Canvas Updates

Whether it's fixing glitches or adding new tools like the accessibility checker, Canvas is constantly seeking ways to improve as an online learning management system. The Canvas Community produces frequent Release Notes that contain details on these updates, and we want you to know how Canvas changes may affect and help you.

Following is a brief overview of recent Canvas Release Notes. If you have any questions, please contact us

Next release: November 17, 2018

Updates for October 27, 2018

  • Analytics BETA is a navigation item now available to instructors. It is available to instructors and TA's and assists in tracking student data.
  • Students and instructors can now view Google and Microsoft Office 365 file uploads' status in the Gradebook and the Speedgrader. If a file failed to upload, the student will see an "upload failed" icon.  
  • The "List View" option for students now includes a summary for each event so that students can quickly view task information from within the Dashboard.
  • If an instructor uses anonymous grading, the "Gradebook History" option no longer shows students' names associated with grades.
  • The New Gradebook allows instructors to search for students using their student ID.
  • Once an assignment using moderated grading has been fully graded, the assignment is shown in a "read-only" state in the Speedgrader. 

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for October 6, 2018

  • Instructors can enable a setting that allows them to make anonymous comments on student submissions in Speedgrader.
  • Discussions assigned to specific sections under "Post to" cannot be made graded.
  • Rubrics can be created with no point values; these are called non-scoring rubrics.
  • Docviewer (in Speedgrader) now contains a button (pictured right) that rotates documents. rotate button in the Speedgrader
  • For students enrolled in a course that uses the Learning Mastery Gradebook, students can now view all items aligned with one outcome simultaneously.
  • Students using the "List View" in their Dashboard can now view peer review assignments as a "to-do" item and can see "dismissed" opportunities.

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for September 15, 2018

  • If an instructor is using moderated grading, they can click "accept" on one grader's input to mark it as the final grade without having to review each grader's decision.  Final graders are still able to enter custom grades for students after clicking "accept" on a grader's input. 
  • If multiple graders used a rubric to review a student's work, final graders can view those rubric ratings within Speedgrader.
  • Instructors can now leave comments on a muted assignment and/or on anonymous student submissions in Speedgrader. Any anonymous grader notations remain anonymous after an assignment is unmuted.
  • In the old and new Gradebooks, instructors can import custom columns from a CSV file.
  • After an instructor filters by section in the Gradebook, that section only will also appear in the Speedgrader.
  • In Speedgrader, the right-hand bar offers the option to "Download Submission Comments" as a PDF. 

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for August 25, 2018

  • At the bottom-left of the "Calendar" item in an instructor's account, instructors have the option to export their Calendar Feed to their personal calendar (Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, etc.). The exported calendar items now show all appointment details (including the course name, participant names, and student comments).
  • For instructors who use Learning Outcomes, there are now options to hide outcomes or students with no results.
  • In Speedgrader, if an assignment is anonymous, submission details will not be shown until the assignment has been unmuted. This ensures that students remain anonymous until their work is graded.

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for August 4, 2018

  • Students can select a "To Do List" view in their Dashboard. This view now groups daily assignments by course. When a student logs in to Canvas, they are immediately shown the day's tasks. Students can create their own to-do items and view missing assignments. 
  • Instructors can add non-graded items (like no-submission assignments and pages) to student's to-do lists along with a due date.
  • Students who are submitting files using Google Drive or Microsoft Office Files can leave a page without disrupting the ongoing upload process.
  • Instructors can create groups of calendar appointments (like office hours) that students can select to schedule meetings with the instructor.
  • Comment threads in the SpeedGrader are now grouped together and can be expanded easily.
  • If moderated grading is enabled for an assignment, only final graders can exempt a student from that assignment.

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for July 14, 2018

  • Canvas Release Notes will be formatted differently. See the Canvas Community's document on Simplifying the Release Notes Process: Upcoming Release Notes Changes for more.
  • If moderated grading is enabled for an assignment, students' and moderators' names can be hidden to prevent the impact of bias.
  • When creating a rubric, instructors can select "Remove points from rubric" to rate students' assignments without impacting points awarded. 
  • In SpeedGrader, instructors' comments on a document submission will remain on the same page. If comments exceed space limits on the page, they will be shown through an indicator (example: "2 more comments") at the top of the page. 
  • For instructors who use Canvas Commons, search results can now be filtered by students' grade level.

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for June 23, 2018

  • Calendar events in Canvas can now be made to repeat themselves every day, week, or month. Instructors can select a "Count" function that labels these events as the first, second, etc. of their kind.
  • The Discussion index page has been updated to improve accessibility. Not much of the index appears to have changed, but the "All" and "Unread" options are now listed in a drop-down box, and the "subscribe" button has changed to a "bookmark" icon. Instructors can now create a non-graded discussion that is section-specific.
  • Instructors can now copy entire modules in the "Modules" page. New modules default to an unpublished state and have "Copy" at the end of their name. For information about limitations for copying items within a module, see Canvas's Release Notes on the topic

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for June 2, 2018

  • Canvas now supports right-to-left languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian languages. To enable this feature in your course, contact your Instructional Consultant.
  • In Speedgrader and on the Submission Details page, instructors can now leave annotations on BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF images. Larger images are scaled down so they can be viewed without scrolling.
  • Any user can now comment on an annotation in Speedgrader. If these comments are longer than five lines, they are truncated to show the first line. Also, instructors can delete any user’s comments or annotations. No one but the comment’s author will be able to see deleted work.

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for May 12, 2018

  • Users can now comment on all announcements in courses that allow announcement replies.
  • When students submit assignments, their submission status has changed from "Turned In!" to "Submitted!" See the table below for before and after photos.
  • Before After
    turned in submission submitted submission
  • Under Files, the Files Settings menu icon has changed from a gear symbol to three vertical dots. See the table below for before and after photos.
  • Before After
    gear symbol three vertical dots symbol

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for April 21, 2018

  • In Canvas's Conferences tool, instructors now have the ability to delete individual concluded conferences. These concluded conferences also show the date and time at which they concluded below their title on the Conferences page. 
  • In Canvas's Rich Content Editor, a word counter appears at the bottom right of the text window. 

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.

Updates for March 31, 2018

  • Internet Explorer has transitioned from being a fully supported browser to a functionally supported browser. In other words, this browser can be used only in Windows, and Canvas in Internet Explorer may appear differently over time, but it will still work with Canvas. 
  • For those who use Learning Outcomes, outcomes can be imported into a course using a CSV file. For more on outcomes, visit Canvas Communities
  • In Speedgrader, you now have the ability to add comments to a student's assignment. 

Image of buttons to the upper right of a student assignment in the Speedgrader

From left to right, available options for making marks on a student assignment are:

  1. Selection allows you to select text and other annotations you have made
  2. Point annotation allows you to select a point within an assignment and then leave a comment
  3. Highlight annotation allows you to highlight text within an assignment 
  4. Freetext annotation allows you to click on any part of the project and type comments within a textbox
  5. Strikeout annotation allows you to draw a line through text by clicking and dragging across a word
  6. Free draw annotation allows you to draw on a student's assignment
  7. Area annotation allows you to create a box around an area, and leave a comment

Numbers 2 through 7 on the above list allow for you to customize markings with color, size, and more! When you are adding or clicking on an annotation, a trashcan icon will appear in the annotation's edit window. This allows you to delete any annotation.

To view more, see Release Notes or the Canvas Community's Screencast (below) concerning these updates.