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Canvas Release Notes (2019-08-17)

Canvas Release Notes (2019-08-17)

The Canvas release process is currently in transition. The following features will be available in the production environment on August 14, as code changes were completed before the new process was implemented:

In this Canvas release (August 17), the Conferences interface (BigBlueButton) supports breakout rooms and closed captioning. Additionally, Conferences is WCAG 2.0 AA Accessible, with some exceptions. In Discussions, the option for students to add file attachments is enabled by default. And in Global Navigation, LTI tools with user navigation placement display in the User Navigation Account Menu.

Feature Options

  • For institutions using course card images, the Flickr image search has been replaced by Unsplash.

External Tools (LTI)

  • For institutions using Commons, admins can display or hide featured content.
  • For institutions using New Quizzes, the Build page supports previewing New Quizzes assessments. Additionally, the Item Banks page supports sharing item banks with other users.

Release notes describe upcoming Canvas functionality in the production environment and are subject to change.

 

Feature Options

The following feature options are addressed in this release:

  • Course: Enable Dashboard Images for Course

Canvas release summary by user roleCanvas New Release ScreencastCanvas Release Collaborative ChatCanvas API Change Log


Release Notes Change Log

Updated Features

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Commons

Featured Content Management

This feature is used in conjunction with an external tool (LTI) in Canvas. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about LTI tools, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Location to Enable Feature

Commons LTI

Configuration Details   

Commons LTI

Affected Canvas Areas

Commons LTI

Beta/Test Environment Support   

Functionality affects content in the beta environment only; New/updated features not available until production deploy

Permissions

Course Content - add / edit / delete

Discussions - view

Assignments and Quizzes - add / edit / delete

Affects User Interface      

Yes

Affected User Roles            

Instructors, Administrators

Feature Enhancement Ideas 

Existing Commons feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

Commons

 

Summary

Admins can display or hide featured content in Commons.

 

Change Benefit

This feature allows admins to manage how featured content displays in Commons.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Administrators

Admins can manage featured content visibility in the Account Settings page in Commons. Featured content is enabled by default. When enabled, featured content displays at the top of Commons search results. When disabled, feature content will still display in search results, but will not be featured at the top of the Search page.

Commons page Allow Featured Content button

Conferences

The following features are managed by a third-party provider. To provide feedback, please see the Feature Enhancement Ideas section.

Location to Enable Feature

N/A

Configuration Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Conferences Interface

Beta/Test Environment Support

No

Affected User Roles

Moderators, Participants

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Blindside Networks Contact Page

 

Breakout Rooms

Summary

Canvas Conferences supports breakout rooms as conference groups for all accounts. Previously this feature was only available to premium tiers.

Change Benefit

This feature allows instructors to place students into groups for team collaboration during a conference.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Moderators

Moderators can create breakout rooms for students to collaborate during a conference. Breakout rooms can be created at any time during the conference. A minimum of two breakout rooms are required, and the moderator can create up to 8 rooms. Breakout rooms can either be assigned by the moderator manually or randomly, or attendees can choose which breakout room to join.

Breakout rooms interface

Once created, breakout rooms are displayed as their own tab for the moderator to manage and join breakout rooms. If breakout rooms are created before attendees join the conference, invitations can be sent by the moderator for attendees to join a breakout room. Once a participant has joined a breakout room, the participant cannot be assigned or join another breakout room.

Breakout rooms management and invitations

Participants

When participants are invited to join a breakout room, a message displays inviting the user to join the breakout room. Breakout rooms are opened in a separate tab in the browser and display the remaining time for the breakout session at the top of the window. Once the breakout room time has concluded, the tab will close and return the participant to the main conference automatically.

Participant in breakout room


For additional information about breakout rooms, please see the BigBlueButton Moderator/Presenter Video.

Closed Captions

Summary

Canvas Conferences supports live closed captioning.

 

Change Benefit

This feature allows a stenographer join a conference as an observer and provide live captioning to attendees.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Moderators

Moderators can set up a page for closed captions to be written during the conference. When selected, the interface asks for the selected language.

Closed caption interface

Once created, captions are created as their own tab for the user who will be managing captions. Captions can be typed into a window that displays captions to conference users who enable captioning in the interface. More than one language can be created for captioning if desired. Captions display as subtitles within recorded conferences.

Closed captioning window

Participants

When closed captions are created for a conference, the Conferences interface displays a closed captioning (CC) button. Users can select their own caption preferences including text and background color, font, and text size.

participant caption selection

Typed captions by a moderator are included directly in the interface. Users can view and hide captions at any time.

Captions display directly in the conferences interface

For additional information about closed captioning, please see the Closed Captioning Overview Video.

VPAT Support

Summary

Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) is WCAG 2.0 AA Accessible, with some exceptions. For additional information, please see the BigBlueButton Accessibility Page.

 

Change Benefit

This change verifies BigBlueButton strives to comply with government standards for accessibility for Canvas Conferences.

Course Settings

Unsplash Course Card Image Search

This feature is used in conjunction with an existing feature option in Canvas. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about feature options, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Location to Enable Feature

Course Settings

Configuration Details

Enable Dashboard Images for Courses Feature Option

Affected Canvas Areas

Course Settings, Dashboard

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing Course Settings feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

Course settings

 

Summary

The Flickr image search has been replaced by Unsplash.

 

Change Benefit

This change replaces Flickr with Unsplash, which offers high-quality, safe images for use as course card images.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

When an instructor uses images for course cards, Unsplash image search replaces the existing Flickr search functionality. The Flickr logo has been removed from the interface. Existing images imported from Flickr will not be affected.

Course Cards using Unsplash for images

Discussions

File Attachment Default

 

Feature Production Availability

August 14

Location to Enable Feature

Discussions

Configuration Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Discussions

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Permissions

Assignments and Quizzes - add / edit / delete

Discussions - view

Discussions - moderate

Discussions - create

Discussions - post

Related APIs

Discussion Topics API

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing Discussions feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

Discussions


Summary

In Discussions, the option for students to add file attachments is enabled by default in new courses. 

Change Benefit

This behavior aligns consistency with other Canvas features that allow attachments by default and resolves the common expectation by instructors that students can attach files to discussion posts.

Affected User Roles

Instructors

When instructors view the Discussions Settings in new courses, the option to Attach Files to Discussions is selected by default. If preferred, instructors can disable the option for students to add attachments in Course Settings or the Discussions Settings menu.

Discussions Settings Menu with File Attachments Enabled by Default

Global Navigation

Account Menu LTI Navigation Links

 

Feature Production Availability

August 14

Location to Enable Feature

N/A

Configuration Details

Any LTI with User Navigation placement

Affected Canvas Areas

Global Navigation Menu

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

All Users

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing LTI feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

LTI

Idea Contributions

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/10876-lti-external-tool-user-navigation-placement 

 

Summary

LTI tools with user navigation placement display in the User Navigation Account Menu. 

Change Benefit

This behavior helps users access these LTI tools more quickly without having to open the User Settings page.

Affected User Roles

All Users

Any user with an account that included LTI tool navigation links in their User Settings page will also view the links in their User Navigation Account Menu.

LTI tools with user navigation placement display in the Global Navigation Account Menu

New Quizzes

Quizzes.Next will be known as New Quizzes. Updates to documentation, Community resources, and the Canvas user interface will take place over the next few months.

This change aligns New Quizzes with the terminology used to name other features in Canvas and will create a more seamless transition when New Quizzes eventually replaces the classic Canvas Quizzes feature.

These features are used in conjunction with an external tool (LTI) in Canvas. Please view the content below for additional details. For more information about LTI tools, please see the Canvas Release Notes FAQ.

Assessment Preview

Location to Enable Feature

Assignments

Configuration Details

New Quizzes LTI

Affected Canvas Areas

Assignments

Beta Environment Support

Yes 

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing New Quizzes feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

quizzes.next

Idea Contributions

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/14366-preview-option-for-quizzesnext 

Summary

The Build page supports previewing New Quizzes assessments in the student’s perspective.

Change Benefit

This change allows instructors to view and test assessment questions and settings by viewing an assessment the way students see it.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

Instructors can preview a New Quizzes assessment from the Build page by clicking the Preview button. 

Preview button in the Build page

The preview displays most settings, including calculators, timer, question shuffling, and one question at a time. Assessment Preview does not support displaying student access codes and IP address filtering.

Assessment preview for students

Instructors can also submit an assessment and view their results in the preview. The preview results page supports any restricted student result view settings.

Restrict student view settings for students display in the preview for instructors

When viewing an assessment in Preview mode, the assessment displays a colored Preview border. To exit Assessment Preview, click the Close icon.

 

Item Bank Sharing

Location to Enable Feature

Assignments

Configuration Details

New Quizzes LTI

Affected Canvas Areas

Assignments

Beta Environment Support

After July 25

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing New Quizzes feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

quizzes.next

Idea Contributions

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/12034 

Summary

The Item Banks page supports sharing item banks with other users.

Change Benefit

This change allows a user to gain access to another user’s item bank and use those items in their assessments.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

Instructors can open an item’s sharing window by clicking the Share link from the Item Banks page.

Share Banks button in quizzes

From the Sharing window, instructors can share the item bank with a user, view all users who have access to the bank, and remove access to the bank. Sharing an item bank gives users full access to the item bank, including adding items to the bank, sharing or removing users from the bank, and deleting the bank.

Users can see who has shared the quiz

Admins, teachers, and TAs can share item banks with any other admin, teacher, or TA in their main Canvas account.

Platform/Integration

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API

API Change Log

Adjustments have been made to the following APIs as noted in the API Documentation change log:

  • Assignments API

  • OAuth2

  • SIS Import Format Documentation

Release Notes Change Log

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Date
2019-08-08

Added—Updated Features

  • Discussions: File Attachment Default
  • Global Navigation: Account Menu LTI Navigation Links
2019-07-22Release Notes Published
Labels (1)
Comments

I'm excited about the item bank sharing, this has been one of the main reasons we've been waiting on rolling out quizzes.next.  Can item banks be shared by default with other instructor-like (teacher, TA, etc) roles in the course?  Or do instructors have to go in and share an item bank with others in the course.  How does that compare to the current quiz tool?  

I've waited 13 months for the preview feature! Can't wait to try it out soon!

(Hoping that this comes to Free-For-Teachers in the coming months...)

Hi dave-long@uiowa.edu‌,

It says: "Admins, teachers, and TAs can share item banks with any other admin, teacher, or TA in their main Canvas account."  So I'd say that's a yes.

But it's also saying this feature isn't in Beta until [After July 25] so can't test this out yet.

What has change regarding breakout rooms in canvas conferences? It's been a feature for a long time even the pre HTML 5 version had breakout rooms.

Item Bank sharing looks like a promising addition to New Quizzes/ Quizzes.Next, although course and account level Question banks would be even more awesome! #quizzes.next#account-level sharing#question banks

Thanks mvdv.  To reframe my question, I'm wondering if instructors have to take an action (click a button, check a box, etc) to share an item bank with others, or if item banks are shared without having to take an action.  From the description above, it sounds like instructors will have to go to each item bank and perform an action to share it with other people.  I'll be interested to see what this looks like once the feature is available. 

erinhallmark Question on the "Item Bank Sharing" item in this coming up release, will there be a permission setting to enable or disable and will there be a splitting out of being able to add/edit/delete and a Read Only permission for it?

I may be misunderstanding, but these features seem like they are going to be released on August 17, 2019. When I go to add an course card image, I already see Unsplash instead of Flickr. 

Hi, Richard,

Breakout rooms was only previously included for paid tiers; it's now available to everyone so we wrote it up as such. Smiley Happy

Hope that helps!

Erin

Hi, Suzy,

What you see in the notes explains the functionality; if you're interested in a permissions enhancement, be sure to create an idea in the Ideas space to see if others would be interested, too.

Thanks!

Erin

Hi, Jerad,

Our team also applied this change to the production environment, which isn't part of our normal process. But we included the information in the notes to make the official announcement!

Erin

Hi, Maeve,

That would be a great suggestion to make to our product team in the Ideas space if the idea doesn't already exist! Check it out and add a new idea if needed.

Thanks,

Erin

82711010bc61080b507960f9af47f13a496158f1cf91ab1f83b37b2a63af3fe2‌ - Please submit this as a feature idea so that I can add it to my document Canvas Permissions and Granularity Feature Ideas

Just did.  Titled it "Add permission for Item Bank Sharing".  This was my first submission so not sure if I did it right.  I added 2 tags: permissions and ItemBankSharing

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/14568-add-permission-for-item-bank-sharing

Hi 82711010bc61080b507960f9af47f13a496158f1cf91ab1f83b37b2a63af3fe2

Any additional use case information about why this is important, how it has affected your users or your work as an admin would be helpful and will help it get more votes.  Smiley Happy

Just updated it, let me know if more tweaking is needed.

Maeve,

Yes we have to share them across courses not people. I find it odd that the sharing is person to person rather than course to course. Maybe they mean course to course? 

Karen

Should we be worried that instructors that are added to a shared bank have an option to delete the bank? 

I agree, this is why I was asking if they were giving us a permission when this goes live and if it would be split out or all in one add/edit/delete.   I put a Feature Request out there for a permission on this and it can be found (to be voted up) at https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/14568-add-permission-for-new-quizzes-item-bank-sharing.

Happy to see Quiz preview in quizzes.next

Hi, Karen,

I asked our product manager for clarification. Item banks allow users to share content with others to help curate the needs of each student. The future of student support is through outcomes, which allows instructors to learn from and promote individualized learning. Content should not be relegated to a course, as the best learning for a student may be curated from various courses. Quizzes has set the foundation of achieving success through outcomes, and more improvements are coming in the future to further strengthen this concept of individualized learning.

Hope that helps!

Erin

Hi, Suzy,

I let our product manager know about this idea. Since this is the first implementation of the feature, the team kept functionality simple enough to introduce the feature and then plan to watch adoption and how use cases evolve. So having your idea is great as adoption may show us that it is needed!

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, Justin,

This first iteration of item bank sharing was designed with the intention to watch the use cases that evolve as adoption increases. For now, everyone is an equal owner when an item bank is shared, which is why the delete functionality is available as well. 

The team appreciates your feedback and can consider modifications if necessary—such as if item banks are too frequently deleted in error. The intent is that instructors would be able to trust other instructors enough without worry, but again, if enough feedback is provided through our Ideas space, consideration is always an option.

Thanks!

Erin

In the previous Canvas production release around July 15th, this issue showed up, couldn't post in those release notes.
In Chrome, Anchor tags to other Canvas pages is broken and other resources that depend on the content loading first do not work correctly without waiting for the window to be loaded (Example MathJax or Math code).

Hi, Seto,

If you haven't already, would you please submit a support case so our Canvas support team can investigate this for you?

Thanks,

Erin

I know it's not in this set of release notes, but I did see that the "new RCE" is in the Beta environment feature options. Where is the best place to provide feedback, or post questions for that? Is there already a User Group or FAQ community page focused on this? 

Hi, Todd,

We are working on that! Stand by. Smiley Happy

Thanks,

Erin

Erin, I'm waiting for the numerical answers bug to be fixed in quizzes. I was disappointed to see that's not included in this update. Is a bug like that something that would be rolled out with a regular update, or would that be fixed as soon as the engineers can? I'm asking because I'm trying to get an accounting class ready for fall, and I'd really prefer to use numerical answer rather than fill in the blank (the workaround that T1 support suggested). 

  • If that's a bug that would be fixed in between releases, I'll wait a couple more weeks to see if it's fixed 
  • If that's something that would wait until a release, then I'll have to go with FIB

I asked T1 for a timeline for when this would be fixed and he didn't know. I would think this would be a high priority since a quiz feature is broken, but maybe with the grading policy stuff it got shoved back? Or is Canvas not really supporting and fixing Quizzes anymore in favor of quizzes.next? Guidance as to how long to hold out for a repair to the bug would be extremely helpful. I have a lot of quizzes to build and it'll take about 3 times as long using FIB rather than numerical, so if that's what I have to do I'd like to get started ASAP. 

Hi, Katie,

If it was the behavior of stripping digits from commas, that behavior was resolved and deployed to production on July 18. If it's something else, please message me the case number and I will look into it further for you.

Just for reference, our engineers do fix behaviors in the old version of quizzes if enough cases are reported. Smiley Happy

Thanks!

Erin

Erin, that was the issue. I missed the notice from support telling me it was resolved, so I had assumed it was not. I found that message in my quirky spam folder just now. Thanks for clarifying. 

Katie

Is UnSplash going to be added to the Rich Context Editor?  Or is it only going to be available via Course Cards?

erinhallmark‌, can you translate this statement from the Canvas Release Process email that was sent out to admins yesterday? "Beginning on July 15, all engineers began placing customer-affecting code behind a feature flag, which will only be enabled as part of the production release on August 17. " As admins, are we going to see the feature option before August 17th (or a given month's release), or is it the feature option that will appear on the release date. Since there will be feature flags, will we have to turn features on? And, isn't all code ultimately "customer-affecting"? Granted, I don't have a lot of coffee in my system yet this morning but I'm having a real tough time making sense of this email and the implications of these changes to admins.

I think it would be good to fix this proactively instead of waiting for banks to be deleted and schools having huge issues from the error.

I'm interested as well.   Thanks for keeping us posted!

szk24@psu.edu‌ did you get an answer to your issue? We load MathJax in our custom JS so I'm assuming that's where you're running into the issue. There was a 6/22 update that impacted page load sequences, we had to make some tweaks to our JS to fix some elements that had stopped loading. There's a few discussion about it in the community and some various solutions. For us, we wrapped everything in $(window).on('load',function(){  . . .  }); which fixed our issues.

How to adapt to the undocumented JavaScript loading sequence changes? 

Accordion Script Help 

Hi, Audra,

The feature flag referenced here is managed by our engineers and controls all the changes we announce as being part of the upcoming release. That notice is saying that a few of the changes may slip through the cracks for a few more weeks and will be part of the deploys instead of grouped behind the releases. Full details about the new Canvas release process can be found in Canvas Release Changes Update: Engineering Edition.

All you need to know is if an included feature in the notes says it will be released on a date separate from the overall release date. In this case, a few features will be visible in the production environment on August 14 instead of being able to be grouped as part of the August 17 release.

Eventually all changes will be included and released as part of the releases and we will be out of this transition phase.

Thanks,

Erin

Moving the user apps outside of settings is AWESOME!  

BigBlueButton has already been updated in Production.  I understand that Blindside Networks is updating this product, however doing so on a different schedule from these release notes is problematic.  A heads up as to the date for their update would be helpful.  We were "blindsided" here.

I thought you were turning on by default (finally) the ability for students to post to discussions????? If are courses are already out for fall term 2019 does that mean they don't get this feature? Or is there something we need to turn on for this to roll out to all fall courses that are already out?

no check for attach files to discussion

Thank you,

Karen Matson

Yeah this is brilliant, simplifies the user experience.

Hi, Pat,

If you're referring to breakout rooms, those had already been on production for all accounts but we weren't notified about that change until this release, which is why we mentioned it in the notes. For future changes they've committed to let us know so we can make a future announcement.

Any other concerns please let us know!

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, Karen,

In double checking this feature change, it isn't retroactive and only applies to new Canvas courses. Existing courses aren't affected. I made some slight text adjustments in the notes to reflect this clarification.

Thanks,

Erin

Hi Audra, I think that's what I ended up doing to resolve the issue for now by using the window is loaded function. I have seen that fail when Canvas is busy/slammed and the page never properly finishes loading. I think for the future I might look more into the Mutation Observer solution you provided in your link to deal with the way things are getting rendered and loaded. Thanks!

I just noticed in my Beta instance that there are eye icons for Navigation Links that are hidden. For example in Course Navigation Links and the Admin navigation links (see the screen shots below). I don't recall see this in the Release Notes. Did I miss something? Does everyone see this in their Beta instance?

Course navigation links showing eye icons for hidden linksAdmin links showing eye icon for Attendance link

I think it's misleading to have the hover over text include, "Not visible to students" when the hidden icon is on the admin navigation bar.

We are seeing the eye icon as well next to conferences and outcomes. Why?

Karen Matson

University of Oregon

I'm hoping someone from Instructure will comment on this change...or at least admit they haven't updated the release notes with the description fully.

From my perspective this slight UI change is an improvement...I also noticed the active state of the tab (as the one that is selected) now has a vertical bar on the left side:

Beta Navigation UI Enhancement

You will see that when you hover over a tab that has the eye icon next to it that it calls out that there is no content or not visible to students. Those of us used to the greyed out navigation tabs for a long time might see this as an improvement, but I have had to explain to faculty many times that is why they see greyed out navigation tabs in their course for that very reason. Maybe this will stop them from asking that question? We'll see.

Yep, I see those in Beta too (I think the Beta release notes will be out next week if I'm remembering the schedule correctly, the first week is in-flux so notes won't come out right away).  Since you brought it up, I'll give some of my thoughts here, but I know we should probably post thoughts in the correct release document once it's available too.

I actually like the concept of the icon instead of turning the menu link to gray, as I think the icon improves accessibility.  In addition, I like that the tooltip explains why the item isn't visible to students (no content versus hidden).  

The thing I don't like is the icon they are using to denote a hidden menu item is the same icon used in the new gradebook when manual post policies are enabled.  For the menu items, it indicates they are hidden (which seems to make sense to me), but in the gradebook, the same icon appears at the top of each column when manually posting is enabled, even if all grades have been posted to students (see screenshot).  I think this dual-meaning for the same icon is confusing and some sort of change should be made (I'd prefer the icon not be visible in the grade columns if all grades are posted).

321685_pastedImage_1.png

-Chris

samitoelau@coastline.edukmatson@uoregon.eduJEFHQ12951...

Maybe this change is part of the *next* set of updates that we'll be getting???  If that is true, then they wouldn't necessarily add them to the *current* set of Release Notes.  My $0.02.

I hope that third party integration/nav items can follow this more consistently.

I've seen a few integrations (Zoom, Ally Instructor Reports) that are only visible to instructors, but appear in regular/black text.

Erin,

Just so you know it was retroactive. Our courses for Fall term are checked even though they were created in May.

Karen

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