!

I agree (and also stated in the Beat notes for this release), that when the course export option is enabled at the account level, the default should still be unchecked at the course level so the individual teacher would opt-in.  The same basic thing could be accomplished by having the Off/Allow/On switch like some other feature-options have at the account level, instead of just on/off.

Hi, Christopher,

As mentioned in the beta notes, our product team is aware of your comments. if you see a feature in the production notes that doesn't seem to be addressed from comments in the beta notes, that doesn't mean our product team isn't planning any adjustments. Any considerations may be announced in a future release.
Thanks,
Erin

I am with Christopher Casey on the Course End Date change. We populate every single academic courses using the Course Import tool to import master courses into live courses which means that every one of our courses gets a Course End Date. The best change for us would be to do away with the course import adding a Course End Date.  We wait until the last week of the term and then have a proactive campaign to insure that every instructor removes their Course End Date because this date affects other 3rd party LTI tools that we use. It is not effective for us to have instructors remove the Course End Date at the beginning of the term because then when they want to import content from one of their other courses a Course End Date gets moved back. This means, for us, that every time an instructor imports content from an additional course a new Course End Date gets assigned and it may end up removing courses from user's dashboard prematurely.

I'm as excited by most of the other updates to Chat as I am for the delete feature. This gives faculty the control they want and have asked for.

Great job tiisupport@turnitin.com Nice Work

KLM

Hi, Victoria,

You're correct in that the majority of Canvas features are placed in beta notes. Inclusion is primarily decided by our product team, with the main consideration being if the feature is easily able to be released into beta. Sometimes, specifically, our LTI tools are not made available in beta. In the case of Chat, the update is only just now being placed in beta, and the actual production release is being rolled out through the end of the week by region. Therefore, the feature was only highlighted in the production notes.

Sometimes our engineers will also release additional code updates into beta, and if the timing aligns with production notes, those changes will only be in the production notes as well, such as in the case of the Rich Content Editor addition.

Thanks!

Erin

chriscas‌ I'm still struggling with the correct behavior on this one.  

Are you testing the "moving off the dashboard" when the course has been put on the Dashboard as a default or when a course has been favorited?  Is there the max number of courses in the account on the Dashboard?

  • In my account I have deliberately favorited courses and in all three browsers in which the end date is 3/24/2017, my favorited course still appears in the Dashboard but under all courses in appears as a Past Enrollment.
  • I also tested this as a student when my courses were by default on the Dashboard in the free Canvas and it still stayed there.
  • Also, there is no way to favorite a Past Enrollment course as far as I can tell so the instructor would need to modify the date in order to be able to favorite it again...

Default and Favorited Instructor & Student Dashboard 

This would be slightly better if my testing is correct but otherwise I would love to see your improvement solution as follows "Don't have course imports set course dates (allow the date adjustment for all assignments, quizzes, etc, but just leave the date fields in course settings alone, whether they are blank or not)." as I have a feeling on Friday of Finals week in June our support calls will ramp up with instructors/students looking for courses....really dreading that.  

- Melanie

Hi Erin,

One clarifying question for Canvas behavior as it relates to Course End Dates.

Our faculty have discovered checking the checkbox "users can only participate in the course between these dates", while also not including an Course End Date (leaving it blank) will keep the course open indefinitely.  Is this the intended functionally for Canvas?  

I'm curious because this is functionality that we do not want and I'll need to figure out how to manage that if it is the case.  However, I understand that not all functionality changes are addressed within these release notes.  Optimally, if this text box required a date it may help in this case.  I appreciate these dates being front loaded from the Term Date settings, as that will be helpful for faculty.

Thanks,

Hi, Christopher,

When a favorited course is moved to the Past Enrollments section, it's still favorited, but past enrollments don't show in the Dashboard. If the course were to be changed to an active status, the course would display in the Dashboard again. This behavior with course favorites and the Dashboard has not been affected.

Sometimes addressing a situation relies in addressing other functionality in Canvas. From your comments and from Gina.Smith@harrison.edu‌, it sounds like one concern is with the course import tool. We're going to look into that feature for existing behavior with the course end date. Additionally, our product manager would like to spend some time exploring potential changes to the account settings and course settings features, specifically related to allowing instructors to manage course override dates, and have already started that process. In the future you'll see more opportunities to check out what our product team is working on in Canvas Studio‌. If you'd like, you can learn more about how our product process works in that space.

kroeninm@onid.oregonstate.edu‌, you most likely don't have the participation checkbox checked, which is currently the only setting that tells Canvas the courses is concluded. With the change to production on Saturday, your favorited courses that have the end date will no longer display in the Dashboard.

Hope that helps,

Erin

Hi, Timothy,

Current behavior in production merits that the user participation checkbox controls where the course displays in the Courses list and always overrides the term dates. So if you select that check box, Canvas honors whatever is in the course date fields. If there isn't an end date, Canvas honors that date field to suggest there is no end date for the course.

However, with the change on Saturday, no course end date means the course defaults to term dates. So if you have a term with specific start and end dates, the course end date field defaults to the end date for the term. But if the term has no end date (such as the Default term), the course will stay open until an end date is added to the course.

Hope that helps!

Erin

Which name will appear in the Chat for each student? Will it be the Display Name or Full Name? Currently, it's the latter, but that's out of sync with a number of other tools where students will see each others' names. (See this discussion for the full list.)

Yeah, we're not super stoked about the outage either. It popped up at the last minute as the only way for us to migrate Chat history over reliably. Had we known this would become an issue sooner we would absolutely have given more warning!

I hope you can bear with us as we go through the migration, knowing new Chat is so awesome!


Chris

--

Product Manager, Canvas Chat

Away status--duly noted. It's going into our backlog!

Yeah, we're not super stoked about the outage either. It popped up at the last minute as the only way for us to migrate Chat history over reliably. Had we known this would become an issue sooner we would absolutely have given more warning!

I hope you can bear with us as we go through the migration, knowing new Chat is so awesome!


Chris

--

Product Manager, Canvas Chat

Thanks Erin.

We use Full Name for new Chat, as that was the way old Chat works.

Away status is also something I need.  I would actually prefer a robust set of choices (available-busy-away-invisible seem like they'd cover most of what I'd want), but I'm not going to stop hiding Chat in my courses without at least an "away" option. I have a Canvas tab (or several) open in my browser pretty much all the time, and sometimes I need to protect my time from interruption in order to get other things done (like grading or working on new course content).

I also might be in a situation where I'm available for a chat in one class but not in others because it's "dedicated 7th grade math project questions hour" or something and I'm busy focusing on just that one class and the various messages there, so I'd want to be able to set a "busy" flag for my other 5 classes so they wouldn't think this was a good time to ask me things and then wonder about my slow response time. 

Just a reminder (I posted my detailed thoughts in the Beta Release Notes) that the change to the Enrollments CSV feature with the limit_section_privileges field states "allows enrolled users to only see and interact with other users in the same section" is not quite accurate, since they CAN interact in Discussions. Hopefully the instructions above get corrected (or even better, have this change actually apply to Discussions).

kbickell@bridgeport.edu- The subtleties of the limit section privileges feature are detailed in the official guides, such as How do I limit a user to only interact with other users in the same course section? The change to the CSV is not changing anything about how the option functions, so I can see why the release notes don't go into that level of detail.

Understood - but the wording above neither references that document, nor states any exclusions (which are critical). Nor does the Enrollments CSV Data format document. I didn't know about the document you referenced above, so I interpreted "allows enrolled users to only see and interact with other users in the same section" literally - until I did testing and found it is was not accurate and called support.

Just want others to realize that the statement in the notes is wrong and doesn't explain the exclusions.

kbickell@bridgeport.edu 

I agree, that exclusion is critical, and should be documented.

KLM

Deactivated user‌, using the full name is a problem for us, since we have some students we have to shield from their legal name being displayed to other students - domestic violence and other legal issues, gender transitions, etc.  Is there any way that the Display name can be used instead of Full Name? 

Agreed! While we don't yet have a mechanism in place in our SIS to have a different display name, it's something that has been on our radar for over a year now.  It seems logical that anywhere students can possibly interact with each other, the display name should be used.  It's understandable that for admin features and the gradebook, the official full name would be used, but chat doesn't make as much sense to me.  If chat is being upgraded, it seems like a good idea to change to using display name at the same time.  I don't see much of a downside, as the default display name would be the same as the full name anyways, so it would just be a big improvement for those currently using a different display name (or have it on the to-do list, as we do).

I'm with chriscas‌ on this one...this is a giant change in functionality...akin to the one last year that dealt with the change in how past enrollments worked.  We also use term dates for almost everything, and section dates for odd-term classes.  

We have teachers use the import/adjust dates functionality, which puts the end date on.  They may get this date wrong.  And set it prior to the course ending.  And then students lose access to their class through the dashboard.  We would prefer that the import process did not populate the course dates now that the box does not need to be checked in order to affect the behavior of the course. 

erinhallmark Since there is an acknowledged potential issue with the Course Import/Setting the end date, and some time spent exploring potential changes, could this change in how course dates/dashboard/past enrollments works be postponed until that time?  I don't think that the impact of this to some institutions has been fully understood by Canvas, nor the impact of this change being rolled out mid-term.  I hope that Canvas 24/7 support has planned some extra support staff for Sunday and all of next week because this change is going to cause some major problems. 

Thanks,

Joni

millerjm@seminolestate.edu‌, yes*100! That's the exact thing I'm worried about with this release!

We've recently been populating the course dates for all courses (just not checking the override box) to get around the issue of the course imports filling in dates (if dates already exist in the course, the import process won't overwrite them, only if it's blank do they get entered).  Our CSM has suggested we delete all of the course dates for now, but then we go back to the issue of incorrect (especially early) dates entered during the course import process moving the course to past enrollments and off the dashboard for both students and teachers.

So far from the conversations here and with our CSM, it seems this change is going forward this weekend, despite the concerns and other impacted items I've mentioned here.  Our Winter term ends on April 29, so there's one more release before then to address this before we have to make a final decision on removing course dates and re-introducing the import problem.  Maybe that will happen, but I'm in agreement that this particular change really should be delayed until the import issue can be addressed at the same time (or some other mechanism to ensure only term dates are used unless the override box is checked for institutions like ours).

Thank you, chriscas‌ for a potential workaround, although I won't be able to have it put in place prior to the release, I may be able to get the SIS programming done prior to end of April if this indeed goes live.  Although, I do worry about the dates on crosslisted courses, if they don't show up on the reports. 

I wonder if those show up in Canvas Data, to at least identify the several hundred crosslisted parent courses which will need manual updates...  Smiley Sad

millerjm@seminolestate.edu‌, just wanted to clarify the workaround...  It's been working great for us for the past year, but it's going to somewhat "break" because of the change in this release.  We allow faculty to have longer full access in term dates (to finish grading, remove copyright, etc), but with the change in this release, faculty aren't going to see the course on their dashboard because the date entered into the course is going to move it into past enrollments.  We can try to do a quick training, but in reality if the course is automatically moved off the dashboard, most faculty are going to interpret that as "the course is done".

Ideally we wouldn't populate the course dates, and course imports wouldn't put dates in the course settings at all, and then we'd be fine.

If you don't allow any roles to have longer access, populating the course dates might work.  When you crosslist, do you select the right term for the crosslisted course?  If so, my code that populated the course dates based on the term might work for you (it's an excel sleet with VBScript making API calls).  Send me an email or message here if you're interested in seeing it.

The limit_section_privileges field doesn't appear to be working on BETA for the enrollments csv SIS import.  I tried some of our bulk enrollment files that I've been hoping to use this on and it didn't seem to do anything.  I added the field limit_section_privileges to the end of the CSV and I've tried both lowercase and all caps for the true value. 

My bad...I had a space after the field name at the end of the header row!  It's working!  Thanks, we are so happy for this feature!

Hi Seth

We've updated the documentation in the files api endpoint due to the fact that the submission endpoint itself by default does not include the attachment data in it and only appears if you attach a file as part of your submission. There are however two parameters which appear in a submission with an attachment associated with it that are called "preview_url". The preview_url inside of the submission object is a link to an HTML page that only users which validly have access to the page can get to and that url never changes regardless of which user requested the submission. The preview_url which is in the attachment object associated to the submission however is a relative link to the Crocodoc preview of the file which does change based on the user which is requesting the submission attachment itself.

Let me know if you need more information on this.

Thanks!

Zac Watson

L3 Support Engineer

On the Chat feature what does the new message alerts actually do? I turned it on and it didn't appear to do anything when I had another user post message. 

If you're in the browser, but a different tab, or not in the browser at all, it should ding when a new message comes through!

The new Scheduler Workflow has improved student and teacher Calendar experience at our institution; we've been testing a prerelease version all this semester.  In case you're considering requesting it for your institution, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Be aware of some issues in the current release:

  • When creating an appointment group, selecting specific courses or sections in the Calendar tree can be tricky. Due to unusual alignment of the checkboxes and toggle triangles in the Calendar tree, it can be hard to tell whether you are selecting the courses/sections you intend. (Issue CNVS-35898)
  • When editing an existing appointment group using Group Details, after completing entry of a new timeslot manually, a new row of Date/Start Time/Stop Time blanks will not be generated. Canvas Support's awesome ahernandez‌ found a workaround: Splitting that new timeslot will give you more rows. (Issue CNVS-35997)
  • Last year's fix for https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6014-do-not-allow-students-to-sign-up-in-past-appointments-in-... does not work currently. I'm told that's true in legacy Scheduler as well currently. (Issue CNVS-35537)
  • On 4/3/17 I escalated an issue reported by our students one not seen prior to the current release: After reserving a timeslot, students cannot see the Attendees list when "Allow students to see who was signed up for time slots" is checked in the corresponding appointment group. (Issue number forthcoming)
  • Another new issue was reported on 4/4/17: After reserving a group appointment timeslot, the appointment disappears until the next visit to the Calendar.

All told, Canvas Studio: Scheduler/Calendar Integration‌ was made of win during our pre-release testing.  It's hoped that the bugs listed above can be addressed soon to make the final version as successful as our pre-release had been...

Chat: 

  • Indefinitely scrolling is not a viable way to find a chat for a specific day.  The selecting of a specific day is also needed. 
  • IN K-12 the fact that we cannot stop students from being in the chat without teacher supervision makes this STILL a tool that is great for the HIGHER ED scenario but not for K12.
    • Yes, the teacher WILL see all chats. that is good. But we need the ability for the chat to not be available to the students UNLESS the teacher has the window open too. (The work around is to turn the chat on and off each time the teacher comes to the class, but this is not a failsafe way of managing a chat. 

I agree dianepbh@pps.net‌ with your suggestions for improving the #chat‌ tool. It's a great improvement that teachers can delete posts but providing some way to schedule availability, both by time and by student/group/section. With some adjustments it would make a great tool to track student engagement with a course and even be used for evidence of regular and effective interaction.

Regarding weighted grading periods, I'm having some trouble with this statement in the documentation:

If instructors choose to use weighted assignment groups, separate assignment groups should be created for each grading period in the course. If an assignment group contains assignments that fall into multiple grading periods with different weighted percentages, grades may have unintended consequences, especially in relation to calculating assignment group rules and dropped grades.

I first tried doing this by going to "assignments" and choosing a specific grading period and then tried adding a weighted assignment group to that grading period only.

Selecting a Grading period in "assignments"

This does not work. Once I switch to another Grading Period, the new assignment group I created shows up in it also. There does not appear to be any method of creating a weighted assignment group in one grading period only (as far as I can tell).

I then tried creating separate assignment groups for each grading period, for example:

  • Quarter 3: Tests - 50%
  • Quarter 3: Quizzes - 20%
  • Quarter 3: Homework: 30%
  • Quarter 4: Tests - 50%
  • Quarter 4: Quizzes - 20%
  • Quarter 4: Homework: 30%

The documentation really makes it sound like this is what you are supposed to do, but you end up with assignment groups that add up to 200% of the final grade:

Assignment Groups add up to 200% of the total course grade.

I'm guessing we are supposed to create weighted assignment groups like we normally would. And then Canvas "splits" these groups into each of the grading periods automatically. But that is not what the documentation seems to say. 

I think something may not be working quite right .....

Hi, Kris,

I added clarification in the release notes above. Section limitations can be obtained in discussions and pages by creating that content in course groups.

I've also reached out to our engineering teams to see if we can add clarification in the API documentation as well.

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, dianepbh@pps.net (and professorbeyrer@gmail.com),

Release notes comments are best for noting feedback on specific functionality included in the release. You've listed some great ideas for Chat that would require additional review by our product team. Additional feature enhancements are managed in Canvas Studio, so I'd encourage you to add your thoughts in that space. That way our product team can know why the feature improvement would be important to you, and others can also add their thoughts as well! 

Thank you,

Erin

Hi, Robert,

Your last image suggests that the assignment group display is showing more groups than it should be showing. Since release notes aren't the best venue for troubleshooting, I'd recommend contacting your Customer Success Manager or our Canvas support team. They can more accurately triage what you're seeing and notify our engineering teams if necessary.

Thanks!

Erin

In regards to this part '

Permissions
LTI Add and Edit
Account-level users can access the Apps tab with only the LTI add and edit permission.

 

Explanation: When an account-level user had the LTI add and edit permission but not the Manage Courses or Manage account-level settings permissions, the user was not able to view the Apps tab in Course Settings. Canvas code has been updated to only require the LTI add an edit permission for account-level users to view the Apps tab.'

My faculty can no longer see the Apps tab on their settings page within their courses.  Is there a permission that needs to be set?

Hi, Joni,

I apologize for the delay in responding to your question. Obviously by now this change is in production. We've also updated all our documentation to reflect the behavior change with the participation checkbox. Hopefully you do not see much affect your side, but if you do please let our Canvas support team know and they will be happy to do whatever they can.

Just for clarification, I didn't indicate their was an inherent concern with course imports itself; course imports incorporates course dates primarily because there is no involvement with term dates, but obviously when using course override dates, a course is not supposed to be aligned with term dates anyway. Since some of you may prefer course dates not be added at all, we can certainly review the current behavior and see if we can make any adjustments.

Thanks!

Erin

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