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Canvas Updates

January 10, 2015 Canvas Production Release Notes Featuring PowerSchool Integration and Quiz Logs

Erin Hallmark
posted this on Jan 05 18:21

New Canvas Notification IP Addresses

On January 10, we're adding two new Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to our notifications IP list. If your institution adds Canvas notification IPs to whitelists for your network firewall or email management system, please whitelist the following IP addresses by January 10 to ensure your users continue to receive Canvas notifications:

54.240.14.1 (existing, already in use)

54.240.14.2 (existing, already in use)

54.240.14.198 (new)

54.240.14.199 (new)

Please contact your Customer Success Manager if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Upcoming Canvas Change: Quiz Statistics Feature Option

On January 31, New Quiz Statistics will no longer be a Feature Option in Canvas and the feature will apply to all users with an instructor role. (Learn more about the new Quiz Statistics.)


 

In this production release (January 10), Instructors can pass back grades from the Gradebook to PowerSchool, and set up log auditing to monitor activity in student quizzes. Assignments have an increased number of Turnitin status attempts, and several areas in Canvas include some small design updates.

The production notes also include updates to existing Canvas features and fixed bugs.

Note: Production release notes indicate Canvas updates that will be included with Saturday’s release and are subject to change. New features may differ from those available in your beta environment.

New Feature Screencast (2015-01-10) from Instructure on Vimeo.

View the Screencast Transcript

*Features are subject to change. Please see the complete release notes for details. Release dates are based on Mountain Standard Time (USA).

We welcome video feedback at instructure.com/videosurvey. If the embedded video does not appear, reload your browser window.

 

Next release schedule:

  • Beta release and notes: January 19

  • Production release notes: January 26

  • Production release and documentation: January 31

 

New Features

Assignments

Post Grades to SIS: PowerSchool

Canvas now supports full SIS integration for PowerSchool. This integration allows instructors using PowerSchool as their institution’s SIS to pass Gradebook information back to PowerSchool and can be enabled on both account and subaccount levels. 

Note: The Canvas PowerSchool integration is used in conjunction with a course-level feature option called Post Grades to SIS. Once enabled by the institutional admin, the feature can be enabled by instructors on a course-to-course basis. However, this feature must first be configured with the support of your Canvas Customer Success Manager (CSM) and an Implementation Consultant before it can be enabled for the institution. If you are an admin, please contact your CSM for assistance.

Setting Up Assignments

Instructors can choose to pass back grades on a per-assignment basis. To select an assignment to send to PowerSchool, click the SIS checkbox as part of the assignment, quiz, or graded discussion. Note that in Quizzes, the SIS checkbox is grouped under Quiz Options.

 

Assignments & Graded Discussions

 

Quizzes

 

Additional Notes:

  • When creating assignments, assignment names (up to 30 characters) must be unique or they cannot be identified by PowerSchool. If a Canvas assignment has the same name as already exists in PowerSchool, Canvas will not push data for that assignment to PowerSchool.

  • Due dates are required to send an assignment to PowerSchool.

Transferring Grades from the Gradebook

The Gradebook integration is a one-way transfer from Canvas to PowerSchool. Only assignments that appear in the default Gradebook can be sent to PowerSchool.

  • Changes in Canvas will always overwrite changes in PowerSchool. If a change is made in PowerSchool, the change will not be reflected in Canvas.

  • This feature does not apply to the Learning Mastery Gradebook.

Grades can be sent to PowerSchool by clicking the Post Grades button in the Gradebook. Canvas will immediately initiate the grades transfer, but users may need to wait a few minutes before data appears in PowerSchool.

 

 

Note: PowerTeacher does not interact with Canvas the same way that PowerSchool does. When an instructor clicks the Post Grades button in the Gradebook, Canvas creates the assignments in PowerTeacher; however, Canvas assignments that are pushed to PowerSchool but are later removed from Canvas are not removed from PowerTeacher. For more questions about PowerTeacher, please contact your CSM.

Transferring Previous Grades

In order to pass back grades for previous terms, instructors need to retroactively update any previous term assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions with the Post Grades to SIS option, then proceed to post grades from the Gradebook.

Quizzes

Quiz Log Auditing

Students and instructors can view progress logs for course quizzes. This feature is designed to help instructors investigate problems that a student may have in the quiz. Students can also view the log for their own quizzes.

Note: Quiz Log Auditing is a course-level feature option, which means that once it is enabled by the institutional admin, the feature can be enabled by instructors on a course-to-course basis. If you are an instructor and do not see Quiz Log Auditing available to you as a Feature Option within Course Settings, please contact your institutional admin.

Instructors can view the quiz log by showing student quiz results and clicking the name of a student. The student quiz results page will show the status of the quiz and the View Log link. Canvas generates the quiz log when the student clicks the Take This Quiz button.

 

 



Students can also access the quiz log by clicking the link for the quiz attempt they want to view.



 Each log shows a timestamp of the quiz action, including reading a quiz question, selecting a quiz answer, changing a quiz answer, and submitting the quiz. The log also shows if the student left the quiz (either by navigating away from the page or viewing another window in the browser) and resumed the quiz. To refresh log data, click the refresh button at the top of the browser window.

Each attempt shows the start date and time for the attempt. If the student has more than one quiz attempt, the log shows the last attempt. Users can always view prior attempts by clicking the number of the attempt.

 

 

 

Other Updates

Assignments

Turnitin Status Attempts

Canvas has increased the number of status attempts made for a Turnitin assignment. Instead of doubling beginning at 5 minutes, attempts will double beginning at 2 minutes: 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 8 minutes, 16 minutes, etc. This change helps instructors view Turnitin reports more quickly.

Course Setup Checklist

Checklist Redesign

The Course Setup Checklist has been redesigned for a better user experience and displays as a full window. Each sidebar item shows the status of your course and provides quick links to each Canvas area. To close the window and return to Canvas, click the close icon in the upper right of the window, or press the Escape button on your keyboard.

No functionality has been changed in this feature. As a reminder, checklist items are moderated by user permissions and display appropriately. For instance, if an institution does not allow instructors to add students to the course, the Add Students checklist item will not appear. Options are also responsive for the add TAs and Publish course checklist items.  

NoteThis redesign does not apply to any other checklist, such as for ePortfolios.

 

coursesetupchecklist.png

Footer

User Research

The Canvas UX Research and Design team is looking for design feedback from Canvas users, including interaction with new design ideas and concepts. If you are interested in participating, please sign up using the link in the Canvas footer (located at the bottom of most Canvas pages).

 

Languages

Date and Time Display

Date and time stamps in Canvas have been updated to reflect 24-hour time formats for applicable languages.

Canvas Interface

Navigation Menu

As part of our interface redesign, the left navigation menu (User, Course, and Account Navigation) include a slightly modified interface. We’ve also touched up a few other icons in Canvas to meet better color contrast ratios. More information can found in our Styleguide at canvas.beta.instructure.com/styleguide.

  • The border on the left side of the content area has been removed so the course navigation is aligned with the window.

  • The gradient at the top of all navigation areas (user, course, and account) has been replaced with the background color. This change is most noticeable with course names and term dates in Course Navigation. 

These changes can be seen more clearly in the comparison images below (current production version and beta version, respectively):

 

 

No actual functionality will be affected by this work—this is a purely visual change. However, if you have changed the appearance of the left navigation menu via custom CSS, please check to ensure your styles work with the new design, especially if you have changed the background color for your navigation menus. More details about the navigation changes can be found with the original changes found in the September 27, 2014 Canvas release notes. 

Activity Stream Notification Indicators

In the User Dashboard activity stream we’ve removed the indicators that show the number of notifications. However, new activity is still shown by a blue dot next to the activity type. Users can still expand the activity to view all notifications for that activity type. The indicator also appears next to the specific notification item. This change also applies to the activity stream on the Course Dashboard. 

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 6.22.20 PM.png

 

 

Platform Integrations

New APIs

Account Notifications

Users can view an index of global account notifications and close global notifications via the Account Notifications API.

Updated APIs

Course Users API

The Users API can now return user bios by adding ?include[]=bio in the parameter.

Account API

The Courses API returns the property is_public for each course.

 

 

Fixed Bugs

Accessibility

The following accessibility issues have been corrected within Canvas:

General Updates

  • Dialog window design continues to be improved for screen readers and keyboard users. Role=”dialog” has been removed from remaining dialog boxes unless the dialog contains only navigable elements (i.e. links and form controls).

Assignments

  • When the External Tool option is selected as a submission type, screen readers can read the text in the Open External Tool URL Options window.

  • The Assignments create and edit pages displays a color contrast of 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Calendar

  • Agenda View events can be accessed with both the space bar and the Enter/Return key 

Conversations

  • Conversation filters (All Courses and Inbox) can be read by screen readers.

Course Navigation

  • In Course Navigation, notification indicators display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Dashboards

  • In the course and user dashboards, notification indicators display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Discussions

  • Unread and Assignments buttons are identified as filters by screen readers.

Faculty Journal

  • The Faculty Journal page displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Files

  • Files displays a warning message that informs keyboard and screen reader users about the Move To dialog for moving content within a list.

  • Selecting a file checkbox retains the state of the checkbox.

  • Files column headers align properly and table content can be read by screen readers.

  • Checkboxes appear in column headers so keyboard users can select multiple file items.

Gradebook

  • In Firefox, arrow keys do not change grades in the Gradebook.

Modules

  • Modules drag handles display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Pages

  • In Pages, notification indicators display a color contrast of 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Rubrics

  • On the Rubrics page, notification indicators display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

  • Outcome icons within a rubric display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

SpeedGrader

  • When comments are posted to an assignment in SpeedGrader, screen readers view a confirmation message.

  • SpeedGrader displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

User Profile

  • The profile picture close (x) icon displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Admin

User Account Details

Sub-Account admins can view User Account Details if they have the View Statistics permission.

ExplanationWhen sub-account admins viewed the details of a user in the course, sub-account admins were not able to view the user account details button. Canvas code has been updated to confirm permissions for the admin and display the User Account Details button as appropriate.

Analytics

Test Student Scores

Test Student scores are not included in analytics assignment data.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed analytics for a course, test student scores were appearing as part of the data. Canvas code has been updated to remove Test Student data from all assignment statistics.

APIs

Conversations API

Users can only send messages for courses and groups where they are enrolled.

Explanation: When a user sent a message to a course or group, sometimes the message would later appear as being for a course or group where the user has no affiliation. This behavior occurred because of association with a prior course or group that was deleted from Canvas. Canvas code has been updated to always verify context for courses and groups when sending messages.

Search API

The course roster page loads more quickly when users search for a large number of groups.

Explanation: When users searched within a large number of groups in a course, the course roster page loaded very slowly. Canvas code has been updated to improve the search query and improve API performance.

Groups API

The Groups API does not display deleted group sets.

Explanation: When a user created a group, the related group set did not have to be active. Therefore, some groups were created within deleted group sets. Canvas code has been updated not to show deleted group sets in the API.   

Quizzes API

Questions pulled from a question bank are consistent with other questions in the quiz.

Explanation: When a quiz question contained a question group that was linked to a question bank, questions pulled from the bank were created as an assessment question type instead of quiz question type. Canvas code has been updated to generate quiz questions from a question bank as a Quiz question object.  

Assignments

Course Notifications

Only active students receive course notifications.

Explanation: When a student completed an assignment in a course and were later removed from the course, the student was still receiving notifications if there was a grade change, such as when the Displayed Grade As option was changed for the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to only send notifications to active students in the course.  

Personal File Submissions

Students can submit assignments uploaded to their their personal files.

Explanation: When a student submitted an assignment from their personal files, Canvas was creating an error that said the file was not authorized for the submission. This behavior occurred when an assignment restricted the submission file type. Canvas code has been updated to accept file submissions from personal files as long as the file contains the correct file extension.

Assignment Shell Window and More Options

Assignments retains the due date when a user edits an assignment and selects the More Options button.

Explanation: When an instructor edited an assignment, deleted the due date, and then selected the More Options button, the previous due date transferred to the Assignment details page. Canvas code has been updated to retain all entries in the assignment shell window when viewing more options on the assignment details page.

Assignment Sections

When a section is deleted in a course, the section is also removed from any assigned assignments.

ExplanationWhen a section was deleted in a course, any assignments that were associated with the section did not remove the section from the assignment. This behavior caused confusion if another section was created with the same name. Canvas code has been updated to remove all association with sections that have been removed from a course. If an assignment is only assigned to the section that was deleted, the assignment will display a warning stating that no students are assigned to the assignment.

Course Imports

Course Copy

Admins can locate courses to copy in their account by typing in a course name and having Canvas auto-complete the entry, or they can use a course drop-down menu if there are fewer than 100 courses in the account.

Explanation: When an admin attempted to copy a course, the list of courses paginated at 500 courses and appeared as an unordered list. To be consistent with other course listing behavior throughout Canvas, Canvas code has been updated to display course listings alphabetically. Additionally, the course drop-down menu only appears if there are fewer than 100 courses. If an account contains over 100 courses, admins can type the name of a course and Canvas will auto-complete any applicable course names.

Files

Deleted Files Preview

Users are notified if they preview a file that has been deleted or doesn’t exist.

Explanation: If a user tried to preview a file for a URL that had been deleted, Canvas skipped the preview and showed any previews that were also part of the file link. Canvas code has been updated to show a message that the file cannot be found.

Content Sidebar

In the Content Selector, if an instructor or TA uploads a file that already exists in Canvas, files will add an iterator to the file to prevent duplicates (i.e. file.jpg, file-1.jpg). 

Explanation: When an instructor or TA uploaded a file using the Content Selector, the file could be uploaded multiple times without renaming the file. Canvas code has been updated to include an iterator to file names to prevent duplicates.

File Storage Statistics

File statistics show the correct number of files and storage space.

Explanation: Some courses were not displaying accurate statistics for files and storage space within the course. This behavior occurred because of attachment naming inconsistencies between local account IDs and the global account IDs. Canvas code has been updated to match files against either local or global account IDs for accurate statistics.

Gradebook

Multiple Assignments

When a student submits multiple assignments, instructors can leave comments for each submission in the Gradebook and select the submission in the drop-down menu.

Explanation: When a student submitted an assignment multiple times and the instructor wanted to leave a comment in the Gradebook, the drop-down list of submissions showed the same submission time for the first and last submission. Canvas code has been updated to display the original time of the first submission instead of copying the most recent submission’s date and time.

Gradebook Average

Students view the same scoring average on the Grades page that displays for instructors in the Gradebook.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed the details of an assignment in the Gradebook, the average score differed from the average score shown to students. This behavior occurred because the average score calculated both active and deleted enrollments. Canvas code has been updated to remove deleted enrollments from grade calculations.

Groups

Courses & Groups Menu

Users can view all groups in the Courses & Groups menu.

Explanation: When a user was added to a group, the group did not always appear under the Courses & Groups drop-down menu. Canvas code has been updated to update a user’s cached groups list when a user is added to a group. The groups list is also updated when a user is removed from a group.

Instructor/TA Profiles

Users can view instructor and TA profiles from within a group.

Explanation: When a user tried to view an instructor or TA from the People section in a group, the group displayed an error message. This behavior occurred because instructors and TAs are not actually members of the group and the links were directing to the group page. Canvas code has been updated to link profile information to the course People page, not the Group People page.  

Group Conferences

Instructors can edit a conference within a group.

Explanation: When an instructor clicked the Edit button for a conference within a group, the button redirected to the course instead of displaying the edit window. Canvas code has been updated to not associate group conferences with course conferences.

Group Assignment Submission Comments

When an instructor deletes a comment from a group assignment, the comment is removed for all group members.

ExplanationWhen comments sent to all group members were deleted from the submission, the comments were only deleted for the group member whose ID was connected to the group submission. Other group members could still view the comments and instructors could not delete them. Canvas code has been updated to remove group assignment comments for all students associated with the group assignment ID.

Group Discussions

Group members cannot create a group discussion within Groups.

Explanation: When a user created a Discussion from the group home page, the page displayed an option to make the discussion as a group discussion. Users were not able to save the discussion if they checked the box. Canvas code has been updated to not display group discussion options for groups, as the discussion is already part of the group.

Randomly Assign Students and Group Limits

Canvas respects individual group member limits when randomly assigning students to groups.

Explanation: When an instructor created a limit of members within a group set, and then selected the Randomly Assign Students option, Canvas ignored the group limit and assigned all students to a particular group. Canvas code has been updated to respect individual group member limits when randomly assigning students.

Quizzes

QTI Imports

QTI imports do not overwrite answer text for True/False Quiz Questions.

Explanation: When a user imported a QTI file, True/False answer options were being overwritten by the import file so that the top answer was always true regardless of the correct answer.

Rich Content Editor

Embedding Images

Instructors can view more than 10 folders or files within the folders when embedding an image in the Rich Content Editor.

Explanation: When embedding an image with the Rich Content Editor, the Content Selector was not displaying more than 10 course folders, or files within the folders. Canvas code has been updated to display all files within the course. This fix was deployed to production on December 29, 2014.   

Document Previews

After uploading a file in the Content Selector, documents that are supported in the document previewer can be previewed in the Rich Content Editor. 

Explanation: When an instructor uploaded a file using the Content Selector, files that are supported in the document previewer did not include the preview icon. Canvas code has been updated to include the preview icon for all supported file types uploaded through the Content Selector. 

Nested Folder Titles

Nested folders in the Content Selector display the name of each folder.

Explanation: When Files contained a series of nested folders, the Content Selector sometimes displayed nested folder names as undefined. Canvas code has been updated to display the folder name in the Content Selector list.

SpeedGrader

Graded Group Discussions

Replies in graded group discussions appear in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: When a student replied to a graded group discussion, the reply appeared in the discussion but was not appearing in SpeedGrader. Canvas code has been updated to populate missing submissions for graded group discussion replies in SpeedGrader. This fix was deployed to production on December 29, 2014.

User Profile

Time Zones

Users with set time zones can view the profile settings.

Explanation: Users who set a time zone for their account were not able to view their profile settings. This behavior occurred because the code linked to the time zone command froze and did not allow any other internal data to be modified. Canvas code has been updated to create a duplicate string of the data and view user profile settings.

 

Canvas by Instructure (Android) 4.0 Release Notes Featuring Redesigned Navigation

Erin Hallmark
posted this on Dec 17 15:03

In this update, Canvas by Instructure unveils a completely redesigned experience for the Android app, including new user and course navigation and better groups support.

Download the Canvas by Instructure app in the Play Store. Version 4.0 requires Android 4.0 or later.

Main Features

App Design

Canvas by Instructure for Android features a unified design for tablets and phones and supports both portrait and landscape viewing. The app also includes an updated logo and login screen. Users with Android 5.0 Lollipop will also benefit from material design, which supports responsive animations, transitions, and shadows to offer a better interactive experience. 

User Navigation

Canvas by Instructure 4.0 has a completely redesigned user navigation menu, which can be accessed from any page in the app. Swipe the navigation menu for quick access to Courses, Notifications, the To-Do List, Messages, or Grades. Grades is a highly requested feature that is new to the app navigation.

In Settings, users can select their own landing page for the app. The Profile page supports higher resolution profile images and users can choose a backdrop image.

 

1profile.jpg



Course Navigation

The Courses page includes simplified navigation with new color options. The action bar changes color depending on the course you are viewing.

 

 

When viewing course content, users can choose to view content full screen by tapping the expand icon in the action bar.

 

 

Groups Support

Canvas by Instructure supports group features in the app for all users. Users within a group can post discussions and announcements.

 

 

Canvas Support

For support needs, user support tickets are sent directly to Canvas Support via Zendesk instead of Helpshift. This association helps Canvas Support better identify Canvas users and their associated institutions.

 12/20/14 Canvas Production Release Notes Featuring Differentiated Assignments and New Files

Erin Hallmark
posted this on Dec 15 18:15

Upcoming Canvas Change: New Student Groups Page

As part of Saturday’s release, the New Student Groups Page will no longer be a Feature Option in Canvas and the feature will apply to all users with a student role. (Learn more about the Student Groups page redesign.)

New Canvas Notification IP Addresses

On January 10, 2015, we're adding two new Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to our notifications IP list. If your institution adds Canvas notification IPs to whitelists for your network firewall or email management system, please whitelist the following IP addresses by January 10 to ensure your users continue to receive Canvas notifications:

54.240.14.1 (existing, already in use)

54.240.14.2 (existing, already in use)

54.240.14.198 (new)

54.240.14.199 (new)

Please contact your Customer Success Manager if you have any questions or concerns.


In this production release (12/20), Assignments can be assigned to a specific course section, and the Gradebook can be viewed by last name. Conversations helps users access submissions more quickly, and Files has completely a new look with added functionality. On the student side of Canvas, group leaders in student groups have added options for group management. This release also brings an updated design to all buttons and tabs throughout Canvas.

The production notes also include updates to existing Canvas features and fixed bugs.

Note: Production release notes indicate Canvas updates that will be included with Saturday’s release and are subject to change. New features may differ from those available in your beta environment.

12.20.2014 New Feature Screencast from Instructure on Vimeo.

View the 12/20/14 Screencast Transcript

*Features are subject to change. Please see the complete release notes for details.

We welcome video feedback at instructure.com/videosurvey. If the embedded video does not appear, reload your browser window.

 

Next release schedule:

  • Beta release and notes: 12/29/14

  • Production release notes: 01/05/15

  • Production release and documentation: 01/10/15

Follow the release schedule on our public Canvas Updates calendar

 

New Features

Assignments

Differentiated Assignments

In Assignments, instructors have the flexibility to differentiate assignments between sections and select which sections are required to complete specific tasks.

Note: Differentiated Assignments is a course-level feature option, which means that once it is enabled by the institutional admin, the feature can be enabled by instructors on a course-to-course basis. If you are an instructor and do not see Differentiated Assignments available to you as a Feature Option within Course Settings, please contact your institutional admin.

When enabled, this feature is available for all assignments: Assignments, Quizzes, and Graded Discussions.

When creating or editing an assignment, instructors can specify whether the assignment should be for everyone in the course or for specific sections only. Only the section(s) specified in the assignment details can view the assignment. Varied due date functionality remains available for each section.

Differentiated-Assignment.png

 

In the Gradebook, assignment grade cells are grayed out for students who are not part of the section. Grades cannot be assigned for students who are not part of the section. Assignments that are not part of a section are not factored into overall grades.

Note: On the student grades page, students can only view assignments that are part of their specific section.