Canvas Updates

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Production Release Notes for Saturday, July 18, 2015

Important Upcoming Dates

In this production release, instructors can better manage student assignments on a case-by-case basis. The production notes also include updates to existing Canvas features, other Canvas updates, and fixed bugs.

Contents

New Features

Calendar

Recurring Events

Recurring Events will no longer be available in Saturday's production release; Canvas Engineers are still working on a few adjustments. More information will be available in a future release.

 

Updated Features

Assignments

Differentiated Assignment Section and Student List

When assigning an assignment, discussion, or quiz to a section or student, Canvas displays a maximum of five sections and seven students. Additional list items are not shown in order to maximize performance, especially for large courses.

If a course includes more sections or students than the display limit, Canvas will display a prompt notifying the user to type and search for the section or student.

Additionally, instructors can search for students by either first or last name.

Anonymous Peer Review Student Names

The anonymity option now hides student names to avoid biased peer reviews. The submitting student’s name is hidden from the reviewer and any linked observers on the reviewer’s dashboard and the assignment submission page.

Note: In peer review notifications, student names are not yet hidden. This feature will be added in a future release.

In the comments sidebar, the student assessing the submission cannot view any comments made by other users in the course, including comments from other reviewers or from the instructor. In Crocodoc, student reviewer names are also hidden on any point comments.

Instructors can always view the name of the student reviewer in SpeedGrader, Crocodoc comments, and the student submission page.

Assignment Details and Locked Assignments

Students are no longer restricted from viewing assignment details in locked assignments. Details can still be seen after an assignment is locked by a due date or an Until date.

Assignment Submissions Button

The student Submit Assignment link has been moved out of the sidebar and placed more prominently as a button by the assignment details.

The Re-submit Assignment link has also been repurposed as a button.

 

Files

Files Navigation Link and Content Selector Files Tab

If the Files Navigation link is hidden in the course, students cannot view the Files Tab in the Content Selector. Hiding the Files Navigation link also hides all folders or files in the course, so removing the tab helps minimize confusion for students when trying to upload course files.

 

Gradebook

Grades and Concluded Grading Periods

When the multiple grading periods feature is enabled, instructors cannot assign or edit grades for an assignment within a concluded grading period. Additionally, assignment drop-down menus are also not available in prior grading periods.

Grading periods are defined by a specific date range as created by the institutional admin; at the course level, grading periods can be viewed on the Manage Grading Schemes page.

Note: Grades in prior grading periods can be edited by users with admin-level permissions.

Incomplete Quiz Score Icon

When students complete a quiz that includes a manually graded question, the Grades page displays a Quiz icon instead of the current score, indicating that the quiz score is not yet complete. When students hover over the icon, students can view a message indicating that grading is in progress.

The Quiz icon displays in the Gradebook for instructors as well, indicating that some questions in the quiz need to be graded manually. When the instructor assigns a score for the manually graded question, the icon for both the instructor and the student will be replaced with the complete quiz grade.

Note: For instructors, the Quiz icon in the Gradebook can also mean that a Quiz score has been deleted and a new score needs to be assigned.

Notifications

Excused Assignment Notifications

Excused assignments are part of the Grading notification (under Course Activities). If users enable this notification, they will receive a notification when an assignment has been excused.

 

Outcomes

Imported Account-Level Outcomes

When an account-level outcome is imported into a course, the outcome can be removed from the course as long as it does not contain any alignments or artifacts. Previously if the account-level outcome was imported into multiple courses, but only one course used the outcome to assess a student, the outcome could not be removed from the other courses.

 

SpeedGrader

Online Submission URLs

Online submission URLs display as external links. This change allows instructors to open SpeedGrader and view the original URL submissions from students in an external window. A new window will also be opened for internal links as well.

Autosave SpeedGrader Comments

If an instructor adds comments to a student submission and then navigates away from the page, Canvas will generate a message warning that there are unsaved comments on the page.

Note: Firefox will always display a generic message that cannot be changed in Canvas. The text says: “This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave—data you have entered may not be saved.”

This feature only applies to leaving the SpeedGrader page; it does not apply to the comment field for each student submission. If an instructor creates a comment for a student but does not submit it before viewing another student submission, SpeedGrader retains the comment in the comment field for the second student—and any student—until the Submit Comment button is clicked and the comment is officially submitted as part of a student’s submission.

 

 

Feature Options

Languages

Swedish and Danish

Swedish (svenska) and Danish (dansk) have been added as available languages for all users in Canvas.

 

Fixed Bugs

Accessibility

Announcements

Assignments

Conferences

Course Settings

Date Fields

Gradebook Individual View

Modules

People

Quizzes

Rich Content Editor

People

 

Assignments

Differentiated Assignment Section and Student List

When assigning an assignment, discussion, or quiz to a section or student, and a course includes more than five sections or seven students, Canvas will display a prompt notifying the user to type and search for the section or student.

Explanation: When assigning an assignment, discussion, or quiz to a section or student, Canvas only displayed a maximum of five sections and seven students. This behavior confused users in thinking that not all items were being listed and occurred because of performance concerns, especially in large courses. Canvas code has been updated to display a prompt indicating the dynamic search capabilities.

Deleted Files and Submission Downloads

When an instructor downloads all submissions for an assignment, Canvas does not include submissions that have been deleted by students in their user files.

Explanation: When an instructor opened an assignment and downloaded all submissions, any assignments that had been deleted by students were still retained as part of the download. However, they were not able to download the assignment in SpeedGrader. This behavior occurred because of differences in file IDs. Canvas code has been updated to remove assignment files that have been deleted by students. When an instructor downloads all submissions for an assignment, the deleted assignment will not be included in the downloaded ZIP file.

Assignment Groups and Grading Rules

When a user edits an Assignment Group, pressing the Enter key saves the Assignment Group entries.

Explanation: When a user edited an Assignment Group and pressed the Enter key in any field of the window, the Assignment Group added a new grading rule (or removed any existing rules) instead of saving changes. This behavior occurred because the save action was not specified for the Save button. Canvas code has been updated to associate the Enter key with the Save button.

Assignment Dropping Across Browsers

When an instructor includes more than 10 assignments in an assignment group set to drop the lowest score, the assignment that is dropped is consistent across all browsers.

Explanation: When an instructor included more than 10 assignments in an assignment group set to drop the lowest score, the assignment that was dropped was consistent in different browsers, even though the assignments have the same score. This behavior occurred because the display was dependent on the sort value, which was only defined by assignment ID. Canvas code has been updated to sort submissions by assignment score and assignment ID.

 

Calendar

Scheduler and Appointment Dates

Instructors must include at least one time slot when creating an appointment group in Scheduler.

Explanation: Instructors were able to create appointment groups in Scheduler without a date, which did not make the group appear for students. This behavior occurred because a due date was not required as part of creating an appointment group. Canvas code has been updated to require at least one date (time slot) when creating an appointment group.

 

Conferences

Concluded Conferences and Recordings

When a previously recorded conference is deleted, the conference status shows as No Recordings.

Explanation: When a concluded conference was deleted after 14 days, the conference status changed to Preparing Video. This behavior occurred when a conference was enabled for a recording, regardless of whether the recording took place. Canvas code has been updated to remove the Preparing Video status.

 

Course Imports

Respondus 4.0 Quizzes

Quizzes imported into a course retain their original point value.

Explanation: When a user created a quiz with specific point values in Respondus, exported the quiz, and imported the quiz into a new Canvas course, all quiz questions defaulted to one point each. This behavior occurred because Canvas was not correctly identifying the variables for the point values. Canvas code has been updated to import the correct question point values.

Quiz Question Group Names

Quiz question group names are retained in course copies.

Explanation: When a user imported a quiz with question groups, the titles of the question groups were not being copied from the original content package. This behavior occurred because the group title was not part of the import selection variables. Canvas code has been updated to import quiz question group names.

Quiz Question Links

Linked URLs in a quiz question or question bank are retained in course imports.

Explanation: When an instructor created a quiz, created a question bank, and added a link to the newly created quiz, copying the course created a missing link error. This behavior occurred because links were not being copied on course content. Canvas code has been updated to retain imported links in quizzes.

 

Dashboard

Dashboard Links and Shared Accounts

Users with trust accounts can link to correct course content from their Dashboard.

Explanation: When a user in a trust account tried to access a link on their Dashboard, the link directed to canvas.instructure.com instead of the actual course on their dashboard. A trust account means that a user can access one Canvas URL to access another Canvas URL. This behavior occurred because the links were being generated based on the user’s main account (local ID) instead of the main institution’s account (global ID). Canvas code has been updated to create course links based on global IDs.

Username Breadcrumb on Grades Page

On the Grades page, the username breadcrumb no longer links to the user’s page.

Explanation: When a student clicked the Grades link in Global Navigation and then clicked their username in the breadcrumb links, Canvas generated an authorized error. This behavior occurred because the URL in the breadcrumb did not contain user permissions. Canvas code has been updated to remove the username link.

Recent Activity Stream and Graded Discussions

In the Recent Activity Stream, notifications appear for Graded Discussions regardless of point value.

Explanation: When an instructor created a graded discussion with no point value, the Recent Activity Stream did not display the name of the Graded Discussion. This behavior occurred because the assignment name wasn’t included as a required item in the stream. Canvas code has been updated to always display the name of a graded discussion in stream notifications.

 

Discussions

HTML Help Option

The HTML editor and help icon are visible when editing discussion replies.

Explanation: When a user edited a discussion post, the HTML editor and help icon were being hidden from the page view. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency in the keyboard shortcuts and HTML view settings. Canvas code has been updated to keep the HTML editor and help icon visible when editing discussion posts.

 

Files

Last Modified Column

The Files page shows the last modified date in the Modified At column.

Explanation: When a user with appropriate permissions modified a file, the Modified At column displayed inaccurate information. This behavior occurred because the column was using information for when the file was last updated. Canvas code has been updated to match modification information with the Modified At column. For instance, when a user edits the attachment/file, the modified information is affected. However, when a user edits the name of the file, the updated information is affected and modified information remains unchanged.

Files Navigation Link and Content Selector Files Tab

If the Files Navigation link is hidden in the course, students cannot view the Files Tab in the Content Selector.

Explanation: When the Files Navigation link was hidden in a course, students who tried to upload a file using the Content Selector in either a discussion or in a page that they could edit could not view any file options in the Files Tab. This behavior occurred because students cannot view course files when the tab is hidden in the course. Canvas code has been updated to remove the Files Tab when the navigation link is hidden.

Restricted Files and Unpublished Folders in Concluded Courses

Instructors can view restricted files and unpublished folders in courses that have concluded.

Explanation: When an instructor tried to view restricted files or unpublished folders in a concluded course, the instructor was not able to view the files or folders. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency with permissions. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructors to view all files and folders in concluded courses.

Zip Files and non-UTF8 Characters

Foreign characters in ZIP file uploads are defined as UTF-8.

Explanation: When a compressed file containing files with foreign characters was uploaded to a course, the upload stalled. This behavior occurred because ZIP file names were not being defined as UTF-8. Canvas code has been updated to upload files with foreign characters.

 

Gradebook

Concluded Enrollments

When the Show Concluded Enrollments setting is enabled in the Gradebook, the exported comma separated values (CSV) file includes concluded student enrollments.

Explanation: When an instructor selected the Show Concluded Enrollments option in the Gradebook and then exported the CSV file, concluded enrollments were not included as part of the file. This behavior occurred because the CSV file wasn’t set to generate prior enrollments. Canvas code has been updated to include prior (concluded) enrollments when the setting is enabled.

Imported File Confirmation Banner

When an instructor imports a comma separated values (CSV) file, the Gradebook indicates a successful upload by displaying a green banner.

Explanation: When an instructor modified a score in the Gradebook CSV file and imported the file, Canvas did not display the successful import banner. This behavior occurred because the user was immediately redirected back to the Gradebook. Canvas code has been updated to confirm upload behavior and display the green banner when successful.

Gradebook CSV Uploads and Grading Scheme

Read-only columns as part of a Gradebook comma separated values (CSV) file are not considered new assignments.

Explanation: When a grading scheme was enabled and the Gradebook exported for a course, the Gradebook created extra read-only columns. When the Gradebook CSV file was imported with no changes, Canvas considered the extra columns to be new assignments. This behavior occurred because the importer was not checking the status of the columns and did not see that they hadn’t changed. Canvas code has been updated to disregard any columns or assignments that do not include any changes from the original file. This read-only column change also applies to assignments that do not include a grading scheme.

Grade Changes in Grading Window

Grade changes made in the comments window are applied to the Gradebook column.

Explanation: When an instructor assigned a grade in a Gradebook assignment column, and then opened the assignment comment window and updated the grade, the grade given in the window was not updating in the assignment column. This behavior occurred because of a caching issue in the Gradebook. Canvas code has been updated to remove caching and keep all submission details updated in the Gradebook.

Gradebook CSV and Long Course Names

When exporting a Gradebook comma separated values (CSV) file, Canvas saves the file with the course code name.

Explanation: When a user exported the Gradebook for a course with a long course name, any name that was longer than 255 characters caused an error. This behavior occurred because the name exceeded the character limit. Canvas code has been updated to use the course code as the file name for Gradebook exports.

Gradebook History

Grading history is retained for all grades changes to nil.

Explanation: When a user made changes to an assignment grade at least twice and removed one of the grades, the grade history disregarded any changes before the nil score. This behavior occurred because Canvas only updated prior grades if there was a grade to record, and blank scores disregarded the before and after grade. Canvas code has been updated to remember the most recent grade change and retain all previous grades.

Gradebook and CSV File Display Names

User names are consistently displayed in the Gradebook and the CSV file.

Explanation: The Gradebook CSV file was showing and sorting students by sortable name, but the Gradebook itself sorted by sortable name but displayed the full name. This behavior lead to confusion for instructors when they downloaded the CSV file and could not locate a student by name. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency in the sorting order of the export file. Canvas code has been updated to make the CSV file match the Gradebook view.

Message Students Who Filter

Users cannot access the Message Students Who feature when the Gradebook is still loading.

Explanation: When an instructor tried to select the Message Students Who feature before the Gradebook had fully loaded, all students were included in the filter list. This behavior occurred because the Gradebook could not yet filter which students should receive the message. Canvas code has been updated to disable the Message Students Who feature until the Gradebook has loaded.

Course-Level Grading Schemes and Letter Grade Assignments

New assignments default to the course-level grading scheme.

Explanation: When an instructor set a course-level grading scheme and then created a new assignment with a letter grade, the assignment used the Canvas default grading scheme. This behavior occurred because the assignment was only specified to use the default scheme. Canvas code has been updated to only use the default if a specific scheme is not defined for the assignment.

Weighted Assignment Group Rounding

When the final grade is weighted based on assignment groups, the Gradebook summary column is rounded to two decimal places.

Explanation: When an instructor enabled weighted assignment groups, the total column rounded to only one decimal place. This behavior occurred because the column was not coded to round with the weighted setting enabled. Canvas code has been updated to round to two decimal places regardless of the weighted assignment group setting.

 

Grades

Observers and Course Menu

Observers can view the course drop-down menu for the student they are observing.

Explanation: When an observer viewed a student’s grades page, the course drop-down menu was not appearing. This behavior occurred because the page was not coded to show the menu to observers. Canvas code has been updated to show the course drop-down menu if a student is enrolled in more than one course.

 

Groups

Unpublished Courses

Students cannot view groups in unpublished courses.

Explanation: When an instructor added students to a group in an unpublished course, students were able to view the group. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency in group permissions. Canvas code has been updated to only grant access to groups for published courses.

 

Modules

Files Navigation LInk, Modules, and Public Courses

The Files Navigation link does not affect the Modules page in public courses.

Explanation: When an instructor added a module to a public course and hid the Files Navigation Link, unauthenticated users were not able to view the module. This behavior occurred because a user has to be logged in for course files to display correctly. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the user ID as part of files.

Module Lock Instructor Notification

If an instructor edits a module to lock until a later date, modules will prompt the instructor to relock the modules.

Explanation: When an instructor created and published a module, but later edited the module to lock until a later date, the instructor did not receive a prompt if students had already accessed the module. This behavior occurred because the module was not coded to prompt with an unlock change. Canvas code has been updated to prompt the instructor to relock the module.

Media Files and Must View Page Requirements

If a media file is added to a module where the file must be viewed, viewing the page allows the user to advance to the next module item.

Explanation: When an instructor added a media file to a module that required the user to view the item, the module would not unlock unless the media file was downloaded. This behavior occurred because modules only unlocked viewable document files. Canvas code has been updated to mark media files as viewed if they can be rendered in the browser window.

Module Progressions and Manual Grades

Manual grades do not fulfill modules with a Must Submit requirement.

Explanation: When an instructor assigned a manual grade for an assignment or a quiz, Canvas unlocked the Must Submit module requirement. This behavior occurred because grades was associated with the module requirements. Canvas code has been updated to not allow manual grades to unlock module requirements.

 

Notifications

Graded Discussion Replies and Notifications

Replying to a graded discussion does not trigger submission and resubmission notifications.

Explanation: Replies to a graded discussion were triggering both submission and resubmission notifications. This behavior occurred because the reply is saved against two separate API calls and triggering a submission date. Canvas code has been updated to disregard any submission date created by the save activity.

 

Outcomes

Removing Account-level Outcomes

When an account-level outcome is imported into a course, the outcome can be removed from the course as long as it does not contain any alignments or artifacts.

Explanation: When an instructor imported an account-level outcome into a course, the outcome could not be removed from the course. This behavior occurred because of an association with alignments and artifacts outside the current course. Previously if the account-level outcome was imported into multiple courses, but only one course used the outcome to assess a student, the outcome could not be removed from the other courses. Canvas code has been updated to only restrict removing an outcome in courses where the outcome has been used to assess the student.

Account-level Outcome Edits

When importing an account-level outcome into a course, users cannot edit the outcome.

Explanation: When an instructor imported an account-level outcome into a course, the outcome could be edited using the edit button. When the page was refreshed, the edit button disappeared. This behavior occurred because the account-level outcome was linked to each course where it has been imported but was only allowed when the account-level outcome had no assessments in any course. Canvas code has been updated to prevent editing of account-level outcomes upon import.

Display Name Validation

Learning outcome display names can be no longer than 255 characters.

Explanation: When a user tried to create an outcome with a friendly name longer than 255 characters, Canvas generated an error message. This behavior occurred because the display name was not defined as a validation entry against the other outcomes database limitations. Canvas code has been updated to only allow display names up to 255 characters.

Quizzes

Surveys and Fill-in-the-Blank Questions

In surveys, instructors can see answers to Fill-in-the-Blank questions.

Explanation: When an instructor created a fill-in-the-blank question in a survey and added possible answers, editing the question was not showing the previously saved possible answers. However, the answers still displayed in the API. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency in viewing permissions. Canvas code has been updated to always show possible answers to instructors.

Quiz Details Point Value and Question Groups

When a question group is configured to answer more questions than are available in a question bank, the quiz reflects the point value for the number of available questions.

Explanation: When a question group was configured to pull more questions than were available in a question group, the question group displayed some questions more than once. The quiz details page claimed the total point value was lower than what would actually be earned by the student. This behavior affected the overall point value, causing students to earn an incorrect number of points in the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to reflect quiz points according to the number of questions available in the group.

Showing Correct Answers after Last Attempt and Manual Grades

When an instructor allows students to view correct answers after their last attempt, students can view correct answers after the last specified attempt is submitted.

Explanation: When an instructor set the option to let students view correct answers after their last attempt, some students were not able to view the correct answers. This behavior occurred because manually graded questions were considered to not render the quiz as being completely submitted. Canvas code has been updated to allow students to view correct answers on their last attempt.

Matching Question Updates and Left-column Answers

Editing a matching question does not affect the answer options.

Explanation: When an instructor edited a matching question, the left-column answers displayed their respective answer comments. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency in identifying comments from answers. Canvas code has been updated to better identify question fields in matching questions.

Quiz Previews and Until Dates

The quiz preview page does not time out for instructors if the quiz includes an Until date.

Explanation: When an instructor locked a quiz with an Until date, previewing the quiz caused the page to display the time’s up message. This behavior occurred because the message was not excluded from previews. Canvas code has been updated to display quiz previews without applying the Until date.

Rich Content Editor

Image Links in Firefox

In Firefox, users can modify or add links to images in the Rich Content Editor.

Explanation: In Firefox, when a user tried to modify or add a link to an image in the Rich Content Editor, the image disappeared. This behavior occurred because Firefox changed the image alt text into a link instead of wrapping the image tag in a link tag. Adding a link to an image using the Content Selector was not affected. Canvas code has been updated to confirm images with alt text in the Rich Content Editor.

Equation Editor Page Position

When a user inserts a symbol in the equation editor, the page retains its original position.

Explanation: When a user opened the equation editor, scrolled down the page, and inserted a symbol, the page jumped to the top of the screen. This behavior occurred because of a JavaScript trigger conflict. Canvas code has been updated to retain the page position after inserting a symbol in the equation editor.

SpeedGrader

Online Submission URLs

Online submission URLs in SpeedGrader always open as an external link.

Explanation: When a student submitted a URL as an online assignment submission, some submission types were not able to be viewed in SpeedGrader. This behavior occurred because the JavaScript that scans the URL content could only open the page if the JS included an external class. Many of the bug reports related to media submissions, such as MP3 files or YouTube videos. Canvas code has been updated to include an external class to all URL submission links.

Deleted Files and Submission Downloads

When an instructor tries to download an assignment in SpeedGrader, Canvas does not download submissions that have been deleted by students in their user files.

Explanation: When an instructor tried to view an assignment file submission from a student who had deleted the file, the instructor was unable to download the file in SpeedGrader. This behavior occurred because of file identification differences after the file had been deleted. Canvas code has been updated to restrict downloads for deleted files. When an instructor tries to download the submission in SpeedGrader, they will see a message notifying them the file cannot be found.


Next release schedule:

Note: You can follow the release schedule on the Canvas Updates calendar

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