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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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Comments

Yes! Syntax highlighting in the html editor. Thank you!

🙌 Pretty HTML Editor! 🙌

Adding the growing chorus: Thank you for the "pretty" HTML editor! 🤗

Will "View ungraded as zero" be offered behind a feature flag so that institutions wanting to avoid the frustrations that it creates, can have it disabled?

If not, then re: "Note: Once initially viewed by a user, the notification about the View Ungraded as 0 feature will not display to the same user again in any other course.", this needs to display in every course when it is chosen, if not every time it is selected. A one-time (ever) message is not adequate to reduce the frustration that this creates without offering to actually enter the zeroes as most instructors expect or would like to have the option to do.

 

@vanzandt,

I couldn't agree with you more about the view ungraded as 0 option.

We just had a call with our CSM a couple hours ago and I said almost the exact same thing.  Our CSM did pretty much confirm a feature flag is not happening for this feature, which is a major disappointment for me.  When this was available in the previous gradebook version, it caused nothing but frustration for our faculty and students, who were often seeing two completely different grades and not understanding why (and most often not even knowing they were seeing something different until final grades were entered into the SIS at the end of the term). 

Since a feature flag apparently is no longer being considered, I would prefer if that warning message appeared weekly, daily, or even every time a teacher turned it on.  Having it as a one0time only view is not going to do much good at all in my view.  Our CSM even tried to view the message for us in Beta today and couldn't because she had already viewed it before...  I don't want to overly annoy teachers with the popup, but I know many will just click "ok" or whatever they have to without even reading it, or will forget about the message shortly after.  I will say that the message displayed actually sounds pretty good, just the frequency of display needs to be rethought before this rolls out to production.

-Chris

@chriscas Thanks for your insight on the feature flag. I had a feeling it wasn't going to be an option. I agree the message is fine, though I'd love to see resource info links for Set Default grade or Missing policies for those that want to add the zeroes. Ultimately, like you said, they'll likely click through without reading that the first time. 

I kind of wish they could just make additional columns that could be enabled in the Gradebook, by choice of each instructor, under the Advanced tab where the Override column is already enabled. They could just add, Final Score/Grade (taking blanks into account as zeroes) and Student Score/Grade (what the student is seeing by default, taking into account hidden post policy assignments) as options that they could enable/disable. These would all be in addition to the Total/Current grade, so they could be easily compare as needed.

Formatted HTML! I knew this day would come!giphy.gif_cid=ecf05e47s7oh57kyh929rsux9821p63d42rx653liogk06ol&rid=giphy

(I'm new around here, estimatedly how long till the pretty HTML leaves beta and goes into production?)

View Ungraded as 0 seems highly confusing for teachers. Please include this as a feature flag so institutions can disable it.

YAY for Pretty HTML! A great addition.

View Ungraded as 0 needs to be a feature flag. This is nothing but confusing for teachers that cause frustration from students and parents.

 

Please add me to the View Ungraded as Zero needs to be feature flag group.

Thanks to chriscas  and vanzandt  for making the case.

Oh, the new pretty HTML is so...PRETTY.

That said, I echo the thoughts that "view ungraded as 0" needs to either be a feature flag or have the warning pop up EVERY time an instructor views it. Our campus has been on Canvas quite the while, so while I appreciate that the "view ungraded as 0" is better than the previous "treat ungraded as 0" as to what the function actually DOES, it's still very confusing.

Our instructors actually want "treat ungraded as 0" in which the can set all missing grades as 0 at certain points in the term.

The "view ungraded as 0" hasn't helped any of our instructors, as they are generally aware after years of using mute/unmute and now post policies, that the grade they see can be different than what a student sees and the warning icon on the current grade column helps with that. So the "view ungraded as 0" doesn't throw them from the "what students see versus what I see" aspect as much as they wish it did something more than that.

View Ungraded as Zero is a feature that will generate a GREAT deal of confusion with our instructors and generates a lot of churn and support tickets when it comes time for final grade submission.  Please reconsider this feature or <preferably> turn this into a feature flag so we can decide school-by-school/institution-by-institution whether this would be valuable for our community of users.

I'm definitely glad that Canvas will finally have an HTML editor that's more current. Calling it "pretty" is a bit of an odd choice since it's simply what developers expect. I'm hoping this will be the default once it's out of beta since I really don't want to have to instruct my faculty to do two clicks in order to get to HTML they can make sense of.

I agree with the above - View Ungraded as Zero should be an opt-in feature flag.

What is the benefit of the View Ungraded as Zero feature? Please chime in if you see benefit.

If we as admins / technical staff / Canvas reps for our institutions all fighting against this change then why is it still moving forward? What grander plan does the product team see from this and why is there push back from development for us wanting a feature flag on this?

Can someone speak up on the value of this feature? If not, then why is this being implemented?

Hi, all,

Just a quick clarification: feature options are never intended to be a long-term solution, which is why we are not making the option available to be managed by individual institutions. Our product manager is reviewing your comments and may make additional changes as necessary.

Thanks,

Erin

Hi @erinhmcmillan,

I don't want to get too in the weeds on this, but  there are feature options/flags like "anonymous instructor annotations," "moderated grading," and "epub exporting" which have been around forever and don't seem like things that would be easily forced on at some point for everyone.  That being said, perhaps we should ask for an account setting instead (where options things like "Restrict students from accessing courses before start date" live).  It might just come down to semantics, but I think having both the account settings and feature options areas, which essentially do the same thing, has been confusing for admins for a long time and is something that should eventually get cleaned up and merged together anyways.

For the "view ungraded as 0" option, I'm wondering (with others here) where the users asking for the return of this feature are and whether this is really what they want.  I have a feeling there might be some misunderstanding between Instructure engineers and teachers.  In my experience, what teachers actually want is a way to mark ungraded items as 0, and have those marks also affect the students view of their grades.  I don't want to speak for everyone because there are certainly different use cases across the world, but that's exactly why so many here want this to be an option that institutions can enable or disable depending on our own needs and experiences.

One other minor suggestion...  While "view ungraded as 0" is better than the old "treat ungraded as 0" name, it might be even better to use "preview ungraded as 0" to help reinforce that this current implementation really does not affect what others see or how grades would be passed back to an SIS.

I'm glad the product manager is reviewing the discussion here, and hopefully there are some further adjustments that can be made to this feature that will help satisfy everyones needs and avoid student and teacher confusion over something as important as grades.

-Chris

I agree with @chriscas. I was typing up something similar and my example was the Elementary Canvas theme. That's always going to be something behind a feature flag because it is targeting a sub population. I would love to understand the user story used for the ungrade as zero feature.

Hi @erinhallmark,

I'm dismayed by the response that the feature options are "not long term"...

There are many, many poorly thought out "features" throughout Canvas, features that were seemingly created by people without an customer-informed user design background and with apparently zero community input (or a lot of negative community input after the feature is built).

Sadly, it is not uncommon for Instructure to miss the mark and it needs to take the input from it's customers seriously and at least be transparent about the rationale for forcing unpopular changes like this. You are hearing a lot of resistance to this - the feature needs to be cancelled, made an option or improved.

I don't want to dump on any product manager's day, but I too would like to chime in as someone who would like to see "ungraded as zero" be something that I can disable at the account level.

@jwadec, while I agree that it should be an option, if you would like to understand the potential use cases then this is a good place to find them outlined here: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Idea-Conversations/Allow-Treat-ungraded-as-0-in-New-Gradebook/idi... 

@MattHanes I greatly appreciate you pointing me to that thread. It provided me with a lot more context to the treat ungraded as zero.  It also revealed many folks who didn’t know how to use the set all grades as zero with each assignment.

First, I think @erinhmcmillan's note that Instructure is looking at these comments is a good example of Instructure listening to its customers...

Re: the proposed use cases for "View ungraded as 0". I don't believe it's correct to say the current gradebook view -- where incomplete or not-yet-completed items are not included in the current grade -- contribute to an inaccurate understanding of a student's grade.  That is commonly how the idea of "your grade, so far" in the course is understood and I've never heard of it being considered inaccurate.  On the other hand, the idea of viewing incompletes as 0 is equally inaccurate as it represents grades for which the student (perhaps) has not had a chance to complete.  The second use case given is perhaps more justifiable, but is not solved by the new feature being discussed today, since the new feature does not actually input or update grades.

Finally, count me in for the idea that the warning notice should show every time the feature is invoked by an instructor, and I second the idea that the name of the feature should be changed to "Preview ungraded as 0".  I'm indifferent about it being an admin toggle if those two adjustments can be implemented.

-Glenn

  • Love the suggestion to have the View Ungraded warning display every time.
  • I might also recommend tightening the wording of the warning so it's not so hard to read, or at least bolding "This change is a visual change only and does not affect grades" so that phrase pops out. 
  • I like the idea of "preview ungraded as 0" except... that still implies an automatic future action (that the dashes would automatically change to 0s at some point). I suggest "What if ungraded were 0," since the What if function already exists in Canvas and it implies a hypothetical future, not an automatic future. Regardless, Preview is still better than View.
  • Thank you for the "pretty HTML," this will help a lot. It seems like what you're describing as pretty is really just "formatted HTML" or "syntaxy HTML"? I suggest calling it what it is rather than making a judgement that it is "pretty." This would be more helpful to all users to know what the difference between the two views is, and more inclusive to the users who use screen readers and can't use the one you're saying is more aesthetically pleasing. Just a thought, I might be off-base. 

+1 for the pretty HTML editor

-1 for preview ungraded as 0. I was disappointed to see this back after it was pulled from an earlier release and looking through this thread, I don't see a single positive piece of feedback about this feature. As admins, we see this "update" as a feature that is going to cause more headaches to us when instructors forget they have it on or don't pay full attention to what it does. With all the good ideas submitted in the Community it's really perplexing that resources have been dedicated to this one, which no one seems to want on in their instance.

Nice to see Pretty HTML and MathJax Equation Enhancements in the RCE. 😀

 

Please count me as another admin who would like to be able to disable "ungraded as zero" at the account level!

My team will appreciate the Pretty HTML though!

Not trying to incite but would anyone who is supportive of the "ungraded as zero" please speak up? It would be good to hear the positive rational.

I'd like to add another admin vote in favor or View Ungraded as Zero being an opt-in feature flag.  This will cause unneeded confusion for our users.

Treat ungraded as Zero was already a feature in another LMS that we use (Agilix Buzz)  one of our departments decided it would be a good setting to turn on (per course).  but within a couple weeks there was such negative feedback from students that they quickly turned it off.  the students hated starting out with a failing grade and not getting to a passing grade until the semester was almost over.

Regarding "view ungraded as zero", if we can't turn it off, I would at least like to see the visual cues be much more obvious. Let's take another Canvas feature as an example: when you're in Student View, the pretty, raspberry-colored border makes it extremely obvious that you're viewing your course from a temporary state. If you forget you turned it on and try to access a page for teachers (which I do at least once a week), it only takes a matter of seconds to figure out your mistake and hit the obvious "leave student view" button.

"View ungraded as zero" is functionally similar: it's an alternate view of your course in which the normal view with your real (i.e. entered) grades is temporarily hidden. So why can't this be made as visually obvious as student view? Could you use a similar mechanism with an unobtrusive border? (Maybe in a different color, or maybe put the border around a different item?)

A popup is, unfortunately, a poor substitute. I can confirm that faculty just click through out of habit, and don't actually read them, probably because the average website nowadays has too many useless ones (for cookies, newsletter signups, etc.) and their experience with Canvas popups so far has probably been product tours. 

"View ungraded as a zero" should be an opt in feature.  Our teachers already use the mark all missing assignments as a zero.  This is already causing mass confusion for teachers and upsetting students across the board.  It does not even show up in the teachers todo list for grading

Thank you for Pretty HTML Editor!  I like that it is also in color!  I've been wanting this since at least July 2015 when I submitted this Feature Idea: HTML Formatter - Canvas Community ... and it's finally coming!  An awesome addition to the Rich Content Editor!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I work with admins and trainers across UW-System and the common sentiment from our last meeting is that the "View Ungraded as 0" is a problem. There is some disagreement about whether it can be built in a way that is at all function, and exactly what that would look like, but we have some agreement on minimum changes needed before it should be pushed.

  1. Warning box is longer than what users will read.
    • Wordsmith to reduce length of warning is needed. People see a popup that long and they just blindly accept the terms and conditions in front of them.
    • and/or use some combination of bold/italics/underline/bullet points to highlight key takeaways.
  2. A one time popup that is never seen again is not enough. Even experienced users are going to forget about this warning. Anyone just learning the system won't understand what they have been shown, and won't know how to get the warning back so they can figure it out later.
    • Some of us think that this should show up every time without fail.
    • Some of us think have a checkbox for "do not show again" that needs to be checked to have the warning removed would be okay.
    • If there is a checkbox for "do not show again", have that checkbox only remove the warning from that one course, not across the account.
  3. View Ungraded as 0 should turn off on its own every time you navigate out of the Grades area. Student view is very prominent when it is on, and has less detrimental effects if a user forgets it is on.
  4.  Long term, what our users actually want is a way to bulk enter 0s across all assignments. The users we are working with used this because they thought this updates the grades area rather than being strictly visual. Grade policy doesn't touch On Paper and No Submission types, and wont allow for self paced course work. One at a time Set Default Grade is too many clicks.

@bturek ...

"(I'm new around here, estimatedly how long till the pretty HTML leaves beta and goes into production?)"

February 20, 2021 is when these features/updates are scheduled to "go live" in production... as indicated in the title of this document.

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

It would be nice to be able to switch to the HTML editor once you are already in Full Screen mode.  Unless I am missing something, a person would have to exit out of Full Screen mode, switch to the HTML editor view, and then re-enter the Full Screen mode.  I do not see this set of tools available while in Full Screen mode:

RCE_Tools.jpg

A wise commenter wrote: 
Since a feature flag apparently is no longer being considered, I would prefer if that warning message appeared weekly, daily, or even every time a teacher turned it on.

 

Perhaps take it a step further.  When the setting is enabled I suggest a banner across the bottom much like we see on the beta server or test student.  I suggest this as the text added to the total columns is not 100% visible, depending on the number of columns.  This is what I see when using a 32" monitor: the note is barely visible. This can be better.  

ungradedaszero-fail.jpg

 

And what about a field somewhere in Canvas Data (and API?) or other report so we can identify when someone has that feature enabled at term end?  I wish to avoid mass grade appeals.

Thank for reading!

And what about a field somewhere in Canvas Data (and API?) or other report so we can identify when someone has that feature enabled at term end?  I wish to avoid mass grade appeals.

Strong agree

@vanzandt  Yes!  Optional column that allow each of those totals to be compared would be perfect.

Also, the warning message about turning on show blanks as zeros should add a banner to the page that students do not see the same total the instructor sees.  That banner should remain in effect as long as blanks as zeros is in effect.  A pop up every time it is opened would be extremely annoying to faculty, and only applying a warning once ever would be inadequate.  A banner that does not get in the way of using the page but serves as a reminder of the effects of the setting that is turned on would work better.

As a teacher, I do see a value in viewing-previewing-what-ifing-whatever blanks as zeros.  (I vote for what-if because it is consistent with the student view, bu tthe name is not as important as a clear description when it is turned on.)  As we near the end of the semester, it lets me see which students have the potential to fail if they were to stop participating. It is disappointing to see so many admins chime in to say they want to block a feature from their faculty.  Too often admins are not the best source of information for what faculty actually need.  The columns @vanzandt described would be perfect.  

I also saw many faculty with large courses who really want an automatic apply zeros to all blanks, and who were using treat ungraded as zero for that purpose before it was turned off by the new gradebook.  Admins that did not see that were missing the idea forums.  Unfortunately the faculty that use that function also missed the chorus of complaints in the same forum due to students who were surprised by their grade.   For those faculty who do actually need to use the ungraded as zero feature to determine final grades, a column with that total (and a setting in that column to optionally display that total to students) would give them a solution that should minimize confusion to students.

The most convincing argument I saw for using an ungraded-as-zero feature to determine final grades was for a massive course where students started at random times of their own choosing, and could not have due dates as a result.  Students were also finishing at different times, such that some were starting while others were finishing.  (It sounds like a nightmare to teach.)  For that use case, set default grade was inadequate because it did not address new students added to the course after the default grade was applied and there was no set date at which it could be applied in the future to cover those students.  They needed something that could be applied to the entire course, similar to set default grades but that would also apply to new students.  The course, obviously, remained responsible for explaining to students that they would have to work up to a final grade by replacing all those zeros, and the optional columns would solve that use case because both the current total and the ungraded as zero total could be turned on and (optionally) displayed to students.

I'd like to agree with the resounding concern elsewhere in these comments about the new "zeroes" gradebook feature and the call for actively notifying instructors within the gradebook page when they have it turned on.  Since I heard about the feature coming, I've been fretting with my team about how we're going to manage its use and communicate to faculty about some of the inherent dangers of turning it on if they don't fully understand the consequences.

Regariding LaTeX/MathJax, how will the equations be rendered?  Will Canvas default to chtml or svg?  I (and others) have noted that negative signs tend to disappear in some browsers (for example: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor/Minus-signs-disappear-in-Quizzes/td-p/427218). 

At least in a simple desktop case in Chrome, a user can switch the rendering from SVG to CHTML and it seems to fix the disappearing minus signs.  That said, I'm no expert here, just worried about the missing minus signs. 

image.png

Follow-up: There is an open issue related to the missing negative signs when using SVG fonts here: https://github.com/mathjax/MathJax/issues/2612

Hi @KOliveras ,

The missing minus signs in equations were the result of a bug in Chrome 87 (that affected all kinds of vector-based graphics around the web, not just equations in Canvas).  That bug was scheduled to be fixed in Chrome 88, which was just released recently, so as long as everyone updates I believe the minus signs should render correctly again now.  Even with Chrome 87, my machines didn't seem to be affected by the issue, so I can't confirm if the fix in Chrome 88 really worked.

-Chris

@chriscas I just updated to Chrome 88 and it seems to be working now.  Thanks for the update.  I was previous running 87 before and I (as well as many of my students) experienced the issue (and not just in Canvas).

I am curious though: is there any reason to prefer SVG over CHTML for rendering equations via MathJax? 

Aside: I'm incredibly excited about MathJax integration!  I hope that wasn't lost in my concern.

I'd like to add to the growing chorus of folks here asking for at minimum some kind of persistent warning about "View Ungraded as Zero" - we know this is going to cause confusion and not align with our users' expectations, and many users will just click through the warning.

The fact that it makes it seem like it is altering the total score is going to be a bridge too far for many users - they're just going to assume that score has been changed and will make grade entry decisions based on that. Please do make this either more persistent or give us the ability to toggle it at the account/sub-account level.

Thank you for your responsiveness, Instructure team!

@atcarver 

We updated the notes yesterday to indicate the warning is persistent, as noted in the change log.

Thanks!

Erin

I just checked beta and if I enable the View Graded as Zero setting and then navigate away from Grades, when I come back there is no obvious warning. Just the nearly hidden total column notes.

But I do see the descriptive note each time I disable and then go back and reenable the view option.

+1 to make this an opt-in feature/setting.

+1 to use "Preview Ungraded as Zero" if no other changes are accepted.

+1 to making this more visually obvious through the use of a bottom banner.

+1 to displaying a message more frequently if it is selected in a course.

+1 to an admin report of all course IDs with this enabled by at least 1 Teacher.

Next question. Wouldn't it make more sense to have "Treat Ungraded as Zero" simply enable the Missing Policy and apply a zero?

@erinhmcmillan - thanks for the response! I'm glad that the modal window is at least persistent every time someone clicks on the option under View. That's an improvement over earlier versions, at least.

I should have been more clear - my comment was more about the idea of a persistent warning "banner" or the like, as the "Ungraded as 0" text that appears in the Total and Assignments column headers doesn't really convey what is going on.

Many users will still not understand that the underlying Total score (unseen in the UI) has not changed. For anyone who has some form of automated Canvas-to-SIS export/import of grades, this is going to result in misalignment/errors in grade submission.

I'd like to jump in as an admin who supports the re-introduction of 'View ungraded as 0'.

It has been shared earlier in this thread, but here is a link to the feature idea I originally submitted and the use cases for it: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Idea-Conversations/Allow-Treat-ungraded-as-0-in-New-Gradebook/idi...

In addition to the above: one key note is that at our institution, a 'blank' score is different to a '0'. A '0' can mean the student completed the assessment or quiz, but did not score any marks. A 'blank' score is a non-submission/non-attempt.

This is important because we have different end of semester fail-grades for students who do not receive the requisite total grade for a pass, compared to those fail because they do not attempt key assessments. Data on non-attempts is crucial for us. So it is not appropriate for us to simply use a '0' for a grade where a non-attempt is meant to be reflected. Additionally, it is useful for our instructors to know whether students are attempting their assessments and not doing well, or not attempting their assessments at all, and this informs outreach efforts to support those students, among other things.

I agree with many of the sentiments above. Ideally, rather than this being a user-by-user toggle:

  • 'View ungraded as 0' could be force enabled or disabled (or allowed) across all courses within an account, by institution admins.
    • This would mean institutions which do not want it can disable it entirely. There would no confusion or issues for those institutions. The option wouldn't even exist for their instructors and nothing would change.
    • Institutions such as ours could force enable it for all courses within appropriate accounts. Instructors would not have to toggle it on or off, it would just be on, which is what they want.
    • Institutions which don't mind either way could simply allow it, and instructors could see a toggle (much like the kind being implemented now)
    • Everyone's happy!
    • Ideally, in the case of force enabling it, when students look at their Grades, the Total there would also reflect '0's for assessments that have not been graded yet. Because this is not possible, we currently disable that Total column for students.
      • Why is this useful?
      • An extreme example. If a student submits the first assignment in their class and scores 10/10, their Total column will show them 100%.
      • If they do nothing for the rest of that class, it will continue to show them 100%. They may be confused about the nature of this total column and think that somehow they still have 100% and are going to pass.
      • At the end of semester, they will fail their class and be very confused.
      • This is an extreme example, however the more likely examples could still see confused students thinking they're doing well, when really they're on the cusp of failing.
      • The current toggle is there for students to use, but it is always off by default, is off every time the Grades page is re-visited, and we cannot force it on as admins.