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Canvas Release Notes (2021-02-20)

Canvas Release Notes (2021-02-20)

In this Canvas release (February 20), LaTeX equations can be entered in any Canvas text field, and MathJax is loaded if Canvas detects an equation image added by delimited LaTeX characters.

The Rich Content Editor includes a pretty HTML editor in addition to the raw HTML editor.

For instructors, the Gradebook View menu includes the View Ungraded as 0 option, which is a visual change only and does not affect any grades. When grading periods are used in the Gradebook, the Gradebook CSV exporter will append the title of the selected grading period to column headers whose values vary based on grading period. Additionally, the Gradebook importer recognizes and can apply changes for final grade override scores.

 

For all resources and feedback information related to this release, see the Release Resources section at the end of this document.

Related Links

 

Updated Features

Back to Table of Contents

 

Courses

MathJax Equation Enhancements & Text Field LaTeX Characters

Location to Enable Feature

Account Settings—Feature Options

Feature Functionality Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Any content area in Canvas

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

All Users

Feature Video

Courses: MathJax and LaTeX (2021-02-20 Release)


Summary

LaTeX equations can be entered in any Canvas text field, and MathJax is loaded if Canvas detects an equation image added by delimited LaTeX characters.

Change Benefit

This change allows users to use equations in more areas of Canvas and manage equations more efficiently.

Affected User Roles

All Users

LaTeX equations can be added in any text field in Canvas and are typeset or processed by MathJax. Equations can be added through manual entry, or through the Equation editor as supported in the Rich Content Editor.

Manually Entered Equations

Equations can be added manually in any Canvas area that includes a text field, such as the title of an assignment or in a calendar event. Manual entries must be formatted according to LaTeX specifications. For help using the LaTeX Editor, please see the Canvas Equation Editor Advanced PDF.

LaTex in the CalendarLaTex in the Calendar

 

Text fields support MathJax $$ or /( delimiters to identify equations. Adding equations added in a \(...\) format indicates the equation should be in an inline format. Generally, equations entered with text should be formatted inline. However, an equation in a $$...$$ format indicates the equation should be in a block format. 

Inline Example: 

\(area = \int_{a}^b f(x)dx\)

Block Example:

$$y = mx + b$$

LaTex in the Rich Content EditorLaTex in the Rich Content Editor

 
When saved, MathJax renders the LaTeX equations in the editor window as inline and block text, respectively.

 

Rendering of LaTex in the Rich Content EditorRendering of LaTex in the Rich Content Editor

 

Gradebook

View Ungraded as Zero

 

This feature can be enabled in Canvas through a feature option in Account Settings. 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

Gradebook

Feature Functionality Details

View Ungraded as Zero Feature Option

Affected Canvas Areas

Gradebook

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Related Idea Conversations

Allow View Ungraded as 0 in New Gradebook

Change verbiage for "Treat Ungraded as Zeroes"

Feature Video

Gradebook: View Ungraded as Zero (2021-02-20 Release)


Summary

The Gradebook View menu includes the View Ungraded as 0 option, which is a visual change only and does not affect any grades. 

Change Benefit

This change aligns parity with the Individual View Gradebook and provides instructors with a visual change in identifying grading calculations for ungraded assignments.

Affected User Roles

Instructors

When this feature is enabled for an account, the View menu includes the View Ungraded as 0 option, which allows instructors to view student grades as if all ungraded assignments were worth zero points. This setting also persists for the Individual View Gradebook.

Each time the View Ungraded as 0 setting is selected, the Gradebook displays a window explaining the details about the setting. The user must agree to the details before the setting can be used.

This setting only affects the user’s view of student grades and displays grades as if all ungraded assignments were given a score of zero. This setting is a visual change only and does not affect grades for students or other users of the Gradebook. When the setting is enabled, Canvas will not populate zeros in the Gradebook for student submissions within individual assignments. Only the assignment groups and total columns will automatically factor in all scores of zero into the overall percentages for each student. 

View Ungraded as 0 MessageView Ungraded as 0 Message


When selected in the Gradebook, the View Ungraded as 0 option displays as a heading in all assignment group columns and the total column to indicate this feature is turned on in the Gradebook. This feature also includes grading periods, if used for a course.

Ungraded as 0 in HeadersUngraded as 0 in Headers

Enabling this option has no effect outside of the Gradebook; students cannot see any difference in their grade pages. Similarly, TAs or other instructors in the course will not see any change in their view of the Gradebook. Only the user who enables this option in the Gradebook will see the affected grades.  

Note: This feature affects the configuration of the Total Column in the Gradebook, which also applies to CSV Exports. The CSV file displays columns for the Current and Final scores: the Current score reflects the total while ignoring unsubmitted assignments (option disabled), and the Final score counts unsubmitted assignments as zero (option enabled). 

 

Grading Period in CSV Headers

Location to Enable Feature

Gradebook, Gradebook Export

Feature Functionality Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Gradebook

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Feature Video

Gradebook: CSV File Updates (2021-02-20 Release)


S
ummary

When grading periods are used in the Gradebook, the Gradebook CSV exporter will append the title of the selected grading period to column headers whose values vary based on grading period.

Change Benefit

This change helps instructors see which columns in the CSV are specific to the grading period.

Affected User Roles

Instructors

When instructors use grading periods in a course and export the Gradebook, the CSV file displays the title of the selected grading period in the following columns:

  • Current/Final columns
  • Assignment Group columns
  • Override Score/Grade columns
 

Import Override Scores in Gradebook

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

Gradebook Import

Feature Functionality Details

Final Grade Override Feature Option

Affected Canvas Areas

Gradebook

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Related Idea Conversations

import grades to "the Override" column using csv file

Feature Video

Gradebook: CSV File Updates (2021-02-20 Release)


Summary

The Gradebook importer recognizes and can apply changes for override scores.

Change Benefit

This change allows instructors to modify override scores via Gradebook CSV import.

Affected User Roles

Instructors

When an institution has enabled final grade overrides, and an instructor has enabled the option in the Gradebook, the instructor can use the CSV export file to enter and upload final grade override scores. 

As with other CSV changes, changes to the final grade overrides column display in the import confirmation page, which allows instructors to verify the final grade override scores before they are uploaded to the Gradebook.

Changes to final grade override scores also reflect in the Gradebook history.

 

Rich Content Editor

Pretty HTML Editor

 

Location to Enable Feature

N/A

Feature Functionality Details

N/A

Affected Canvas Areas

Rich Content Editor - HTML Editor

Beta/Test Environment Support

Yes

Affects User Interface

Yes

Affected User Roles

All Users

Related Idea Conversations

Toggle between HTML and Rich Text Editors in Full Screen mode with new RCE, HTML Formatter

Feature Video

Rich Content Editor: Pretty HTML (2021-02-20 Release)


Summary

The Rich Content Editor includes a pretty HTML editor in addition to the raw HTML editor.

Change Benefit

This change provides an enhanced HTML experience for users.

Affected User Roles

All Users

When using the Rich Content Editor, users can switch to the HTML editor by clicking the HTML editor icon.

HTML Editor buttonHTML Editor button


By default, the HTML editor displays an improved, pretty version of the HTML.

Users can switch to the existing (raw) HTML editor by clicking the Raw HTML Editor link. Only the Raw HTML Editor is currently accessible to screen reader users.

Pretty HTML EditorPretty HTML Editor


Both HTML editors can be expanded to the width of the screen by clicking the Full Screen icon.

Full Screen button for HTML EditorFull Screen button for HTML Editor

 

 

Change Log

Back to Table of Contents

 

2021-02-26

 

2021-02-17

 

2021-01-26

Changed MathJax Equation Enhancements & Text Field LaTeX Characters

  • Feature is temporarily an account-level feature option

Changed Gradebook: View Ungraded as Zero

  • Feature is an account-level feature option

Added feature videos

Changed Gradebook: View Ungraded as Zero

  • Feature description window displays every time the setting is selected; previously it only displayed the first time it was used
2021-02-19

Release Notes Published

 

Release Resources

Back to Table of Contents

 

User Summaries

Release features are summarized for individual roles in the User Summaries page.

Canvas Chat

Want to chat with other customers about any of these features? Sign up to view and join our Collaborative Release Chats in the CanvasLIVE Calendar. Chats take place ten days after these notes are published. 

New Feature Screencast

View a screencast of all the updates included in this release in the New Feature Screencast page.

tl;dr Podcast & Blogs

Features in this release may be included in product blogs and our product podcast, the Canvas tl;dr. For related links, check the Canvas Release Archive for this release date.

Feature Enhancements

The release notes indicate available functionality for a feature. If you want to see any future development planned for any features included in these notes, please visit the Roadmap. Have an idea you don't see prioritized in the next three months? Visit the Idea Conversations page.

Feature Support

All items listed in the release notes are immediately available for testing in the Canvas beta environment, unless otherwise indicated. If functionality in the beta environment does not match the functionality shown in the release notes, please submit a support case through your institution's preferred method as shown in your Global Navigation Help Menu. The Canvas Support Team can help escalate behaviors that may need to be resolved before they are deployed to the production environment, which takes place on the date of these release notes. When submitting a case, please indicate that the behavior is occurring in the beta environment.

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@Jeff_F Thank you for testing and reporting back. I was about to check the same. We'll still see issues with the instructors returning to a gradebook where this has been previously enabled.

 

@erinhmcmillan Thank you for the update that it will now present the informational message each time, and thanks to the gradebook team for working on adjustments for this feature. I hope there will be more to come. I think folks have identified some key areas that can still create trouble with the persistent nature of the setting (e.g. when you leave and return to the gradebook). Are they considering adding the screen frame/banner idea when it's enabled, or adding additional optional columns?I think @atcarver nailed it, noting that the info in the header will go overlooked, not to mention that addition of the text looks like a cluttered after-thought if/when you do notice it.  If they go with a frame it could include a link to Disable the View (like Student View and Masquerade), but it could also include a button/link to "Info" which could either display the pop-up again or a link out to a more detailed guide describing the full implications and guidance for those that want to "enter zeroes". 

O.K. Count me in as REALLY CONFUSED why giving students "0" for work that they have submitted, but I haven't had time to grade yet is considered a good idea. What benefit does this have for me? What benefit does this have for my students? All that's going to happen is that I will get lots of worried messages like: "Teacher, why did you give me a 0? I worked so hard." Then I will have to email back all of those students and reassure them that I just haven't had a chance to grade their work. Give me a break.

I'm a member of a very active Facebook page for mostly K-12 students who have been forced to go online due to the pandemic. All you are going to do is make their lives miserable with countless emails from their students' parents. All that is needed is what we have now: being able to set missing work as 0%.

Just because the tech people can do this DOESN'T make it a good idea. Ask teachers. Ask students. Ask parents. 

Can I be any more clear? 

@SusanNiemeyer This tool doesn't actually give students a 0; it just displays on the teacher's end what a students' final grade would be if all the ungraded assignments were a 0 (in other words, if they didn't do any more work). It's basically the What If feature, but for the whole class at once and on the teacher side. Students still see the dash that indicates a missing grade. 

I think Susan's misunderstanding illustrates perfectly why we instructional designers and administrators think this tool, as it is now, is a bad idea. Teachers will think this tool actually gives students 0s for ungraded assignments. I think someone earlier in the thread also thought this is what the tool does, so Susan is, of course, not the only one. 

I appreciate that Canvas is trying to make it work with the popup, but they haven't quite gotten there yet. I think the challenge is in clear, consistent, and constant communication. If Susan read this whole post and misinterpreted what the tool does, so many other teachers will read a pop up and not understand. 

Thank you, Venitk, for both clarifying the purpose of this proposed feature and showing why it's such a bad idea.

1) Don't use the term "UNGRADED." For many of us teaching online, keeping up with grading is a challenge. We already see our long "To-Do" lists. We DON'T NEED to see the effect of 0s on submitted, but not-yet-graded assignments. This is NOT HELPFUL. It creates teacher stress.

2) So what if we apply the "what-if" question to FUTURE MISSING submissions? If a student disappears mid-semester, then I can reasonably predict that he or she won't pass my course. I DON'T NEED Canvas to tell me that. It's unnecessary.

3) A more interesting "what-if" question is this: What if a struggling student starts to apply himself or herself and receives 70%, 80%, 90% or even 100% on FUTURE assignments? Could he or she pass the course? receive a B or A for the final grade? This would be a much more helpful "what-if" question.

So here's the bottom line:

1) DON'T use the term "UNGRADED." It's confusing and creates teacher stress.

2) Ask teachers if they would find the feature useful. A feature that automatically calculates a final grade based on MISSING future assignments serves little or no purpose.

Instead of investing time in this endeavor, please ask teachers which features they WOULD find helpful. For example, many teachers, including myself, prefer to use 14 font size because it makes our Canvas lessons easier for our students to read. Since the default is 12 font, we have to change the font size each and every time. Why not give us an option in the Course Settings to choose a default font size? This would be quite time-saver, and it should be an EASY PROJECT for your tech people. 

 

In my role as instructional support, I can see how this feature maybe useful in some very specific scenario but I also agree this will probably confuse many instructors. I also feel "what if ungraded is 0" as suggested would be better than "view ungraded as 0"  because some may mistake this as the "treat ungraded as 0" function in the old Gradebook. 

I'm not sure how many of the instructors at our institution will find this feature useful. But just to be safe, I am going to suggest to instructors who plan to use this to consider turning it on and then off each time they want to see the results instead of leaving it on. Hopefully that will help eliminate the confusion others have mentioned here and also when a course is team taught by multiple instructors. 

How can I unsubscribe from the comments on just this post? Is it possible? Thank you in advance.

@mskoch The old gradebook's "Treat Ungraded as 0" did the same thing as this new feature; it also did not actually change the grade for the student. It only changed what the instructor saw.

I mention this in case that's helpful for when you're explaining the feature to your faculty, but also (not to sound like a broken record) because this is another example of how confusing this feature is. The challenge for Canvas is to not just make sure this feature is clear in New Gradebook, but also to deal with residual confusion over the previous feature.  I think changing the wording more dramatically than just "Treat" to "View" would help a lot to break that association to a very confusing feature in Old Gradebook. I still like "What if."

I appreciate the adapting that I've seen happen from Canvas on how to make this feature work for the people who really want it while also accommodating the concerns from the rest of us. I don't think we're quite there yet. I wish there was a way we could work with Canvas on potentially difficult features before they get to the Release Notes stage because seeing "not quite there yet" features in the Release Notes sends us into a mild panic, even when Canvas makes changes based on our input, but I appreciate that there's forward progress and empathetic listening. 

Jumping back into this fray ... to support at a minimum the change to "View" in the wording. But as noted by others, we really need a persistent reminder that this feature is enabled, not just an occasional popup. I would like to see a banner or ribbon similar to TEST/BETA screens that really reminds the faculty this feature is engaged. 

@straussi 

I wish there was a "like" or "agree" button available in this thread so I could back up your comment without having to make a whole additional post.

Beta, Test, and Student View all have the banner. There is a not insignificant number of instructors that manage to zone that out too, so even the banner won't catch everyone. It would be a big help though.

I think the View Ungraded as 0 is nothing but confusing.  I read through some of the posts under the feature request and I don't think this addresses their concerns.  Some of the posts seemed to think this feature worked in a way it didn't.  

A much simpler solution is to add another Total column to Instructor and Student gradebook views.  One Total Column would be labeled relative, the other absolute.  Relative is the grade that takes into account all graded assignments.  Absolute is the grade that takes into account all assignments. 

Add a hover box for each column explaining what the calculation is.  

Our prior LMS had these two columns and it worked well.  It was easy to explain and since both were always in view, you're less likely to forget which you're looking at.

How are instructors expected to use View Ungraded as 0? To gauge students' final grades if they continue to not turn in their work?  May be it should be something that's goes away as soon as one navigates away from the page.  

I really hope the MathJax line of updates fix the bug that was introduced with the new student view of assignments having online submission. In the new view, MathJax is not loaded. 

GTP

I noticed an error. When I got into canvas on a desktop, the to do list which is on the dashboard, is over to the right. Usually that's where it is, but this is very, very far right. The section almost goes off the webpage due to how far right it is. Can that be fixed? As it's hard to tell what needs to be done when part of the section is cut off due to the end of the screen

@thorine I left a reply for you in the post you linked.

@GTP if you would please submit that information as a support case, that would be the best way to help us get that behavior reviewed.

Thanks!

Erin

My suggestion for the View Ungraded as Zero is for it to be persistence-limited. As described by the content information, the tool provides "instructors with a visual change in identifying grading calculations for ungraded assignments". A process flow for a persistence-limited option would be:

  1. Faculty seeks to view their students grades for assignments not yet graded
  2. Sub-totals and total grades are noted with the "View ungraded as zero" showing the change in grades for the students when this option is checked
  3. After viewing the changes in the gradebook, the faculty either unchecks the option or clicks away from the gradebook
  4. If the faculty unchecks the option, then all is good
  5. If the faculty clicks away from the gradebook without unchecking the option, have the persistence state change the "View ungraded as zero" to off
  6. This returns the view for the faculty showing no grades for the ungraded assignments

My basis for this suggestion is that the faculty having seen the changes in the grade, there is no reason for the View ungraded as Zero to persist/remain on since the "grade message" has been delivered. If the faculty wants to review this option, then they go through the process again. This suggested solution will alleviate the above concerns.

Is this possible?

Bruce

The "limited persistence" idea @bricha44adm puts forward is a good one. I'd upvote that improvement but also stress the need for a "banner" or the like as suggested by @vanzandt and others.

I'd also echo @venitk that I appreciate the Instructure team listening to feedback on this feature, but it feels like we're "not quite there yet" on this feature given the amount of feedback in this thread and that I've received internally. There's just too much room for error and misunderstanding about what the "final" grade is when this feature is used, especially between instructor and student.

Isn't one of the primary purposes of the feature flag to allow features that aren't "suited for everyone" to be disabled by those that it is not suited for?

I am baffled that most of the comments here from myself and others around the "view ungraded as 0" are pretty much being summarily dismissed by Instructure.  Aside from making the popup warning appear more than once, all of the other great feedback and suggestions here are being swept under the rug and the feature being pushed out anyways. Perhaps we'll see some adjustments in future releases, but I have to say I see this as a troubling trend lately.  Starting with New Quizzes, then continuing to Grade Posting Policies and New RCE, Instructure is pushing things into production when they are barely even beta quality.  Then all Canvas users have to deal with the issues, support staff have increased workload taking note of all the problems and reporting them to Instructure, and then wait months (if not years) for them all to be addressed.

I know coding options (whether we call them account settings or feature flags) increases the complexity of code behind Canvas and developers probably want to minimize those.  However, as Canvas admins and users, we do not want technology to force us to do things in a certain way.  Even though nobody has really spoken up here (and in the feature request thread it seems pretty clear to me that most people in support of this feature think it actually changes the grades on the student view too), I'm sure there are some use cases for view ungraded as 0.  I don't want to affect people who really might want to use the feature as it is designed right now.  That being said, this feature (which is identical to the old "treat ungraded as 0") caused us nothing but complaints when it was available in the old gradebook.  There were cheers in the audience at InstructureCon when it was announces that tread ungraded as 0 was going away with the new gradebook.  Clearly this feature, as currently described, doesn't work for everyone.  This needs to be made into an option admins can disable, and honestly it needs to happen before the feature is released at all.

I appreciate that this topic will be on an upcoming tl;dr podcast, but that's not happening until after the release.  We need issues like this to be discussed way ahead of time so the community can give feedback and Instructure can take it into account when building a feature.  Continuing to wait until the last minute to get feedback in release notes doesn't seem to be the best direction overall.  I know getting things "right" is hard, and sometimes there is no right or wrong, but I have confidence that Instructure can do a better job.  I am feeling very frustrated that we keep reaching this painful points, and hope a better way forward can be found (both immediately for this particular feature and in the long term for future changes too).

P.S. - For the admins among this crowd, I have created some javascript to disable this feature.  It may not be the best code ever written, but it is at least functional from my testing.  Send me a message here if you are interested in receiving the code.  I don't want this code to be a crutch for Instructure to continue down their current path and not adding a supported disable option for the feature, so I'm not going to post it to the public at this point.

Sorry for the long somewhat ranting post.  This is just something I feel very passionate about, and I hope something good can come out of the situation.

-Chris

@chriscas 

Thank you for presenting the situation so beautifully.  At UC Davis we completely share your sentiments about how we are all trying to make these comments constructive and how they are largely being ignored by Instructure because "the railroad must go through here regardless of the collateral damage".  I am not looking forward to a feature being enabled in a manner which clearly is not welcome by most admins or large institutional Instructure customers.

-Steve Faith, Canvas admin and Service Lead

Thank you, Chris, for stating what we're all feeling. Instructure seems to have a short memory regarding the downfall of Bb. Just in case anyone forgot, they quit listening to their customers. 

As a Canvas product manager, I would like to jump into this thread and thank everyone for your feedback, specifically surrounding the upcoming release of the gradebook setting to “view ungraded as zero”. I have been watching this feedback and taking it into account alongside the feedback that we receive from various outlets, including the many conversations that we have with the educators using Canvas on a daily basis. Bringing back “view ungraded as zero” is one of the most common requests that we have heard from educators, thus the reason we did. While we want to meet the needs of our users who have needed (and missed) this feature, we also hear the concerns shared here as is evidenced by changes already made since this announcement.  We will continue to watch feedback and usage data in the coming weeks to make the right decisions for tweaking this feature as needed and will keep all updated through the usual channels. 

Canvas admin and faculty support here. I want to +1 what @chriscas says about features being forced into production long before they're ready, and then offering zero support when those features break down and hurt students for reasons beyond our control. We were told (too late) by Instructure that New Quizzes in particular has struggled because it "hasn't been tested for the full range of use cases" for which faculty are using it. (We're a small community college and a brand new Canvas school; our use cases are just basic teaching and learning, not anything especially unique or complex.) We adopted New Quizzes swiftly because we were misled into thinking Classic was going away soon and that New Quizzes was ready for prime time. If schools are expected to help Instructure with QA testing during live classes, it should be on a volunteer basis and it must come with extra support to compensate for the natural increase of issues. 

Thanks for your comment @jsailor. I'm curious: when educators request this feature, are you sure (or can you tell from their comments) that they know this feature doesn't change the grade on the students' side of the gradebook? In other words, are you sure they're asking for what this feature actually does, or what they think this feature does? 

I can't know the answer to this question, obviously, and I can easily see educators wanting to take a shortcut to change all dashes to 0s at the end of the semester. However, the educators I've spoken to think this feature changes the grade for students as well as for themselves.  

Forgive my cynicism here, but when I hear, "...the feedback that we receive from various outlets, including the many conversations that we have with the educators using Canvas on a daily basis." I wonder just who @jsailor and other product managers that are focused on the treat ungraded as zero feature are talking to.  It is certainly not me nor any of my faculty.  Has anyone else in this thread had somebody from Instructure reach out to have a conversation about treat ungraded as zero?

Just in terms of internal UI consistency in the Gradebook, the tags placed at the top of columns when other conditionals are being applied to the column are both bold and capped, to draw significant attention to them. 

That's not what's happening with "Ungraded as 0." It's mixed case and normal weight. 

It seems like you'd also have more UI consistency if each cell were marked out by an icon, much like the Student Grades page when they're applying What-if grades. Or the warning icon that instructors see in every cell when something isn't being calculated into the final grade. 

The design affordances are already there in the UI--they're just not being applied to this condition, for some reason. What's the reasoning for not using the language that's already been developed to warn people about odd conditions in the Gradebook. 

If the condition can be picked up well enough to add a text label to the top of the column, it seems like a short step to add the additional, internally consistent affordances that are already part of the UI. 

I'd also add that the change in language, from "Treat ungraded as 0" to "View ungraded as 0" is good, but being erased by the wording of the column label. 

I'd still prefer that this weren't a persistent state, and that it reset when reloading the Gradebook OR if the whole Gradebook were framed out with a color, or the columns be outlined or something. 

But if we can at least have the symbols and affordances that have already been developed and deployed for the Gradebook UI, that would be awesome. 

Yes, Infrastructure would do well to pay attention to feedback from real teachers. I am a community college professor, and since summer, I've been an active member of the "Teachers Using Canvas" Facebook community. It was created at the end of May to help educators make the transition to online instruction. It has over 70,000 members, most of whom seem to be K-12 teachers. It's a private group, but anyone can join it. Reading the threads would provide a great deal of insight on the experiences of real teachers, most of whom have had very limited formal training, using Canvas.

@venitk ,

I don't think I was clear enough about your exact point in my longer message, but you hit the nail on the head for what it appears faculty actually want, and what we could actually support having as an institution.  Having teachers see one final grade and students seeing something different is the crux of the problem with "view ungraded as 0".  If this feature also changed what students see in their own view of the gradebook, I doubt there would be much objection at all.

Our CSM hinted that "view ungraded as 0" might just be the first step to functionality that will eventually be visible to students as well, but until the point where teacher and students see the same calculations and grade entries (except for unpublished/hidden things that are intentionally done by the teacher), this feature should, in my opinion, either not be moved to production until it's fully complete or be a feature option admins can disable.

Even with the warning popup, I envision many faculty enabling this and clicking through the warning just to get to their desired result.  Then at the end of the semester when students see final grades in our SIS, they'll be baffled at how their "B" in Canvas ended up as a C (or lower).  This will not only add frustration for the teacher who will inevitably get complaints about the different grade form what the student expected, and out own support staff who will field complaints that "Canvas gradebook is broken", but ultimately it can significantly harm students who may reallocate their time and effort away from a course they think they are getting an acceptable grade in, when it's not really the case.

-Chris

@jsailor The users in this Canvas Community who post in these forums regularly are also daily users, I'd even say heavy users, and represent educators who use the product as well as those who administer and support the product for those educators. To say that the feature was requested by a group of "educators using Canvas on a daily basis" is disingenuous if the company is ignoring this large group of active daily users and their feedback as well. What is the Canvas Community for if not for feedback? This group is in the trenches using the product every day, and you are getting valuable feedback here. The statement, "We will continue to watch feedback and usage data in the coming weeks to make the right decisions for tweaking this feature as needed and will keep all updated through the usual channels," feels dismissive. I'm not sure what type of data usage is being tracked, but we, like many others, have not switched to New Quizzes due to the issues stated. At this point, I will just echo what @chriscas has already stated, because he stated it very well, very professionally, and very comprehensively.

@chriscas , "Having teachers see one final grade and students seeing something different is the crux of the problem with "view ungraded as 0" ". EXACTLY

We are K12 and just completed the second grading period. When one teacher's class grades synced to SIS, every student in the course had a 100% because all but 2 assignments were still in the unposted state. This was discovered the Monday after the quarter ended, so for the 9 weeks, everyone thought they had an A (or didn't bother to question it), when that wasn't the case. We send out reminders every quarter about the grade posting feature, the eye icons are prevelant in the grade book as a reminder and the teacher's still miss this. Another feature where teachers don't realize that the grade they see in the gradebook is different from the grade students see creates many more issues than it solves. 

At most, this should be a non-persistent gradebook view that reverts back to the default view. As mentioned by others already, I think the many instructors requesting this feature want the ability to set all ungraded/unsubmitted work (the dashes) to 0s, which is a needed feature, but that's not what's being released here.

+1 @chriscas @audra_agnelly "Having teachers see one final grade and students seeing something different is the crux of the problem with "view ungraded as 0" ". EXACTLY

View Ungraded as Zero disrupts the normal communication chain that would typically occur in the event there is a grade discrepancy - that between student and instructor. Now, the first time that discrepancy may be discovered is when the student sees their final grade posted after the semester has ended. That will impact perception of the product, and from a customer perspective, there's little worse than final grade discrepancies.

We have faculty who do not enter zeros for missing work during the term, resulting in student scores looking a bit rosier than they really are for both students and faculty. Allowing faculty to see the 'ungraded as zero' is a quick way for faculty to better gauge whether there are struggling students in the class by comparing whether this student who only completed one thing perfectly (100% current grade, 10% ungraded as zero) is actually struggling/disengaged when the rest of the class is sitting around 60% ungraded as zero.** So there is benefit and desire from some faculty for this setting. It would be unfortunate to turn off the feature completely because of the (very legitimate) confusion that has resulted in the past and could happen again.

I am glad to see the changes that have already happened to help clarify what this feature does and doesn't do, and LOVE some of the suggestions community members have put forth to make it better. My favorite is to have two columns in the instructor gradebook - one for Current Total and one for Final Total - and do away with the need to toggle between the two.

As an aside, I have many more requests from faculty to hide the subtotal columns in the gradebook than I do for treating ungraded as zero.

**I would love to see faculty be better about entering zeros for missing work, but there seems to be many of them who are allergic to doing this until we can show them why it matters which is another reason for having the ability to show the difference between Current Total and Final Total.

There are two issues as I see it.  

1. Those who want to use the standards-referenced grading functions of Canvas in a traditionally graded system (i.e. outcomes and mastery paths).  Those of us you believe that is the way grading should be done can use those features to avoid giving zeros for anything.  The last thing I would want to see is a forced feature requiring all missing work to be seen as a zero.

2. Our current SIS does not recognize the Canvas missing assignment indicator (triggered by due dates) and doesn't populate a "missing assignment" indicator.  By adding the zero when using gradebook to SIS sync feature I have to add a zero to those missing assignments manually (or through gradebook settings) to create the missing assignment indicator.  I do not want this to stick as I do not want to show students zeros, I just want the assignments to show up as missing in SIS.  This in turn, gives all missing work a zero in the SIS which I don't want either, I just want it to show missing.

I wish there was a way to trigger the missing assignment indicator in the SIS without the zero, which might help our philosophical zero debate be solved.

I can see the benefit of making this feature be a choice that resets to the current default.  Would it be possible to make the function like the "Overwrite all users' existing default dashboard preferences" in default view admin settings?  This allows us to periodically reset student default views to card view.  Adding the view graded as zero function with a message and check box users could see zeros for SIS syncing and informational purposes then reset at the next nightly Canvas Sync?

Hi @fritzs,
You wrote, "I do not want this to stick as I do not want to show students zeros, I just want the assignments to show up as missing in SIS." 

I hope you'll indulge my questions because I'm super curious (this is just not how my program works): why don't you want students to see the 0 for missing work? Do they not receive a 0 if they don't turn in the assignment? 

I think you're saying that you want the SIS to distinguish between missing work and work they turned in that earned a 0, which makes sense.

But if you don't replace the dashes with 0s, how do you convey to students that their missing work earned a 0 and let them track their progress so they know what grade to expect at the end of the term? In other words, if a student turns in only one assignment the whole term and they got 100% on that assignment, how does the student know they're actually failing the class rather than getting an A? 

~Katie

@Tasha_Biesinger 

For this case: "We have faculty who do not enter zeros for missing work during the term, resulting in student scores looking a bit rosier than they really are for both students and faculty,"

Canvas already has a solution. The teachers need to click on the gear on the Canvas Gradebook. Under the tab "Late Policies," they should click on "Automatically apply grade for missing submissions: and give those missing assignments 0%.

There are two sets of assignments for which "View ungraded as 0" could apply:

  1. Assignments that the students have turned in, but I haven't had a chance to grade yet.
  2. Future assignments that the students never submit.

As a teacher, I don't see any value for (A) whatsoever and marginal value for (B) - as a warning to students that they won't pass if they stop turning in work in the middle of the semester.

What I see is a great deal of potential confusion for teachers. 

What I also see is the Infrastructure team going down a rabbit hole trying to create something that is quite problematic, but not willing to let go of it. 

@chriscas I don't have a way to message you, but I would love the info on the custom script if this is not resolved. 450+ K-12 teachers who are brand new to Canvas and learned to teach online in a pandemic are not going to love having something else added to their plate mid-year. 

@mroberts13 ,

On the header of this community site, you can click the envelope icon and create a private message to me.  Alternatively, send me an email (chriscas@umich.edu) and I can send over what I have.

-Chris

I'm late to this party, but I wanted to voice my concerns about the "view ungraded as zero option" as well - hiding this behind a feature flag is simply a necessity by now, given the large amount of nuanced and critical feedback this plan has generated.

I am also concerned that teachers will find it confusing that the warning message says "This setting only affects your view" - when the CSV export will change. Not every teacher will understand that their view will affect the CSV export (note that even in the release note this had to be pointed out separately - if Instructure has to explain this to us admins, good luck to us explaining this to our teachers).

So at the very least this should be explained clearly in the warning window they get when enabling the feature.

Between the grade posting policies, missing grades, this feature, and more, I'm beginning to wonder if the Gradebook is complicated enough that it needs some sort of optional setup wizard to go through when a course is created. 

It would be one thing if the optional features were just there for power users and the default was fine for most people. But using the default gradebook means that missing work doesn't count against a student's grade (which in higher ed, at least, usually means that grade should earn a 0). Also the optional features aren't totally clear on what they actually do without digging into the Guides or consulting an ID (something most faculty would not do). A setup wizard could offer more context in the tool without sending people to the guides.  

Just a thought. 

@cwhermsen the gradebook csv file has always included the Current Score Column (omits ungraded work from the calculation) and the Final Score Column (treats ungraded work as 0 in the calculation). Every marking period I direct teachers to refer to the Current Score Column when completing grades as this matches the "Total" column in their gradebook. If the teacher turns on the new View ungraded as 0, that Current Score column will no longer match the teacher's UI view, but I don't see anything here indicating the csv output is changing.

@audra_agnelly It was my understanding as well that the CSV export file will not change, as the 'treat ungraded as zero' totals have always been included there. We use the 'Unposted Final Score' column for importing into our SIS (which "Reflects total score, including unsubmitted assignments as zero and hidden assignments").

@jsailor Could you please confirm for us that the Gradebook CSV export file is not changing? Thank you!

@faith "Forgive my cynicism here, but when I hear, "...the feedback that we receive from various outlets, including the many conversations that we have with the educators using Canvas on a daily basis."  I wonder just who @jsailor and other product managers that are focused on the treat ungraded as zero feature are talking to.  It is certainly not me nor any of my faculty."

That's because this canned statement from product is a crock and always has been. Instructure has actively dismissed all the feedback we have given in the last six years.. The educators they allegedly talk to must be mystical unicorns, because I don't believe for a second they take feedback from real instructors. That is evidence by the constant poor decisions they make in design and rollout of features.

I've been avoiding this conversation (mostly from shame) but after what @venitk said, I want to chime in. 

Shame because I was one of the first at my institution to use canvas, as part of a pilot, and I clicked the OLD "ungraded as zero" button, not realizing it didn't actually change it on the student end. In my class of 200 students, many thought they had a higher grade than I SAW and that they had, due to missing assignments. The calls and messages after final grades were released were horrifying. I felt so terrible. Students who thought they were getting the grade they wanted, ended up with lower grades. 

Since then, I've been very careful to A) turn off the "total" column so students have to calculate their own total. B) Always manually put in zeros for missing assignments after the "until" date. 

For some reason, even after the "until" date, our assignments still show "-" and not 0, even with @SusanNiemeyer 's trick.  I don't know if that's because of the institutional settings or what. Maybe because of LTI integration?

I even tell the students why I do it, and show them how it looks on my end, so they understand. Many are sad that they can't use the total feature and try grades out, but I'm not ready to go through that again. 

@wardex  I'm sorry that happened to you. It does sound horrifying. If it makes you feel any better, that happened to so many people which is, of course, why we're so worried about this feature rollout. It is a confusing feature that many of us on this thread have either gotten wrong or seen other people get wrong. 

Because I'm an ID, I can't help but help you troubleshoot your other problem with Susan's missing grade trick, Without seeing your course, I don't know for sure why it's not working, but I have a few thoughts:

  • The feature works with the DUE date, not Until date, I believe. I think it won't work unless the assignment as a Due Date. 
  • It doesn't work for No Submission or On Paper assignments unless those are manually marked as missing.
  • And, you're right, it doesn't work for external tool assignments. It used to be that it doesn't work with New Quizzes. I'm not sure if they fixed that yet or not.  
  • Here's the documentation if that's helpful: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-apply-a-Missing-Submission-policy-in-th... 

Good luck, and try not to be too hard on yourself. 🙂 

As a community college professor, I have helped several colleagues set up their Canvas sites.

Here's a major problem:

The check boxes for 1) Hide totals in student grades summary and 2) Hide grade distribution graphs from students are BURIED in the Course Settings section (under the tab "Course Details" and the "more options).  The grade distribution graphs don't matter much, but I ALWAYS ADVISE my colleagues to hide the student grades summary. It's confusing and misleading.

So, why not move those options to the GRADEBOOK? They should show up when instructors click the GEAR ICON. That's the logical place for these options to go. 

Infrastructure - Moving these options from the Course Settings to the Gradebook is a FIXABLE PROBLEM. It would be very helpful, especially to Canvas newbies. 

@wardex - You are right. Missing outside LTI assignments do not populate with 0s. This glitch is often brought up on the Teachers Using Canvas FB page.  

@cdoherty @faith: Hi! Instructure consulted with us on this, as I made the original feature submission idea. We have legitimate needs for this feature, as detailed in my feature submission and my further feedback earlier in this thread.

I agree with the majority of comments here that the design of this feature is less than ideal.

As I suggested on the feature submission idea in June 2019:

If 'Treat ungraded as 0' has been removed from the New Gradebook because it is confusing from a UI perspective, another option (and it would actually be preferable from our perspective) would be to leave it removed from the Instructor's view of the New Gradebook – but to instead allow Admins to force it on or off at the account/sub-account level.

This way it's no longer a user and browser-specific setting, but forced on or off for institutions as appropriate.

@wardex This is a similar problem we have had, all of our teaching courses in Canvas have the total disabled for students too.

Greetings Friends.

I've read through this thread and I think it's a great time to remind everyone of our Community guidelines - specifically our first two:

Be cool. 

It’s OK to be critical and express frustration from time-to-time, but rudeness is not acceptable. Always treat others with respect. Behind every comment is a living, breathing human being, and we are all in this together. Personal attacks or criticisms of another's abilities or motives will not be tolerated.

Be accurate.

You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. Feel free to express your opinions, but if you express an opinion, identify it as such. If you make an assertion, be prepared to back it up with sources.

We absolutely understand and are empathetic to the fact that we're all in a stressful season in the world of education (yes, many of us are educators or have been). I'm here to remind you that we're all in this together. Our product teams are continuously listening (engaging with you right here, in-fact) and feverishly working with you to help solve problems and create the best learning experience. We greatly appreciate all feedback, but we do expect all feedback to be presented with kindness and respect. 

@SusanNiemeyer thanks for your thoughts about those features. As they aren't directly related to the release, would you be so kind as to copy what you've already included here and use it to suggest an idea in our Idea Conversations area? That way our product team can see the use cases for the idea and consider it further.

Thanks,

Erin

I’d like to echo the concerns around the “Treat Ungraded as Zero” functionality as defined in this release.  As a 5+ year admin I was so happy when this function disappeared with the new gradebook and I dread it coming back and the headaches is will again cause.

Most importantly, this functionally leads to confusion for our students since many teachers never go and actually enter the score of zero so students see inflated grade percentages in the gradebook.

It is confusing for team taught classes that instructors different totals for student scores. 

The pop up alert is so lengthy no one will actually read it and the header labels in the assignments are never seen because no columns are ever so wide.  This issue was raised before ignored with the whole post/hide grades fiasco and feedback was ignored then, too.

The community seems to be begging for this to be a forever feature option. Please reconsider dumping this into all accounts this weekend, especially in the middle of a term. It is horrible.

I feel like the community used to have a voice to share and more often our concerns are just ignored.  I feel like I don’t even want to bother wasting time reading release notes and testing in beta anymore and giving feedback because it does not seem to go anywhere. Very disappointing.

Thank you again for all the feedback provided for View Ungraded as Zero. While this is a commonly requested feature and many have made valid points for its return, we also recognize that it is not a feature that all are ready to make available to their instructors. We have made the decision to move this feature behind an account level feature option. It will still be released this coming Saturday, but behind the feature option for administrators to then enable as they see fit. @erinhmcmillan will be updating these notes to reflect this change. 

@tom_gibbons, thank you for pointing out the inconsistencies in the UI. We are working on updating the column headers to be all caps and bold as they are with other conditions applied in the gradebook. Please watch for these changes in an upcoming deploy.