Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-08-26)

In an effort to continually improve Canvas, Instructure, the parent company of Canvas, releases Canvas upgrades every three weeks along with Production Release Notes. Pertinent features and upgrades are listed below. You may view the full Canvas Production Release Notes for August 26, 2017, and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on September 16.

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. Recorded media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers. Any recorded content can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser.

Updated Features

Logout Page (Authentication) - When a user logs out of Canvas, the user is redirected to the login page for the last authenticated account. This change helps users log back in to Canvas using the same authentication provider.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas: When a user logged out of Canvas and the user’s institution included several authentication methods, the logout page always redirected users to the Canvas authentication login page even if Canvas authentication was not the primary method. Canvas code has been updated to redirect users to the login page for the last authenticated account.

Point and Area Annotation Comments (DocViewer) - This change was deployed to the production environment on August 9. To save an annotation, Point and Area annotations do not require comments. Comments can be added to the annotation like all other annotation types.

Session Expiration Warning (DocViewer) - When a user creates annotations in DocViewer, Canvas will display a session expiration warning at 9 hours 50 minutes, followed by a 5-minute and 1-minute warnings until the 10 hour limit has been reached. This change helps users be able to save their work before the session automatically refreshes at 10 hours. A session can be restarted at any time by refreshing the submission page.

Insert/Edit Media (Rich Content Editor) - The Rich Content Menu toolbar includes an option to insert or edit media. This change allows users to easily add online media content to a course without having to use the HTML Editor.

  • The General tab includes fields for the media source location and dimensions. The media can be resized and set to constrain size proportions.
  • The Embed tab includes an HTML field for embed code.
  • The Advanced tab includes fields for providing alternative source URL(s) and poster image information. Alternative sources pointing to different video encodings can be specified to be used as a fallback if the browser doesn’t support the initial encoding offered. The poster URL source indicates the image that displays until the user clicks the play button. If the poster option is blank, the first frame of the source video will be used as the poster image.

Links from common providers (like YouTube and Vimeo) often link to custom media players, rather than directly to video files, and will not recognize any content added to the alternative source and posted image options.

Other Updates

Performance Updates (SpeedGrader) - SpeedGrader has been optimized for performance in large courses and includes an increased submission threshold per student submission. Previously averaging at 800 submissions, the current minimum threshold has improved to 1500 submissions. Assignments with more than 1500 submissions may result in delayed SpeedGrader loading times.

Fixed Bugs

Please view the full Canvas Production Release Notes for August 26, 2017 and its accompanying screencast for more information concerning accessibility improvements and other bug fixes. Here are a couple that are noteworthy:

RSS Feed (Announcements) - The Announcements RSS Feed displays the most recent 15 published announcements. When an instructor created an announcement but then created multiple announcements with a delayed date in the future, students were not able to view any announcements in the RSS feed. This behavior occurred because the RSS Feed calculated delayed announcements as part of the 15 display count. Canvas code has been updated to display the most recent 15 announcements that have been published and made available to students.

Google Cloud Submission Downloads (Assignments) - Canvas can download Google cloud assignments for 60 minutes. When graders tried to download Google cloud assignments, some assignment submissions were not able to be downloaded from Canvas because they were never completely downloaded from Google. Canvas code has been updated to allow Canvas to download Google cloud assignments from 10 minutes to 60 minutes.

Group Assignment File Submissions (Assignments) - Group submission files uploaded through an LTI tool such as Google Drive or Office 365 can be viewed by the instructor and all group members. When students submitted an online file for a group assignment using an LTI tool option such as Google Drive or Office 365, the file attachment was not visible to the instructor in SpeedGrader or any group members in the Submission Details page. This behavior did not affect group submissions where each student was assigned a grade individually. Canvas code has been updated to upload LTI tool submission files to the group submission folder and display correctly to associated users.

Moderated Grading (Assignments) - Users with the moderated grading permission only view Dashboard To Do List items for students whose submission have not yet been graded. When a reviewer graded a moderated grading assignment for a student, the Dashboard To Do List indicated the assignment still needed to be graded for that student. This behavior affected any user with the moderated grading permission. Canvas code has been updated to not display duplicate To Do items once a moderated grading submission has been reviewed.