Canvas Release Notes (2018-12-08)

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 (December 8), course cards can be reordered in the Card View Dashboard. In the Rich Content Editor, HTML5 is used instead of flash when used in Firefox and Chrome browsers. In courses, conferences include an option to remove observer roles from conference invitations. In Course Settings, the Home link in the Navigation page cannot be disabled. 

Feature Options

  • For institutions using Moderated Grading, admins can enable the Anonymous Moderated Marking Audit Trail feature option to view assessment auditing records for an assignment.

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 Production Release Notes (December 8), and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on January 5, 2019.

Updated Features

Account Settings

Blueprint Course Feature Option Enforcement

The Blueprint Course Feature Option has been enabled for all Canvas institutions and applies to Canvas admins and instructors who have access to manage Blueprint courses. This feature allows admins or designers to deploy, update, and maintain course design templates or components across any number of courses or instructors. For an individual institution, Blueprint Courses allows Canvas admins to create content and learning objects, lock specific settings or content items, and push updates to all associated courses through course syncing.

At the course level, any user with an instructor role can be added to a blueprint course. Instructors can lock and unlock blueprint course objects and sync updates, but they cannot perform any tasks required by the Blueprint Course permission. 

Blueprint Course information is only available in Course Settings.

  • The Course Details tab indicates whether the course has been enabled as a blueprint course and displayed as Yes or No.
  • If the course is not a blueprint course but is associated with a blueprint course, the Course Details tab indicates the name of the blueprint course. The course name also includes the course ID as a reference (e.g. courses/XXX). When an instructor or TA is enrolled in a blueprint course, the name of the blueprint course contains a link to access the blueprint course. For details, please see the lesson How do I set details for a course? in the Instructor Guide.

Full functionality for this feature is noted in the Canvas Release: Blueprint Courses, officially released in the 2017-06-24 Canvas release.

Conferences

Observer Removal Checkbox

Instructors can remove all observer roles from conference invitations. This change allows instructors to directly manage observer roles when inviting course members.

By default, when an instructor creates a conference, the conference automatically invites all course members to the conference. However, instructors can also select the option to remove all course observer members so they are not invited to the conference.

 

When the Observer member checkbox is selected, the check mark is removed from the first checkbox. However, all course members are still invited except the observer members. Deselecting the Observer member checkbox still allows the instructor to select specific course users, if needed. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Observer Removal Checkbox for image.

Course Settings

Navigation Home Link Menu Removal

In the Navigation page, the Home link does not include a Settings menu. This change aligns consistency with intended functionality of keeping the Home link at the top of the Course Navigation Menu.

When instructors open the Navigation page in Course Settings, the Home link does not include a Settings menu. Drag-and-drop functionality was previously disabled, so being able to move the Home link via the Settings menu countered the link’s intended behavior. Any page that is disabled is redirected to the Home page, which cannot be disabled because the URL access is required to access the Home page from other Canvas areas. Any courses that currently have the home page disabled will not be able to re-enable the link, though course navigation functionality should not be affected since content is already redirected to the Home page. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Navigation Home Link Menu Removal for image.

Dashboard

Card View Course Ordering

Course cards can be manually ordered in the Card View Dashboard. This change allows users to place course cards in a specific order.

In the Card View Dashboard, users can select the Options menu for a course and move the card to another location in the Dashboard. Depending on the placement of the existing card, cards may be moved to the top of the Dashboard, ahead or behind a specific card, or to the bottom of the Dashboard. Cards can also be manually dragged and dropped to another location in the Dashboard. Once a dashboard card has been reordered, new courses added to the dashboard always display at the end of all existing courses. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Card View Course Ordering for image.

Rich Content Editor

HTML5 Media Recorder

HTML5 is used instead of flash within the Rich Content Editor in Firefox and Chrome browsers. This feature is also supported for students in the Submission Details page and for instructors in SpeedGrader.

This change allows recorded media without requiring flash within the Firefox and Chrome browsers. Internet Explorer and Safari browsers do not support this functionality. Users will not notice any change and still require the use of Flash. Users can click the Media button in the Rich Content Editor and view an improved interface when recording media. Users can confirm their microphone and webcam, and if more than one device is supported, select which device should be used. If a user does not have a webcam, the audio option will be selected automatically.

Note: The browser may briefly display a flash message, even though flash is not required. Additionally, the browser may ask to allow access to the computer’s microphone and webcam before initial use.

 

Video Transcription Transition

As part of the HTML5 media change, the backend Flash media server that transcribes videos will also be transitioned to an HTML5 video transcription service over the next two weeks in the beta environments. Recorded videos should not be visibly affected by this transition; videos should render as expected in the Rich Content Editor. In the production environment, all accounts will be updated on Monday, December 10. Please see Canvas Release Notes: HTML5 Media Recorder for image.

SpeedGrader

Anonymous Moderated Marking Audit Trail

SpeedGrader can display an audit log that records all changes that affect an assignment submission. This change allows instructors with the auditing permission to verify how grades were awarded and how changes were made.

Instructors with the Grades - view audit trail permission can act as an auditor for a course. By default, this permission can only be enabled for instructor roles but is disabled by default.
After an assignment has been unmuted, an instructor with permission can access the assessment audit link in SpeedGrader. The link displays the student’s grade and when it was graded.

For moderated grading, the window displays when the grade was posted to the student. For non-moderated assignments, the grade represents the last time a grade was applied.

The window also shows if anonymity was turned on and the effective date and time.

  • If the entire assignment is Anonymous, then the window displays the Anonymous On status.
  • If the assignment is only moderated and not anonymous, the window displays the Anonymous Off status.

The remainder of the sidebar displays graders and final graders as well as any admins that interacted with the assignment or a submission. Users are ordered by role: student, grader, final grader, admin. Expanding the name of the user displays the auditing trail for the assignment and submission.

The start date and time of the audit trail displays at the top of the event list, which may include the following events: assignment created, submission created, assignment settings, anonymity status, grade postings, and muted status. Icons display next to each event to represent each action. Submission comment events and DocViewer comment events also display, with comment text truncated at 2 lines.

If anonymity was turned off during the grading, the anonymity status displays as partially anonymous, and the audit trail displays the modified actions. Partially anonymous means that anonymity has been turned off and back on for any of the three levels of anonymity during the grading process—student anonymity, grader-to-grader anonymity, and grader-to-final grader anonymity—meaning that the assignment settings were edited in some capacity after submissions had been received.

 

Additionally, if the assignment was updated at any time, the name of the grader displays an alert icon, and the audit trail displays the modified actions. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Anonymous Moderated Marking Audit Trail for images.

Fixed Bugs

Please view the Canvas Release Notes for December 8, 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

Google Drive LTI Group Submissions

Students can submit to a group assignment using the Google Drive LTI.

Explanation: When a student tried to submit a group assignment using the Google Drive LTI, the assignment failed to upload. Canvas code has been updated to submit files for group assignments uploaded with the Google Drive LTI.