Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-06-02)

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. In this production release (June 2), right-to-Left functionality for supported languages has been enabled.  Conferences can display multiple recording formats. Additionally, instructors can now 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 updates and fixed bugs. This announcement lists pertinent updates that affect instructors and students and omits features that are not applicable for Rutgers Canvas. You may view the full Canvas Production Release Notes for June 2, 2018, and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on June 23.

Updated Features

Account Settings

Right-to-Left Language Support

On June 11, 2018, the Canvas interface was changed 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. Please see Canvas Production Release Notes: Right-to-Left Language Support for image.

Conferences

Recording Formats and Statistics

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. Please see Canvas Production Release Notes: Recording Formats and Statistics for images.

DocViewer

Image Support

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.

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 (including Facilitator and Course Support roles at Rutgers) 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. Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes: Instructor Annotation Management for images.

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. Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes: Non-Author Annotation Comments for image.

Comment Truncation

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. Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes: Comment Truncation for image.

Comment Display Order

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.

Comment Padding

Comment padding has been decreased in each comment box. This change contributes to continual improvements being made to the commenting experience.

User Settings

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.

Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes: Gradebook CSV Separator Preferences for image.

Other Updates

Outcomes

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.  Please see the Canvas Production Release Notes: Sidebar Course Navigation Link Name Consistency for image.

Rubrics

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.

Fixed Bugs

Please view the Canvas Production Release Notes for June 2, 2018 Fixed Bugs descriptions and its accompanying screencast for more information concerning accessibility improvements and other bug fixes. Some bugs and fixes that may have affected Rutgers users are detailed here.

Course Import

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.

Notifications

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.

Rubrics

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.