Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-10-07)

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 October 7, 2017, and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on October 28.

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

Assignments

Student Late and Missing Status Labels

The submission details page and student Grades page do not display labels for missing or late submissions. This change reverts the labels for students introduced in the Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-08-05) and helps minimize confusion for students when their instructors create online assignments that can be submitted online or on paper in class. Canvas always marks online assignments as missing when no submission is made. 

For instructors, SpeedGrader has not been affected and continues to display missing and late labels for online assignments. If an assignment has not been submitted by the due date, the assignment is identified as missing. If the assignment is submitted after the due date, the assignment is identified as late.

Rubrics

Rubric Criterion Range

Rubric criterions can include a point range instead of just an individual point value. This feature is available in both account- and course-level rubrics. When the Range checkbox is allowed and selected, each rating displays a maximum and minimum point value. Ranges are managed the same way as non-range rubrics. Ratings can be divided, edited, and removed individually, and total point value changes automatically adjust for all rating values. When a rubric is added to an assignment, range options are not displayed if the free-form comment option is selected.

In SpeedGrader, rubric values can be selected by entire range. Students can also view the ranges in the assignment details page and when viewing the rubric in the Grades page. The first value in the range is assigned for the point value.

Other Updates

SpeedGrader

Performance Update

SpeedGrader has been optimized for performance in large courses and includes a JavaScript improvement for loading students in the student menu. Although all values for an assignment are loaded and saved in the browser to reduce load time, the browser JavaScript inefficiently managed values when switching students. Instead of updating for all students, the student menu is only updated where a student’s status could change and only updates affected students accordingly.

User Interface

Bootstrap Styling

To improve typography and consistent user interface patterns in Canvas, Canvas engineers are actively removing Bootstrap, a third-party framework, from various areas of Canvas. 

Publish & Unpublish Icons

The Publish and Unpublish icons in Canvas have been updated in the Instructure icon library. Based on additional user testing of icons, weights, and styles, these icon changes enhance visibility and status clarity.

DocViewer Delete Icon

In DocViewer, when a user creates an annotation, the Delete icon displays above the annotation. Previously the icon displayed below the annotation, which obscured the annotation content. This change is currently available in the beta and production environments for all users.

Fixed Bugs

Please view the full Canvas Production Release Notes for October 7, 2017 and its accompanying screencast for more information concerning accessibility improvements and other bug fixes. Below are some fixes that may have affected instructors:

Accessibility

There are a number of fixes that allow screen readers to provide consistent function and usability.

Dashboard

Recent Feedback

The Recent Feedback stream displays recent feedback within the last four weeks. Explanation: When a prior submission was updated in a course, the Recent Feedback stream also displayed feedback from the submission, even if the submission was older than four weeks. Canvas code has been updated to check the date for submission comments and only display feedback within the last four weeks.

DocViewer

External Links

This change was deployed to the production environment on October 3.

External links in a DocViewer preview document load in a new browser tab. Explanation: When an external link was added to a document previewed with DocViewer, the external link loaded in the iFrame instead of a new tab. This behavior affected document previews and the auto-open inline preview option in the Rich Content Editor. Canvas code has been updated to preview external links in a new browser tab.

SpeedGrader

Google Drive LTI Submissions

Google assignments submitted through the Google Drive LTI are rendered in SpeedGrader if they can be successfully downloaded as an exportable format. Explanation: When a student submitted an assignment using the Google Drive LTI, and the assignment was viewed in SpeedGrader, any assignment submission that was larger than 10.4 MB could not be displayed in SpeedGrader and returned an error message. This behavior affected both file uploads and cloud assignment submissions. Canvas code has been updated to render Google submissions in SpeedGrader if the file can be downloaded as an exportable format. Supported formats in Google Drive include Microsoft Office, OpenDocument, Rich Text, and PDF. Files that are too large to be downloaded as an exportable format cannot be rendered in SpeedGrader.