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Canvas Updates

11/08/14 Canvas Production Release Notes Featuring Moderate Quiz Updates

Erin Hallmark
posted this on Nov 03 19:23

Upcoming Release Adjustments

Our next two release cycles have been adjusted for upcoming holidays. For more details, please see the release cycle schedule posted below the screencast information.


 

In this production release (11/08), we’ve been working on instructor-specific feature enhancements for managing quizzes and course activity. We created the beginning of a new format feature designed for data analysis and research, and for our Canvas tool builders, we’ve introduced a new section for platform and integration updates.

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

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

11.08.2014 New Feature Screencast from Instructure on Vimeo.

View the 11/08/14 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.

Release Cycle Schedule

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, the next release cycle will be extended by one week:

  • Beta release and notes: 11/17
  • Production release notes: 12/01
  • Production release and documentation: 12/06

The following release cycle will be shortened by one week:

  • Beta release and notes: 12/10 (Wednesday)
  • Production release notes: 12/15
  • Production release and documentation: 12/20

Follow the release schedule on the Canvas Updates calendar

 

 

New Features

Course Settings

Course Format

Instructors can specify a format for their course. Located in Course Settings, this setting shows if a course is intended to be an online course or a supplement to a face-to-face course, but it is not visible elsewhere in Canvas.

This feature is intended to help institutions categorize courses for data analysis and research and can be filtered via the Courses API endpoint. Currently this setting only displays course metadata and will continue to be developed in a future release.

 

Course-Settings-Format.png

Quizzes

Moderate Quiz Updates

The Moderate Quiz page has an updated design for a cleaner look. Additionally, the page also adds functionality for improving outstanding quiz verifications for large courses.

When a student views a timed quiz and time expires, Canvas auto-submits the quiz. However, if a student navigates away from the quiz page, the quiz submission remains outstanding. Previously instructors had to manually submit each outstanding quiz individually as indicated in the Time column as Time Up! Now, when instructors open the Moderate Quiz page, Canvas generates a warning message so instructors can manually check outstanding submissions for the entire quiz at one time.

 

 

In the dialog window, Canvas displays a list of the outstanding submissions and automatically selects the checkbox next to each student’s name. To grade outstanding submissions for the selected student(s), click the Submit button. Canvas will grade the submission and update the score.

 

 

People

User Access Report Additions

User access is now logged in the following areas of Canvas:

  • Course Home Page

  • Outcomes

  • Modules

At the course level, user access activity appears in a user’s Access Report. User access information also displays at the account level in user page views.

 

 

 

 

Updated Features

Gradebook Individual View

Switch Gradebook Link

After users have switched to Individual View, the link to return to the regular Gradebook has been renamed as Switch to Default Gradebook. This change creates a target destination in the link to remove ambiguity for accessibility users.

 

 

Download All Submissions Button

When viewing Assignment Information in Individual View, the Gradebook will display the Download all submissions button for quizzes that contain file upload questions. If a quiz does not include a file upload question, it will not include the download button. This change is to ease confusion with quizzes that contain no downloadable submissions.  

 

Groups

Group Leader Settings

Instructors can modify the group leader settings in a Group Set at any time. When editing a Group Set through the Settings icon, the Leadership section appears at the bottom of the browser window. Previously group leader settings could only be specified while creating a new Group Set.

Note: Edited settings won’t take effect until after the next membership change, such as when another person joins or is assigned to the group. For manually enabled changes, you may have to refresh the page to see the group update. This functionality will continue to be improved in a feature release.

 

 

 

 

Platform/Integration Updates

Public Course LTI

Canvas allows courses to be publically accessible without a logged in user. Previously LTI launches in these courses caused an error in Canvas. Now, users who are not logged in to Canvas can use LTI tools in public courses. The roles LTI property will have the value of urn:lti:sysrole:ims/lis/None if there is no user logged in.

New Substitution Variables

  • $Canvas.masqueradingUser.id: allows an LTI tool to know what user, if any, is acting on behalf of another user for the masquerade command and can be used for auditing and UI enhancements in such situations

  • $Canvas.api.baseUrl: returns the same value as $Canvas.api.domain but includes the url scheme (http:// or https://), useful for developers testing against a local Canvas instance

  • $User.id & $Canvas.user.id: returns the Canvas-specific ID for the user

  • $User.username & $Canvas.user.loginId: returns the value the user used to log in

  • $Canvas.course.previousContextIds: a list of the LTI context_ids from a previous course*

  • $Canvas.course.previousCourseIds: a list of Canvas course IDs from a previous course*

*The scope of these variables is limited to previous course(s) where the current course is directly copied from; it is not a chain of all previous courses.

Limited xAPI Support

Canvas has implemented a small piece of xAPI (Tin Can API).

An external tool can ask for an xAPI callback URL and then POST back an interaction activity to Canvas. This action will update the activity time for the user in Canvas and add a page view for that tool. Page views appear in the course analytics section as activity.

Learn more about xAPI with LTI tools in the Canvas API documentation.

 

 

Fixed Bugs

Accessibility

The following accessibility concerns have been addressed in Canvas:

Conversations

  • Autocomplete options in the To field can be read by screen readers.

Grades

  • The Gradebook and the Student Grades page display a color contrast of 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Quizzes

  • The buttons on the quiz view page are labeled as buttons, which include the publish, preview, edit, and manage buttons. The buttons can be read by screen readers.

  • Users can use voiceover keyboard commands to edit quiz question comments.

Admin

Subaccount List

Administrators with more than 100 subaccounts can view their list of subaccounts.

Explanation: When an admin in an account with more than 100 subaccounts tried to view the list of subaccounts in Admin Navigation, the subaccount list was not displaying the list of subaccounts. Canvas code has been updated to display all subaccounts for an account.

Alerts

When setting up alerts in Firefox, admins can assign a value to resend an alert.

Explanation: When Canvas admins enabled Alerts and tried to set up an alert, the value typed in the Re-send alert every __ days until resolved field was not saved. This behavior occurred because of a focus misalignment in Firefox. Canvas code has been updated to support numeric values in Firefox.

Assignments

Assignment URLs

When a student submits an assignment with a # at the end of the URL, the assignment submits successfully.

Explanation: When a student submitted an assignment that contains an # at the end of the URL, the assignment page did not refresh to show the submission was successful. Canvas code has been updated to address individual number signs as part of an assignment URL and refresh the page accordingly.

Grading Schemes

Assignments display any associated custom grading schemes.

Explanation: When an instructor created a grading scheme, applied the grading scheme to an assignment, and then edited the grading scheme, the assignment showed the default grading scheme, not the custom grading scheme. However, the custom grading scheme was being applied to the correct assignment. Canvas code has been updated to display an assignment’s associated grading scheme.

Course Imports

Date Adjustments

When copying a course, adjusting the date and time applies the selected parameters.

Explanation: When a user copies a course and selects the option to adjust the date and time, the course copy was adjusting the course start time several hours into the future. This behavior occurred because the time zone UTC offset in the date shift option was being treated as local time. Canvas code has been updated to honor the set time zone for the course as part of the course copy.

Course Settings

Enter/Return Key and Course Creation

When creating a new course, clicking the Enter/Return key only creates one course.

Explanation: When users entered a name for a new course and clicked the Enter/Return key, the courses page was creating two courses with the same name. Canvas code has been updated to not duplicate new courses.

Course Time Zone

Assignment and Syllabus pages display the correct due date if local and course time zones vary across different days.

Explanation: When an instructor set a time zone for the course and then created an assignment, the assignment due date was displaying incorrectly if the date for the local time zone was the next day. However, the tooltip displayed the correct time. Canvas code has been updated to fix the date display for assignments with overridden date boundaries.

Course Code

Updating a course name does not affect the course code unless the course code is removed.

Explanation: When a new course was created and the course name changed, the course code was also changed, especially when the course name contained additional characters separated by spaces. Canvas code has been updated to disassociate changes for the course name and code code unless the course code field is empty.

Modules

Graded Discussions

Graded discussions placed within a module contain the module footer.

Explanation: When a graded discussion was placed inside a module, users could not advance to the next module item because the footer was not appearing in the graded discussion. This behavior occurred because graded discussions did not include an assignment content tag. Canvas code has been updated to assign graded discussions with an assignment content tag and display the module footer.

Locked Files

Instructors can add and view locked files as part of a module.

Explanation: When an instructor locked a file and then added the file as a module item, the file would disappear in the module list. This behavior occurred because modules only displayed items with an attachment context as active. When a file is hidden, however, the file is no longer considered active, which is why it disappeared from the module list. Canvas code has been updated to update the attachment context limitation as not deleted instead of active.

Locked/Unlocked File State

Files module items reflect the state of the file.

Explanation: When an instructor added a file to a module and then changed the state of the file, the module was not adjusting the display with the changed file state. For instance, if an instructor added a locked file and then unlocked the file, the module still displayed as an unpublished file. Canvas code has been updated to sync the published state of file module items with the state of the file.

Module State Verification

When publishing a module, Canvas verifies the state of all module objects within a module to verify the correct publishing state.

Explanation: When an instructor published a module, Canvas was not verifying the state of each module item as a standalone object, causing problems where pre–Draft State objects were out of sync when added as a module item. For instance, a pre–Draft State quiz added as a module item was shown as published in the module but remained unpublished as the quiz object on the Quizzes page. Additionally, publishing an entire module would not publish any unpublished content module items; the only way to publish the module item and the object together was to publish each module item on an individual basis within the module. Canvas code has been updated to verify the state of both the Canvas object and the state of the module item when publishing a module.

Languages and Module Unlock Date

When viewing a module unlock date in a non-English language, the unlock date is translated correctly.

Explanation: When a user viewed a module unlock date in a language other than English, the date was not translating and displayed an error message stating that the text was not a date. Canvas code has been updated to localize the unlock date in modules.

Quizzes

Course End Date in Auto-submitted Quizzes

When course dates are changed and set to override term dates, Canvas does not allow students to submit quizzes after a course has concluded.

Explanation: When course dates were changed and set to override term dates, quizzes did not always update immediately for students. Therefore, when students entered a quiz, Canvas registered a quiz submission where the submission date matched the course end date. Some of these course end dates could be before the submission start date, which caused the assignment to appear to be submitted in the future. Canvas code has been updated to verify course end dates and disallow submissions for concluded courses. This fix was deployed to production on 10/24/14.

Moderate Quiz Extensions

If an instructor grants extra attempts to a student as part of a quiz extension, the Moderate Quiz page only displays the additional number of attempts.

Explanation: When a student was granted an extension as part of a quiz, the Moderate Quiz page displayed the Gets 0 extra minutes on each attempt message for that student, even if there was no change to the quiz time. Canvas code has been updated to display the correct options for associated quiz extensions.

Quiz Regrade Question Titles

Quiz regrade does not expose custom question titles to students.

Explanation: When an instructor regraded a quiz, students were able to view any custom question titles that existed for the quiz. This behavior occurred because transformations that take place between the instructor and student views were not being applied when regenerating quizzes after the quiz regrade. Canvas code has been updated to retain the proper student view after a quiz regrade.

Quiz Unlock Settings

When an instructor unlocks a quiz using the let students see this quiz option, the quiz updates with any set availability dates.

Explanation: When an instructor unlocked a quiz using the let students see this quiz option, the current date appeared as the Available From date, even if the instructor removed or changed the date. In quizzes with time limits, the Until date was also affected and often restricted students from accessing the quiz completely. Canvas code has been updated to adjust availability dates for unlocked quizzes according to the proper quiz settings.

Respondus Quizzes

When users attempt to publish a quiz from the Respondus quiz builder, Respondus publishes the quiz in Canvas.

Explanation: When users attempt to publish a quiz from the Respondus quiz builder, Respondus generated an invalid file data error, even though the quiz was successfully published. This behavior occurred because of a naming change in the Canvas API, causing Respondus to not locate the quiz objects properly. Canvas code has been updated to correct the naming structure for the Respondus API endpoint.

Rich Content Editor

Media Elements

The Rich Content Editor displays all whitelisted media elements.

Explanation: When a user embedded a media element in the Rich Content Editor, saving changes within the editor removed the media element. This behavior occurred because the Rich Content Editor stripped all media elements that were not associated with any text content. Canvas code has been updated to support empty HTML elements when editing or saving content in the Rich Content Editor. 

SpeedGrader

Google Chrome Speech-to-text Recognition

In Chrome, instructors can use the speech-to-text recognition feature to record comments in SpeedGrader.

Explanation: With the release of Chrome 33 in February 2014, Chrome replaced their web speech API with a JavaScript API, disabling the SpeedGrader speech recognition feature. Canvas code has been updated with the JavaScript API to support speech functionality, which now actively tracks speech results in real time and adds additional user prompts. 

Users

Profile Pictures

When profiles are enabled, users can upload and retain profile pictures for their Canvas account.

Explanation: When users upload profile pictures to their Canvas account, some pictures were disappearing from user profiles. This behavior occurred because Canvas was not retaining files that may have been created in and linked from temporary file folders, stripping the file path for the picture. Canvas code has been updated to generate and retain profile pictures from temporary file folders.

10/18/14 Canvas Production Release Notes Featuring Quiz Grading Updates and Sent Conversations Notifications

Erin Hallmark
posted this on Oct 13 18:02

Canvas Commons

Last month, Instructure introduced Canvas Commons, a learning object repository where courses and curriculum resources can be shared and integrated into the Canvas learning management system environment. Canvas Commons is currently available as a pilot feature for select institutions. If you would like more information about how to participate in Commons Beta, please complete the Canvas Commons Beta form.


 

In this production release (10/18), students can rest assured when a quiz score is not complete, especially when a quiz contains a manually graded question. All users can set notifications to copy messages in Conversations, and instructors receive a session expiration warning in Crocodoc before they lose all their annotated hard work. Several other feature areas in Canvas have been improved with usability and cosmetic enhancements.

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

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

10.18.2014 New Feature Screencast from Instructure on Vimeo.

View the 10/18/14 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: 10/27/14

  • Production release notes: 11/03/14

  • Production release and documentation: 11/08/14

Follow the release schedule on the Canvas Updates calendar

 

 

New Features

Calendar

Completed Assignments

On the Calendar, students can view their submitted assignments as part of any Calendar view. When an assignment is submitted, the assignment is crossed out. For instructors, a crossed out assignment on the Calendar indicates an assignment that is past the due date and no grading is needed.

 

completed-assignment.png

 

Grades

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

Copy of Created Conversations

Users can set a new notification preference that allows them to receive a copy of all conversations they created. When enabled by the user, this feature allows users to see what conversations have been sent and how they appear in their specified communication channels.

Note: When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, Canvas generates only one notification for the sent message. Notifications cannot be sent from the beta environment. 

 

 

Reminder: In Conversations, sent messages appear in the Sent folder. When a message receives a reply, the message thread will appear in the Inbox. When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, the Sent folder displays one message for each user, as replies are treated as individual messages.

SpeedGrader

Crocodoc Session Expiration Warning

Instructors who use Crocodoc to annotate assignments in SpeedGrader receive a warning message when the Crocodoc session is about to expire. Crocodoc sessions are per submission and run for one hour; the expiration warning message appears after 50 minutes. The session begins when the submission preview appears in SpeedGrader. Any annotations made to the submission are saved automatically during the hour. This feature helps instructors be aware of the current Crocodoc session so they do not lose any of their work after the hour has expired. To create a new session, refresh the page or navigate to another submission.

 

 

Note: Crocodoc features are not available in the beta environment.

 

Updated Features

Discussions

Locked Discussion Time Display

When a student views the details for a locked discussion topic, the displayed available date includes both the hour and the minute. Locked discussions are discussions that have been published by an instructor but cannot be viewed until a later date.  

 

Quizzes

Questions and Groups Move-To Menu

Quiz questions and groups can be reordered using a keyboard navigation menu. This feature places a drag handle next to each quiz question or group. To view the keyboard navigation menu, instructors can click the handle next to a quiz question or group and move it within the quiz. Questions and groups can still be dragged and dropped manually by clicking and dragging the quiz question handles.

 

 

Quiz Preview Message

When an instructor previews a quiz, the preview message identifies whether or not the quiz has been published. If an instructor previews a quiz that has only been saved (not published), the quiz preview message shows that the preview is for the draft version of the quiz. However, if an instructor previews a quiz that has been published, the preview message shows that the preview is for the published version of the quiz.

 

 

SpeedGrader

Group Assignment Submissions

For group assignments, SpeedGrader shows submissions both from student groups and individual students. This feature allows instructors to view all submissions, especially for students who may not be in a group.

 

 

Other Updates

Calendar

Calendar Color Brightness

The Canvas Calendar displays all courses in higher contrasting colors. However, accessibility users who need to view colors in a lower saturation can enable the High Contrast theme in User Profile Feature Options.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 4.28.49 PM.png

Dashboard

Course List Term Formatting

The Course List displays better formatting for term dates. When users view term dates as part of a course, the term is displayed as italicized light gray text.

 

Grades

Letter Grade Score Formatting

Letter grades throughout Canvas appear in a higher contrast. Previously, letter grades (and their percentage equivalents) appeared in a smaller and lighter format than other grades, making them more difficult to view. This change affects both regular and High Contrast user display settings. Letter grades and their percentages appear on the student Grades page and in the Gradebook (assignment score and total grade columns).

 

 

 

Languages

Korean

Korean has been removed as a crowd-sourced language in Canvas.

 

Fixed Bugs

Accessibility

General

  • When enabling keyboard navigation in Chrome or Safari, all link elements, buttons, and tabs in Canvas are marked with a clear light blue outline. same visual treatment has also been applied to buttons and tabs. Blue buttons in Canvas display a red outline.

  • All Canvas feature pages contain level 1 headers for screen readers.

  • High contrast text links are underlined; hovering over the links makes the underline go away. Exceptions are in the main Canvas menu and sidebar menu, as well as buttons.

Account Settings

  • Account Statistics tables are accessible to screen readers.

Announcements

  • Announcements post date and text meets a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Assignments

  • The Assignments page meets a color contrast of 4.5:1 for the high contrast profile.

  • The Assignments Settings menus, Add Assignment to Assignments button, and publish/unpublish icons are no longer listed as an application and are accessible to screen readers and keyboard users.

  • Rubrics can be created and edited by screen readers.

Conversations

  • The Conversations Settings menu is accessible for keyboard users.

  • The Conversations To field is accessible to screen readers.

  • The Star and Mark as Unread message thread options are available to keyboard users.

Course Settings

  • The Navigation tab contains a message for keyboard users notifying them that they can move navigation items by using the Move To option in the navigation item Settings menu.

Discussions

  • The Discussions page headers contain a message for keyboard users and screen readers notifying them how to rearrange discussions on the page.

  • Discussions are no longer listed as an application and are accessible to screen readers and keyboard users.

Modules

  • Users can access Modules after closing the Add content button.

  • In a Modules Settings menu, the Edit button is accessible for voiceover and keyboard navigation.

  • To prevent modules from being created with blank names, the Modules name field is a required field.

  • The Modules page contains a message for keyboard users notifying them that they can move modules and module items by using the Move To option in the module or module item Settings menu.

Pages

  • Page titles include a level 1 header.

  • Pages are no longer listed as an application and are accessible to screen readers and keyboard users.

People

  • The Groups page contains a message for keyboard users notifying them that they can move students within groups by using the Move To option in the user Settings menu. 

Quizzes

  • Quiz answer titles appear for screen readers.

  • The quiz timer, including time elapsed during a quiz, can be read by screen readers.

  • The Quizzes Settings menus, Add Quiz button, and publish/unpublish buttons are no longer listed as an application and are accessible to screen readers and keyboard users.

  • Quiz questions can be reordered when a quiz contains more than 25 questions in a quiz.

User Dashboard

  • In the activity stream, the Show More/Less and Remove Items links are always displayed for keyboard users and screen readers.

Account Settings

Permissions Caching

Account and course navigation tabs adjust according to a user’s role permissions.

Explanation: When an admin changed permissions for a user role, the account or course navigation tabs were not updating correctly. Canvas code has been updated to properly expire caches and align tabs with permissions.

APIs

Assignments

The Courses API contains arguments for setting a course grading standard ID.  

Explanation: With the Assignments API, a user was able to add or change an assignment grading scheme although the parameter for the course was not listed in the documentation. Canvas code has been updated to include grading standard parameters in Create a New Course and Update a Course endpoints.

Tabs API

The Tabs API URL parameter returns the full URL. 

Explanation: When a user made a Tabs API call, the URL parameter only returned a partial URL that did not include the domain name. Canvas code has been updated to include the full URL as part of the API call.

File Upload API

In the File Upload API, calls with the rename flag set to true create individual file names for each uploaded file.

Explanation: When a user uploaded files using the File Upload API and set the rename flag as true, files were being renamed as the same file name. Canvas code has been updated to create a unique file name for each uploaded file.

Quiz Submission Users API

The Quiz Submission User API appears in Canvas API documentation.

Explanation: The Canvas API was missing the documentation for getting users who had submitted or not submitted a quiz. Canvas code has been updated to include the Quiz Submission Users API documentation on the Canvas API page.

Assignments

Turnitin Percentages

In Turnitin Advanced Settings, the Small Matches option retains the percentage set as part of the Less Than ___ of the Document text field. 

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment and enabled Turnitin, selected Advanced Options, and selected the Small Matches checkbox, the assignment did not retain the percentage set in the Less Than... text field. Canvas code has been updated to retain the percentage set for the Turnitin assignment.

Personal Files and Assignment File Types

If an instructor creates an assignment with restricted file submission types, students can only submit the file types specified in the assignment.

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment with restricted file submission types, some students were still able to submit a restricted file type by uploading the file to their personal files and then submitting the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to honor restricted file types regardless of the source location of the submitted file. When a student tries to submit a restricted file type, Canvas will create an error message so the student knows why the submission is not accepted.

Student Submissions (CNVS-16263)

Multiple students can submit an assignment at the same time without affecting the submission process.

Explanation: When several students tried to submit an assignment within a limited time frame, they received a page error message about a submission deadlock. This behavior also occurred because Canvas was trying to save the submission and update the instructor’s remaining submission count simultaneously. Canvas code has been updated to save the submission and then update the grading information.

Calendar

Undated Events and Languages

When a calendar event is created and saved on the More Options page, the calendar event is saved on the specified date.

Explanation: When users in any language except English, Spanish, and Dutch created a calendar event and used the More Options button to complete and save the event, the event was appearing in the calendar as an undated event. Canvas code has been updated to always create the event with the date and time.

Conversations

Message Attachments in Internet Explorer 10

Users can send messages with an attachment when using Internet Explorer 10.

Explanation: When users attempted to send a message with an attachment using Internet Explorer (IE) 10, the message appeared to be sending but the message was never sent. Canvas code has been updated to verify attachment routing in IE10 to send messages properly.

Cached Messages

Sending messages to an entire user group does not affect messages sent to another course.

Explanation: When a user sent a message to an entire user group in a course, such as all students, all teachers, or all TAs, Conversations cached the previous user group when sending a message to another course. Canvas code has been updated to reset the message context after a message is sent.

Course Imports