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Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-06-23)

Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-06-23)

Upcoming Canvas Changes

August 4: New Scheduler

On August 4, the New Scheduler feature option will be enabled for all institutions currently using the Scheduler feature in the Calendar. Institutions not using the Scheduler will not be affected. For more information about New Scheduler, please review the New Scheduler documentation. Existing enhancement ideas for this feature can be viewed in Canvas studio; new ideas should include the scheduler tag.

In this production release (June 23), modules and calendar events can be duplicated in Canvas. The Discussions page has been updated with an improved design, and instructors can create section-specific discussions.

In the New Gradebook, the Grade Detail Tray button can be accessed from any assignment.

The Canvas library for SAML2 authentication has been updated and may require admin attention.

API changes have been moved to the new API Change Log, located as part of the Canvas API documentation page.

Production release notes also include 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 (2018-06-23)

Next release schedule

  • Beta release and notes: July 2
  • Production release notes: July 9
  • Production release and documentation: July 14

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.

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.


  Updated Features


Account Settings

Course and People Search Enforcement

This feature was previously announced in the Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-03-10).

Enhancement ideas for this feature can be viewed in Canvas studio and created using the account_search tag. For more details about idea feedback, please see the Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines.

The account-level Course and People pages have been updated to help admins more easily navigate courses and users in their institution. Previously introduced as a feature option, this functionality will no longer be an option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas accounts. 


Event Duplication

Users can duplicate events in the Calendar. Previously enabled through the Recurring Calendar Events feature option, this feature has been renamed to better represent the intended functionality and align with other feature elements that can be duplicated in Canvas. This feature has been enabled for all institutions and no longer requires a feature option.

When calendar event details are added through the More Options button, the calendar edit page displays the Duplicate checkbox. Like other items duplicated in Canvas, duplicated events are independent from each other, and once created, must be managed individually.

Calendar events can be duplicated from the More Options page

Users can specify to duplicate the event for a certain number of days, weeks, or months. Users can also modify a count number to the end of each event to help differentiate each occurrence once they are duplicated.

Duplicating a calendar event includes additional options


Courses Page Design Updates & Section-Specific Discussions

This feature update was previously introduced to the beta environment in the Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-04-09).


The Discussions page includes an updated design to improve accessibility for all users. Most functionality has not been affected. Additionally, when creating a non-graded discussion, instructors can create section-specific discussions in their courses for all sections, one section, or multiple sections.

For full details about these updates, please view Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-04-09).

Discussions Interface


Modules Duplication

Entire modules can be duplicated within a course. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for every supported module item. When a module is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the module name.

Entire modules can be duplicated in a course

A copied module is placed directly below the originating module. While the module is being copied, a loading indicator shows the copy is in progress.

Module and Module Item Status

Duplicating a module defaults the module and all module items to an unpublished status. Each item within the module is duplicated except in situations as indicated by the item type. For details about specific item duplication limitations, please see Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-07-15) (assignments and pages), and Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-10-28) (graded discussions).

Duplicated module items follow the same behavior as a new item created in a module. The item displays in the Modules page but is also visible in the item’s respective index page. All assignments, pages, and graded discussions within the copied module also include the word Copy at the end of the module item name.


  • If applicable, the Modules page displays any Blueprint Course icons after the page is refreshed.
  • MasteryPath items may be copied in a module, but assigned paths are not retained. Paths should be set after the course module structure is complete.

Quiz Limitations

Only Quizzes.Next Quizzes are supported for copying within modules. If a module contains a classic quiz, the option to copy a module does not display in the module menu. Modules can be copied by removing the classic quiz from the module. Classic quizzes are indicated by a rocket icon; Quizzes.Next quizzes are indicated by an assignment icon.

Modules cannot be duplicated if a module contains a classic quiz

release-notes-feature-idea-icon.png Canvas Community contributions: 

New Gradebook

Grade Detail Tray Access Button

In the New Gradebook, the Grade Detail Tray can be accessed in concluded enrollments as well as assignments in closed grading periods. This change allows instructors to more easily view grade details regardless of assignment or enrollment type. The Grade Detail Tray always displays a message for assignments in closed grading periods or if an enrollment has been concluded. These grades are still displayed to instructors as read only and cannot be modified.

Grade detail tray can be accessed from any cell in the New Gradebook

  Other Updates



SAML2 Processing

SAML response processing has been updated to use a new library. This change enhances maintainability, allows future development for new features, and addresses several deficiencies in the current validation process.

Deployment Schedule

Because of the myriad of SAML IdPs used by customers, this change is being rolled out in a slow deliberate process that will allow schools and Instructure engineers to address contrary behaviors before they occur in production.

Authentication Verification

Canvas admins using SAML should verify their authentication immediately for correct behavior either by signing in to their institution’s beta instance, which already includes the new change. Verification can also be triggered temporarily in the production environment by signing in to the institution’s production instance and adding the `saml2_processing=1`query parameter (i.e. Verification in the beta environment should only be used by admins who are confident their IdP supports logging in directly to the beta environment (support for multiple AssertionConsumerService URLs).

If login problems occur, admins can use the SAML Debugger functionality for more details, and either address the problem in the IdP if possible, or contact a Canvas Customer Success Manager for additional support.

Authentication Troubleshooting

Two common issues with this process may include the following:

1. Sending assertions that do not validate against the SAML XML Schema. The current library does not validate against the schema, making it difficult to reason about the security implications of attack vectors. By adding this first step of validation, additional code does not need to consider anything outside of a properly formed SAML Response.

Examples of schema errors include:

  • an <AttributeStatement> element, but no contents
  • starting ID attributes that begin with a digit
  • InResponseTo attribute is present, but an empty string (omit for IdP initiated logins)

These behaviors are most likely to occur with custom or niche IdP implementations and require the assistance of the institution’s authentication provider.

2. An expired signing certificate. Please rotate signing keys by configuring multiple certificates in the metadata and configuring Canvas to accept either one.




API Change Log

Canvas API documentation includes an API Change Log that notes all API changes, additions, and removals for each Canvas release. The documentation also includes a collective summary page of all deprecated APIs for easy reference. However, no APIs are currently deprecated.

The Canvas release notes will continue to reference affected APIs, though all specific details will be posted in the change log.

API Changes

API Additions

  • Files API
  • Users API
  • SIS Imports

  Fixed Bugs




Only the main content pane in the Calendar provides a notification to screen readers about using the Agenda view for accessibility. Previously the notification was repeated in multiple Calendar locations.

When an assignment group is created in a course using New Scheduler, the list of calendar names and sections includes tooltips that display the full name of the calendar and section.


Pagination buttons in the account-level Courses page are labeled for screen readers.

Global Navigation

When the Account, Admin, Courses, Groups, or Help menus are expanded, focus is retained in the menu until closed.


Pagination buttons in the account-level People page are labeled for screen readers.

Rich Content Editor

File preview links can be previewed with the Enter key for keyboard users.

Blueprint Courses

Muted Assignment Status

Muted assignment status does not sync to associated courses.

Explanation: When an assignment was muted in a Blueprint course, the muted status was synced to associated courses. This behavior could cause unintentional behaviors of releasing grades when an unmuted assignment was re-synced with a muted assignment. Canvas code has been updated to not sync an assignment’s muted assignment status to associated courses.

Close Icon and Course Settings Page

When accessed in Course Settings, the Blueprint sidebar Close icon closes the sidebar.

Explanation: When the Blueprint sidebar was opened in the Course Settings page, the Close icon was unresponsive and did not close the sidebar. Canvas code has been updated to correct the behavior of the Close icon.


New Scheduler Edit View Calendar Button Formatting

In New Scheduler, the Edit appointment group view Calendar list includes improved icon alignment and column formatting.

Explanation: When an existing appointment group was edited in a course using the New Scheduler, and the Calendar button was selected, the arrows and checkboxes next to the list of calendar and section names was misaligned. Canvas code has been updated with improved icon alignment and column formatting.


Course Card Closed Discussion Indicators

Dashboard course cards do not display discussion reply indicators for closed discussions.

Explanation: When a discussion was closed in a course, the course card displayed a discussion reply indicator for course users. Canvas code has been updated to not display course card indicators when discussions are closed.


Zero Value Grading Scheme Edits

Grading schemes with a value of zero are retained and accepted as a grading scheme value.

Explanation: When a grading scheme was created with a value of zero, Canvas generated an error. Additionally, editing the grading scheme changed the value of zero to one digit rounded down from the highest value in the same grading scheme row. Canvas code has been updated to retain the initial grading scheme of zero and accept ranges with varying zero values (e.g. 0.5-0.9) as long as the range values do not overlap.

New Gradebook

Zero Point Assignments and Complete/Incomplete Status Changes

The New Gradebook allows completed statuses to be changed if the assignment is out of zero points.

Explanation: When a Complete/Incomplete assignment was marked as complete in the New Gradebook, and the assignment was out of zero points, the assignment status could not be changed to incomplete. Canvas code has been updated to allow assignment statuses to be changed regardless of point value.


Import Content Link

In Course Settings, the Import Content link displays in the sidebar for users with the Manage All Other Course Content permission.

Explanation: In Course Settings, the Import Content link displayed in the sidebar for any user with the Manage All Other Course Content, Manage Course Files, or Manage Assignments and Quizzes permission. Users without the first permission who tried to access the link received an error message. Canvas code has been updated to only display the Import Content link for users with the Manage All Other Course Content permission.


Quiz Type Change and Individual Student Differentiation

Changing a graded quiz type to an ungraded quiz or ungraded survey does not affect any differentiated assignments to individual students.

Explanation: When a graded quiz type assigned to an individual student was changed to an ungraded quiz or ungraded survey, the quiz was no longer assigned to the individual student. Canvas code has been updated to allow quiz types to be changed without affecting individual student assignment differentiations.

Rich Content Editor

Course Quota Limit Error

When a file is uploaded to a course using the Content Selector, Canvas generates an error if the file exceeds the course quota limit.

Explanation: When a file was uploaded to a course using the Content Selector, no error was displayed if the file size exceeded the course quota, which confused users as to why the file could not be uploaded. Canvas code has been updated to display an error if the file exceeds the course quota limit.

Change Log

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