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Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-01-06)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-01-06)

In this production release (January 6), institutions using the New Gradebook can apply late and missing policies to course assignments, and submissions that need to be graded only display one assignment icon regardless of assignment type. Additionally, instructors can enable the New Gradebook on a per-course basis if the feature option is allowed for their account. Previously the New Gradebook could only be enabled on a per-course basis by a Canvas admin.

When a submission is graded in SpeedGrader, rubrics support excess points above the maximum point value for each criterion.

In the Rich Content Editor, the Accessibility Checker includes a minor design update and a new content contrast rule. The Rich Content Editor Whitelist supports the Audio Controls element, and the Content Selector Images tab includes an alt text field and decorative image checkbox when uploading new images to course files.

The student Grades page menus have been updated for improved accessibility, and concluded courses display in the Courses menu as long as the course has not been restricted from being viewed after the course end date.

Various updates have been made to APIs and other integration documentation. Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

This release involves API and login path attributes that have been deprecated and require user attention.

Features are subject to change throughout the release based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.

watch-screencast-red.png

Canvas New Feature Screencast (2018-01-06)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: January 15
  • Production release notes: January 22
  • Production release and documentation: January 27

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.

The Canvas product team welcomes feedback according to Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines. Release notes comments are subject to release notes comment policies.

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

Flash Content Reminder: Canvas displays Flash content as supported within major browsers. Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox default to HTML5 as the preferred method for displaying website content, which promotes a faster, more secure browsing experience. These browsers will eventually block all Flash content. For best performance in Canvas, course content should be designed to support HTML5. Any affected content can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser. Using the camera and microphone to record media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers.

Advanced CSS and JavaScript users: Canvas releases may include undocumented changes that affect styles and code in custom applications. Please make sure to view your Beta environment for any customization conflicts.

        

  New Features

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New Gradebook

These updates apply to institutions using the New Gradebook feature. Canvas admins can allow this feature option in Account Settings.

Please be aware of a change to the New Gradebook feature option as noted in the Feature Option Change section.

For more information about the New Gradebook, please see the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/focus-group-gradebook?sr=search&searchId=8322fe3d-b3e6-4184-9...‌.

Late Policies

For full details and scenarios regarding Late Policies, please see the Late Policies FAQ in the New Gradebook Users Group.

The New Gradebook supports late policies, which allows instructors to automatically apply grading rules for late and missing submissions in their courses. This feature improves the Late and Missing functionality introduced in previous releases and helps instructors establish and manage policies related to each status. Late policies can be noted to students through the course syllabus.

In the New Gradebook, submissions are automatically labeled as missing if they are never submitted by the student; submissions submitted after the due date are labeled as late. On-paper (in-class) assignments are not automatically included in Late Policies as they do not include online submissions that can be calculated by Canvas and must be managed individually by the instructor.

Late and Missing assignment statistics are also shown in the Student Context Card feature (if enabled).

Late Policies can be specified in the New Gradebook Settings window. Late Policies only apply to the course where they are configured; they do not apply to any other course.

New Gradebook Settings Menu and Late Policies Option

Missing Submissions

The Missing submissions policy allows instructors to apply an automatic grade to missing submissions. Grades are noted as a percentage of the total points possible and must be entered as a number. For instance, if an instructor set the missing submission grade at 20% and an assignment is worth 10 points, all missing submissions for the assignment are awarded a grade of 2 points (10 x 20%).

If an instructor wants to award all missing submissions with a grade of 0, the Missing submission grade can be set to 0%.

New Gradebook option to add a missing submission grade

When a submission applies to a missing policy, both the Gradebook and the Grade Detail Tray display the given grade. Instructors can change the grade at any time by applying a new grade in the Grade field. Once a grade has been manually assigned, the Missing submission policy will no longer apply.

New Gradebook Grade Detail Tray shows missing policy percentage applied to assignment

Students can view the adjusted grade for the Missing submission policy in the student Grades page, along with the Missing label. However, as the Missing submission policy only applies grades for students, the policy itself does not display to students.

Late Submissions

The Late submissions policy allows instructors to apply an automatic deduction to the grade in a late submission. Grade deductions as noted as a percentage of the total points possible and must be entered as a number. Additionally, deductions are applied to a specific time interval—day or hour—that the submission is late. For instance, an instructor grades an assignment worth 10 points and awards the full 10 points. If the late policy is set to deduct the grade 10% each day the assignment was late, and the assignment was 1 day late, the student’s 10 points would be deducted 1 point for a grade of 9 points.

Instructors can also set a percentage as the lowest possible grade a student can receive for the assignment. If the same assignment included a lowest possible grade of 60% and was submitted 8 days late, the late policy would deduct 8 points (1 point each day) for a grade of 2 points. The lowest possible percentage, however, notes the lowest point value as 6 points (10 x 60%), so the final grade for the student’s submission would be 6 points instead of 2 points.

New Gradebook allows deducting a percentage from a grade for each day or hour the submission is late

When a submission applies to a late policy, the Gradebook displays the final grade. However, the Grade Detail Tray displays the value deducted from the student’s grade according to the selected interval.

The late policy interval can be adjusted manually in the Grade Detail Tray if needed (number of days/hours late). For instance, an instructor grades a on-paper assignment worth 10 points and awards the full 10 points. If the student submitted the assignment 1 day late, the Late label could be set and the interval changed from 0 to 1, and the Late policy would adjust the grade accordingly.

New Gradebook Grade Detail Tray displays the deduction applied to any late assignments using the late policy

Students can also view the adjusted grade in the student Grades page, along with the Late label. The late deduction is displayed in the grading details.

Student view of seeing the late penalty applied to the submission details in the Grades page

Policy Adjustments

Late and Missing policies should be set before grading submissions. Changing the Late policy will affect all submissions that have already been graded. The Missing submission policy can be changed at any time but still applies to all missing submissions.

For full details and scenarios regarding Late Policies, please see the Late Policies FAQ in the New Gradebook Users Group.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1054-deduct-x-or-x-points-per-day-for-each-day-an-assignment-s...https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1530-automatic-zero-in-gradebook-after-a-date" modifiedtitle="...https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/2578-missing-assignment-tag-in-gradebook" modifiedtitle="true"...https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9549-instructor-override-of-missing-submission-badge  

 

Feature Option Change

When an admin allows the New Gradebook at the account level, instructors can individually enable the New Gradebook at the course level. Previously admins had to enable the New Gradebook in each course.

This feature option change should be used with caution. Previous to this release, admins who had enabled the New Gradebook in a course could disable the New Gradebook for an instructor at any time. However, with this release, instructors can enable the New Gradebook on their own, and the New Gradebook cannot be disabled by any user when one or both of the following features are applied:

  • Manually adjust a submission status to none, late, missing, or excused
  • Enable late or missing policies in the Settings menu

The above features are not compatible with the current Gradebook, so enabling their functionality will prevent an instructor from returning to the current Gradebook.

In affected courses, the course-level feature option may take up to 1 hour to display the status change.

Grading Icon Update

When an assignment needs to be graded, the New Gradebook only displays one assignment icon regardless of assignment type. Each submission type uses the same logic to show a submission icon, and this change helps simplify the various items presented in the New Gradebook.

  • A submission is noted as needing to be graded in the following conditions:
  • A submission has been received but has not been graded
  • A submission was graded but the grade was removed by the instructor
  • A submission was resubmitted

New Gradebook with new consistent icon indicating assignments that need grading

  Updated Features

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Grades

Grades Page Menu Update

The student Grades page menus have been updated for improved accessibility.

For courses associated with a grading period, the Grading Period menu displays first and includes a menu heading. Previously the menu was always at the top of the page and did not contain a heading.

The Course menu allows students to view any of their other courses, both active and concluded. Previously the menu only displayed active courses. Concluded courses display unless the students have been restricted from viewing the course after the course end date.

The page also includes an Apply button, which must be clicked to generate content selected within each menu. Previously the page reloaded immediately once a menu was selected.

If a menu or the Apply button is grayed out, the menu content already matches the selected content loaded in the page.

All menus and the Apply button are responsive to browser window size, so the placement of menus may vary.

Student Grades page menu adjustments with menu headings and the Apply button

Rich Content Editor

Accessibility Checker Content Contrast Rule

The Accessibility Checker verifies content color contrast without having to enable High Contrast Styles. Both linked and non-linked content validate with a contrast of higher than 4.5:1.

Please note that High Contrast Styles must still be enabled for verification if a user overrides a link color in the Rich Content Editor.

Note: Canvas engineers are currently investigating behavior where a link with a contrast issue displays as two issues.

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/10083-high-contrast-toggle 

Accessibility Checker Design Adjustments

The Accessibility Checker sidebar includes minor design adjustments, which are already available in the production environment. These adjustments include placement of the Next and Previous issue buttons and the Help icon that provides clarification about each issue.

The Accessibility Checker includes adjustments to the placement of several items in the sidebar

 

Audio Controls Whitelist

The Rich Content Editor supports the Controls attribute for audio HTML tags.

Content Selector Images Alt Text Field

In the Content Selector, when a user opens the Images tab and selects an image to upload, the sidebar displays a text field to add alternative text for the image.

The image can also be specified as a decorative image, which does not require alternative text. If the Decorative Image checkbox is selected, the alternative text field is grayed out.

The Content Sidebar in the Rich Content Editor supports adding alternative text after selecting an image file for upload or marking the image as decorative

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/5912-images-easier-way-to-add-alt-text" modifiedtitle="true" t...https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9138-alt-text-decorative-image-option-in-rich-content-editor 

SpeedGrader

Excess Rubric Criterion Points

When an instructor grades a submission in SpeedGrader and uses a rubric for grading, the rubric supports excess points above the maximum point value for each criterion. This change allows instructors to provide extra credit through rubric criteria and aligns consistency with other Canvas features that support additional point values.

Rubrics being used in SpeedGrader for grading support additional points for a maximum criterion value

  Platform/Integration

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

Login

Canvas Login Path POST Requests

This change involves a deprecation that requires user attention and was previously announced in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13790 

The /login path will stop accepting direct POST requests. Any custom LDAP forms should be updated to avoid using this path. This behavior only affects institutions with a login form on a non-Canvas page making a POST request for a user’s username and password.

For institutions not using Canvas authentication, posting to /login/canvas will not be valid if Canvas authentication is disabled. The URL endpoint must be updated for the authentication type:

  • LDAP: POST to /login/ldap
  • SAML: POST to /login/saml

LTI Standards

lis_result_sourcedid

This feature requires the Encrypted Sourcedids for Basic Outcomes feature option, which applies to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

The lis_result_sourcedid LTI parameter can be encrypted through an account-level feature option. This parameter is used in grade passback integrations and historically includes a combination of known information such as course id, tool id, and assignment id.

When the feature option is enabled, an opaque ID will be sent for the lis_result_sourcedid passed during assignment launches. LTI tools currently parsing the lis_result_sourcedid will be impacted; although the ID is still required for grade passback, the ID will no longer include identifiable information.

LTI Variable Substitutions

Canvas.term.name and Person.name.display

LTI Variable Substitutions includes the following substitution variables:

  • Canvas.term.name returns the current course’s term name
  • Person.name.display returns the display name of the launching user—only available when launched by a logged-in user

Users API

sis_login_id

This change involves a deprecation that requires user attention and was previously announced in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13790 

The deprecated sis_login_id attribute in the Users API will be removed from Canvas. Any applications using the sis_login_id attribute should replace the deprecated attribute with the login_id attribute.

  Fixed Bugs

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Accessibility

Assignments

When a student is added to an assignment, any date errors are read by screen readers. Focus is retained in the first error date field.

Conversations

When a keyboard user selects a checkbox next to a conversation thread, focus is retained in the checkbox. Additionally, keyboard navigation through a conversation does not change the placement of the star icon if the conversation is already starred.

Focus indicators are included in read/unread icons, starred icons, and the Send Individual Messages checkbox.

Courses

In the Blueprint Course sidebar, focus is retained within each checkbox option for screen readers.

Dashboard

For each item in Recent Activity, the Close icon includes the name of the closed recent activity item for screen readers.

API

Users API

The Users API returns correct grades when API calls include the including[]=enrollments parameter.

Explanation: When a user included the including[]=enrollments parameter in the Users API, the grade data was incorrect when multiple assignment groups were included in a course with different assignment grades because the group grade was returned instead. Canvas code has been updated to return the course grade instead of the assignment group grade.

Assignments

Student Assignment Page and Responsive Assignment Header

When a student views an assignment, the assignment header includes a responsive design layout.

Explanation: When a user created an assignment with a long title, and a student viewed the assignment, the assignment header did not wrap the title correctly around the Submit button. Canvas code has been updated to support a responsive design layout for assignment headings.

Calendar

Recurring Event Limit

For accounts that have enabled the Recurring Calendar Event feature option, the Calendar supports up to 200 occurrences for an individual recurring calendar event and displays an error when the occurrence limit has been reached.

Explanation: When a user created a recurring calendar event and tried to add more than 100 occurrences of the event, the Calendar generated a silent error and did not save the recurring event. Canvas code has been updated to display an error when the occurrence limit has been reached. Additionally, the supported number of occurrences for an individual recurring calendar event has been increased to 200. All occurrences for a recurring calendar event are still generated as individual events, and changing one event does not affect any other event.

Conversations

Multiple Conversations and Additional Whitespace

Multiple conversations do not generate additional whitespace at the bottom of the page.

Explanation: When a user received multiple conversations, the Conversations page generated additional whitespace at the bottom of the page for each conversation thread. Canvas code has been updated to prevent additional whitespace from being added to the Conversations page.

Courses

Blueprint Sync and Course Front Page

In a Blueprint sync, the Front Page setting is included when the Course Home Page is set to the Front Page.

Explanation: When a user updated a Blueprint course with a new Front Page and set the Course Home Page as the Front Page, the Front Page was only synced to associated courses if the associated courses also included a change to the Course Home Page. Canvas code has been updated to sync the Blueprint course Front Page to associated courses.

Files

Graded Discussion Attachments

Graded Discussion attachments are located in a student’s Submissions folder.

Explanation: When a student submitted an attachment as part of a graded discussion, the attachment file was placed in the student’s Unfiled folder. The file did not indicate that the file could not be deleted until the student tried to delete the file. Canvas code has been updated to move attachments in graded discussions to the Submissions folder.

Gradebook

Differentiated Assignments and Grading Access

Removing a student from a differentiated assignment does not affect grading for other students in the assignment.

Explanation: When an assignment was differentiated for several students, and one of the students was removed from the assignment, the assignment was not able to be graded for the other students in the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to correct caching for differentiated assignments in the Gradebook and allow existing student assignments to be graded.

Gradebook Exports and Concluded Group Enrollments

Concluding a member of a group does not affect Gradebook exports.

Explanation: When the Gradebook included a group submission, and a member of that group was concluded in the course, the Gradebook export generated an error message. Canvas code has been updated to manage submissions for concluded enrollments in the Gradebook and not affect Gradebook exports.

Groups

Concluded Group Enrollments

Group memberships do not persist for concluded courses.

Explanation: When a course was concluded and users did not have access to the course, any groups in the course were not concluded and allowed student access. Canvas code has been updated to conclude group enrollments when their associated courses are concluded.

LTI

EduAppCenter API Whitelist Token

The Account Settings Apps tab saves EduAppCenter whitelist API token.

Explanation: When an admin created a whitelist in the EduAppCenter and created an API token, the Account Settings Apps tab did not save the API token. Canvas code has been updated to save API whitelist tokens in the Apps tab.

Modules

Move To Module Error

The Move To Menu moves module items successfully to another module.

Explanation: When the Move To Menu was used to move a module item to another module, the menu generated an error if the module item was being moved into a module with deleted items. Canvas code has been updated to allow module items to be moved into modules with deleted items.

New Gradebook

Manual Status Changes and Message Students Who

The Message Students Who feature generates message lists from both automatically and manually updated statuses.

Explanation: When an assignment submission status was automatically assigned but later manually updated to another status, the manual status did not display in the Message Students Who feature and retained the previously assigned status. Canvas code has been updated to apply manually updated statuses when generating message lists.

Outcomes

Question Bank Mastery and Multiple Quiz Attempts

Outcomes linked to a question bank determine mastery according to the quiz setting that defines the retained grade for multiple attempts.

Explanation: When a quiz was linked to a question bank and the quiz was taken multiple times, the Learning Mastery Gradebook always calculated mastery according to the most recently updated quiz submission, regardless if the option to retain the highest grade was set. Canvas code has been updated to determine an outcome’s mastery according to the quiz setting that defines the retained grade for multiple attempts.

Quizzes

Quiz Access Code and Chrome 60

In the Chrome browser, students resuming a quiz with an access code are asked to confirm the code.

Explanation: When a student accessed Canvas using the Chrome browser and resumed a quiz with an access code, the student was not asked to confirm the code before resuming the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the quiz access code when resuming a quiz in Chrome.

Rich Content Editor

Group File Auto-Previews

In group pages, linked files from the sidebar display previews in the Rich Content Editor.

Explanation: When a file was linked from the sidebar in a group page, the links were not displaying previews in the Rich Content Editor. This behavior affected both media and non-media files uploaded as new files. Canvas code has been updated to display previews for linked files in groups.

SIS

Courses API and sis_course_id

When a course is created via SIS import, the List Courses for a User endpoint returns the sis_course_id if the user who made the API call has permission to manage SIS data.

Explanation: When a user with permission to manage SIS data listed courses for a user via the Courses API, and the course was created via SIS import, the endpoint did not return the sis_course_id. Canvas code has been updated to verify user permissions when returning a result that includes the sis_course_id.

SpeedGrader

Comment Field Adjustments

Manually adjusting the size of the comment field does not affect submitting the comment.

Explanation: When the SpeedGrader comment field was manually adjusted before the comment was typed into the field, clicking the Submit button adjusted the comment field to display the entire comment without submitting the comment. Canvas code has been updated to submit the comment when a user clicks the Submit button.

Final Score Field Calculation

The Final Score field dynamically reflects a student’s final quiz grade with both the individual question grades and the number of added fudge points.

Explanation: When fudge points were added to a student’s quiz in SpeedGrader, the Final Score field only displayed the total number of quiz points and did not dynamically calculate any added fudge points. The Final Score field was only updated after the grader clicked the Update Quiz button and updated the quiz grade. Canvas code has been updated to dynamically display the Final Score field with both the individual question grades and the number of added fudge points.

Grade by Question Menu Background Color

In the Grade by Question Menu, questions that have received a point value are indicated with a gray background.

Explanation: When the Grade by Question menu was selected in SpeedGrader to grade one question at a time, and points were awarded for an individual question, the background for the question remained white instead of being grayed out. Canvas code has been updated to update the background color in the menu for individually graded quiz questions.

Peer Reviews and Multiple Rubric Assessments

In Peer Review assignments, previous assessments are not displayed automatically in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed a rubric in a peer review assignment, the Rubric assessment was automatically generated from the student who last reviewed the submission instead of displaying the option to create a new assessment. If the instructor did not notice the automatically generated assessment, any comments left by the student were also included in the instructor’s assessment. Canvas code has been updated to always start with a new assessment for peer review assignments.

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Comments

"assignments are late when submitted past the due date, and assignments are missing if they are never submitted by the student. On-paper (in-class) assignments are not included in Late Policies as they do not include online submissions that can be calculated by Canvas. Any on-paper assignments must be managed individually by the instructor."

I've been testing the late policies in the Beta release. In Beta, in the grade detail tray I can manually change the status to Missing or Late for an on-paper submission and the my missing/late policies are applied. Is that what you mean when you say on-paper assignments need to be managed by the instructor or is this functionality going to look different in Production?

Hi, Audra,

Yes, you are correct! The functionality of your beta testing will be the same in the production environment. That note you referenced was included as a reminder for how Canvas defines late and missing assignments by default. When you make any manual changes to a submission status, the Gradebook will modify those changes appropriately.

Thanks,

Erin

A question about the Feature Option change for the new gradebook. My quick impression from looking at the beta environment (and my expectations from this description) is that the feature option would be set to Off. Does that allow courses with the new gradebook already activated to be "grandfathered in" to still have the new gradebook? or will they revert to the old one?

erinhallmark

Hi, Valerie,

Any courses that currently have the feature option enabled will not be affected. This change just helps admins so they don't have to enable the feature option for instructors individually. The feature option defaults to Off, and if you've never enabled it in the beta environment it will show as Off there even though it may be set to Allow in production. You can enable feature options in all environments independently.

Thanks,

Erin

Will the new Gradebook be enabled as an option in the free-for-teachers accounts? 

Thanks!

Hi erinhallmark‌, 

Do you have a timeline when the new Gradebook will not longer be in Beta and be the Gradebook?  What is the time line for fading out the original Gradebook? 

Grading Icon Update - I prefer to see the different Icons so I can see at a glance if I am grading a document, textbox, quiz, or discussion board.

Excess Rubric Criterion Points - I am ok with professors getting to choose excess points on criterion but NOT on outcomes set at the university level. This completely goes against standards with rating and accuracy in reporting and screws up analytics.

Hi, Joya,

We'll allow Free-for Teacher accounts to have use of the New Gradebook once post policies are in place (which are part of New Gradebook development Phase 2). We'll be sure to let you know in a future version of the release notes when it's available!

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, Tyler,

New Gradebook is technically still in development as more new features are still coming. So until both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are completed, no timeline will be announced (we'll be sure to give you plenty of notice). To keep up to date with the New Gradebook, I'd recommend checking out the New Gradebook Users Group, as we keep the home page updated with the progress of the project and the latest releases.

Thanks!

Erin

Hi erinhallmark.  I had the same question as tylerweldon@uab.edu for our CSM, and it sprung from reading New Gradebook: FAQ.

When I read "The Gradebook will be generally available to all users via the New Gradebook feature option until Q2 of 2018 when we will deprecate the old gradebook, fully replacing it with the new one.", it made me concerned that there could be deprecation of the current gradebook in the middle of the term, when the new gradebook wouldn't have even been out of Beta at the beginning of the term.  Our CSM said that wasn't the intention and would look at those notes, but I am still seeing that language on the page.

It may just be me and how and I reading that, but it could be the source of some of the confusion.

New Alt-Text/Decorative Image Features Potentially Results in Canvas Violating WebAIM Accessibility Standards

This update has many great features in it. Thanks to you all at Canvas for continually striving to improve Canvas and addressing problems. I like the new grade book and look forward to seeing the best way to implement the grading policies. My post today, however, is about the inclusion of the alt-text field and decorative checkbox. These are wonderful, build on similar functionality in the accessibility checker, and illustrate the small things that can be done to help content creators do the right thing and make their content accessible. My concern, however, is that these added features makes Canvas seriously inconsistent within the Rich Content Editor (RCE) and the image insert functionality on the images tab. In fact, this inconsistency causes Canvas to be potentially non-compliant with WebAIM standards.

 

If an image is uploaded via this new feature, the person uploading the image can mark it as decorative or enter an alt-text. By default the alt-text field is left blank. If the person uploading the images leaves it blank, the image upload button remains unavailable. The person must enter an alt-text or click decorative. While this tactic could result in the person just putting in gibberish in the alt-text field to get the image to upload or clicking decorative even when it is not, it at least makes the person have to think about these options. [I'll leave the debate about the wisdom of this approach to others as it is philosophical, not technical.] 

 

Nevertheless, the problem is that the RCE editor and Canvas image embed feature handles adding images already existing in the files area very differently. It also handles editing the newly uploaded file badly once the page is submitted and the newly uploaded images is added to the course. If the image is added via the Embed Image icon in the RCE and the image is selected via the Canvas tab, Canvas fills in the file name as the default alt-text. Already we see inconsistent behavior.  If there is wisdom in making the person selecting the image enter an alt-text or clicking decorative when uploading an image, shouldn’t it also do so when the image is already existing in the course file area? Additionally, by having the filename auto-fill the alt-text box, the person selecting the image can just submit the selection (or it is automatically filled in if the images is selected on the images tab) and the useless alt-text (i.e. the filename) will be placed within the HTML. Having the file name in the alt= HTML code will allow the image to pass the RCE accessibility checker even when we all know that having the file name as the alt-text is not helpful and in this case is even harmful as it gives a false impression of no accessibility issues in the accessibility check. The person selecting the image can also delete the file name and insert the image with no alt-text. Again, inconsistent behavior. At no time can a person using the Image Embed tool to make an image decorative. Another inconsistency, and this one has significant consequences.

 

In terms of what to put in the alt-text field, I’d argue there should be consistency. If the Image Embed function cannot be disabled until an alt-text is entered, then I think a blank is better than auto-filling in the file name. It at least would cause the image lacking an alt-text to fail the accessibility checker. Right now selecting an existing image in files gives the worst of both options. It puts the filename giving the impression the image is accessible when in reality the alt-text is useless to the seeing-impaired user. The most consistent behavior would be leaving the alt-text field blank when the person selects the image in the Image Embed icon in the RCE and they cannot click update until an alt-text is entered. Same if the image is being edited. A blank alt-text equals no submit/update button functionality.

 

There is an additional problem with the current functionality. The decorative checkbox is nice, but it is only available via the upload or remediating an image in the accessibility checker. If the person uploading the image selects decorative, then this option cannot be unset without manually editing the HTML. Similarly, if an image is uploaded and the decorative box is not checked, it cannot be made decorative later. The only places that the decorative options are available are in the upload option and the accessibility checker. One might assume that you can select an image, click the Embed Image button, delete the alt-text and then update the image so that it has no alt-text and thus the accessibility checker will catch it. Sadly this is an incorrect assumption. The Embed Image function will not allow the person to save an image without an alt-text if it had one previously. It just ignores the delete and retains the previous alt-text.

 

Similarly, if the image was marked decorative, there is no way to undo it. Clicking an image and clicking the Embed Image icon shows the blank alt-text, but it has no decorative checkbox functionality so this cannot be toggled on and off. Moreover, it does not recognize that this is a decorative image. As a result the alt-text field allows an alt-text to be entered. Thus it allows the editing of a decorative image and the adding of an alt-text to it. As a result, the RCE creates code that is both marked data-decorative="true" and having text in the alt= tag. This is a WAI standards violation as images marked decorative should have an alt-text that equals null. (See both the WebAIM website regarding alt-text and decorative images, and w3.org’s page on alt-text and decorative images.) This ultimately makes Canvas non-compliant. This is because the RCE is a primary function throughout the application. The only way to fix an image incorrectly coded as decorative or to remove the alt-text to be blank is to directly edit the HTML, removing the alt-text or data-decorative="true" code manually. If alt= is made to equal “” and the decorative tag is removed, then the accessibility check will flag the image and it can be updated to be decorative or have an alt-text. Having text within the alt tag while the image is marked as decorative does not result in an error.

 

Again, this update is great and I applaud Canvas’s ongoing efforts. However, as with all features and development, updating one part highlights issues within an existing part. The Embed Image function of the RCE needs to be made consistent with the Accessibility Checker and the new image uploading function. Add to this also when images are placed within the RCE by clicking their icon on the Images tab. Canvas should not automatically fill in the file name as the alt-text. How to prompt for an alt-text or to be decorative is something the UI folks will have to address.

 

I hope this gets the attention it deserves. It is a real issue when new features result in functionality that violates accessibility standards.

I was looking at https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13884-late-policies-faq#jive_content_id_If_I_use_the_Late_P..., but found I was able to revert to the current gradebook by toggling some values. 

I tested the following on our Beta instance of Canvas:

ActionResponseResult
Enable new gradebook and disable new gradebookFeature option switch is blue, can view new gradebook and can switch back to current gradebookExpected behavior
Enable new gradebook and set a late policyFeature option switch grayed out, can not change back to current gradebook.Expected behavior 
Enable new gradebook, set a late policy, then remove late policyFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook. Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to noneFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook.  Note that "none" is the default selection, so not sure if this counts as a state change of this value.Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to late while not changing the days valueFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook. Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to late and setting the days to a value other than zeroFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook. Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to missingFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook.Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to excusedFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook.  Grade is listed as EX in current gradebook.  Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to excused then to noneFeature option switch is forced to On.  Note that this may count as a state change from excused to none.Is this expected behavior?
Enable new gradebook, manually adjust a submission status to excused then to none then to excusedFeature option switch is green, can change back to current gradebook.  Grade is listed as EX in current gradebook.  Is this expected behavior?

 

Has anyone else observed this behavior?  Is there a delay in these changes taking effect (a job that polls for these types of changes?, etc.), or should changing the feature flag then adjusting an option result in being locked in to the new gradebook immediately?  Maybe this is just different since it's on Beta and not Production.   

On a related note, I was able to get the New Gradebook feature option to be in a forced Off state in a course, is that something that should happen?  I'm not quite sure the steps followed to recreate that.  

I think you've detailed this better than I have, but I did post a similar concern in the Beta Release Notes: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13885#comment-107223, and erinhallmark‌ replied.

chofer@morainepark.edu, thanks for the reply. In looking at your post I don't think erinhallmark‌'s response to you is adequate in light of the additional details. It is one thing to say, "please make that suggestion" when the issue is just inconsistent functionality. While inconsistency is true in this case, it goes further. The inconsistency potentially causes Canvas to produce non-accessibility standard code. In the WebAIM guidelines for WCAG 2.0 implementation, the second point on the first guideline (1.1)  states:

Images that do not convey content, are decorative, or contain content that is already conveyed in text are given null alt text (alt="") or implemented as CSS backgrounds. 

Note this guideline is not even to meet AA or AAA standards. This guideline set is to meet the most basic WCAG 2.0 Level A, which alone, would not meet the current 508 refresh standards. Thus this inconsistency is a bug that potentially causes decorative images to also have non-null alt-text tags. To put it bluntly, this is a bug that causes Canvas to potentially produce non-WCAG 2.0 compliant code. I don't think that this should necessarily cause the delay of this feature release, but it should be treated as a bug and not a community-based "would-be-nice" suggestion. I hope Canvas treats it this way. If this is the wrong place to notify Canvas of this bug, please accept my apologies and point me to the right place.

Thanks,

John

John,

I've sent your comments over to our Rich Content Editor team so that they're aware and can consider them for product improvement.

Thanks!

Erin

Thank you very much.

Hi, David,

I've asked our QA team to take a look at this.

Thanks!

Erin

Hi, Ken,

I'm happy to help clarify that statement in the document; sorry for the confusion! Deprecation means that we generally discontinue support for that feature; we don't immediately remove the feature when it's been deprecated. Although no set date has been decided (which is contingent on a variety of factors including user feedback), you do not have to worry about being forced to use the New Gradebook at any time in 2018 unless you want to. The last time we deprecated an entire feature, our product team allowed a year for the transition. As each phase of the project is completed, the product team will continue to keep you in mind as they start to to discuss transition dates.

Thanks,

Erin

Sorry if this is the wrong place to put this, but I would like a clarification on the New Gradebook "Late Submissions" options.

If I select "Automatically apply deduction to late submissions", and set the "Deduct" to my desired percentage, can this be applied universally to every late submission without choosing an interval (day/hour) in this menu?

Background:  Our institution's stated policy is that students have 7 days following the due date for the assignment to complete the assignment for half credit.  Late submissions, regardless of whether they are turned in 1 minute late or 6.9 days late, will have the score reduced by 50%.  After the 7 days, the assignment is no longer available, and is treated as a missing assignment with a score of 0.

We are eagerly awaiting this new feature, as we have spent considerable time manually deducting 50% of individual grades on late submissions and manually entering 0's for missed assignments once the grace period has expired.  Thank you, Canvas Team, for continually improving this platform!

Regards,

Brian

Hi, Brian!

The field allows you to select day or hour, where day is the default. But don't give up hope—this release is the introduction to Late Policies, and our product team knows that many of you have policies that won't specifically apply to the global settings. They'd love to explore more of your ideas for future enhancements in the Gradebook. I'd recommend commenting on https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/10451-deduct-x-for-late-work-regardless-of-how-late-it-is , which seems to be related to the behavior you're looking for. Add your thoughts and your vote so our product team knows this functionality is important to you! You can also view all new gradebook feature ideas in Canvas Studio.

Phase 2 of the New Gradebook may also include some functionality that will help you out as well, such as bulk adjusting grades for an assignment.

Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for the New Gradebook; Our product and engineering teams are excited to continue improving the New Gradebook for you, too!

Erin

Hi briang@norcal-jatc.com,

Your scenario sounds like you'll want to have a 1 hour late policy with 50% deduction, lowest possible grade 50%, and then put the end date for 1 week. Then have a missing policy with 0%. At least, that's how I'd set it up while we wait for more policy options to be available.

I have an instructor who wants to give students 1 day grace before applying late penalty but leave the assignment available for submission for nearly the whole quarter. She'll still have to do it manually as she has been doing in the past. Alas.

Happy Friday,
Cheers - Shar

I should have thought of that!  Thanks!  I shall give that a try.  Worst-case, I have to go back to what I've been doing for the time being.

Happiest of Fridays to you, too!

-Brian

Hi, David,

I apologize that it's so late in the day to be responding to you. We want to thank you for the time you took to let us know about these behaviors and our QA team went through all of them to verify!

The first two behaviors are as expected because they trigger a change that affects your course directly. Course changes reset the Canvas cache immediately, such as when changing your user time zone. Enabling Late Policies in and of itself directly affects the state of the course and Gradebook data, which is why it can also creates a faster refresh.

Changes in the Gradebook, which are highlighted by the majority of your questions, are affected by a 1-hour caching window. The Gradebook would consume significant resources and slow Canvas considerably if it were consistently refreshing all its content and checking the status of all other assignments every time you manually changed a submission status. So Gradebook data is held in a cached state and refreshed every hour. As you've discovered, you can possibly change data in the Gradebook that doesn't immediately let the feature option know that its status should be changed because the cache has not cleared in that time period. However, not all courses directly apply to the hour window—caching is also affected by the amount of data in the Gradebook, and courses with less Gradebook data may communicate the feature option change more quickly than courses with more data.

So for the benefit of everyone everywhere, I've updated all our documentation about Late Policies to note that in affected courses, the course-level feature option may take up to 1 hour to display the status change. And in the meantime, if the feature option doesn't update because the Gradebook cache hasn't cleared, and you've changed your mind about the New Gradebook, make that switch before there's no going back! Smiley Happy

For those who can't remember the three main differences between the current Gradebook and the New Gradebook, I've also included them in our New Gradebook: FAQ‌. Those may help factor whether or not you want to enable the New Gradebook.

Hope that helps!

Have a great weekend,

Erin

Thanks Erin!  I appreciate the response and clarifications Smiley Happy 

I have just turned on the New Gradebook feature in my course. Thank you for adding the 'Message students who' by assignment feature! I also like that the ‘muted’ button is more visible Smiley Happy

I would like to utilize the "automatically apply grade for missing submissions" option - to assign an automatic zero in the Gradebook to students who do not submit the assignment by the deadline. I am wondering how this works with respect to when the ‘due date’ differs from the ‘available date’?

Because of drop/add, I like to give my students a bit of extra time (without penalty) for the early semester online quiz assignments, but still want their assignments to be listed in the correct order on the Course Summary from within the Syllabus tab. As such, I extend the ‘available date’ on those assignments beyond the ‘due date’ (since the Course Summary list is arranged by due date). In this case, I am assuming that non-submissions would automatically be marked as “Missing”, and receive a zero in the Gradebook, based on the ‘due date’ - but that submissions made after the ‘due date’ (but before the ‘available date’ deadline) would automatically change to a grade, and the status changed to “Late”. Is this correct? If so, I will just wait to apply that ‘missing submission rule’ until after the available date for those early assignments have passed.

On a related note… is there any chance that the Late Policy option might become available as one that can be applied ‘per assignment’ or ‘per assignment group’ - as opposed to globally for the entire course? It might be helpful, for example, to set the policy for exams/quizzes as an automatic zero at the due date, while accepting other types of assignments late (but with a penalty). I envision this as something that could be set when actually creating the assignment and/or provided as a new ‘assignment group rule’ option.

Hi Kim,

The way I understand the Missing policy is that it's looking at the Due Date. If you apply the missing policy after those early assignments have past and the student had turned it in late, they will still get the late label on their grades. I just turned on the missing policy (but not the late policy) in my Sandbox and assignments student me turned in late have that label very prominently.

Late label applied to assignment

What's confusing me though is the lowest possible grade on the late policy. If Taylor genuinely scores 4/10 on an assignment. And I have a lowest possible grade of 50%, does that mean Taylor's score bumps up to 5/10 because half of 10 is 5 or does Taylor get 2/10 because half of 4 is 2? I suppose I could tinker in my sandbox, but I'm still afraid to do that. hehehe :smileysilly:

Cheers - Shar

Ok, replying to myself. Decided to try it out in Beta space! yay beta!

50% late policy, 50% lowest possible grade. 10 point assignment, here are some results:

50% lowest possible grade

So if Taylor legitimately scores 4/10 and the assignment is late, the late policy will not adjust the score if it's at or below the lowest possible grade anyway. For everything else, it does some fancy math to apply the rule. Smiley Wink

Moral of the story, if I'm Taylor I'll at least try to do better than half credit on this assignment because doing a great job on this late work still gets me half. Wait... moral of the story, don't turn in late work. hehe

Cheers - Shar

erinhallmark‌ and jlcrow@fsu.edu...

Here is another scenario.  When I build a course for an instructor, we typically include an single image on several of the pages that relates to the course in some way (for example, maybe a picture of a calculator for a math course).  If the image has not yet been added to the course "Files" yet, then you can now use the Content Selector to upload the image and give it an "alt" description.  However, what happens when you want to add said image to additional pages?  The image now already exists in "Files", and so when you insert it into a page, you're not given the option to add custom "alt" text.  The "alt" text is the name of the file.  I could see this being an issue for those that aren't comfortable editing HTML.  I also wouldn't want to have to keep re-uploading the same image for each page it was used on...just so that custom "alt" text can be added via the Content Selector (and not have to edit HTML).

Hi chofer@morainepark.edu

Agreed.  It's really like image files need to have a separate database field to store associated alt-text, and that field would become the default alt-text every time an image is embedded.  I know that would be a ton more back-end work to implement, but it would seem to be a better overall solution for accessibility.

-Chris

Christopher, it is an interesting thought, but generally I disagree. I don't think they need a DB to track tags. A consistency problem should not lead to over engineering. Instead, I think Canvas should update the RCE to correctly and consistently implement image handling. The embed image function needs to act like the upload function. It needs to not auto-fill anything for the alt text and it needs to have a button for enabling and disabling decorative tag. Ideally it would also require the person to enter an alt tag or click decorative to complete the submission or edit--again to act like the image upload function. It is the individual's responsibility to enter the appropriate alt tag for an image. Even if it is the same image used over and over. I don't think it is too much to ask Canvas to make their UI consistent and compliant. 

I can totally see how the same image could be uploaded multiple times because of the inconsistency in options between uploading and embedding an image.. You make a good point. 

These two images are from our previous LMS, Pearson eCollege's LearningStudio.  For this first image, the "Upload Image" tab allowed you to upload an image that was not yet in the course.  The "Descriptive text" field was the "alt" text, and it was required.  You could also specify a location for the file.

eCollege Image Upload 1

In this second image, the "Select Image from Course Folder" tab allowed you to select the image that was already loaded to the course, and the "Descriptive text" field was also required.

eCollege Image Upload 2

For those that are interested, there is a new Feature Idea that was recently submitted by schafercg@missouri.edu called https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/10488" modifiedtitle="true" title="Rich Content Editor Accessi....  Please vote for it and provide feedback if you feel there could be improvements to the new descriptive "alt" text feature.  I've also provided my own input...hopefully covering a lot of what I've already stated in this thread.

FYI multiple graders using a free-form rubric

I have just raised a ticket for a glitch that may have come as part of the most recent production release:

We have a teaching team that use a free-form rubric in SpeedGrader. Teacher 1 provides comment & grade for criterion 1 & 2, Teacher 2 then provides comment & grade for criterion 3. They have been using this approach earlier on in the academic year (i.e. between October - December). Now, when Teacher 2 enters their comment into Criterion 3, comments for 1 & 2 are deleted without warning! I have an unhappy Teacher 1 who is now carefully re-entering all their feedback (copying and re-pasting Teacher 2's comments as they go).

Ouch!  Good catch though.  Hopefully this is something that can be fixed before more people experience the issue.

Could the problem some are seeing with Syllabus - Course Summary Dates (e.g. dates on the Couse Summary on the Syllabus Tab  showing "due dates for all course assignments, etc. in the Course Summary in the Syllabus area exactly 1 day prior to the actual due date in the course") also be related to this recent release? 

Hi, Kimberly,

Comments in that discussion indicate that a case was submitted to Canvas support, and our engineers are currently working on a fix!

Thanks to those of you who submit cases to Canvas support. After each release, our teams are on standby to resolve any release-related behaviors that occur, though some behaviors may not be discovered until days later. Submitting a support case is always the best way to help our teams remedy these behaviors for you. Smiley Happy  They're always happy to do what they can to help make things right.

Thanks!

Erin

Just to update, this is being looked at by engineers:

a.craik@hull.ac.uk wrote:

FYI multiple graders using a free-form rubric

 

I have just raised a ticket for a glitch that may have come as part of the most recent production release:

 

We have a teaching team that use a free-form rubric in SpeedGrader. Teacher 1 provides comment & grade for criterion 1 & 2, Teacher 2 then provides comment & grade for criterion 3. They have been using this approach earlier on in the academic year (i.e. between October - December). Now, when Teacher 2 enters their comment into Criterion 3, comments for 1 & 2 are deleted without warning! I have an unhappy Teacher 1 who is now carefully re-entering all their feedback (copying and re-pasting Teacher 2's comments as they go).

I'll post again when I've been notified that it's done Smiley Happy

Hi, everyone!

Beta notes are now available for our next upcoming release: Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-01-15) 

Thanks,

Erin

Hey, Adam,

Thanks for updating everyone on the status of this fix! Since we've posted our next set of release notes, I just wanted to let you know that I am closing this document to comments (per our release notes process), so updates will no longer be able to be posted here. But with all bug reports, anyone who wants to follow along can submit a support case and be notified when an update is available. Whenever the fix is made, we'll also be sure to mention it in the appropriate release notes. 

Thanks!

Erin

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