Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-04-13)

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

  Upcoming Canvas Changes: Google Drive API  Updated

On April 20, 2015, Google will deprecate the Google Docs API used in Canvas features such as submitting a Google doc to an assignment and Google collaborations. Some users attempting to connect to Google may have seen or will see an alert message about this change. Our engineers have deployed the updated API, and users who’ve already connected their Canvas and Google accounts will be prompted to re-authorize their connection, either by accessing Collaborations or a Google Docs assignment submission, or by re-enabling Google as a web service in their personal settings.


Some users have reported error messages regarding collaborations. If you are the author of a collaboration and are receiving an error message about your account or about the collaboration owner no longer being an author, our engineering team is currently working on a fix that should be resolved shortly. Thank you!

In this beta release, Canvas has new features for Assignments. We also have updates for Assignments, Discussions, the Rich Content Editor, and the Student Learning Mastery Gradebook. View the beta release notes and let us know your thoughts!

The beta environment is for testing new and updated features, which are subject to change based on user feedback. Learn more about Canvas Beta.

  New Features



Anonymous Peer Reviews

Instructors can choose to create peer reviews with anonymous responses. Located in the Peer Review options for assignments and graded discussions, the Anonymity option allows instructors to hide the name of the student reviewer from the student with the submission.

Note: Hiding the submitting student’s name from the reviewer will be part of a future update.


The student whose work has been reviewed cannot see the name of the reviewer. However, instructors can always view the name of the student reviewer in SpeedGrader and on the student submission page.



This feature must be configured with the support of your Canvas Customer Success Manager (CSM) or an Implementation Consultant before it can be enabled for your institution. Please contact your CSM for assistance.

SCORM is an LTI tool enabled at the account level that allows appropriate users to import SCORM packages as an assignment into Canvas. Once enabled by a CSM, the SCORM Link will appear in the Course Navigation menu for instructors. This link is used to upload SCORM packages into Canvas assignments.


SCORM packages are uploaded as ZIP files and imported as either a graded or ungraded assignment. Once the SCORM package has been imported, the related assignment can be added to modules or be managed like any other assignment in Canvas.


On the SCORM page, users can preview the SCORM content to see how students will view the assignment. When the preview is finished, Canvas will update the score to display how the score appears to students. All package uploads default to 100 points.


Users can view uploaded assignment directly in the SCORM page or by viewing the Assignments Index Page. When the assignment is edited, the Submission Type will be shown as an External Tool.

Note: External Tools configured at the account level cannot be modified in a course.


  Updated Features



Assignment Shell Date Validation

In the January 31 release, Canvas introduced date validations for new and edited assignments. Now, due date validations also apply to Assignment shells, which act as a placeholder for an assignment until an instructor creates the assignment details.

After an instructor saves the information for an assignment shell, Canvas validates the due date against the course start and end dates and generates an error message for an invalid date entry.

  • If the assignment does not contain a due date, the assignment availability defaults to the course start and end dates.
  • If the course does not include specified course start and end dates, Canvas validates the due date against the term dates for the course.
  • This feature validates against the Users can only participate in the course between these dates checkbox for start and end dates in Course Settings.



SpeedGrader Link

In Graded Discussions, when a user clicks the SpeedGrader link, SpeedGrader opens in a new tab. This change aligns SpeedGrader with the same behavior as in assignments and quizzes.

Rich Content Editor

Menu Bar

The Rich Content Editor supports ALT+F9 as a keyboard shortcut for the menu bar. This shortcut provides better accessibility to menu commands for keyboard and screen reader users.


Student Learning Mastery Gradebook

The Learning Mastery Gradebook is a Canvas course feature option.

Student Graph

When viewing Learning Mastery assessments, students can view a graph that shows their progress over time.

Students can view the mastery graph by expanding an outcome group and hovering over or clicking the more icon. The graph shows each outcome alignment using a black dot and also displays the date of the alignment’s assessment. The green dotted line represents the mastery level for the outcome. A solid gray line represents the student’s average trend for the outcome.


  Platform/Integration Updates


Canvas Substitution Variables


$Canvas.assignment.unlockAt, $Canvas.assignment.lockAt, $Canvas.assignment.dueAt: substitution variables for varied due dates

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