In an effort to continually improve Canvas, Instructure, the parent company of Canvas, releases Canvas upgrades every three weeks along with Production Release Notes. Pertinent features and upgrades are listed below. You may view the full Canvas Production Release Notes for April 22, 2017 and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on May 13.
New Instructor Tutorials (Courses) – Instructors using Canvas for the first time can use two new tutorial features to become familiar with Canvas and create a module-based course. When enabled for an account, these features apply to newly created courses.
- New Modules Home Page Default – In new courses, the Course Home Page defaults to the Modules layout. Instructors can still choose any home page for the course, but this change replaces the Recent Activity Stream as the Home page default. The Modules page includes two links to help new instructors either create a new module or add existing content through a course import. If Modules is set to the Home page but no modules content exists, Canvas will prompt the instructor to either publish a module or choose a different home page layout.
- Course Setup Tutorial – When viewing the main Canvas index pages (Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, etc.), instructors can view a course setup tutorial, which shows the purpose of the page and what to do next. This course setup tutorial replaces the existing Course Setup Checklist. The course setup tutorial is shown to new Canvas instructors in new courses. New instructors are defined as users with instructor roles created in an account after the new tutorial feature has been enabled. The course setup tutorial can be collapsed from view and is persistent across Canvas pages, so if the tutorial is collapsed in one page, it will stay collapsed until expanded again. Instructors can end the tutorial series in any page using the End Tutorial button. However, ending the tutorial in one course applies to all other courses. Instructors can view the tutorial in new courses again at any time by accessing their User Settings page and enabling the Course Setup Tutorial user feature option.
- User Feature Option & Existing Instructor Access – Once the New User Tutorial feature option is enabled for an account, the Course Setup Tutorial feature option displays in each instructor’s User Settings page. Existing instructors can view the tutorials in new courses by enabling this user feature option at any time. User feature options cannot be managed by admins.
Dashboard View Menu – To switch between Recent Activity and Course Cards, the Dashboard toggle has been updated to a settings drop-down menu. This change helps clarify Dashboard customization and aligns design consistency throughout Canvas.
Pending Enrollments View (People) – When a user is manually added to a course, the pending enrollment only shows the name of the user, the user’s section, and role. Once the user accepts the enrollment, the enrollment displays the enrollment information for the user (email address, login ID, or SIS ID). Previously the enrollment information was also displayed in the pending state.
Student-Performance Texts (Notifications) – Canvas engineering and research teams are collaborating on a new feature designed to help students improve their ability to manage coursework. Students who have opted into receiving text messages may see a new type of notification in the coming weeks. Opting in means that students have provided their phone number as a communication channel in their profile. Students can opt-out of these notifications at any time.
The new text notifications include the following:
- A reminder to turn in any unsubmitted online assignments that are still available after the due date
- A reminder to retry a quiz if a quiz contains multiple attempts and the highest score received was less than an A or 95%
These notifications will be sent once daily to students who meet the above criteria. No notification will be sent for assignments with due dates farther in the past than the previous 24 hours, and only one notification will be sent for each assignment. Approximately 0.0001% of active enrollments in Canvas this semester will receive one of these messages. Text notifications will most likely be changed based on the efficacy data received. Please note that these notifications will not go into effect until the production release and are not available for testing in the beta environment.
Please review the full Production Release Notes for Accessibility improvements and bug fixes.