Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-11-18)

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 November 18, 2017, and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on December 9.

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

Course Settings

Move-To Menu Sidebar

The Move-To Menu within the Course Settings Navigation page has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas.

When a user clicks the Settings menu for a course navigation link and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the placement of the navigation link. If the Before or After option is selected, the user can select the order of the navigation link compared to other links. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Navigation page.

Previously the Move-To Menu included both the navigation item and placement fields in the same window. Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes for November 18, 2017 on Course Settings: Move-to Menu Sidebar for relevant images.

Gradebook

New Gradebook

This feature requires the New Gradebook feature option, which can be enabled on a course-by-course basis. Please contact help@canvas.rutgers.edu. The New Gradebook is a beta feature that allows instructors to view an improved version of the Gradebook. This feature makes grading more flexible and intuitive and elevates the Gradebook user experience. When the feature option is enabled at the course level in Course Settings, New Gradebook replaces the current Gradebook functionality. However, New Gradebook can be disabled at any time without affecting Gradebook data.

When New Gradebook is enabled, the student Grades page includes the status column, which displays late and missing labels to students.

The New Gradebook currently offers the following enhancements:

  • Additional views to sort and filter assignments
  • Custom color status options
  • Improved keyboard accessibility on grade entry

For more information about the New Gradebook, please visit New Gradebook Users Group and the Canvas Release: New Gradebook document.

Modules

Module Items Duplication

Assignments, graded discussions, and pages can be duplicated within a module. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for every supported module item. When a module item is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the item name.

Duplicating a module item defaults the copied item to an unpublished status. The item’s name and other supported options are 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).

Items duplicated in the Modules page 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.

Note: If applicable, the Modules page displays any Blueprint Course icons after the page is refreshed.

Move-To Menu Sidebar

The Move-To Menu within the Modules page has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas.

When a user clicks the Settings menu for a module and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the placement of the module. If the Before or After option is selected, the user can select the order of the module compared to other modules. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Modules page.

Previously the Move-To Menu for modules only moved a module before or after an existing module and did not provide any other location options.

Modules Move To Modules Option

When a user clicks the Settings menu for a module item and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu first asks the user to select the new module, then select the placement of the module item. The selected menu change is applied immediately in the Modules page.

Previously the Move-To Menu included both the module and the placement fields in the same window. Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes for November 18, 2017 on Modules: Move-to Menu Sidebar for relevant images.

MasteryPaths Refresh Page Message

When a course has enabled MasteryPaths and an assignment is processing, the Next button in the modules progression bar displays to refresh the page. This change helps notify students about progressing to the next module item.

Pages

Front Page Removal Option

Users can remove a page as the Front Page in a course. This feature allows instructors to remove the Front Page designation and allow the Pages Course Navigation link to direct to the Pages Index Page.

Note: If a Course Home Page is set to the Front Page, removing the Front Page will automatically change the Course Home Page to Modules.

Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes for November 18, 2017 on Pages: Front Page Removal Option for relevant images.

People

Move-To Menu Sidebar

The Move-To Menu for users within a group has been changed to a sidebar and displays a nested structure of move options. This change helps improve consistency with other Move-To Menus in Canvas.

When an instructor clicks the Settings menu for a user in a group and selects the Move-To option, the sidebar menu asks the instructor to select the new group for the user. The selected menu change is applied immediately to the group. Instructors can still drag and drop the student between groups.

Previously the Move-To Menu displayed the list of available groups as a window in the middle of the groups page.

Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes for November 18, 2017 on People: Move-to Menu Sidebar for relevant images.

Rubrics

Criterion Duplication

Criteria can be duplicated within a rubric. This feature allows instructors and course designers to easily copy and modify existing criteria.

The duplication option is displayed as part of the link to add a new criterion. When a criterion is copied, the criterion is duplicated exactly as the original criterion, including the criterion title, ratings, and point value, and placed at the bottom of the rubric. Outcomes added to a rubric can also be duplicated in the rubric.

Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes for November 18, 2017 on Rubrics: Criterion Duplication for relevant images.

Other Updates

Notifications

Responsive Email Design

Emails for Canvas notifications include responsive HTML and CSS for mobile devices. Previously emails were set with a fixed width and did not scale for devices with smaller screens.

Fixed Bugs

Please view the full Canvas Production Release Notes for November 18, 2017 Fixed Bugs Descriptions and its accompanying screencast for more information concerning accessibility improvements and other bug fixes. Below are some fixes that may have affected instructors:

Discussions

Graded Discussion Attachments and DocViewer

Instructors cannot use DocViewer to annotate graded discussion attachments.

Explanation: When a student uploaded a file as an attachment to a graded discussion, and the instructor viewed the submission in SpeedGrader, the instructor was able to view the attachment and create annotations in the attachment. However, the student was unable to view the feedback from the instructor as part of the attachment. Canvas code has been updated to disable annotations for graded discussion attachments.

ePortfolios

ePortfolio Downloads

This change was deployed to the production environment on November 16. Users can download ePortfolios.

Explanation: When a user tried to download an ePortfolio, the page generated an error message. Canvas code has been updated to download ePortfolio files.

Global Announcements

Subaccount Global Announcements

Global announcements created in a subaccount are inherited by any additional subaccounts within the parent subaccount.

Explanation: When a subaccount included multiple subaccounts, and a global announcement was created for the main subaccount, any users within the additional subaccounts were not able to view the global announcement. Canvas code has been updated to inherit global announcements for subaccounts.

Groups Discussions

Pin and Close for Comments Options

In groups, discussions can be pinned and closed for comments.

Explanation: When a user in a group tried to pin a discussion or close a discussion for comments, the options appeared to apply but when the page was refreshed, the option wasn’t retained. Canvas code has been updated to pin and close discussions in groups.