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Canvas Release Notes (2019-09-21)

Canvas Release Notes (2019-09-21)

Upcoming Canvas Changes

Feature Option Enforcement: January 18

On January 18, 2020, the following feature options will be enabled for all institutions:

  • Anonymous Grading (Course)
  • Enable Dashboard Images for Courses (Course)
  • MasteryPaths (Course)
  • Rubric Criterion Range (Account)
  • Student Context Card (Account)

For more information, please see Upcoming Canvas Changes‌.

In this Canvas release (September 21), the navigation menus have been updated for improved accessibility. Noted updates have also been included for APIs and Live Events.

Feature Options

  • For institutions using the New Gradebook, SpeedGrader can be filtered by student group via an option in course settings. When this feature is enabled, SpeedGrader will only load submissions from a selected group.

External Tools (LTI)

  • For institutions using New Quizzes, Multiple Choice Questions support individual feedback for each answer.

Release notes describe upcoming Canvas functionality and are subject to change.

 

Feature Options

The following feature options are addressed in this release:

  • Course: New Gradebook

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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New Gradebook

Student Group Filter 

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

New Gradebook

Configuration Details

New Gradebook Feature Option

Affected Canvas Areas

New Gradebook, SpeedGrader

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing New Gradebook feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

gradebook_new

 

Summary

SpeedGrader can be filtered by student group via an option in course settings. When this feature is enabled, SpeedGrader will only load submissions from a selected group when the submission is accessed via the New Gradebook or the assignment details page. Note this feature is currently not supported when a submission is accessed from the Dashboard, or a discussion or quiz details page (old quizzes).

Change Benefit

This feature is designed for large courses and helps manage submissions for an instructor or TA. Filtering submissions by student group also improves SpeedGrader loading times more efficiently than filtering submissions by section.

Affected User Roles

Instructors

The Course Settings page displays an option for large courses to require viewing SpeedGrader by student group. 

Course Setting for large courses to enable SpeedGrader by student group

When this setting is enabled for the course, SpeedGrader requires a student group to be selected in the Gradebook filter before submissions can be viewed. The SpeedGrader link is grayed out until a student group has been set. 

New Gradebook grade detail tray displays if selecting a group is required before viewing SpeedGrader

The Student Groups menu displays all groups that exist in the course. If no groups exist, groups can be created in the course People page.

Note: Selecting a student group does not apply to group assignments unless the assignment requires students to be graded individually.

New Gradebook Student Group menu

The assignment page also allows a group to be selected. Once selected, the SpeedGrader link is no longer grayed out.

Notes:

  • Once a student group is selected via an assignment or the New Gradebook filter, the same student group displays in all assignments. 
  • Note this feature is currently not supported when a submission is accessed from a discussion or quiz details page (old quizzes).

New Gradebook student group selection via assignment details

New Quizzes

Multiple Choice Individual Level Feedback

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

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

New quizzes

Feature Idea Contributions

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/11054-item-feedback 

Summary

Multiple Choice Questions support individual feedback for each answer.

Change Benefit

This change allows students to receive specific feedback relating to each individual answer choice.

Affected User Roles

Instructors

When creating a multiple choice question, instructors can click the comment box next to each answer in the quiz question. Feedback can be entered directly in the text field.

New Quizzes multiple choice questions display comment icons next to each answer for individual feedback

New Quizzes supports a text box for adding individual feedback to individual multiple choice answers

If students are allowed to view their quiz results, students can view the custom feedback for each of their answers. 

New Quizzes quiz results lets students view individual feedback for multiple choice questions

Other Updates

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Navigation

Menu Visibility

 

Feature Availability

Delayed until 2019-10-19 release

Location to Enable Feature

N/A

Configuration Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Admin, Course, User Navigation Menus

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

All Users

Feature Enhancement Ideas

View existing Navigation feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

navigation

Summary

The Admin, Course, and User Navigation Menus have been updated to include color and visual indicators to define active menu items. Additionally, the Course Navigation Menu includes tooltip indicators to clarify inactive menu items. No functionality has been affected.

Change Benefit

This change helps improve accessibility in Canvas. Previously the inactive links displayed in light gray text with a light border, which did not fulfill contrast ratios. Additionally, active and inactive links only relied on color to convey information.

Affected User Roles

All Users

When a user accesses a supported menu, all inactive links are displayed in the account’s primary color. The active link is displayed in black and includes a vertical line. The hover state for a link includes an underline by default (when high contrast mode is not already enabled). When selected, the link displays a focus state with a 2px border.

Course Navigation hover state includes a box around the link

Instructors & Admins

Default links that are not visible to students display the hidden visibility icon. 

Note: No existing functionality has been affected with this change. Third party LTI tools are not included in the course sidebar unless they are visible in the course.

Course navigation before and after comparison

Pages are not visible to a student in one of two cases: a page contains no content, or a page is hidden via the Navigation tab in Course Settings. Tooltip content clarifies the hidden state appropriately.

View of Course Navigation Menu and the Navigation tab with disabled links

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:

  • Submissions API

Live Events

Compressed Events

For users of Live Events, previous behavior of supporting all events has been deprecated. All events are being compressed to allow for smaller payloads. All data elements with null values will be omitted from events payloads. 

Per API guidelines, this change provides a transition period for users to adjust custom applications in the production environment. However, this functionality will not be available in the beta environment. Existing functionality will be removed in the December 21 release and all events will be compressed by default.


For additional details about live events, please see Live Events: Event Type by Format.

Release Notes Change Log

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Date
2019-09-11

Changed—Other Updates

  • Navigation: Menu Visibility—In the summary table, indicated the feature has been delayed until the 2019-10-19 release
2019-08-26Release Notes Published
Labels (1)
Comments

Thank you for the updated course menu! This will be much more helpful for faculty. 

A couple of questions. 

New Quiz - In the release notes it states we can't view the updates in beta. In previous release notes it was stated that we would have beta access to the new quiz tool. Has this changed? 

SpeedGrader/Student groups - What is considered a large course? For example, when does the number of students listed start to degrade load times? 

September 21, but yes 🙂 

Hi, Susan,

Yes, I've corrected that note; you can test New Quizzes in beta. Smiley Happy

Information about SpeedGrader performance is noted in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12774-415255021 Assignments with more than 1500 submissions will start to delay loading times, so any courses that have such a large number of submissions at one time may find this new feature more beneficial to help break up the number of submissions viewed in SpeedGrader. 

Thanks,

Erin

Thank you Erin

In Beta I see a 503 error when trying to access a quiz in the new quiz tool. It states that scheduled maintenance is occurring. When do you expect it be available? 

Could you please add more detail to the explanation of Live Events changes?. It is not clear whether the changes apply only to the 'raw' event format or also to the Caliper format (in particular, please clarify the sentence that reads 'previous behavior of supporting all events has been deprecated'). Ideally, an example would be provided somewhere of a newly 'compressed' live event vs. its non-compressed counterpart. Thanks!

It would be wonderful if the visibility icon indicating tools hidden from students could also be applied to third party LTI tools restricted to course admins (<lticm:property name="visibility">admins</lticm:property>).  Many of the LTI tools we've developed at IU are restricted to admins, but instructors have no way of knowing that students can't see them and it worries them.  

Exciting release addressing both workflow issues and pedagogy. More of it please :O)

Is there the intent to allow instructors to click on the eye icon to make menu items available/unavailable from the course menu? Because I can see this being a frustration for instructors who want to enable a hidden area, try to click on the eye icon next to it, and don't actually make any change.

Also, is there a better icon choice available? Using the eye icon for the menu and for Post Policies is a bit confusing, as they indicate different things within the course.

New quizzes should now be back up and running in beta.  Sorry about the extended unavailability.

Hi, Patricia,

I asked our product manager and ended up creating an example page that is linked in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15741-live-events-event-type-by-format 

Hope that helps!

Erin

Hi, Lynn,

As noted, this release does not change any existing functionality. Any requests to change existing behavior should be noted for our product teams in the Ideas‌ space. With your idea, please include your workflow example so they know exactly why this functionality is beneficial.

Thank you,

Erin

Hi, Katie,

Our product manager has some proposals for adjustments he's been working on and should be posting this week for feedback.

Thanks,

Erin

Using the "Course Navigation" area as an example, there are navigation tabs that have more text than others and when they are clicked on and not visible to students the "eye" icon is shifted down.

Below is a before and after example using the "Announcements" area.

beforeafter
322264_before.png322265_after.png

I noticed that when someone marked on it prior to the release. I was wondering whether it might have been our CSS styling but "good to know" it has been reported elsewhere. Will need to increase the column width a little...

Hi, Douglas,

Good catch and our team has already adjusted that width. It should be corrected shortly.

Thanks,

Erin

Thanks Erin! That helped with clarifying what a compressed version of an event would be. However, I'm still wondering about the 'previous behavior of supporting all events has been deprecated'. What does this exactly mean, in particular in the context of Caliper Live Events?

Hi, Patricia,

Our product manager is working on another example; when she has it ready to go, she'll add it to the document I previous mentioned.

Thanks!

Erin

Too many user interface changes, too soon. Faculty returning in September already have to re-learn how to use the Grades tool. Since the July changes to Gradebook, we have been experiencing bugs where students cannot view all their instructor's feedback. They are not fixed and we are one week away from Fall term.

I never thought I'd have to answer the question "What's with the eyeballs?" very much in my professional career but this is the future and things are getting weird. Please pick a different icon and don't add it to course menus too.

I believe the proposed changes to course menus complicate the user interface. Making all the links high contrast (and the same colour) adds a lot of text to the primary interface. The current design, with lighter text for unavailable menu links, is effective because it helps instructors understand what matters. It reduces misclicks. It provides scaffolding when learning the interface. Why not make this change optional? There is already a High Contrast UI setting in Profile Feature Options, could it be linked to that instead?

What do other Canvas customers think about the new UI changes?

I agree with your point that also including the hidden icons in a "slightly" lighter text and including the icon with the tooltip, would be better so they notice.  We had previously used a script to change the font color of hidden buttons to a less light gray so contrast was better, but also had added an asterisk after the word for all hidden buttons.  It made it easy to explain and folks seemed to get it.  I do like the tool tip addition, though. We hadn't had that and if folks didn't read my email reminders or come to a training they may never have realized what that different styling actually meant!

Our college used a script to change hidden icons to a less light gray with an asterisk

Why does the Settings button NOT have the hidden icon?  It should as that is not visible to students.

This approach is so much cleaner.

Hi, I have a question about the Before and After images of the course navigation. How come in the After course navigation menu the Announcements and Assignments items (which used to be gray) have the eye icon next to them, while the Pages and Files items (which used to be gray) don't appear in the After course menu at all? I checked a course in my beta instance and it does show the Pages and Files items with the eye next to them when they are not visible to students. Thanks for any clarification you can offer.

Hi, David,

Good catch. I updated the image to how it was supposed to look in a true comparison format. Smiley Happy I may have selected the wrong course for the second image previously but all is well.

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, Linda, 

The Settings icon by default can never be displayed to students. It is also not available to be hidden in the Navigation menu for the same reason. Again, we haven't changed any existing behavior for how the link works as currently functions in production.

Thanks,

Erin

Hi, Patricia,

After further confirmation, our product manager has noted that Caliper is already getting compressed by default; all properties in Caliper event with the null value get omitted from Caliper payload.

Thanks!

Erin

Thanks again Erin, good to know this. My clarification question still stands though. I repeat it here for clarity:

The phrase (in these release notes, Live Events section):  'previous behavior of supporting all events has been deprecated'  is unclear. Could you clarify what it means? 

Thanks

Interesante actualización de canvas para lograr identificar que item del "navigation menu" esta activo utilizando el icono de un ojo (eye icon); sin embargo hubiera sido mejor si se pudiera habilitar o deshabilitar el ítem del menú dando clic en icono del ojo, sería de gran ayuda y facilidad para el profesor.

Saludos desde Ecuador.

#UTPL #Ecuador #CanvasLatino

Patricia,

We have been working closely with Instructure on Live Events and have had discussions specifically about this change.  I'll let Instructure clarify/confirm, but I think it's meant to be worded as "previous behavior of supporting the return of all data elements in an event has been deprecated." 

-Paul

FYI

Canvas is officially no longer compatible with Internet Explorer and references to any compatibility (even limited) have been removed from the Which browsers does Canvas support? document.

Thanks Paul! That would make sense, although Instructure will need to confirm, of course. 

Hi Again,

Could you clarify what is meant by the statement "Third party LTI tools are not included in the course sidebar unless they are visible in the course"? I've been testing in beta and all the third party LTIs I have seen appear in the course navigation menu as expected. I'm not sure how an LTI could be installed in a course but not be visible in it. Thanks!

Hi david_downs@harvard.edu...


Some LTIs do not have a "placement" on the course navigation like others do.  For example, we have the "Films on Demand" LTI installed at the account level for all of our instructors to use.  There is no "Films on Demand" button available to add to course navigation.  Rather, you add videos from "Films on Demand" but using the icon placed in the Rich Content Editor (RCE).  It's a little hard to see, but here is the "App Placements" screen which tells me where "Films on Demand" shows up:

Films on Demand

By contrast, the "Google Apps" LTI does have "Course Navigation" as a "placement"...among several other areas in Canvas.

Google Apps

I agree with Ian Linkletter that the proposed change to the course menu is better when it's a user choice: this makes sense as there is already a similar user setting, and it prevents teachers from seeing a very "noisy, busy" user interface when most of the menu items are hidden from students.

Thanks Chris, that makes sense and matches the LTI behavior I currently experience in production. (We also use LTIs that don't have a placement in the course sidebar.) Since the statement about LTIs not appearing in the course sidebar was included in a post about changes to the sidebar, I thought it was intended to point out new LTI behavior. Perhaps it was just a reminder of how third-party LTIs work in general. Thanks for the assist!

Hello @Erin Hallmark,

At FSU we have one of our Canvas Support Technicians summarize the Release Notes every month so we can locate which items are most important to our team and University. Our Technician summarized these notes on August 28th, however I see that there was an update to them on August 29th. Is the plan to continuously update the Release Notes page up until September 21st (or just update them until the date on the document in future months) or is there a specific time frame that you all plan on releasing the final version of the release notes.

Thank you,

Nick Derella

I believe that it would be helpful for end users to be able to see the history of the release notes document if additions or changes are going to be made.

We have the ability to see the created date, modified date, and the version number but we do not know what has changed if we regularly come back to the document.

I've had this same question in the past. There is a change log section embedded at the end of the notes and linked-to from the top of the document. It's so easy to overlook, I wish it was just included at the top.

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-17625-canvas-release-notes-2019-09-21?commentID=147737&et=w...

With that said, in this case the notes were modified on 8/29, but nothing was recorded in the log, which might mean that it was an inconsequential update (typo, etc).

Thank you for pointing that out.  It might have simply been a typo or something like that. It still would be helpful to see the differences, even if they are small.

You're welcome, and I agree.  I just wish they would/could fix the version history problem with the Jive platform, so that we could just click the link at the top to easily see where the changes were made. It doesn't sound like Jive is able to fix that problem though. 

dbrace@lccc.edu‌...

We may need to hear from erinhallmark‌ on the specifics of why we can't look at the version history of Release Notes (example, I can click on "Version 34" in this Guide and compare all the way back to "Version 1": How do I use the Modules Index Page? side by side).  It may have to do with the length of the Release Notes page.  That seems to ring a bell for me way back when...but I'm not sure if this still holds true with the platform this website lives on.

See this thread for more info on the version history issue.

How do I view previous versions of official Instructure documentation? 

At the top of this page, it is not possible for me to click on "Version 3" and see the history.  I am not sure where you are seeing "Version 34".

322573_Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 1.14.04 PM.png

dbrace@lccc.edu...

Please take a look at my previous post again...I was referencing the Guide on the Modules Index Page that has 34 versions...just as an example.  🙂

Thanks for the link, vanzandt.  Good find!

I find the new Navigation Menu to be less clear, not more clear!  Though I'm not a fan of gray text on white screen in general, in this case, it's clear that these are inactive links and the black ones are active.  In the After example here, they're all blue, with some icon to the right of some of them.  I actually have to look harder to see what's active and not by moving my eye over to the right to see the icon and try to line it up with the lines of the icon.  In Douglas Brace's screenshot, it looks like it becomes clear with hovering, but again, that requires movement to clearly see things rather than being able to just look at the screen to see which links are active.  As I said, I'm not a fan of light gray text, so I'm not averse to eliminating that, but this "solution" is actually less clear visually and more work for the eye (or hand, for hovering) to get the same information that was easily viewable before.

Gotcha.  Sorry, it has been a long week.

I agree! And, the LTI's not having the eyeball icon will only lead to more confusion -- our faculty don't know the difference between a native Canvas navigation menu item and an LTI. I am crossing my fingers that they pull back on releasing this update and review the many concerns mentioned on this page. As a school still rebounding from the post policies release, that last thing we need right now is more questions about eyeballs and inconsistent meaning.

Regarding the changes to course navigation UI, is this moving forward on September 21st? The re-use of the "eyeball" icon is especially problematic because it is already used in Gradebook, and the Gradebook doesn't support tooltips.

I will take this opportunity to link to Sour Notes, which summarizes major issues with the July release that shouldn't be repeated again.

Hi, Douglas,

This adjustment is in beta now. Thanks!

Erin

Hi, Nicholas,

Changes are noted in the change log if they're significant, meaning that I want everyone to note the change. Otherwise, reasons that others have already suggested are accurate and you don't need to worry.

Thanks,

Erin

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