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Canvas Release Notes (2020-02-15)

Canvas Release Notes (2020-02-15)

Upcoming Canvas Changes

2020-03-21

  • End-of-Life functionality for existing course and user analytics
  • Enforcement of New Course and User Analytics

For more information, please see Upcoming Canvas Changes

In this Canvas release (February 15), Gradebook import CSV files ignore reserved name columns as well as hidden and deleted custom columns. 

When creating an API developer key, admins can allow Include parameters when enforcing scopes.

Additionally, Canvas provides a more responsive experience for content scrolling according to web accessibility initiative guidelines. Institutions that rely on custom JS/CSS should confirm their code with these recent changes.

External Tools (LTI)

  • For institutions using Commons, favorited Commons items can be imported from Quizzes, Pages, Discussion, Assignments, and Modules.
  • For institutions using New Quizzes, the New Quizzes button has been moved from the Assignments page to the Quizzes page. Additionally, the quiz creation process supports both New Quizzes and Classic (old) Quizzes.

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

Canvas release summary by user roleCanvas New Release ScreencastCanvas Release Collaborative Chat


Release Notes Change Log

Updated Features

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Commons

Favorites Import

 

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

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing Commons feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

Commons

Feature Video

 

 

Summary

Favorited Commons items can be imported from Quizzes, Pages, Discussion, Assignments, and Modules.

 

Change Benefit

This change allows users to import all favorited content from Commons into one of the five supported Canvas areas.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

After favoriting Commons content, instructors can open Quizzes, Pages, Discussions, Assignments, or Modules in their course and import favorited items into the content area. Previously content could only be imported to a course directly from Commons. Embedded content can be any type, not just embedded file types.

Commons Favorites option in Assignments page

When a user views a Canvas area and imports favorited content, the type of content supported by the area displays in the sidebar. For instance, selecting the Commons Favorites option from the Assignments page displays all favorited assignments. 

After the content item is selected and the sidebar is closed, the item displays in the content area.

Commons sidebar with favorites

Imported Commons favorite in Assignments page

Favorited content can also be accessed from Commons via the Rich Content Editor’s LTI tools menu. However, while other content areas support any kind of file, the Rich Content Editor only imports embedded files.

Gradebook

Gradebook Import Reserved Names

Location to Enable Feature

Gradebook

Configuration Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Gradebook

Related APIs

Custom Gradebook Columns API

Affects User Interface

No

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing Gradebook feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

gradebook

Feature Video

 

 

Summary

Gradebook import CSV files ignore reserved name columns as well as hidden and deleted custom columns. For new custom columns, custom columns cannot have the same name as a reserved column.

 

Change Benefit

This change confirms data is uploaded correctly as part of the import and prevents grade conflicts from hidden or deleted columns.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

When the Gradebook CSV file is imported to a course Gradebook, the image behavior ignores existing columns with reserved column names and non-active custom columns.

A reserved column name is a column that is already being used by the Gradebook to manage user data. Reserved column names include the following: Student, ID, SIS User ID, SIS Login ID, Section, Integration ID, and Root Account.

A non-active custom column is a custom column that has been hidden in the Gradebook via the API or has been deleted from the Gradebook.

For new custom columns, the Gradebook does not allow columns to have the same name as a reserved column name.

New Quizzes

Quizzes Page New Quizzes Button

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

Quizzes

Configuration Details

New Quizzes LTI

Affected Canvas Areas

Quizzes, 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

Community Idea Contribution

Move Quizzes.Next to Quizzes Tab

Feature Video

 

Summary

The New Quizzes button has been moved from the Assignments page to the Quizzes page. Additionally, the quiz creation process supports both New Quizzes and Classic (old) Quizzes.

Change Benefit

This change helps instructors logically identify new and old quizzes and be able to create each type from the same location. In an upcoming release, users can choose to make a selected quiz type persistent.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Instructors

Instructors using New Quizzes can view the Quizzes page to create a new quiz instead of the Assignments page. When an instructor selects the Add Quiz button, the page displays a window asking which quiz type should be used to create a quiz: Classic Quizzes or New Quizzes.

New Quizzes quiz button

Once a quiz engine is selected, the page displays the quiz creation page for the selected tool.

In both the Assignments page and the Quizzes page, quizzes created with New Quizzes or migrated to New Quizzes display a solid Quiz icon. Quizzes created with Old Quizzes display an outlined Quiz icon.

Quizzes page icon differentiation

Students

Students can also view New Quizzes in the Quizzes page, complete with the new and old icons to differentiate quiz versions.

New Quizzes student view

Platform/Integration

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Developer Keys

Developer Key Include Parameter Support

Location to Enable Feature

N/A

Configuration Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Developer Keys

Permissions

Developer Keys - manage

Related APIs

OAuth2 - Developer Keys, Developer Keys API

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Admins

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing Developer Keys feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

Developer Token

Feature Video

 

Summary

Admins can allow Include parameters when enforcing scopes for a developer key.

 

Change Benefit

This change allows developer key creators to have access to additional data not included in the selected scopes.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

Admins

As part of the new API developer key creation process, enforcing scopes is disabled by default. However, when scopes are enforced for a developer key, admins can select the Allow Include Parameters checkbox, which permits use of all “includes” parameters for the developer key. "Includes" parameters may grant access to additional data not included in the scopes selected for the developer key.

Developer Key Includes Parameters button

Theme Editor

Responsive Layout Enforcement

 

Affected Canvas Areas

Canvas Interface

Configuration Details

Responsive Layout Feature Option, Account Settings (until 2020-02-15)

Location to Enable Feature

Theme Editor (Upload Tab)

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Admins

Feature Enhancement Ideas

Existing Theme Editor feature ideas

Specified Tag for Feature Ideas

theme

Feature Video

 

 

Summary

Canvas provides a more responsive experience for content scrolling according to web accessibility initiative guidelines.

Change Benefit

This change ensures Canvas continues to meet accessibility guidelines for all Canvas users regarding the vertical and horizontal display of course content.

Affected Canvas Users

Admins

Institutions implementing custom JavaScript or CSS through the Theme Editor should review the WAI reflow standards and their current code to ensure no conflicts exist with Canvas pages.

This responsive layout change is enabled by default in the beta environment, but it can also be optionally tested in the production environment until 2020-02-15 with the Responsive Layout feature option in Account Settings. 

On 2020-02-15, the feature option will be enabled for all accounts in the production environment by default.

Release Notes Change Log

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Date
2020-02-03Added available feature videos (from screencast) to feature sections
2020-01-20Release Notes Published
Labels (1)
Comments

We have new quizzes feature option completely turned OFF in production at the root account level.  After this beta release, it is now turned ON.  I do not see that change listed in the release notes or on the Upcoming Canvas Changes pages.  I have not changed it on beta yet so that the engineers can look at it. 

We do not want our instructors to use New Quizzes until there is feature parity and it's included in Canvas Data.   

If I need to open a ticket with support please let me know.  

Hi millerjm@seminolestate.edu‌,

Are you sure you haven't had it on in Beta previously (the feature options don't copy over from Production during a refresh).  I checked ours, which has been set to Allow for quite a while now, and it's still on Allow now.  I definitely don't want that option to be set to ON until all of the features we need for New Quizzes (LTI add-ons like Kaltura being available in the New Quizzes RCE, specifically) are available.

-Chris

Thank you chriscas‌!

I always assumed everything got copied over on beta (including settings) each time....I turned it off and now I don't get the pop up asking us which type of quiz I want to make.  

On the Developer Key thing - I read and re-read this a few times but am not understanding. So you set up a developer key and enforce scopes to limit the data the developer key can access... and then you check the allow include parameters which then removes the limit in some way to what the developer key can access?!!? What are include parameters and why would you need to do this? Does checking this box make sense if you are trying to limit what the developer key can access? 

John, the include parameter is available with some of the API calls to allow you to retrieve information with 1 API call that would otherwise require you to make multiple API calls. Or it can allow you to gather only a small piece of information and then add on extra pieces.

With scoped credentials, all includes are blocked. There are things in the Canvas API that are exceedingly tedious to accomplish without the include parameter and there are other things that are currently impossible without that parameter. So, as things currently stand, you either live without that functionality, or you don't scope your credentials and grant access to anything that a user can do. You would still be scoping the credential to only allow certain API endpoints, this feature would just allow them to use the full functionality of that API endpoint rather than only a portion of it.

I am a programmer at Utah State University and I build a lot of Canvas integrations that are used both at USU and by other institutions across the Canvas community. I can tell you haven't spent much time in the Canvas API so let me give you a couple of examples. 

Syllabus Body:

Let's say that you want to incorporate a tool that will search through all of the courses in an account and gather all of the syllabi into a central repository. The only way currently (at least of which I am aware) to pull in the syllabus for a course is to add an include[] parameter to also return the syllabus body. This is part of most of the API endpoints that will return information about courses (example: List active courses in an account). Without the option to allow includes, there would be no option to gather syllabus information unless you didn't scope the credentials at all. 

Assignment Groups:

If you have a tool that helps you work with assignment groups, the List assignment groups API endpoint would allow you to not only get the list of groups but also us an include[] parameter to retrieve the assignments that are in that group as well. Without that parameter, what is one API with the include could now be dozens of API calls all of which come at a cost of time and server resources.

The examples could go on and on but hopefully, that helps clarify the purpose of this feature. If you search the Canvas API Documentation for "include[]" you will get an idea of the additional possibilities this feature opens up.

well said kenneth.larsen@usu.edu

Thanks Kenneth! TIL there is a include parameter for API calls lol

So the new quizzes on the quiz page is better but I still have issues with how quizzes in the new quiz tool appear in modules. The new quizzes are still associated with assignment icon and not the dark quiz icon like on the quiz and assignment pages. This will be confusing to faculty and students. This makes it difficult to support faculty and students when there are inconsistencies in the user interface. 

When faculty add content the quizzes from the new quiz tool will still be associated with assignments and not quizzes. 

New content dialog box from modules 

When faculty and students view quiz content in the modules the icon associated with quizzes in the new quiz tool will still be the assignment icon even through the assignment and quiz index pages will display the dark quiz icon. 

Module list with quiz from the new quiz tool

Good catch Susan! Consistency is really important. I do like this gentler way of easing people into using New Quizzes, and I like the explanations included as to how to choose which tool, but, yeah, it has to be consistent. 

Hi, Susan,

We have a ticket that is almost completed to address this discrepancy.

Thanks!

Erin

I am still able to upload a gradebook CSV with a column named "Section" or "Integration ID". After telling the Canvas dialog that the column should be treated as a new assignment the column with grades is added to the gradebook with, what I understood were reserved column names, "Section" and "Integration ID" as Assignment names. I would expect some message that would tell me I can not use these names. Anyone else have the same experience or did I not understand this Updated Gradebook feature?

336466_Reserved column names.jpg

Hey, Frank,

You've got it; would you do us a favor and submit a support case so our team can verify this is working as intended?

Thanks,

Erin

Hi there,

The new responsive theme looks like a real improvement. In testing I found a couple of small issues:

1) When I try to add a page or assignment in the Units view the modal window for this is not responsive.

336519_pastedImage_1.png

2) SpeedGrader does not appear to be fully responsive for smaller screens - this is in admin/teacher role.

336569_pastedImage_3.png

Thanks, 

Matthew

The Quiz Comparison Document that's linked to in the new popup dialog uses the terms "Quizzes" and "Canvas Quizzes". Will those references be updated to "Classic Quizzes" so that there is consistency with the language used in the Canvas UI?

erinhallmark‌ No problem, I will.

Hi, Audra,

Yup we'll be updating that for the release!

Thanks,

Erin

2 questions

  1. The release notes say that the responsive theme option shows up in the upload tab of the theme editor. I'm looking at feature options in a root account admin role in a beta instance and see this:
    336582_pastedImage_1.png
      
    Does this mean that somehow the responsive theme option is on by virtue of the feature flag? I don't see anything under the Upload tab for doing anything with responsive layout when starting a design for a new theme:

    336587_pastedImage_3.png
  2. Will any responsiveness applied to a Theme include responsive enhancements to the admin interface itself? Most of the time when I'm logging into Canvas with a smartphone it's to do admin type work, so I'm very curious if that experience will be improved.

Just re-read the notes so my questions may already be answered. Could someone please clarify:

  1.  The responsive layout is already applied in the beta instance, right? So I'm trying to get some clarification on the notes where it says:

    Location to Enable Feature

    Theme Editor (Upload Tab)

  2. After looking at it, the admin interface seems to have some responsive features, so here's a different question: is there anywhere in the release notes or the community site that explain what Canvas UI design elements are affected by the responsive enhancements? Looks like matthew.taylor@sussex.ac.uk found a few things that this release doesn't specifically address such as at least one modal dialog and the SpeedGrader interface.

Hi there, I am a little confused on what this feature is trying to achieve myself. So finding it hard to work out how to test it. What exactly is the problem it was trying to solve? Is it simply to give a warning about importing a column with a 'reserved' name? And if so, your testing results are indicating that this problem is not yet solved it seems...?

Hi there, I like the look of the Commons Favorite import feature and can see many use cases for it at our institution. A bit of feedback:

  • When I first saw the + Create New option when importing an assignment directly to the assignments area I was confused, and didn't immediately see the hover over. I think I had a brain freeze or something because my first thought was, 'why does it want me to create a new item for Commons?'. Maybe I need another coffee before testing in future.
  • When I imported a Sample Discussion item into modules, I got not only the discussion, but also the file inside that discussion called 'discussionbanner.png'. Two items appeared in the module - the discussion and the file. Not what I was expecting. I only expected to see the discussion. See below image.
  • When I imported a quiz directly into module, it duplicated. See below image.
  • Do jpeg images (in a content page for example), also get imported as files? I haven't been able to successfully test this scenario yet.

336547_pastedImage_1.png

Thanks

Kirsten

On the quiz page once new quizzes is enabled I noticed that quizzes I create in the new quiz don't display details about the quiz. It just displays an animated icon that just keeps spinning. I hope this is just a beta instance thing. 

quiz list in Canvas

Susan, I sent a ticket to support about this yesterday and was told the engineering team is aware of the issue and working on a fix.

Jeffrey,

If your institution is using custom JS/CSS, you'll be affected. Most of the changes you'll see appear in the Global Navigation Menu. If you're not using custom JS/CSS, no worries on your end.

We passed on the feedback regarding the other locations to our product team for review.

Thanks!

Erin

Does anyone else worry that the descriptive text for new/legacy quizzes will be confusing?

"For the time being, if you need security from 3rd-party tools, Speedgrader, or CSVs for student response analysis, this is the better choice."

If I were an instructor, I might interpret this to mean that new quizzes are insecure.

Instructors who uses those 3rd party security tools, such as lockdown browser, will understand the note and choose to use the classic quizzes.  For the time being, new quizzes are insecure in that students may open other windows to search for an answer to copy and paste into their response.  Classic quizzes allow third party tools to prevent that type of cheating, and failing to warn instructors who rely on those tools will cause last minute scrambles to convert back to classic quizzes.  New quizzes has a solution for that coming, I think, and so the message can be updated once that is ready.  In the meantime, that warning is important.

Hello k.ryall@mbs.edu‌, I was also not sure what the feature is trying to achieve. I also thought it would prevent certain names to be uploaded to the Canvas Gradebook. Apparently that is what it should do but I was still able to upload a column with the reserved name "Section" and "Integration ID". Uploading these column was possible and did not give a warning. It also did not give a problem so I don't know what development is trying to solve. erinhallmark I submitted a ticket to support but I have not had confirmation that it is passed on the the developers yet.

Hi, Frank,

Our engineers were able to confirm we hadn't turned on this feature on the backend! It has been turned on in beta now. Please try it again and let us know if you're still experiencing difficulties with this feature but you should be good to go. We apologize for this oversight!

Erin

Hi, Susan,

This behavior has been addressed in https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-18455-canvas-deploy-notes-2020-02-12 

Thanks,

Erin

Hi erinhallmark‌, I retested and am still able to upload reserved column names with a CSV file. I updated case number 05172179.

336813_Reserved column namesUploadGradebook.jpg

 

Is it intentional that disabled/hidden menu items are visible to instructors/admins in the new responsive course menu?

E.g. See that "Macmillan learning" appears in the new responsive course menu

Imgur: The magic of the Internet 

However, it does not appear in the normal course menu:

Imgur: The magic of the Internet 

And it's disabled in the navigation settings:

Imgur: The magic of the Internet 

(I opened a support ticket: 05191377)

HI, Miles,

LTI link should be acting the same way as before; when enabled, they display in the Course Navigation Menu. However, when disabled, LTI links don't display in the Course Navigation Menu but they will show in the Course Settings Navigation tab so you can see they are disabled.

Thanks,

Erin

Then it sounds like what I'm seeing is a bug, because I'm being shown items in a disabled state.

Support responded "I have taken a look at this case for you and it looks like this is something that is somewhat intended. It looks like we are meaning to show the disabled items, however, there should be an indication that it isn't visible to students. We have an open engineering ticket for this. I will go ahead and attach the engineering tracker to this case so you will be notified of updates to this."

k.ryall@mbs.edu I have an answer back from support that clarifies the issue:  "It is working as intended. The feature states "For new custom columns, custom columns cannot have the same name as a reserved column." this means that the name restrictions only apply to custom columns, which are created via API. In testing the API request, any attempt to use a protected name will be met with this response: "cannot use gradebook importer reserved names". This is consistent with the description of the feature.

The reason why you are able to create new columns in the gradebook with those names through a csv import is because the gradebook importer cares about the position of the information. The first six columns of the gradebook are used to verify the data to be added and ensure they link to the correct course/student. Any data after that is treated as an assignment, which does not have a protected list of names"

erinhallmarkCould it be that the summary is causing confusion since it does not mention the API? "Gradebook import CSV files ignore reserved name columns as well as hidden and deleted custom columns. For new custom columns, custom columns cannot have the same name as a reserved column."

I just found another issue with responsiveness of the the See all courses/Modules page:

336862_pastedImage_1.jpg

The table is squashed with text truncated and the stars to the left obscured.

Will these issues be fixed before the 15th?

Best, 

Matthew

Anyone else unable to migrate quizzes in beta?

336994_pastedImage_1.png

I just tested in our beta instance. Its been spinning for several minutes now so it doesn't appear to work. 

Nice to know it's not just my institution having the issue. My worry is that this could carry over into the production instance after the update next Saturday.

Hi, Susan,

Our product manager let me know that they're working to address this concern and we've added it to the known issues list.

Thanks!

Erin

milesl@berkeley.edu,

I have just created a ticket for this as well.  It is ticket 05216242.

Have you received an update?

No response yet. I added a comment asking for an update. Hopefully Instructure doesn't plan to release this feature in its current state.

We missed the change to the Inbox and compose message. Can anyone tell me where that is? We want to make sure we understand what drives courses to Favorite Courses.

compose message options

Thank you,

Karen Matson

Thank you so much Doug. I was not aware of the Deploy notes. Will follow those now.

Best regards,

Karen

You are welcome, kmatson@uoregon.edu.  It can sometimes be difficult to remember to track both Recent Releases and Recent Deploys.

Looks like the Migrate function isn't working in production, which is what I was worried about. Will there be a ticket put in about this?

Hi, Yumia,

If you are finding behavior that isn't working as intended, please let the Canvas support team know so they can investigate.

Thanks!

Erin

It looks like you made a comment last week about this being on the Known Issues list. Has it already been addressed and now only occurring at my institution? 

Hi, Yumia,

Yes, even though it's on the list we appreciate you submitting cases so our team knows how many institutions are being affected.

Thanks!

Erin

Hi, everyone,

Release notes are available for March: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-18528-canvas-release-notes-2020-03-21 

Again, if you've reported something that is in process or yet to be resolved, our Support team will notify you when updates are available.

Thanks,

Erin

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