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Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-05-13)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-05-13)

In this production release (May 13), the Dashboard allows users to remove the color overlay from any course cards that include an image. In an individual course page, the page settings menu supports the Use as Front Page option, and the the Google Apps LTI displays embedded Google Slides in presentation mode. At the account level, user page views include API calls from mobile activity. Several improvements have also been made in account-level reports.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

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Canvas New Feature Screencast (2017-05-13)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: May 22
  • Production release notes: May 30 (in observance of Memorial Day in the United States)
  • Production release and documentation: June 3

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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Dashboard

Color Overlay

The Dashboard Settings drop-down menu allows users to switch between two views: Recent Activity and Course Cards. When Course Cards is selected, users also have the option to remove the color overlay from any course cards that include an image. Like all Dashboard options, this feature allows users to view course cards in the Dashboard according to their personal preference. Dashboard features cannot be enabled for an entire institution.


The Course Cards view displays the color overlay option by default. When a user choose to remove the color overlay option, the transparent course color is removed from any course card that contains an image. However, the color of the course card displays as a circle behind the card’s More Options icon.

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Notes:

  • This option only applies to color over course images; it does not apply to the general color of a course card.
  • Adding an image to a course card is a course-level feature option. When available, course images can be added by an instructor in Course Settings.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Remove colour overlay from course cards that have an image

  Updated Features

  BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pages

Front Page Individual Setting

In an individual page, the page settings menu supports the Use as Front Page option. This update allows a front page to be set from any individual page.

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A page can still be set as the front page by opening the Pages Index Page and selecting the page’s settings menu.

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Reports

LTI Report

The LTI report includes a configuration option to include deleted items.

Provisioning

The Provisioning report includes a User Observer CSV file, which exports user observer data. The Users CSV file includes the integration_id and authentication_provider_id fields, and the Courses and Sections CSV files include the integration_id field.

SIS Export

The SIS Export report includes a User Observer CSV file, which exports user observer data. The Users CSV file includes the integration_id and authentication_provider_id fields, and the Courses and Sections CSV files include the integration_id field.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: Report for Observers and who they are Observing

User Access Tokens

The User Access Tokens report includes a configuration option to include deleted items.

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

When an admin ran the User Access Tokens report, the report always included deleted items by default. Canvas code has been updated to include a configuration option for consistency with other reports.

Rich Content Editor

Google Apps LTI Presentation Mode

In the Google Apps LTI, embedded Google Slides presentations are embedded in presentation mode. This update allows students to view embedded presentations as a slideshow. Presentation mode applies to any embedded presentation except when used in Google Docs cloud assignments.

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Full-screen mode is not supported directly within the Rich Content Editor, but students can open the presentation in a new browser window by clicking the Settings menu and selecting the Open Editor option. Presentations are shown with view-only permissions.

Sections

Section End Date and Past Enrollments

In the Courses list, the Past Enrollment section displays courses with section end dates. This change aligns functionality with the end date in Course Settings, which was updated in the April 1 release. Previously, sections with override dates were only considered to be concluded if the end date accompanied the Users can only participate in the course between these dates (or Users participation) checkbox.

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User Participation Checkbox and Favorite Courses
The Users participation checkbox restricts users from participating in the course, such as replying to discussions, submitting assignments, etc. If an instructor is using course or section dates to override term dates and prefers the course be placed in a read-only state after the course or section has ended, the Users participation checkbox should be selected. Otherwise, students can still participate in the course after the course end date.

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Additionally, the Users participation checkbox affects courses that have been marked as a favorite and display in the Dashboard. If a course or section includes an override date and the User participation checkbox is selected, users cannot participate in the course after the end date, and the course will be removed from the Dashboard. However, if the User participation checkbox is not selected, the course will still display in the Dashboard as a favorite course after the end date since the course still allows participation.

Users

Page View Mobile Activity

At the account level, user page views include API calls from mobile activity. This change helps admins see user course participation in mobile devices.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/2005-include-mobile-app-page-views-in-page-views-on-user-accou... 

  Platform/Integration

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

API

Users API

As part of listing users in an account, the search_term parameter supports searches by login ID.

Source Code-16.png Canvas open source contributions: Users API search term - search on login_id

  Fixed Bugs

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Accessibility
Account Settings
In the Help menu, the Add Link button is accessible to screen readers.

Admin Tools
Course search results are announced to screen readers.

Assignments
In the MasteryPaths assignment sidebar, the number of student results for a range and the View Range Student Details link can be read to screen readers. Additionally, focus is only retained in the sidebar when the sidebar is viewed.

In the MasteryPaths student details sidebar, the Send Message and View Submission links do not have redundant title text.

The Moderate Grades page functions as a table and identifies row and column data for screen readers and keyboard users.

Authentication
If an authentication method does not include federated attributes, table headers are not shown to screen readers.

The SSO Settings section includes descriptive text for screen readers.

The Current Provider section identifies forms and labels with unique IDs for screen readers. When the Just in Time Provisioning checkbox is selected, the Provisioning Only information icon can be accessed by keyboard users.

Calendar
In an appointment group, the Remove Student link can be accessed by keyboard users and read by screen readers.

New Instructor Tutorial
In an expanded tutorial window, focus is retained on the Collapse icon.

Account Navigation
SIS Import Link

When the SIS Import link is selected in Account Navigation, the SIS Import link displays the active theme color.

Explanation: When SIS Imports were enabled for an account, and the SIS Import link was selected in Account Navigation, the link did not display the active theme color. Canvas code has been updated to include the active theme color in the SIS Import link.

Authentication
Custom Login Label and User Email Addresses

When an authentication method includes a custom login label, new users created in the Canvas interface are created with both an added user ID and email address.

Explanation: When a custom login label was added for an authentication method, and a new user was added in the Canvas interface with a user ID and email address, the email address was not retained as part of the user’s information. This behavior also occurred when a custom login label was added in Account Settings. Canvas code has been updated to include an email address with the user’s login ID.

Calendar
Scheduler and Long Course Names
When a new appointment group is created in the Scheduler, courses with long names are truncated in the Courses drop-down menu.

Explanation: When a new appointment group was created in the Scheduler, courses with long names were misaligned in the drop-down menu. This behavior only affected institutions that had enabled the new Scheduler feature option. Canvas code has been updated to truncate courses with long names.

Conversations
Muted Assignments and Submission Comments
In the Submission Comments filter, comments for muted assignments display immediately after the assignment has been unmuted.

Explanation: When a muted assignment included submission comments, and the assignment was unmuted, all existing comments did not display in the Submission Comments filter until after a new comment was added to the submission. Canvas code has been updated to update and display all submission comments after the assignment has been unmuted.

Course Import

Blackboard and Question Bank Images
In Blackboard imports, Canvas restores images included in a previously deleted question bank.

Explanation: When a Blackboard file with images in a question bank was imported into a course, and the question bank was later deleted, re-importing the same file broke the images in the restored question bank. Canvas code has been updated to restore associated images in previously deleted question banks.

MasteryPaths Pages
MasteryPaths pages associated with an assignment are retained in selective content course imports.

Explanation: When a MasteryPaths assignment was associated with page content, and the course was copied by importing selective course Modules, the page was imported with the course but was no longer associated with the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to associate conditional page content with MasteryPaths assignments.

Dashboard
Ungraded Surveys and To Do List
Students who have been assigned an ungraded survey can view the ungraded survey in the To Do list.

Explanation: When an ungraded survey was assigned to an individual student, students not assigned to the ungraded survey were able to view a To Do item for the ungraded survey. Canvas code has been updated to not display ungraded survey notifications for students who have not been assigned the ungraded survey.

Grades
Weighted Grading Periods and Current Grade
Empty weighted grading periods are excluded from current grade calculations.

Explanation: When an institution weighted multiple grading periods and a grading period did not yet include any assignment grades, any empty weighted grading periods were being calculated as part of the current grade calculation. Canvas code has been updated to exclude empty grading periods from current grade calculations.

Notifications

All Submissions Notification
The All Submissions notification generates one notification for each student assignment submission.

Explanation: When an instructor enabled the All Submissions notification and a student submitted an assignment, the instructor received duplicate notifications. Canvas code has been updated to only send one assignment submission notification.

Membership Update Notification
The Membership Update notification generates a notification for accepted student, TA, and designer course enrollments.

Explanation: When an instructor enabled the Membership Update notification and a student, TA, or designer accepted a manually created enrollment invitation, the instructor did not receive a notification about the accepted enrollment. This behavior only affected users added manually to a course with a student, TA, or designer role. Canvas code has been updated to send accepted enrollment invitations to instructors.

SMS Communication Channel Confirmation
When a user selects the Resend Confirmation Code button for an SMS communication channel, the user receives one confirmation message.

Explanation: When a user selected the Resend Confirmation Code button for an SMS communication channel, the user received two confirmation messages. Canvas code has been updated to only send one confirmation each time the Resend button is selected.

People
Concluded Enrollments and User Details Page

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

Users with permission to add/remove students in a course can view the user’s details page for a concluded enrollment.

Explanation: When a user with permission to add/remove students in a course opened the concluded enrollments page and clicked the name of a student, the user was directed back to the People page and viewed an error message that the user did not exist or was not a member of the course. This behavior affected users from restoring prior enrollments manually through the Canvas interface. Canvas code has been updated to display the user details page for concluded enrollments.

Permissions
LTI Add and Edit
Instructor-based roles without the LTI Add and Edit permission can view the Apps tab in Course Settings.

Explanation: When an instructor-based role without the LTI Add and Edit permission tried to view external apps in a course, the Apps tab did not display in Course Settings. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructor-based roles to view the Apps tab. These user roles cannot manually add LTI tools, but they can install any approved apps available in the Canvas App Center.

Reports
User Access Tokens Deleted Items
The User Access Tokens report includes a configuration option to include deleted items.

Explanation: When an admin ran the User Access Tokens report, the report always included deleted items by default. Canvas code has been updated to include a configuration option for consistency with other reports.

Rich Content Editor
Content Image Links
The Rich Content Editor supports content links in images.

Explanation: When a user embedded an image in the Rich Content Editor, clicked the Pages link in the content selector, and tried to insert a content link, the image did not retain the link. Canvas code has been updated to support content links in images.

Sections
Users Participation Checkbox Consistency
When dates are added to a section and the Users can only participate between these dates checkbox is selected, the text displayed under the dates in the section page is the same as shown in the checkbox.

Explanation: When dates were added to a section and the Users can only participate between these dates checkbox was selected, the text displayed under the dates in the section page inaccurately read as Users can only access the course between these dates. Canvas code has been updated to change the users date text for consistency.

Theme Editor
Logout Page Button Color
The Logout button in the Canvas logout page displays the same color set for the Login Link customization in the Theme Editor.

Explanation: In the Canvas logout page, the logout button text was inheriting its color from the button color, which sometimes caused the text for the button to be hidden. Canvas code has been updated to use the login link color for the Logout button color. The logout page only applies to institutions using an authentication provider without single sign-out functionality. Otherwise, when a user clicks the Canvas Logout button, Canvas will log out the user through their authentication server and bypasses the logout page.

Labels (1)
Comments

Still think that the COVER OVERLAY should be defaulted to OFF. More users are going to find that not having the overlay is a great improvements, so rather than have most users have to change to OFF, why not have the turned off and then the user can turn it back on? 

That said, love this improvement!

I created a feature request to be able to set a default behavior for the overlay at the account level, please vote for it!

For the Users can only participate in the course between these dates (or Users participation) checkbox, does this also affect Future Enrollments? For example, if this checkbox is enabled, are students unable to add Future Enrollments to their Dashboard?

We have had a couple students recently contact us about being unable to add published courses to their Dashboard (and they were future enrollments). We were curious if perhaps when they first attempted to do this the course was actually unpublished and by the time they contacted us the instructor had published the course. However, we have not yet received a confirmation from those students if that was the case. 

In the past, I believe that students have been able to add future enrollment courses to their Dashboard as long as it was published. Our office just wanted to check if this behavior was still the same. 

"However, if the User participation checkbox is not selected, the course will still display in the Dashboard as a favorite course after the end date since the course still allows participation."

 

I think that statement needs further refinement.  I believe it's true if the term has no dates, or the term end date is after the course end date.  If the term end date is before the course end date, then it's a whole different scenario (I believe).  It would also depend on the "Restrict students from accessing courses after end date" setting.

I'm fairly sure if the override box is enabled, a course can't be favorited until the start date.  This might be affected by the "Restrict students from accessing courses before start date" setting though, which we have enabled and locked for our account. 

We have that setting enabled at our institution as well. We did some testing this morning and it looks like students can't add future enrollments to their Dashboards before the semester starts with these settings enabled. I'm not sure if it was always this way or not, but we can at least inform those students that this is intended behavior. 

Best part of this update is the Permission fix for LTI Add and Edit.  Now i can finally remove this permission and still let users add apps via the App center.  Reducing rogue LTI tools from being installed in our Canvas instance will be much easier now that this is fixed.

+1 for your idea chriscas‌, hopefully it will get enough traction to switch the default behavior for the course card overlays.  Now if we could just get the option to add alt text to the course card images...

We here at PSU completely agree.  We appreciate the fix, but have concerns that the underlying reasons for the bad update have not been addressed.

I'd also like to point out that this is already on Beta.  However, it is not in the beta release notes.  It has been on beta before the beta release notes were released.  So I'll ask again...  Why was this item not in the beta release notes because it seems to me that it can be tested?

Regarding the course card changes: it looks like the color overlay selected for the cards carries through to both the title of the course and the background circle behind the three dots that make up the new icon for the course card options menu. This could potentially create some problems for accessibility and readability if a user selects a color that does not have enough contrast (or has no contrast) with the white background of the card. The problem gets compounded if a user enters the hex code to change the color overlay to white, as the course card options icon then blends into the course card. The button is still there and can be clicked on, but it could appear to a user that the button is gone and the course card can no longer be edited. I just wanted to share these as potential usability problems with the new functionality.

233360_courseCards.PNG 

chriscas‌,

We are having similar issues.  What we have seen in testing is that if an instructor chooses a course end date, past a term end date, and they use the Participation checkbox, this will override the term dates and allow participation through the course end date.  In other words, if my term ends on 4/30, but an instructor extends a course through 5/13, the course will be open and available through 5/13.  The term dates do not override the course dates.  

This can prove problematic at our institution.  Is anyone else seeing the same thing?

Regards, 

Jason Schaffer 

Hi jschaffer‌,

Yes, that's the intended functionality of the override checkbox, but I agree it's very problematic for us as well (we don't want faculty overriding our official term dates.  I have a feature idea (https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8338-permissions-for-course-date-settings ) to have those settings controlled by a permission, but it hasn't gotten a ton of votes yet.  As a temporary workaround, we've been using some global javascript to disable the date and override boxes, but I think Instructure really needs to address it on their end, since javascript isn't always 100% reliable, and we don't want to have to maintain it ourselves.

Hey chriscas‌,

It just got my vote.  

Hi, David,

The Dashboard experience is based on personal preference so users can add a preferred hex value, but this new option to let users remove the cover overlay should negate having to use a lighter colorWhite (or variations of white) shouldn't be allowed as a hex value at all, so if you're able to replicate a white hex value, please let our support team know. 

Erin

Hi, Andy,

Beta and production notes have separate purposes. The purpose of beta notes is to highlight new and updated features available in the beta environment. The purpose of the production notes is to indicate all changes coming to the production environment, which includes fixed bugs. Ultimately, since production notes are published before the actual production release, fixed bugs also apply to the beta environment and can be tested there as well if you'd like.

Thanks,

Erin

Canvas Admin and Teacher settings to enable student access and participation based on account/term/section/course start and end dates provides flexibility but facilitates errors that can result in confusion and in some instances unexpected course participation after they were supposed to have ended.  It would help if Instructure could document (and update when changes are made) different scenarios for students using a visual table format including what courses are favorited and included in past, current, and future enrollments. For example, the April 1 release made a significant change in how course start and end dates affected default term dates but could have easily been missed. The Starts and Ends dialog box was and still is confusing. 

Hi, Joe,

Our Canvas Beta Release Notes (2017-05-01) included a pretty extensive dialog related to scenarios; we are working on a project with support to verify all behaviors and will update our documentation as soon as we can with any clarifications.

Thanks!

Erin

Hi, everyone,

In the Updated Features section for this release, we've added an update for the Rich Content Editor related to the Google Apps LTI and embedded Google Slides. 

Thanks,

Erin

Hi Erin,

I read the notes but am still trying to interpret "However, if the User participation checkbox is not selected, the course will still display in the Dashboard as a favorite course after the end date since the course still allows participation."  Below is a scenario. Can you explain why students cannot see the course? I also have created other scenarios on this page: https://goo.gl/HGQodh . In our instance course dates are pushed out as part of SIS real-time integration. They are different from the Term dates. In the past Term dates ignored these dates so we did not have to worry much about instructor intervention. 

Restrict view = Restrict Students from viewing course

COURSE END DATE AFTER TERM END DATE 

Scenario 1

  • In course settings - restrict view start and end dates checked
  • The Winter term end date is April 30, 2017
  • The course end date is May 31, 2017
  • Participate box is unchecked
  • Course end date does not override the term date per the change as described in Canvas April 1 release notes. 
  • Students cannot see the course at all (no past enrollment)

TERM END DATE AFTER COURSE END DATE 

Scenario 1

  • In course settings - restrict view start and end dates checked
  • The Test term end date is May 31, 2017
  • The course end date is May 8, 2017
  • Course end date does override the term date and puts into Past Enrollment
  • Participate box is unchecked
  • Students can see the course in Past Enrollments and it is favorited. They can participate in the course.

Embedding for Google Slideshows. Still waiting for embedding for Microsoft PowerPoint....

But I want black dots in a white circle.   Just kidding. ;o)

We're seeing a problem when users attempt to edit Pages using Safari for the Mac. The UI never switches out of HTML. Anyone else?

Funny you should say this but struggling with editing pages in Google Chrome and Windows10. Eventually switches out of HTML for editing but takes a while...

Hi, Rob,

Safari just had an update that may be causing that behavior and our QA team may not yet be aware. But whether or not you've updated Safari, support tickets are always the best course of action so we can investigate for you. Thanks!

Erin

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-7905-erin-hallmark?sr=search&searchId=13253cb8-82e9-42bf-8f...‌: I am sorry to post this here as I am not sure otherwise. Is it possible to leave comments open until next upgrade? My institution is on a different upgrade schedule and we are unable to comment on the release notes as it becomes closed by the time it we get to it.  Thanks

Hi, Keroleen,

We recognize that not every institution updates content with regular Canvas releases, most specifically if you are hosting your own version of Canvas. We want to make sure all comments remain timely and matched with a release to help our product managers keep track of suggestions for changes to product features, which is why we close comments after each new release notes document. But if your institution isn't going to update your version of Canvas for a few weeks, that's okay! Being behind a release or two is not a bad thing as sometimes our product managers make adjustments to the same feature multiple releases in a row. So by the time your institution has adapted the feature, it may be better than it would have been originally. Smiley Happy 

Release notes comments are just one way to send feedback back to us and are best for general comments. If your feedback is related to a feature enhancement, you can suggest ideas in Canvas Studio at any time (and perhaps an idea will have already been created where you can add your comments as well). If you find a feature that doesn't seem to be functioning correctly, support cases are the best plan of action. And if neither of those options help address your concerns, you can always talk to your fantastic Customer Success Manager.

Hope that helps!

Erin

Hi, Joe,

I apologize for the delay in responding to your questions. The reference to the user participation checkbox as noted in the April 1 release was pretty general in its basic sense, and I realize that information wasn't as clear as it could have been, given the varying scenarios that revolve around course dates. In its simplicity, putting an end date in Course Settings moves the course to the Past Enrollments list when the course end date is before the term date, which is noted more specifically in your second scenario. Additionally, the reference also suggests that users still have the course set as a favorite on the Dashboard, though some users may choose to remove the course as a favorite. The change noted in the April 1 release mostly affected institutions that don't use term dates, so if you do use term dates, you've noticed that the situation is slightly different depending on how your term dates are set up.

Answers to your scenario questions:

1. The course date is past the term date, but Canvas won't enforce the course date as the end date because the checkbox isn't selected. Therefore, Canvas sets the course in a read-only state and removes the course from the Dashboard. In contrast, if the checkbox was selected, users could still participate in the course until May 31.

2. The course date ends before the term date, but Canvas hasn't enforced the course date as the end date because the checkbox isn't selected. Therefore, Canvas is still using the term date as the course end date (May 31) and considers the course to be active (even though having an end date in Course Settings has moved the course to the Past Enrollments list). Students can participate in the course until May 31, and since students cannot view the course after the course end date, May 31 is also the date that the course will be removed from being available in the Past Enrollments list. In contrast, if the checkbox was selected, Canvas would use May 8 as the course end date.

Also, Support and I have been working on a new matrix that clarifies behaviors with various scenarios and we'll get that posted in the Guides space soon.

Hope that helps!

Erin

Hi, all,

Beta notes for the upcoming release have been posted and can be viewed here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-11155 

Thanks!

Erin

Hi, all,

We inadvertently left out a change to page views as an updated feature. At the account level, user page views include API calls from mobile activity. If you're an admin, you can view mobile activity more accurately in a user's page views page. However, page views are not retroactive; you'll only see mobile activity since the May 13 release.

Thanks,

Erin

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