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Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-04-22)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-04-22)

In this production release (April 22), admins can designate specific settings for SIS integrations and enable improved course content tutorials for new instructors. Admins can also view section limitations in the Enrollments SIS Export report.

Users with permissions to manually add users to a course will see a display change to pending enrollments. All users will see a change to the Dashboard view menu.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

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Canvas New Feature Screencast (2017-04-22)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: May 1
  • Production release notes: May 8
  • Production release and documentation: May 13

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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Courses

New Instructor Tutorials

Instructors using Canvas for the first time can use two new tutorial features to become familiar with Canvas and create a module-based course. When enabled for an account, these features apply to newly created courses.

This feature requires the Modules Home Page and New User Tutorial feature options, which apply to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable these feature options in Account Settings.

Enabling this feature currently affects the Dashboard, where all course cards are responsive to the full width of the browser. Depending on a user's browser's resolution, the Dashboard could display more than three course cards in a single row.

New Modules Home Page Default
In new courses, the Course Home Page defaults to the Modules layout. Instructors can still choose any home page for the course, but this change replaces the Recent Activity Stream as the Home page default. The Modules page includes two links to help new instructors either create a new module or add existing content through a course import.

If Modules is set to the Home page but no modules content exists, Canvas will prompt the instructor to either publish a module or choose a different home page layout.

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Course Setup Tutorial

When viewing the main Canvas index pages, instructors can view a course setup tutorial, which shows the purpose of the page and what to do next. This course setup tutorial replaces the existing Course Setup Checklist.

The course setup tutorial is shown to new Canvas instructors in new courses. New instructors are defined as users with instructor roles created in an account after the new tutorial feature has been enabled. The course setup tutorial can be collapsed from view and is persistent across Canvas pages, so if the tutorial is collapsed in one page, it will stay collapsed until expanded again.

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Instructors can end the tutorial series in any page using the End Tutorial button. However, ending the tutorial in one course applies to all other courses. Instructors can view the tutorial in new courses again at any time by accessing their User Settings page and enabling the Course Setup Tutorial user feature option.

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Note: This user feature option only displays for users enrolled as instructors. For instance, a user enrolled as an admin wouldn’t see the feature option unless the user were enrolled in a course with an instructor enrollment.

Admin Feature Option Details
The New Instructor Tutorials features are managed by two separate feature options: Modules Home Page enables Modules as the Home page default, and New User Tutorial enables the course setup tutorial series. Both feature options are intended to be enabled together. Although the Modules Home Page feature option can be enabled on its own, if an admin only wants to enable the New User Tutorial feature option, the Home page tutorial mentions Modules as the default Home page. Therefore, the Modules Home Page feature option should also be enabled to avoid confusion.

User Feature Option & Existing Instructor Access
Once the New User Tutorial feature option is enabled for an account, the Course Setup Tutorial feature option displays in each instructor's User Settings page. Existing instructors can view the tutorials in new courses by enabling this user feature option at any time. User feature options cannot be managed by admins.

  Updated Features

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Dashboard

Dashboard View Menu

To switch between Recent Activity and Course Cards, the Dashboard toggle has been updated to a settings drop-down menu. This change helps clarify Dashboard customization and aligns design consistency throughout Canvas.

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Grades

Weighted Grading Periods Sidebar

When a course includes grading periods, the student Grades sidebar displays assignment groups when an individual grading period is being viewed. However, when grading periods are weighted and the All Grading Periods option is selected, the sidebar displays the weights of each grading period. Like in the grading period set, the total percentage is not displayed.

Weighted grades are also displayed in the Syllabus.

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People

Pending Enrollments View

When a user is manually added to a course, the pending enrollment only shows the name of the user, the user’s section, and role. Once the user accepts the enrollment, the enrollment displays the enrollment information for the user (email address, login ID, or SIS ID). Previously the enrollment information was also displayed in the pending state.

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Reports

SIS Export Enrollments Section Limitation Column

In the SIS Export report, the enrollments.csv file includes the limit_section_privileges column, which shows whether or not the user can only interact with users in the same section.

SIS

SIS Integration Settings

Canvas integrates with a new SIS integration platform that streamlines the SIS experience in Canvas. Institutions can manage SIS validations and assignment sync settings for all subaccounts and courses.

This update applies to student information system (SIS) providers supporting assignment-level grade passback in Canvas. SIS providers must already be integrated with the SIS platform. To enable this feature, or for questions about an SIS provider, admins should contact their Customer Success Manager.

New SIS integration settings apply to any SIS CSV provider supporting assignment-level grade passback, including PowerSchool PowerTeacher Pro and SIS providers compliant with OneRoster v.1.1. These settings could also be used in conjunction with existing Instructure Skyward and PowerSchool (old Gradebook) LTI-based integrations.

For more information about the SIS Integration platform, please see the Canvas Release: SIS Integration Settings document.

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  Other Updates

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Notifications

Student-Performance Texts

Canvas engineering and research teams are collaborating on a new feature designed to help students improve their ability to manage coursework. Students who have opted into receiving text messages may see a new type of notification in the coming weeks. Opting in means that students have provided their phone number as a communication channel in their profile. Students can opt-out of these notifications at any time.

The new text notifications include the following:

  • A reminder to turn in any unsubmitted online assignments that are still available after the due date
  • A reminder to retry a quiz if a quiz contains multiple attempts and the highest score received was less than an A or 95%

These notifications will be sent once daily to students who meet the above criteria. No notification will be sent for assignments with due dates farther in the past than the previous 24 hours, and only one notification will be sent for each assignment. Approximately 0.0001% of active enrollments in Canvas this semester will receive one of these messages.

Text notifications will most likely be changed based on the efficacy data received. Please note that these notifications will not go into effect until the production release and are not available for testing in the beta environment. For additional questions, admins should contact their Customer Success Manager.

  Platform/Integration

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

API

Accounts API

The Accounts API includes the account[sis_account_id] parameter, which allows a user with the Manage SIS permission to set an SIS account ID for a subaccount.

LTI Variable Substitutions

ToolProxyBinding.memberships.url

In the Supported Substitutions section, the ToolProxyBinding.memberships.url variable adds clarification about being for future use only, as complete support for the IMS membership service has not been added to Canvas.

  Fixed Bugs

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Accessibility

Account Settings
In the Admins tab, the close button to remove an admin includes a label for screen readers.

In the External Apps tab, when placements are viewed for an external app, the close button can be read by screen readers.

When the list of external apps is being filtered by the name search, screen readers can identify changes to the search results.

Admin Tools
In the View Notification tab, the user search field includes a Find button. The number of user search results are announced to screen readers.

In the Logging tab, focus is retained in the logging type selected in the drop-down menu. The number of select options also changes after the selection is made.

Assignments
When an assignment includes multiple due dates, the dates tooltip can be viewed by keyboard users as many times as required.

Calendar
When a student is removed from a Scheduler appointment group, the name of the student can be read by screen readers.

The undated Calendar list does not include unnecessary buttons and retains focus on each assignment or event.

Course Settings
In the External Apps tab, the All, Not Installed, or Installed options can be read by screen readers.

In the Navigation tab, the disable/move option for each tab is narrated by screen readers.

Developer Keys
The state of a developer key can be read by screen readers. When the state changes as a developer key is activated or deactivated, the state is announced to screen readers.

Grading
The Grading Periods page buttons display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

In the expand/collapse button for a grading period, the name of the grading period and the button state can be read by screen readers.

Grades
In the student Grades page, the tooltips for the scoring details, rubric, and comment icons do not include assignment title attributes. Additionally, the number of comments for an assignment can be read by screen readers.

What-If Grade fields retain focus when decimal numbers are entered.

When the Revert to this Grade link is selected, the updated grade is announced to screen readers.

In the Gradebook, the Settings icon can be read by screen readers.

In the Message Students Who menu window, when the Enter key is used to select the option to message a user who scored less than or more than a specific number, focus is retained in the selection box.

Modules
The Must View this Page requirement can be read by screen readers. Overdue assignments and links to external sites can also be identified by screen readers.

When an external URL is included as a module item, the external URL includes a H1 heading for screen readers.

Navigation
The collapsed or expanded state of the account, course, and user navigation menus can be read by screen readers. In the Grades page, the label defaults to Show Courses Navigation Menu.

People
The Add People button displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Quizzes
In a question bank, the Unbookmark, Edit, and Delete buttons include the title of the question bank for screen readers.

When an image is included as a quiz answer and is also marked as the correct answer, the alt text is not affected.

Rich Content Editor 
The Equation Editor image alt attribute includes the LaTeX prefix to provide more context for screen readers.

Syllabus
The section labels for due dates display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

When the syllabus edit screen is saved or canceled, focus is retained on the Edit Syllabus button.

Terms
In the term creation page, keyboard focus is ordered correctly.

User Settings 
In the Approved Integrations table, empty table header elements have been changed to table data cells. The cells in the Dates column include a presentation role. The Access Token expiration form identifies when the token expires to screen readers.

Admin Tools

Notifications From Name
In Admin Tools, notifications always display the name of the notification sender.

Explanation: When an admin views notifications for a user, the From field did not display notifications if the notification preference was set as Notify me right away. Canvas code has been updated to include the From name by default.

Assignments
Differentiated Assignments and Large Courses
When assignments are assigned to more than 11 individual students, editing the assignment displays the names of each student.

Explanation: When an assignment was assigned to more than 11 individual students, and one of the students was past the 200th spot in the course roster in the People page, editing the assignment did not display the name of the student. Instead, the assignment displayed the student’s name as Loading. This behavior occurred because Canvas did not preload all student names in the course. Canvas code has been updated to display all student results associated with an assignment ID.

Calendar
Multiple Section Enrollments and Scheduler Appointments
If a user has multiple section enrollments in a course, and one enrollment is removed, existing Scheduler appointments are not removed unless no other section enrollments exist for the user.

Explanation: When a user had multiple section enrollments in a single course, and one of those section enrollments was deleted, the enrollment would also remove existing Scheduler appointments. Canvas code has been updated to retain existing Scheduler appointments unless no other section enrollments exist for the user.

Course Import

Home Page Announcements
When a course is set to display a certain number of announcements in the Course Home Page, the number of announcements is retained in copied courses.

Explanation: When a course was set to display a certain number of announcements in the Course Home Page, and the course was copied to another course, the number of announcements was not retained and only displayed one announcement in the new course. Canvas code has been updated to retain the set number of announcements in course copies.

Course Settings

End Date and Course Restriction Setting

This fix was deployed to the production environment on April 4.

Students with active enrollments in a course can view the course in their Courses list.


Explanation: When a course with a past end date was in an active term, and the Restrict Students from Viewing Course after End Date setting was enabled in the course, the course would not display in the Courses list for students with active enrollments. Canvas code has been updated to only restrict visibility to the course for students with concluded enrollments.

Flickr Image Search Filter
Flickr image searches are restricted to public domain.

Explanation: When an image is added to a course card in the Dashboard, the Flickr image search was not filtering by public domain and did not provide a way to provide attribution for licensed images. Canvas code has been updated to restrict Creative Commons image search results to public domain.

Discussions
Deleted Discussion Entries
The Discussions Search field does not display deleted discussion entries.

Explanation: If a post had been deleted in a discussion and a user searched for an unknown author, the discussion displayed the deleted post. Canvas code has been updated to ignore deleted discussions in the user search.

Grades

Grading Period Due Dates
Assignments with the same due date as a grading period end date display in the Gradebook.

Explanation: When an assignment was created from an assignment group with the same due date as the grading period end date, the assignment did not display in the Gradebook. Canvas code has been updated to support assignments with the same due date as the grading period end date.

Grading Period Total Grade

This fix was deployed to the production environment on April 7.

When an observer views a course that includes grading periods, the Dashboard Grades page displays the total overall grade for the current grading period.

Explanation: When an observer viewed a course that included grading period, the Dashboard Grades page showed the total overall grade for all grading periods instead of the total overall grade for the current grading period. Canvas code has been updated to only show the current grading period.

Individual View and Letter Grades
The Individual View Gradebook displays the correct final letter grade when grading schemes are used in a course.

Explanation: When a Letter Grade grading scheme was enabled in course settings, the final grade showed the lowest letter grade available in the grading scheme. Canvas code has been updated to display the final grade with the appropriate letter grade associated in the grading scheme.

What-If Grades and Decimals
What-If Grades accept decimal values.

Explanation: When a decimal was entered as a What-If Grade, the grade did not display in the grade field. Canvas code has been updated to accept decimal values for What-If Grades.

Notifications

Group Announcements and Instructor Enrollments
Admins do not receive group announcement notifications for courses with rejected instructor enrollments.

Explanation: When an admin with permissions to View the group pages of all student groups and Manage (create / edit / delete) groups rejected an instructor enrollment in a course, the admin still received group announcement notifications. Canvas code has been updated to not send group announcement notifications to admins with rejected instructor enrollments.

Section Limitations
Instructors restricted to their own sections only receive sign-up notifications from students in their own section.

Explanation: When an instructor was restricted to interacting with users in the same section, the instructor was receiving sign-up notification emails from other sections when students signed up for an appointment group. Canvas code has been updated to only send sign-up notifications to the instructor in the same section.

Permissions

LTI Add and Edit

This fix was deployed to the production environment on April 6.

Users with instructor-based roles without the LTI Add and Edit permission can create and change external tool assignments in a course.

Explanation: When a user with an instructor-based role did not have the LTI Add and Edit permission, the user was unable to create or change external tool assignments. Canvas code has been updated to allow users to manage external tool assignments in a course.

Moderated Grading
Moderating Grades requires the Edit Grades and Moderate Grades permissions.

Explanation: When a user with the Moderate Grades permission view the grades moderation page, grades were not displayed in the page even though the Post button was visible. Canvas code has been updated to allow a user to post moderated grades with the Edit Grades and Moderate Grades permissions.

Quizzes
Alt Text and Images
When an image is included as a quiz answer and is also marked as the correct answer, the alt text is not affected.

Explanation: When an image was included as a quiz answer and was also marked as the correct answer, the alt text on the image was overwritten as "This is set to the correct answer". This result revealed the correct answer to students taking the quiz and deleted the original alt text entered by the instructor. Canvas code has been updated so that changing the correct answer does not modify alt text for images. To correct any existing quizzes, instructors can edit the quiz and update the alt text for the correct answer.

Reports
Subaccount Provisioning Report and Course-Level Groups
Subaccount provisioning reports display course groups.

Explanation: In the subaccount provisioning report for groups or group_membership, the report only included account-level groups and not course-level groups. Canvas code has been updated to show course groups for subaccount provisioning reports.

SIS
User Observers CSV
When an observer’s enrollment is deleted from a course, reimporting the user_observers.csv restores deleted enrollments with linked observees.

Explanation: When an active observer's enrollment was deleted from the course and the user_observers.csv was reimported for a linked observer/student pair, the observer was not added back into the course. Canvas code has been updated to restore deleted users when restoring observer enrollments in the CSV file.

Student Context Card
Pending and Inactive Enrollments
Student context cards can load for pending and inactive student enrollments.

Explanation: When a student had a pending or inactive enrollment, the context card never loaded and also could not be closed. Canvas code has been updated to load context cards for pending and inactive enrollments.

Labels (1)
Comments

Wow, there's a TON of great bug fixes in this release! I especially love love love that Flickr searches default to public domain.

I do want to echo the concerns about the tutorials covering the sidebar - the feedback we heard from beta testing was that when you hit "edit" on the syllabus page the tutorial covers the files area in the sidebar so that you won't know how to insert files.

228539_Pasted image at 2017_04_14 03_03 PM.png

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Smiley Happy 

Student-Performance Texts -- 

These intrigue me quite a bit.  Will performance notifications not be available through the mobile app, email, or twitter? Are these only available through text message?

dhulsey@nmjc.edu,

That's the way it reads. One point made last week was that they often do things incrementally, then step back and evaluate how it's working and what needs tweaked, before rolling out the next level. For example, updates to Analytics are coming in a couple of phases.

For those who want a complete package from the beginning, that can be frustrating. From the little programming I do, I know that if I had to wait until I had a complete package ready, it would take forever and might never get released. QuizWiz took 6 months to develop, but I might have been able to get the auto-advance part working in 1 month and then added other features as people said "What if it did this?" Somewhere along the line, I decided that in certain cases, something is better than nothing.

My stats class is doing a project on communication at our school and one group had Canvas. My big take-away was that people just don't know what can be done as many of their "wants" are already possible. But I only had 3 students out of 42 who had entered their phone numbers into Canvas -- but several said they wanted notifications when an assignment was about to come due. Knowing that they could get those notifications if they provided their phone number might encourage more of them to put their numbers in.

Some good stuff in this release, and it makes me sorry I didn't have time to test this stuff in Beta first.

I am very happy about the Modules page becoming the default Home Page. Many of our faculty already use this for their Home Page, and they will be pleased, and the few who still use Recent Activity, might finally be prompted to improve their practice.

I like the idea of tutorials for new instructors, but in light of the comments above, I will want to test this out before making them available.

The Student-Performance Notification Texts are an awesome start to more learning-performance functionality! Hope that longer ranged plans include instructor alerts.

Finally, the accessibility updates are very welcomed!

Kelley

I am very happy about the Modules page becoming the default Home Page.

Ditto to this!!

dhulsey@nmjc.edu‌ so glad you're intrigued!  Ultimately, yes, we'd like to send these sorts of reminders every way we can--push, Notification, text, Twitter, carrier pigeon, etc.  It's important to us to be able to look at efficacy of what we're sending and, today, restricting to text message is the best way for us to do that from a data collection perspective.  

Smiley Happy

Pending Enrollments View

I don’t understand why this was changed. If the purpose is to not show the enrollment information until they accept the course invitation, this doesn’t work right - I can still see enrollment info.

 

When I manually add someone to a course, I see their email, Login ID, and SIS ID on the screen right before I click the “Add Users” button (see image below). I did this in Beta and was logged in as a teacher, not as an admin. Will this Add People screen change too? If so, I don’t see the change in Beta.

Add People screen showing SIS ID

Hi, Sylvia, 

The Add People confirmation change is not affected; it's only when viewing the user as pending in the course roster, as shown in the image in the release notes.

Thanks!

Erin

Thanks erinhallmark‌. But I'm asking what is the logic behind making the change to hide enrollment information on the People screen? The user adding the other user can see the information anyway. Why hide it? Am I missing something?

Hi, Sylvia,

The API that uses that information in the course roster was changed for a security concern; user information was being shown through the API in the pending state, so our engineers had to make that modification. The Add People window doesn't use the same API so it isn't affected.

Hope that helps,

Erin

Thank you for the clear response, Hilary.  Smiley Happy 

Is it possible to customize the New Instructor Tutorial? I could see them as very useful for new faculty orientation to Canvas, however the content that's currently there doesn't fit with our centralized course design model. So we couldn't use this out of the box.

Hello,

I had a couple of questions about the Student-Performance Texts and how students manage them:

  • Will students who add a phone number to their profile receive any notification that adding a phone number constitutes an opt-in to receive texts? 
  • What is the mechanism going to be for students to opt out of the texts? 

The specific questions above are motivated by a general preference that students always have the opportunity to opt in to new communications before receiving any.

Thanks for any insights you can offer.

Hi David, thanks for calling out that opt-in process so we can clarify.    

When students add a phone number as a communication channel in their personal Settings, there's nothing explicit in the UI to say you'll get Notifications as texts.  Canvas does make you enter the code it texts you to authorize the number, but, you're right, it would be much more polite to call that out.  Great feedback for our UI team--I'll pass it on to them.  

In general, students are able to opt out of receiving texts from Canvas by changing their preferences on the Notifications page.  For these student performance texts only, the opt-out will be replying "stop" and each message will include that info.  (Like when the cable company texts me that my bill is ready.)  As we continue to develop this feature, we'll move that opt-out process into the Notifications page to match the other categories of messages.  

Hope that helps, 

Hilary Smiley Happy

Thanks Hilary,

That's exactly the information I was looking for. Much appreciated. Smiley Happy

David

Our institution has a question about the text notifications that I think is answered here, but just wanted to confirm: Users who have their SMS text channel activated for certain notifications are automatically going to get these special notifications and when they reply with "STOP" using their device, it will only opt them out of these two additional rules. Am I correct? In other words, if the users reply with "stop" to any notifications is it going to obliterate their notification channel for all text notifications or just these additional ones in the 4/22 release? 

You're exactly right, Jeffrey.  Replying stop to one of these two new messages won't do anything to your other Notification preferences.  These new ones are different because they don't really fit in any of the buckets we have for categorizing Notifications right now.  We'll use the data we get (from actions students take following a reminder and whether they opt out) to figure out how to make them smart and useful.  

Given that, if we had more of these sorts of helpful messages (i.e., reminder to log into a course, upcoming due dates, etc.), do you have thoughts about what would be most helpful?  For either students or instructors?  I'd love to hear everyone's input (here or feel free to DM me.)

Smiley Happy

For us, it would also be useful to be able to add custom tutorials for course-level LTI integrations.

On our beta environment, the Dashboard occupies the full width of the screen so the course tiles are displayed in five, rather than the three, columns on my HD display. I prefer the new layout but opinion is split in the office. More importantly, I don’t see the change mentioned in the release notes. Has anyone else noticed the change?

Hi Trevor - yes, I have noticed this as well.

Hi, Trevor,

Not mentioned because it wasn't intentional, as far as we know. I'm checking it out.

Thanks!

Erin

Hi, Trevor,

I added a note to the New Instructor Tutorial feature. Looks like this feature is what is affecting the Dashboard, where all course cards are responsive to the full width of the browser. Depending on a user's browser's resolution, the Dashboard could display more than three course cards in a single row. The instructor tutorial feature requires the full width of the browser for the tutorials to function correctly, in a course though we didn't intend for the change to affect the Dashboard. Our engineers will look to see if we can require full width only at the course level, but for now I updated the release notes to indicate the change.

batchetl Thank You

Erin

Hi, everyone,

We've updated the release notes to indicate a change to the student Grades page for weighted grading periods (updated features section). We've also included a few additional fixed bugs.

Thanks,

Erin

Same page on this, can we customise? 

I also love the Modules page becoming the default Home Page. I do have a comment, however, about the new icons on that appear on an empty Module page. The cloud icon that accompanies the Add existing content link suggests that users can drag and drop files here - which is not the functionality. I suggest to the UI team to consider a different icon to accompany this link that actually goes to the Import Content into this Course page.

 Add existing content

Hi, Jayde,

Additional enhancements to Canvas in the future may allow for that functionality, but the feature as currently implemented is not able to be customized.

Thanks!

Erin

Just my two cents on the NEW TUTORIAL... To be frank: they do not look like tutorials. They look like quick "what is this page for" snippets or sales pitches. The name TUTORIAL is misleading. :smileyconfused:

Ditto on the tutorial covering important info. 

I see that the new notification is coming .. but we cannot see it yet, correct? 

Yes... this is what we think as well. The option looks promising. The content is "window dressing" right now. 

Yes, additional notifications would be helpful. Something to consider is if a person has NEVER signed in, right now they get no notifications, correct? 

Also, course level notifications is our team's biggest ask. Global notifications are helpful but being granular about course is a need. 

Some of the standard links in our Start Here Module to Canvas Help topics such as how to set your notification preferences and how to customize your courses list are no longer working. When I click the links, I get an "unauthorized" page. What's going on?

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-1286" title="https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-1286

Hi, Sheree,

For questions or comments about any changes to the Guides space please visit See What’s New in the Canvas Guides 

Thanks!

Erin

Hello everone.

I would like to suggest that production releases be translated into Portuguese and Spanish as well as some manuals are.
Hugs and thank you.

Diego Rocha

Why are changes no longer being pushed through the Beta release notes?  In this release there are two items that were not included in the Beta notes, but yet were put in the prod update.  Were these items ever on Beta before the Prod release this weekend? 

SIS Integration Settings
Weighted Grading Periods Sidebar

The first of these items have left us in a late day scramble to fix our production environment.  Do we need to start diffing the two update docs to figure out what is actually being changed? 

Hi, Andy,

Some features are not available for testing in the beta environment, such as the SIS Integration Settings feature. Therefore we only mention them in the production notes. The Weighted Grading Periods Sidebar change was added to the beta environment right at the same time that production notes were to be published, and if that timing coincides, we generally don't put the feature in the beta notes. Since production notes are published ahead of the actual production release, the majority of features in production notes can still be viewed in the beta environment. The introduction text at the top of the release notes indicate that production notes may include features not mentioned in the beta notes.

We're trying to minimize the number of last-minute changes that we put in production notes, so we do apologize for that. However, we don't generally put in any changes that are going to adversely affect your production environment without warning. The SIS Integration Settings feature is a feature option, so you do not need to enable if you are not ready to do so, and the Weighted Grading Periods Sidebar change was a UI change that our product manager wanted to release to resolve confusion regarding weighted grading periods and assignment groups.

Hope that helps!

Erin

Unfortunately the SIS update is not transparent.  There is a new button shown to users in every quiz.  We have not enabled any of the new SIS features.  

229880_button.PNG

So in this case it did adversely effect us without warning.  This is actually the 2nd release in a row that has caused problems because of unlisted changes being only in production release notes.  In the last update a bug fix broke significant LTI functionality without warning.  

I don't understand why we can't know about changes that can't be tested.  Why aren't they added in as information items in the Beta release notes with a comment that they can't be tested in Beta?  The same goes for bug fixes.  We should know what is going in and be given an opportunity to test.

Hi, Andy,

We apologize about the icon display and a fix will be deployed shortly. If we find behaviors that prove contrary in production, we do our best to correct them as soon as possible. We certainly prefer to release features that are working as intended!

We recognize that the Canvas turnaround time is not always ideal. Our product and engineering teams are continually reviewing their processes for improvement and your feedback is appreciated.

Thanks,

Erin

I appreciate the reply and the planned fix.  I understand Instructure's desire to utilize release notes in the way they are doing so and the need to get updates out quickly to users.  However, the testing you are doing for the items you do not allow us to see is poor.  Both of the two items would have been easily caught by end users if you would have allowed them to see the update on Beta.  I'm struggling to see why we could not be permitted to test either of these updates.  The first for SIS could have been deployed to Beta in a disabled state.  The second for LTI is not a bug fix.  It was a permission change.

In the future there needs to be a better assessment of what can't be put on Beta.  Most of the items in this update were never open for Beta testing.  This included half of the feature updates and none of the dozens of categories in bug fixes.  

We also noticed the sync to SIS icon in front of all of our quizzes this afternoon, but do not recall this being there earlier today or yesterday.  Would appreciate if the CSM's can email and reach out to each institution when the fix is applied.

Apologies for not posting this to the Beta Release Notes page but I just made the discovery and the Beta Release Notes page is locked for commenting since that time has passed. I was not sure where the best place would be to post this so I am starting here, if anyone has other suggestions I am happy to hear them. 

Discovery: In Beta, when masquerading a user, the experience use to mirror that of Production. Enter user's name, click Go and a list of the matches would populate the screen, which is still the case. The difference being as soon as you click on a user. Now, instead of seeing 'Become' you see 'Act as User' and instead of being taken to the page with a yellowish-gold (I understand that is a terrible color description, feel free to correct me on this as well) box where you would click 'Masquerade as user'.

Did I miss the notification of this update? I am kind of curious to know why they made this change. It seems like many of the updates I see coming out are to make things match from one page to another or one instance to another for consistency purposes.

That's great feedback, reedt. You're right -- today "Add existing content" means import content from an external package or a previous Canvas course, but I'm looping in Deactivated user‌ for her consideration.

Hi, Josh,

If you view the beta environment the week after the production release (which is the week we are in right now), you may see some things that are different. We publish beta notes the following Monday (in this case, Monday, May 1). Beta notes indicate the actual changes available in the beta environment; what you see in beta now may be part of those changes, but it's always best to wait until the beta notes are available since beta features are still subject to change.

Thanks,

Erin

Deactivated user‌, James had his students doing surveys and research on "what students want" in terms of communication from the College, including Canvas. Overall the majority seem to want information via text message and in terms of this type of automated text notification, they would REALLY like to know if an assignment due date is coming up and they haven't submitted yet. So maybe if it's 24 hours (or 12 hours) until a due date and the student hasn't submitted the assignment then they get a text notification. This is what they'd really like.

I can see lots of us are interested in customizing the new instructor tutorial - I suggested a minor change as a new idea. Thanks for checking it out! https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8569-customize-new-instructor-tutorial 

That's great feedback, kona@richland.edu‌, thank you!  Validation for one of the options next in line Smiley Happy

Yay!! Seriously, our students would be overjoyed if that got added.

As a side note, this would also be useful twofold:

1. Reduce number of missing assignments. I truly believe texting students about upcoming assignments would encourage (and remind) students who might have forgotten to do their assignments. The only thing would be finding the sweet spot of when is too much time until the assignment is due (so student ignores it because hey, I've still got 24 hours until this is due!) or not enough time (student now doesn't have enough time to get the assignment done).

2. Encourage students to sign-up for text messaging in Canvas. Right now we're looking at really pushing students to sign-up for text messaging, but if we had this carrot to dangle in front of them (that it would alert them to upcoming assignments that were due) I think we could get a lot more to sign-up and then take advantage of other types of notifications (messages, grades, etc). All of which would help encourage students to be more engaged with their courses and coursework! 🙂

I totally agree!  It would be so cool if we not only had those kinds of "nudges," but also if they were smart.  We could end up with messages in the sweet spot that actually impact student success.  Smiley Happy

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