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Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-01-06)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-01-06)

In this production release (January 6), institutions using the New Gradebook can apply late and missing policies to course assignments, and submissions that need to be graded only display one assignment icon regardless of assignment type. Additionally, instructors can enable the New Gradebook on a per-course basis if the feature option is allowed for their account. Previously the New Gradebook could only be enabled on a per-course basis by a Canvas admin.

When a submission is graded in SpeedGrader, rubrics support excess points above the maximum point value for each criterion.

In the Rich Content Editor, the Accessibility Checker includes a minor design update and a new content contrast rule. The Rich Content Editor Whitelist supports the Audio Controls element, and the Content Selector Images tab includes an alt text field and decorative image checkbox when uploading new images to course files.

The student Grades page menus have been updated for improved accessibility, and concluded courses display in the Courses menu as long as the course has not been restricted from being viewed after the course end date.

Various updates have been made to APIs and other integration documentation. Production release notes also include fixed bugs.

This release involves API and login path attributes that have been deprecated and require user attention.

Features are subject to change throughout the release based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.


Canvas New Feature Screencast (2018-01-06)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: January 15
  • Production release notes: January 22
  • Production release and documentation: January 27

Production release notes indicate Canvas updates that will be included with Saturday’s release and are subject to change. However, some features may already be deployed to production as indicated in the release notes. New features may differ from those available in your beta environment. Learn more about the Canvas Release Schedule.

The Canvas product team welcomes feedback according to Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines. Release notes comments are subject to release notes comment policies.

Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts unless otherwise indicated.

Flash Content Reminder: Canvas displays Flash content as supported within major browsers. Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox default to HTML5 as the preferred method for displaying website content, which promotes a faster, more secure browsing experience. These browsers will eventually block all Flash content. For best performance in Canvas, course content should be designed to support HTML5. Any affected content can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser. Using the camera and microphone to record media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers.

Advanced CSS and JavaScript users: Canvas releases may include undocumented changes that affect styles and code in custom applications. Please make sure to view your Beta environment for any customization conflicts.


  New Features


New Gradebook

These updates apply to institutions using the New Gradebook feature. Canvas admins can allow this feature option in Account Settings.

Please be aware of a change to the New Gradebook feature option as noted in the Feature Option Change section.

For more information about the New Gradebook, please see the‌.

Late Policies

For full details and scenarios regarding Late Policies, please see the Late Policies FAQ in the New Gradebook Users Group.

The New Gradebook supports late policies, which allows instructors to automatically apply grading rules for late and missing submissions in their courses. This feature improves the Late and Missing functionality introduced in previous releases and helps instructors establish and manage policies related to each status. Late policies can be noted to students through the course syllabus.

In the New Gradebook, submissions are automatically labeled as missing if they are never submitted by the student; submissions submitted after the due date are labeled as late. On-paper (in-class) assignments are not automatically included in Late Policies as they do not include online submissions that can be calculated by Canvas and must be managed individually by the instructor.

Late and Missing assignment statistics are also shown in the Student Context Card feature (if enabled).

Late Policies can be specified in the New Gradebook Settings window. Late Policies only apply to the course where they are configured; they do not apply to any other course.

New Gradebook Settings Menu and Late Policies Option

Missing Submissions

The Missing submissions policy allows instructors to apply an automatic grade to missing submissions. Grades are noted as a percentage of the total points possible and must be entered as a number. For instance, if an instructor set the missing submission grade at 20% and an assignment is worth 10 points, all missing submissions for the assignment are awarded a grade of 2 points (10 x 20%).

If an instructor wants to award all missing submissions with a grade of 0, the Missing submission grade can be set to 0%.

New Gradebook option to add a missing submission grade

When a submission applies to a missing policy, both the Gradebook and the Grade Detail Tray display the given grade. Instructors can change the grade at any time by applying a new grade in the Grade field. Once a grade has been manually assigned, the Missing submission policy will no longer apply.

New Gradebook Grade Detail Tray shows missing policy percentage applied to assignment

Students can view the adjusted grade for the Missing submission policy in the student Grades page, along with the Missing label. However, as the Missing submission policy only applies grades for students, the policy itself does not display to students.

Late Submissions

The Late submissions policy allows instructors to apply an automatic deduction to the grade in a late submission. Grade deductions as noted as a percentage of the total points possible and must be entered as a number. Additionally, deductions are applied to a specific time interval—day or hour—that the submission is late. For instance, an instructor grades an assignment worth 10 points and awards the full 10 points. If the late policy is set to deduct the grade 10% each day the assignment was late, and the assignment was 1 day late, the student’s 10 points would be deducted 1 point for a grade of 9 points.

Instructors can also set a percentage as the lowest possible grade a student can receive for the assignment. If the same assignment included a lowest possible grade of 60% and was submitted 8 days late, the late policy would deduct 8 points (1 point each day) for a grade of 2 points. The lowest possible percentage, however, notes the lowest point value as 6 points (10 x 60%), so the final grade for the student’s submission would be 6 points instead of 2 points.

New Gradebook allows deducting a percentage from a grade for each day or hour the submission is late

When a submission applies to a late policy, the Gradebook displays the final grade. However, the Grade Detail Tray displays the value deducted from the student’s grade according to the selected interval.

The late policy interval can be adjusted manually in the Grade Detail Tray if needed (number of days/hours late). For instance, an instructor grades a on-paper assignment worth 10 points and awards the full 10 points. If the student submitted the assignment 1 day late, the Late label could be set and the interval changed from 0 to 1, and the Late policy would adjust the grade accordingly.

New Gradebook Grade Detail Tray displays the deduction applied to any late assignments using the late policy

Students can also view the adjusted grade in the student Grades page, along with the Late label. The late deduction is displayed in the grading details.

Student view of seeing the late penalty applied to the submission details in the Grades page

Policy Adjustments

Late and Missing policies should be set before grading submissions. Changing the Late policy will affect all submissions that have already been graded. The Missing submission policy can be changed at any time but still applies to all missing submissions.

For full details and scenarios regarding Late Policies, please see the Late Policies FAQ in the New Gradebook Users Group.

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Feature Option Change

When an admin allows the New Gradebook at the account level, instructors can individually enable the New Gradebook at the course level. Previously admins had to enable the New Gradebook in each course.

This feature option change should be used with caution. Previous to this release, admins who had enabled the New Gradebook in a course could disable the New Gradebook for an instructor at any time. However, with this release, instructors can enable the New Gradebook on their own, and the New Gradebook cannot be disabled by any user when one or both of the following features are applied:

  • Manually adjust a submission status to none, late, missing, or excused
  • Enable late or missing policies in the Settings menu

The above features are not compatible with the current Gradebook, so enabling their functionality will prevent an instructor from returning to the current Gradebook.

In affected courses, the course-level feature option may take up to 1 hour to display the status change.

Grading Icon Update

When an assignment needs to be graded, the New Gradebook only displays one assignment icon regardless of assignment type. Each submission type uses the same logic to show a submission icon, and this change helps simplify the various items presented in the New Gradebook.

  • A submission is noted as needing to be graded in the following conditions:
  • A submission has been received but has not been graded
  • A submission was graded but the grade was removed by the instructor
  • A submission was resubmitted

New Gradebook with new consistent icon indicating assignments that need grading

  Updated Features



Grades Page Menu Update

The student Grades page menus have been updated for improved accessibility.

For courses associated with a grading period, the Grading Period menu displays first and includes a menu heading. Previously the menu was always at the top of the page and did not contain a heading.

The Course menu allows students to view any of their other courses, both active and concluded. Previously the menu only displayed active courses. Concluded courses display unless the students have been restricted from viewing the course after the course end date.

The page also includes an Apply button, which must be clicked to generate content selected within each menu. Previously the page reloaded immediately once a menu was selected.

If a menu or the Apply button is grayed out, the menu content already matches the selected content loaded in the page.

All menus and the Apply button are responsive to browser window size, so the placement of menus may vary.

Student Grades page menu adjustments with menu headings and the Apply button

Rich Content Editor

Accessibility Checker Content Contrast Rule

The Accessibility Checker verifies content color contrast without having to enable High Contrast Styles. Both linked and non-linked content validate with a contrast of higher than 4.5:1.

Please note that High Contrast Styles must still be enabled for verification if a user overrides a link color in the Rich Content Editor.

Note: Canvas engineers are currently investigating behavior where a link with a contrast issue displays as two issues.

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Accessibility Checker Design Adjustments

The Accessibility Checker sidebar includes minor design adjustments, which are already available in the production environment. These adjustments include placement of the Next and Previous issue buttons and the Help icon that provides clarification about each issue.

The Accessibility Checker includes adjustments to the placement of several items in the sidebar


Audio Controls Whitelist

The Rich Content Editor supports the Controls attribute for audio HTML tags.

Content Selector Images Alt Text Field

In the Content Selector, when a user opens the Images tab and selects an image to upload, the sidebar displays a text field to add alternative text for the image.

The image can also be specified as a decorative image, which does not require alternative text. If the Decorative Image checkbox is selected, the alternative text field is grayed out.

The Content Sidebar in the Rich Content Editor supports adding alternative text after selecting an image file for upload or marking the image as decorative

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Excess Rubric Criterion Points

When an instructor grades a submission in SpeedGrader and uses a rubric for grading, the rubric supports excess points above the maximum point value for each criterion. This change allows instructors to provide extra credit through rubric criteria and aligns consistency with other Canvas features that support additional point values.

Rubrics being used in SpeedGrader for grading support additional points for a maximum criterion value



For details about using Canvas API documentation, please see the Canvas API Policy page.


Canvas Login Path POST Requests

This change involves a deprecation that requires user attention and was previously announced in 

The /login path will stop accepting direct POST requests. Any custom LDAP forms should be updated to avoid using this path. This behavior only affects institutions with a login form on a non-Canvas page making a POST request for a user’s username and password.

For institutions not using Canvas authentication, posting to /login/canvas will not be valid if Canvas authentication is disabled. The URL endpoint must be updated for the authentication type:

  • LDAP: POST to /login/ldap
  • SAML: POST to /login/saml

LTI Standards


This feature requires the Encrypted Sourcedids for Basic Outcomes feature option, which applies to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.

The lis_result_sourcedid LTI parameter can be encrypted through an account-level feature option. This parameter is used in grade passback integrations and historically includes a combination of known information such as course id, tool id, and assignment id.

When the feature option is enabled, an opaque ID will be sent for the lis_result_sourcedid passed during assignment launches. LTI tools currently parsing the lis_result_sourcedid will be impacted; although the ID is still required for grade passback, the ID will no longer include identifiable information.

LTI Variable Substitutions and

LTI Variable Substitutions includes the following substitution variables:

  • returns the current course’s term name
  • returns the display name of the launching user—only available when launched by a logged-in user

Users API


This change involves a deprecation that requires user attention and was previously announced in 

The deprecated sis_login_id attribute in the Users API will be removed from Canvas. Any applications using the sis_login_id attribute should replace the deprecated attribute with the login_id attribute.

  Fixed Bugs




When a student is added to an assignment, any date errors are read by screen readers. Focus is retained in the first error date field.


When a keyboard user selects a checkbox next to a conversation thread, focus is retained in the checkbox. Additionally, keyboard navigation through a conversation does not change the placement of the star icon if the conversation is already starred.

Focus indicators are included in read/unread icons, starred icons, and the Send Individual Messages checkbox.


In the Blueprint Course sidebar, focus is retained within each checkbox option for screen readers.


For each item in Recent Activity, the Close icon includes the name of the closed recent activity item for screen readers.


Users API

The Users API returns correct grades when API calls include the including[]=enrollments parameter.

Explanation: When a user included the including[]=enrollments parameter in the Users API, the grade data was incorrect when multiple assignment groups were included in a course with different assignment grades because the group grade was returned instead. Canvas code has been updated to return the course grade instead of the assignment group grade.


Student Assignment Page and Responsive Assignment Header

When a student views an assignment, the assignment header includes a responsive design layout.

Explanation: When a user created an assignment with a long title, and a student viewed the assignment, the assignment header did not wrap the title correctly around the Submit button. Canvas code has been updated to support a responsive design layout for assignment headings.


Recurring Event Limit

For accounts that have enabled the Recurring Calendar Event feature option, the Calendar supports up to 200 occurrences for an individual recurring calendar event and displays an error when the occurrence limit has been reached.

Explanation: When a user created a recurring calendar event and tried to add more than 100 occurrences of the event, the Calendar generated a silent error and did not save the recurring event. Canvas code has been updated to display an error when the occurrence limit has been reached. Additionally, the supported number of occurrences for an individual recurring calendar event has been increased to 200. All occurrences for a recurring calendar event are still generated as individual events, and changing one event does not affect any other event.


Multiple Conversations and Additional Whitespace

Multiple conversations do not generate additional whitespace at the bottom of the page.

Explanation: When a user received multiple conversations, the Conversations page generated additional whitespace at the bottom of the page for each conversation thread. Canvas code has been updated to prevent additional whitespace from being added to the Conversations page.


Blueprint Sync and Course Front Page

In a Blueprint sync, the Front Page setting is included when the Course Home Page is set to the Front Page.

Explanation: When a user updated a Blueprint course with a new Front Page and set the Course Home Page as the Front Page, the Front Page was only synced to associated courses if the associated courses also included a change to the Course Home Page. Canvas code has been updated to sync the Blueprint course Front Page to associated courses.


Graded Discussion Attachments

Graded Discussion attachments are located in a student’s Submissions folder.

Explanation: When a student submitted an attachment as part of a graded discussion, the attachment file was placed in the student’s Unfiled folder. The file did not indicate that the file could not be deleted until the student tried to delete the file. Canvas code has been updated to move attachments in graded discussions to the Submissions folder.


Differentiated Assignments and Grading Access

Removing a student from a differentiated assignment does not affect grading for other students in the assignment.

Explanation: When an assignment was differentiated for several students, and one of the students was removed from the assignment, the assignment was not able to be graded for the other students in the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to correct caching for differentiated assignments in the Gradebook and allow existing student assignments to be graded.

Gradebook Exports and Concluded Group Enrollments

Concluding a member of a group does not affect Gradebook exports.

Explanation: When the Gradebook included a group submission, and a member of that group was concluded in the course, the Gradebook export generated an error message. Canvas code has been updated to manage submissions for concluded enrollments in the Gradebook and not affect Gradebook exports.


Concluded Group Enrollments

Group memberships do not persist for concluded courses.

Explanation: When a course was concluded and users did not have access to the course, any groups in the course were not concluded and allowed student access. Canvas code has been updated to conclude group enrollments when their associated courses are concluded.


EduAppCenter API Whitelist Token

The Account Settings Apps tab saves EduAppCenter whitelist API token.

Explanation: When an admin created a whitelist in the EduAppCenter and created an API token, the Account Settings Apps tab did not save the API token. Canvas code has been updated to save API whitelist tokens in the Apps tab.


Move To Module Error

The Move To Menu moves module items successfully to another module.

Explanation: When the Move To Menu was used to move a module item to another module, the menu generated an error if the module item was being moved into a module with deleted items. Canvas code has been updated to allow module items to be moved into modules with deleted items.

New Gradebook

Manual Status Changes and Message Students Who

The Message Students Who feature generates message lists from both automatically and manually updated statuses.

Explanation: When an assignment submission status was automatically assigned but later manually updated to another status, the manual status did not display in the Message Students Who feature and retained the previously assigned status. Canvas code has been updated to apply manually updated statuses when generating message lists.


Question Bank Mastery and Multiple Quiz Attempts

Outcomes linked to a question bank determine mastery according to the quiz setting that defines the retained grade for multiple attempts.

Explanation: When a quiz was linked to a question bank and the quiz was taken multiple times, the Learning Mastery Gradebook always calculated mastery according to the most recently updated quiz submission, regardless if the option to retain the highest grade was set. Canvas code has been updated to determine an outcome’s mastery according to the quiz setting that defines the retained grade for multiple attempts.


Quiz Access Code and Chrome 60

In the Chrome browser, students resuming a quiz with an access code are asked to confirm the code.

Explanation: When a student accessed Canvas using the Chrome browser and resumed a quiz with an access code, the student was not asked to confirm the code before resuming the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the quiz access code when resuming a quiz in Chrome.

Rich Content Editor

Group File Auto-Previews

In group pages, linked files from the sidebar display previews in the Rich Content Editor.

Explanation: When a file was linked from the sidebar in a group page, the links were not displaying previews in the Rich Content Editor. This behavior affected both media and non-media files uploaded as new files. Canvas code has been updated to display previews for linked files in groups.


Courses API and sis_course_id

When a course is created via SIS import, the List Courses for a User endpoint returns the sis_course_id if the user who made the API call has permission to manage SIS data.

Explanation: When a user with permission to manage SIS data listed courses for a user via the Courses API, and the course was created via SIS import, the endpoint did not return the sis_course_id. Canvas code has been updated to verify user permissions when returning a result that includes the sis_course_id.


Comment Field Adjustments

Manually adjusting the size of the comment field does not affect submitting the comment.

Explanation: When the SpeedGrader comment field was manually adjusted before the comment was typed into the field, clicking the Submit button adjusted the comment field to display the entire comment without submitting the comment. Canvas code has been updated to submit the comment when a user clicks the Submit button.

Final Score Field Calculation

The Final Score field dynamically reflects a student’s final quiz grade with both the individual question grades and the number of added fudge points.

Explanation: When fudge points were added to a student’s quiz in SpeedGrader, the Final Score field only displayed the total number of quiz points and did not dynamically calculate any added fudge points. The Final Score field was only updated after the grader clicked the Update Quiz button and updated the quiz grade. Canvas code has been updated to dynamically display the Final Score field with both the individual question grades and the number of added fudge points.

Grade by Question Menu Background Color

In the Grade by Question Menu, questions that have received a point value are indicated with a gray background.

Explanation: When the Grade by Question menu was selected in SpeedGrader to grade one question at a time, and points were awarded for an individual question, the background for the question remained white instead of being grayed out. Canvas code has been updated to update the background color in the menu for individually graded quiz questions.

Peer Reviews and Multiple Rubric Assessments

In Peer Review assignments, previous assessments are not displayed automatically in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed a rubric in a peer review assignment, the Rubric assessment was automatically generated from the student who last reviewed the submission instead of displaying the option to create a new assessment. If the instructor did not notice the automatically generated assessment, any comments left by the student were also included in the instructor’s assessment. Canvas code has been updated to always start with a new assessment for peer review assignments.

Change Log

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