Canvas Release Notes (2018-09-15)

In an effort to continually improve Canvas, Instructure, the parent company of Canvas, releases Canvas upgrades every three weeks along with Release Notes. Pertinent features and upgrades are listed below. In this Canvas release (September 15), Gradebook CSV import files support updates for custom columns. The SpeedGrader sidebar includes a link to export submission comments as a PDF when the assignment is visible to students. Conferences supports WebRTC web screen sharing for presenters and HTML5 participant conference viewing in mobile browsers. 

  • For all users, the default course color hex values in the Calendar and Card View Dashboard have been updated to display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface.
  • Greek, Hungarian, and Ukrainian have been added as available languages for all users in Canvas. 
  • Instructors can note the date a student last attended a course in the Profiles page. For assignments using Anonymous Grading, DocViewer supports annotated comments in anonymously graded assignments.
  • For courses using the New Gradebook, the Student Name Secondary Info column can be filtered by integration ID. Additionally, section filtering is synced with SpeedGrader.
  • For assignments using Moderated Grading, moderators can access student SpeedGrader submission by clicking student names, and all provisional grades can be bulk selected from an individual grader to be the final grades for an assignment. SpeedGrader also allows moderators to view assessed rubrics from all graders.
  • For courses using the Learning Mastery Gradebook, outcomes and student results are paginated.

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 Release Notes for September 15, 2018, and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on October 6, 2018.

Updated Features

Assignments

Bulk Select Final Moderated Grades

If an individual student’s submission has only been graded by one grader, the moderator can select all the grades from that grader as final grades. Upon review of a sample of a graders feedback and scores, this change allows a moderator to easily select all grades from one grader without having to select all final grades individually. 

Moderators can view the Moderate page and click the Accept button to bulk select all grades from an individual grader. However, if a grader grades a submission that has already been graded by another grader, the Accept button for those graders will be grayed out because one or more submissions have grading conflicts that must be resolved by the moderator. The moderator must view any submissions that have been graded by more than one grader and select the final grade.

After grades have been accepted for a grader, the moderator can still assign custom grades, if needed, by selecting the final grade field for the student, entering a custom grade, and clicking the Return/Enter key. The previously selected grade from the grader will be overridden by the custom grade. 

Once grades are posted they cannot be changed from the Grade Summary page. However, they can be changed from the Gradebook. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Bulk Select Final Moderated Grades for images.

Moderated Student Name SpeedGrader Links

In the Moderation page, student names are linked to their submissions in SpeedGrader. This change allows moderators to quickly access student submissions in SpeedGrader. Moderators can click the student link and access the submission for the student. If the assignment is also anonymous, the anonymized student names link to the submission for that specific student. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Moderated Student Name SpeedGrader Links for images.

Conferences

WebRTC Web Screen Share

Conferences supports WebRTC (web real-time communication) screen sharing for presenters in Chrome and Firefox desktop browsers. Internet Explorer and Edge browsers are currently not supported. This change promotes an easier screen sharing experience for presenters using Chrome and Firefox desktop web browsers without enabling Java. 

Presenters and moderators, or any other conference participant who is able to present during a conference session, can use WebRTC instead of Java in Chrome and Firefox browsers. Presenters and moderators are commonly Canvas users with teacher, facilitator, Course Support, or observer (guest) roles.  Presenters can share either a specific application or their entire screen. To share an application, the application should be open before launching the screen share. Additionally, if a presenter does not have multiple monitors and is displaying the browser in full screen mode, the desktop may not detect all available application windows. Full screen mode should not be enabled before launching the screen share when sharing specific applications. Please see Canvas Release Notes: WebRTC Web Screen Share for images.

HTML5 Mobile Browser Support

Conferences supports HTML5 sessions for participants in mobile browsers. This functionality is not currently supported via Canvas mobile apps and must be viewed using a mobile browser. Additionally, HTML5 support is only currently provided for participants and will be incorporated for presenters/moderators in a future release.  This change helps conference participants view web conferences in their mobile devices.  

Conference participants can use their mobile devices to view a Canvas conference using a mobile browser. Participants are commonly Canvas users with student roles. Participants can respond to polls, participate in public and private chat, draw on the presentation (when enabled by the presenter), and share their status. This functionality is the same as included in flash-based web conferences except that webcams are not supported and are not shared during the conference session. If a webcam is required, participants should view the conference in a desktop web browser.  Please see Canvas Release Notes: HTML5 Mobile Browser Support for images.

Conference functionality is supported in the following mobile browsers:

  • Android devices: Chrome
  • iOS devices: iOS 11+ and Safari

Presenters and moderators, or any other conference participant who is able to present during a conference session, must manage conference sessions from a desktop web browser for full conference functionality. Presenters and moderators are commonly Canvas users with instructor or observer (guest) roles.

DocViewer

Anonymous Grading Annotated Comments

DocViewer supports annotated comments in anonymously graded assignments. This change allows instructors to leave annotations and feedback in SpeedGrader assignment submissions while the assignment is muted and student names are hidden. If the assignment does not allow instructors to view each other’s names, the name of the instructor is also hidden.  When instructors grade an assignment with anonymous students, they can make annotations on the assignment submission using SpeedGrader. Instructors must unmute the assignment before students can view assignment feedback. Note that if an instructor unmutes an assignment, grades and student names will be visible to instructors. If an instructor also enables the Anonymous Instructor Annotations option, annotations will remain anonymous after the assignment is unmuted.

Students can add annotated comments in their submission that are visible to the instructor. However, assignment feedback and grades are not available for anonymously graded assignments unless the instructor unmutes the assignment. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Anonymous Grading Annotated Comments for images.

Gradebook

CSV Import Custom Column Support

Gradebook CSV import files support updates for custom columns. This change allows instructors to update any custom column as part of a CSV import file. Instructors can make changes to custom columns in a CSV file and upload the CSV file to the Gradebook. The Gradebook importer will update any column that is not a read-only column. If no changes are made, the columns will be skipped in the import.

Learning Mastery Gradebook

User Pagination

The Learning Mastery Gradebook supports user pagination. Filtered outcomes and student results are also paginated. This change helps instructors more easily view long search results in a course. When viewing the Learning Mastery Gradebook, instructors can view paginated links at the bottom of the page. Pagination is also supported when outcomes and student filters are selected in the sidebar. Please see Canvas Release Notes: User Pagination for images.

New Gradebook

New Gradebook and SpeedGrader Section Filtering.

New Gradebook section filtering is synced with SpeedGrader. This change helps instructors not have to re-select the same section in SpeedGrader as was previously selected in the New Gradebook. 

When a section filter is enabled in the New Gradebook, the same section filter displays in SpeedGrader. Additionally, if a section is filtered in SpeedGrader, the same section displays in the New Gradebook.  Please see Canvas Release Notes: New Gradebook and SpeedGrader Section Filtering for images.

Note: Gradebook section filters are only synced with SpeedGrader. If an instructor is still able to switch to the old Gradebook, selecting a section in the New Gradebook does not select the same section in the current Gradebook. If different sections are selected in both gradebooks, SpeedGrader will default to the section filter set in the New Gradebook. However, any time a section is filtered in SpeedGrader, SpeedGrader will update both Gradebooks.

People

Profiles Last Attended Date

In a student’s Profile page, instructors can note the date that a student last attended in the course. This change allows instructors to add last attended dates when their institution has enabled the Profiles feature. This feature already exists for institutions not using Profiles. In the Membership(s) section, instructors can view the Last Day Attended field and enter the date the student last attended in the course. Dates can only be entered in Canvas individually on a per-student basis. Additionally, once a date is entered, it cannot be removed. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Profiles Last Attended Date for images.

SpeedGrader

Submission Comments PDF Export

The SpeedGrader sidebar includes a link to export submission comments as a PDF when the assignment is visible to students. This functionality is not supported for anonymous assignments until the assignment is unmuted. This change allows instructors to export all comments for an assignment in one file. 

Instructors with permission to read submission comments can download submission comments for a student from SpeedGrader. The PDF file displays the assignment name, course name, student name, assignment score, and the account name where the course resides. Each included comment displays the name of the user who created the comment, the comment, and the date and time of the comment.

If an assignment is anonymous, the Download Submissions Comments link is not displayed until the assignment is unmuted. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Submission Comments PDF Export for images.

Moderated Grading Rubric Review

SpeedGrader displays all assessed rubrics to moderators. This change allows moderators to view and compare rubrics scored by different graders, especially if free-form comments are enabled.  When an assignment includes a rubric, moderators can open SpeedGrader submissions and view rubrics assessed by each grader. Each rubric assessment displays in the Rubric menu and is identified by the grader’s name. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Moderated Grading Rubric Review for images.

Other Updates

Calendar

Default Course Color Values

The default course color hex values have been updated to display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface. This change improves color contrast in the Canvas interface. All users can view updated colors when selecting a course color in the Calendar. All colors have been adjusted except purple (#8F3E97), deep purple (#65499D), indigo (#4554A4), teal (#009688), and pink (#F06291). Please see Canvas Release Notes: Default Course Color Values for images.

Dashboard

Default Course Color Values

The default course color hex values have been updated to display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface.  This change improves color contrast in the Canvas interface. All users can view updated colors when selecting a course color in the Card View Dashboard. All colors have been adjusted except purple (#8F3E97), deep purple (#65499D), indigo (#4554A4), teal (#009688), and pink (#F06291).  Please see Canvas Release Notes: Default Course Color Values for images.

Languages

Greek, Hungarian, and Ukrainian

Greek (Ελληνικά), Hungarian (Magyar), and Ukrainian (український) have been added as available languages for all users in Canvas. Users can enable languages in their User Settings. Admins and instructors may enable a language for an entire account or course through Account or Course Settings, respectively. When a language is selected, users will view all Canvas areas in the selected language.

Fixed Bugs

Please view the Canvas Release Notes for September 5, 2018 Fixed Bugs descriptions and its accompanying screencast for more information concerning accessibility improvements and other bug fixes. Some bugs that may have affected Rutgers users are stated here.

Assignments

Assignment Due Date Seconds

Assignment edits do not affect due date times, which are recorded as hh:mm:59.

Explanation: In the initial creation of an assignment, the date field created a due date of hh:mm:59. However, when an edit was made, the date changed to hh:mm:00, which caused simultaneously due assignments to display out of order in the syllabus and caused some submissions to be incorrectly recorded. Canvas code has been updated to not change the due date time when an assignment is edited. Assignment times are always recorded as hh:mm:59 unless updated via the API, to which the time noted in the API call is recorded.

Muted Assignment Student Comments

In the Submission Details page, students can leave comments in anonymous or moderated assignments while the assignment is muted.

Explanation: When students viewed their own assignment submissions in the Submission Details page, the comments field was hidden, which prevented students from creating comments in their submission. Canvas code has been updated to always show students the comments field and allow them to create comments. In muted assignments, students cannot view any comments from instructors until after the assignment has been unmuted.​

Modules

Module LTI Assignment Duplication

Modules that include External Tool (LTI) assignments cannot be duplicated.

Explanation: When a module contained an External Tool (LTI) assignment, Canvas generated an error message without clarifying that External Tool assignments cannot be duplicated. Canvas code has been updated to not allow modules to be duplicated if they contain an External Tool assignment. Quizzes.Next is an exception to this change, where current quizzes are not supported for duplication.