Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-06-02)
Changes from https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-14650-canvas-beta-release-notes-2018-05-21
- Removed Account Settings: Course and People Search Enforcement
- Removed Discussions: Courses Page Design Updates, Section-Specific Discussions
In this production release (June 2), SAML authentication includes an option to remove the domain URL from the login attribute value. Additionally, the SIS File Refactor account-level feature option has been enabled for all institutions to improve performance, and admins can choose to enable Right-to-Left functionality for supported languages as a feature option.
Conferences can display multiple recording formats. Additionally, instructors whose institutions have upgraded to the Canvas Conferences premium tier can see a new recording format called statistics that displays metrics about student participation in the recorded session.
For outcomes and rubrics, imported outcome errors and warnings are more distinctive through clarified functionality, and the Find Rubrics window displays account and course names alphabetically when adding a rubric to an assignment. In the Rich Content Editor sidebar, the Links tab Course Navigation section reflects the same name as displayed in Course Navigation.
In DocViewer, annotations can be added to various images in SpeedGrader and the Submission Details page. Instructors can delete any annotations or comments for any user, and users can comment on annotations if they are not the author of the annotation. To improve the commenting experience, comments are truncated if they are longer than five lines long, comment padding has been decreased in each comment box, and comments always align with their associated annotations.
All users can select how they want to view separators in Gradebook Export CSV files, depending on their locale or user preference.
Production release notes also include API additions and fixed bugs.
Features are subject to change based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.
Canvas New Feature Screencast (2018-06-02)
Next release schedule
- Beta release and notes: June 1
- Production release notes: June 18
- Production release and documentation: June 23
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.
- Not all features will apply to mobile apps, and some functionality may be implemented in mobile apps at a later date.
- Mobile features are updated and announced separately according to app and device in the Mobile release notes
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.
- Account Settings
- Right-to-Left Language Support
- SAML Login Attribute Domain Option
- Recording Formats and Statistics
- Image Support
- Instructor Annotation Management
- Non-Author Annotation Comments
- Comment Truncation
- Comment Display Order
- Comment Padding
- User Settings
- Gradebook CSV Separator Preferences
- Import Error and Warning Functionality Clarification
- Rich Content Editor
- Sidebar Course Navigation Link Name Consistency
- Account and Course Order
- SIS Import
- SIS File Refactor Feature Option Enforcement
- API Additions
- Content Exports API
- External Tools API
- Grade Passback External Tools
- Submissions API
- Fixed Bugs
- Course Import
- Theme Editor
- Course Import
- Page History and File Link Functionality
- File Links and Trust Accounts
- Muted Assignment Comments
- Created Assignments and Previously Assigned Students
- Student Context Card and Concluded Enrollments
- Subaccounts and Blueprint Courses
- Grade Page Rubric Ratings
Right-to-Left Language Support
This feature update was originally introduced to the beta environment in the Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-04-30).
This feature requires the Allow RTL Users to See RTL Interface feature option, which applies to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable this feature option in Account Settings.
Admins can change the Canvas interface to support right-to-left languages. This change repositions all navigational elements and text components. Currently, right-to-left functionality is supported for Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian languages.
SAML Login Attribute Domain Option
Institutions using SAML authentication can choose to remove the domain URL from the login attribute value. This option allows an institution’s SIS provider to create a custom login attribute by disregarding the domain if necessary. The login attribute matches the claim rule name as defined in the SAML authentication setup.
Recording Formats and Statistics
Canvas includes access to the basic tier of Conferences for all customers. For more information about the premium Conference tier, please contact a Canvas Customer Success Manager.
Conferences can display multiple recording formats. Depending on an institution’s Conferences tier, recording formats may be displayed as a presentation or a video.
Additionally, instructors whose institutions have upgraded to the Canvas Conferences premium tier can see a new recording format called statistics that provides metrics about student participation in the recorded session. These metrics include attendance (length of time in the session), number of moderators and participants, and a count of total speaking, chatting, raising hands, and sharing emojis events. Metrics also include each student's response to polls. Statistical information can be downloaded as a CSV file.
Canvas open source contributions: BBB feature recording multiple formats
All upcoming DocViewer features are not available for testing in the beta environment.
Enhancement ideas for this feature can be viewed in Canvas studio and created using the docviewer tag. For more details about idea feedback, please see the Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines.
DocViewer annotations can be added to BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF images in SpeedGrader and the Submission Details page. Large images are scaled to a lower resolution so the entire image can be displayed without having to scroll.
Note: This change does not apply to Images previewed in Files.
Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/3174-configure-image-files-in-speedgrader-to-fit-the-window
Instructor Annotation Management
Instructors can delete any annotations or comments for any user. This change allows instructors to remove annotations or comments that may be inappropriate or incorrect within a document. Any custom role based on the instructor permission can also delete annotations, as well as any admin.
When a user with annotation management permissions deletes a user’s annotation or comment, the annotation or comment is deleted from view for all users except for the owner of the annotation or comment. The owner can retain the deleted items or remove them by clicking the Remove icon. Deleted comments still support replies.
Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8795-docviewer-admin-and-instructor-can-editdelete-comments
Non-Author Annotation Comments
Users can comment on annotations if they are not the author of the annotation. This change allows any user to comment on annotations made by another user if a comment does not already exist.
Comments are truncated if they are longer than five lines long. Previously comments were truncated after one line. When a comment is selected directly, the full content of the comment all lines of content.
Comment Display Order
This change has already been deployed to the production environment.
Comments always align with their associated annotations.
This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:
When multiple comments existed in a document and a user clicked a comment, comments did not align with their associated annotation and instead rearranged with the most recent comment at the top of the page. Canvas code has been updated to retain vertical order of all comments. so that when the student views them, comments appear in the same order as the parts of the text to which they apply.
Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/11398-automatically-order-correctly-marginal-comments-in-speed...
This change has already been deployed to the production environment.
Comment padding has been decreased in each comment box. This change contributes to continual improvements being made to the commenting experience.
Gradebook CSV Separator Preferences
This feature requires one of multiple feature options that apply to a user’s individual account. Users can enable these feature options in User Settings.
Users can select how they want to view separators in Gradebook Export CSV files, depending on their locale or user preference.
Separator options are managed through one of three feature options in User Settings. Currently the options only apply to exporting Gradebook CSV files, but these options may apply to other CSV files in a future release.
Include Byte-Order Mark generates a specific set of three characters at the beginning of the CSV file. These characters are known as a byte-order mark and help some versions of Microsoft Excel understand that the CSV file about to be processed is a UTF-8 encoded file. It also tells some localized versions of Excel that they should treat the incoming CSV file as if it were semicolon-separated by default. Because some versions of Excel do not understand or honor the byte-order mark, this feature allows all users to disable generation of this byte-order mark.
Use semicolons to separate fields generates CSV files with semicolons as the field separators instead of the default comma. When disabled, this feature falls back to behavior determined by the state of the Autodetect field separators option.
Note: This feature is automatically disabled if the Autodetect Field Separators option is enabled.
Autodetect field separators attempts to determine the appropriate field separator as indicated by the language set in the user’s account. For languages where the decimal separator is a dot e.g. 1,234.56, autodetection will choose a comma as the field separator. For languages where the decimal separator is a comma, e.g. 1.234,56, autodetection will choose a semicolon as the field separator. For all other cases, autodetection will choose a comma as the field separator as a default.
Note: This feature is automatically disabled if the Use semicolons to separate fields option is already enabled.
Import Error and Warning Functionality Clarification
Imported outcome errors and warnings are more distinctive through clarified functionality. This change helps admins and instructors more clearly understand if import behavior is considered an error or a warning. If an imported file display a behavior that affect the entire outcome file, such as including empty files and/or invalid headers, or not including any outcomes in the file, the import is an error. All other behaviors that affect a single outcome in the file is a warning, such as an incorrect course ID. Previously most behaviors considered as warnings were noted as errors.
Rich Content Editor
Sidebar Course Navigation Link Name Consistency
In the Rich Content Editor sidebar, the Links tab Course Navigation section reflects the same name as displayed in Course Navigation. This change helps align terminology consistency throughout Canvas.
Canvas Community contributions: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7870
Account and Course Order
When a rubric is added to an assignment, the Find Rubrics window displays account and course names alphabetically. Previously the account and course names did not display in any specific order.
SIS File Refactor Feature Option Enforcement
This feature was previously announced in the Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-04-21).
The SIS File Refactor account-level feature option has been updated for improved performance. This change benefits institutions with large SIS imports, provides more detailed error and troubleshooting information, and allows for future SIS Import engineering improvements. Previously introduced as a feature option, this functionality will no longer be an option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas accounts.
For details about using Canvas API documentation, please see the Canvas API Policy page.
Content Exports API
Export Content Endpoint
- Added select parameter
External Tools API
Create an External Tool Endpoint
- Added account_navigation[display_type] parameter
Grade Passback External Tools
- Added Submission Details Return Extension documentation, which includes information about supporting Submitted At timestamps
Submission Summary Endpoint
- Added grouped parameter
The month name and date ranges are underlined for improved accessibility.
The warning for copying the same course displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.
In the Student Dashboard, To Do dismiss button is labeled with the name of the item being dismissed for screen readers.
The Search for Files text field is read by screen readers.
The Login page and Forgot Password page reads the Instructure logo correctly. Additionally, Internet Explorer does not identify the password field twice.
The Outcomes Edit button retains focus for screen readers.
At both the account and course levels, the tables in the Add People window include row headers. Additionally, the +People button is read as Add People to screen readers.
In Firefox, clicking the Save Theme button retains focus in the Theme Name window.
Page History and File Link Functionality
File links within a page history function correctly after course import.
Explanation: When a page with file links was imported into a new course, the links in the page were linking to the correct files, but the revision history showed the same links as being broken. Canvas code has been updated to retain the correct links when viewed in the page history.
File Links and Trust Accounts
For users in a trust account, ePorfolio file links can be viewed regardless of the account where the file was added.
Explanation: When a user viewed a file link in an ePortfolio, and the user was part of a trust account, the link generated a page error if the file was added in another account. Canvas code has been updated to display file links regardless of the account where the file was added.
Muted Assignment Comments
In muted assignments, comments are hidden in the Gradebook, Submissions API, and mobile apps.
Explanation: When an instructor added a comment to an assignment submission and later muted the assignment, students were able to view the submission comments via the Submissions API, which also affected the mobile apps. Canvas code has been updated to completely hide existing instructor comments when muting an assignment.
Created Assignments and Previously Assigned Students
Created Assignment notifications are not sent to students who have been removed from the assignment.
Explanation: When an instructor created and published an assignment for everyone in the course, edited the assignment and removed some of the students from the assignment, and then published the assignment again, the previously assigned students received a notification that the assignment had been created. Canvas code has been updated to not send notifications to students who have been removed from an assignment.
Student Context Card and Concluded Enrollments
Student context cards load for concluded enrollments.
Explanation: When a student enrollment was concluded, the student context card was able to load from the Gradebook and generated an error. Canvas code has been updated to correct student context cards to display all enrollment types.
Subaccounts and Blueprint Courses
The Blueprint Course feature option displays in subaccounts.
Explanation: When an institution wanted to grant access to a subaccount admin to manage Blueprint Courses, the Blueprint Course permission could be enabled via the API. Canvas code has been updated to display the Manage Blueprint Courses permission in subaccount permissions pages.
Grade Page Rubric Ratings
Rubric ratings are highlighted correctly in the student's grade page.
Explanation: When a criterion score was worth more than 10 points and contained more than 3 ratings, the highlighted rating could be incorrect in the student’s grades page. Canvas code has been updated to correctly highlight the intended rating.
New Course/People page still seems horribly slow on beta. I hope it is better in production.
I LOVE the videos!
This video speaks of truncating the comments after five lines yet the example shown has just one line. Does this mean the intended behavior is to truncate to a single line only when the comment is greater than five lines? Or that when comments are greater than five lines, they are then truncated to five lines? Wouldn't the second approach provide a more consistent experience?
The new People Search function in the Account Setting only allows searches for courses and teachers. Why has the ability to search for students within an account been removed? This is a vital tool that appears to be going away without explanation.
I can tell you for sure that the new People search includes all users (not just Teachers). We have had this turned on in our production environment for a couple months, so I'm definitely familiar with it.
What you may be referring to is the *course* search allows you to search for a course by the course name or teacher name. In my view this is actually an enhancement from the "old" search where could only search for a course by it's course name.
We have found the new course and people search to be a nice improvement over the old versions, with the only downside being some slowness with the new searches. I believe Instructure said they were making improvements on the speed of the searches with this release, so that will make us very excited.
Any plans to extend DocViewer to text entry assignments? I just voted on the feature over in the voting section, but thought I'd check here too!
It should be truncating only after five lines. We'll watch that when it goes into production and make sure something didn't inadvertently change.
Feature ideas are the best place to see progress on any future improvements. The release notes show what is here and now. So keep following that idea you voted on and our product team will let you know if they have any updates.
Our institution did not enable the new course / people search because it was so slow in beta. I want to second the comment that functionality needs to be faster in production. It initially requires one more click than the previous functionality, but it can save a click or two on the other side.
Too bad to see that the discussion changes didn't make it in, nice work though.
The new search tool is very slow. We provided this feedback during the previous release and it does not appear to be any better. On the course search page I can't even see what I type until it finally loads. If the performance is not corrected we will not be able to use it. The old tool also allowed you to drop a sisid for a user or a course and get sent directly to that item. That was much faster than this new tool.
Does the new search tool work for any larger installs? I'm thinking of any schools close to 100,000 courses and 150,000 users. johnpj or @jazemlya have you had any success with it?
Actually, I think this comment may be referring to the fact that you used to be able to search for users directly on the Courses page (in addition to being able to search on the People page). Now, you have to go to the People page to search for users, requiring an additional click. The user search on the Courses page is what was taken away with this redesign.
We have 125,000+ courses and a bazillion users (actual number) and it has continued to be slow for us in beta. Once you do a search, additional searches are faster. However, conducting multiple searches at once isn't normal workflow. Normally you search for a thing, then navigate to that thing, then search for the next thing later. I just did a People search for "Tracey". It took 30 seconds to load in beta (with new search enabled) and 5 seconds in prod (with old search). I'm trying to keep an open mind, given how beta is always somewhat slower, but I'm really fearful that this is going to slow our (many) admins way down.
Thanks Christine, your assumption was correct and you helped me find what I needed. In all my years using the Admin tools I always searched for Users on the "Course" page, not realizing there was a "People" tab on the left navigation which redundantly had another "User" search box.
I work very heavily with a K12 district that has over 130K courses and over 400K users in their Canvas account. They love the new course and user search. The course search takes 2-3 seconds to load and the people tab takes about 10 seconds to load in production on a cold start (no cache). Hope that helps you out.
Just a side note... you don't have to wait for the data to start populating before searching for a user on the people tab at least. I can start typing a name and hit enter to initiate the search and it loads pretty much immediately with the new data (sometimes there is a flicker of the old data once it finishes loading, but it is still overridden by the search data).
In the new people/course search:
Is it possible to override the standard pagination (15) of the admin course listing?
Something like https://xxxx.instructure.com/accounts/6?pagination=150
Understood, it is truncated after five lines. I am pondering if it is then truncated to 1 line or to the max of 5 lines?
The Gradebook CSV Separator Preferences also seems to apply to students when they don't have access to the gradebook. There doesn't seem to be a role filter where only users with a tutor enrolment can see these options or the possibility to switch this off at an institution level.
The notes indicate "Currently the options only apply to exporting Gradebook CSV files, but these options may apply to other CSV files in a future release."
When other engineering teams implement this new functionality for CSV files, we'll rename those feature options to not specifically mention the Gradebook so they'll better apply to all user roles. In the meantime, if a user without access to the Gradebook enables those feature options, nothing will happen.
One of the problems of trying to test in Beta is that environment is run on minimal AWS compute resources, so everything runs very slow.
Because of outstanding performance concerns, Account Course and People Search feature will no longer be enforced in this release. The feature option has been changed in the beta environment to allow admins to enable or disable this feature option as they'd prefer for their institution, which is how it will also display for the production release on Saturday.
My team has been disappointed with performance with this on Beta. We were told that this runs better on production so we turned this on in production yesterday to test after notifying all our admins and subaccount admins. We found that the performance was better on production but still not where we would expect it to be. With us having hundreds of thousands of users and courses the performance is still lagging. In particular my support team reported that the load time is the biggest issue. They also reported that when they start a search that the search gets wiped out once the page fully loads, forcing them to start their search all over again. I would say currently the tool does not meet my expectations on production. We also have had a few searches crash the page on a search, but that issue is not wide spread.
While I understand the reasoning for delayed enforcement, I must say that I totally love the new course and user search feature! Even with the user search being a little wonky at first, it was a huge improvement over the original. Our state consortium, with the help of our CSM team, worked with the engineers over this last week, and that wonkiness has been cleared.
Huge improvement for us admins, and I hope everybody is checking it out.
That was exactly our experience testing it in Prod this morning. I'm happy that it will remain optional while the bugs are worked out.
We ended up turning in on in prod yesterday for the same reasons. It runs poorly at first, but it does seem to get better. It never seems to be as fast as the old search. The lack of the quick search for a course or user is much of that. If you knew the sisid's for what you are looking for it was much faster and the course search would take you right into the course.
I appreciate the delay in forcing the new tool. We at least have an option to revert back to the old one if needed.
I've noticed a strange order of sub accounts when creating a new course under new courses tool. In our current production version, when creating a new course manually, we see sub accounts in alphabetical order. But in the beta release, sub accounts show up in a strange order. This needs to be correct before the full release.
My students turn in .txt files. These used to open automatically in DocViewer, but with the update, they do not anymore. Is there a setting that I can change in Google Chrome on my PC to get this functionality back? Thanks.
I'm with @kmeeusen we have this turned on in Production now, although I do have a ticket in to Support about the performance. I'm willing to suffer the slowness for the awesome filtering this feature provides! I'll admit, I do leave this off in our Test environment so I can whip over there and do a quick search once in a while....
We experienced a potentially related issue to this as well during our initial setup, and worked with our CSM and that issue was identified and placed on-hold at this point. We have four college subaccounts with over 200 subaccounts for each of them (sub-subaccounts, if you will).
When we loaded via SIS they didn't come through alphabetically, and even when rearranging the order in the CSV it wasn't perfect. We just dealt with it, as only the admins really see the subaccounts listed, and we can deal with those. I am curious if this is a widespread issue though, and how many other clients are seeing the same thing. It's definitely not a pressing issue for us, just something that would be nice if it were clarified how the mechanics of it work.
Has anyone found the new search a little wonky on sorting? The results order is radically different depending on what I click to sort first (i.e, the order is different if you order by course than if order by term then order by course). It also, if you re-sort while on any page, it stays on that "page" in the new sort, which is atypical behavior when sorting. One way I sorted, I saw only 33 sections in this term, but another way, I saw all 48. [Oh shoot, now when I tried to replicate that to be sure, I now get the error I mention below!]
In addition, it only shows 3 possible pages to look at to move back and forth--I knew I wanted to go to the last page of the results, but I had to select the next arrow over and over and over and over and over and over and over.... (I was specifically looking for an error message, so I didn't want to change the sort order. I actually gave up before getting to the last page.
And lastly, we keep getting the error "There was an error with your query; please try a different search" when limiting results to an upcoming term. It only shows some of them (for a 3-section course, all three; for a 48-section course, only 23). When I don't limit, all the courses appear, but that's how we discovered the weird sorting results.
I suspect I need to file a support ticket next....
"Conferences can display multiple recording formats. Depending on an institution’s Conferences tier, recording formats may be displayed as a presentation or a video."
We're not sure about the wording and what this means for us as an institution. Are there any changes in a UI depending on whether this is a presentation or video? Are there any features within BigBlueButton that are affected?
I've also just heard from an instructor whose students turn in .py files that used to open in DocViewer until Saturday's update. He'd definitely like to get that functionality back, too.
The link to view the recording format may display as presentation or video, depending on your Conferences tier. Other than that, BigBlueButton hasn't made any other changes. Conferences themselves as you know them remain the same.
According to What types of files can be previewed in Canvas? DocViewer should support TXT files. If you aren't seeing this behavior, please submit a support case so our team can investigate why that functionality changed.
Production notes are now closed for comments as we move to the next release cycle: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-14755-canvas-beta-release-notes-2018-06-11
As always, if you find a behavior that hasn't been resolved for you, please submit a Canvas support case so your local support team and/or Canvas support can investigate.