Canvas Release Notes (2017-09-01) - Canvas Skip to main content

Canvas Release Notes (2017-09-01)

Rutgers Canvas is pleased to announce the integration of Google Apps to make it easier for instructors to include collaborations, content sharing, engaging course content, and assignment distribution directly within Canvas. The integration also makes it easy for students to collaborate with instructors and fellow students on individual or group assignments. Please review the full Canvas Release: Google Apps LTI  release notes for this external application.

The Canvas and Google Apps integration has five main points of interoperability that promote great teaching and learning:

  1. Google Drive embedding and linking: easily embed documents from your Google Drive anywhere you use the Rich Content Editor
  2. Google Docs as Assignments:
    • Students can submit Google Docs as Assignments
    • Teachers can use a Google Doc to give an Assignment, and send a copy of that document to each assigned student
    • Teachers can grade submitted student assignments in Speedgrader by editing or annotating the Google Doc
  3. Google Drive Collaborations: students can use Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides for a Canvas Collaboration
  4. Modules: Teachers can link to a live Google Files in their Canvas Modules

Google Drive Web Service has been disabled to prevent confusion for student who would otherwise see tabs for both Google Drive and Google Doc when uploading a file submission. Users will need to re-authorize Google to access their Canvas accounts.

Google Drive is enabled by default in the course navigation.  If you do not intend to use it, please disable it by hiding the link in the course navigation.

Google Limitations

As part of the Canvas integration, some functionality is limited by Google. Users should be aware of the following limitations by Google in Canvas:

  • Account sharing permissions can prevent sharing outside of an institution’s domain. Google admins can change the sharing permissions to allow documents to be shared outside the institution. This feature may affect institutions with trust accounts.
  • Document permissions can prevent files from previewing in a course. Users should ensure that permissions are set correctly for a document before sharing it with others in Canvas.


Users can authorize the Google Apps LTI to view their Google Drive account. If authorization to Google Drive is not successful the first time, authorize the application again. Users can only authenticate into one Google Drive account at a time. If users need to authenticate into Google Drive using a different account, users can open the User Settings page, remove the integration, and then authenticate again using the new Google Drive account.


Cloud Assignments

Instructors can create an online embedded assignment through an external tool. With the Google Apps external tool, this assignment type creates a view of the assignment file that acts as a template for a student’s assignment submission. Accepted assignment types are Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Presentations.


  • Peer reviews cannot be used with External Tool assignments.
  • Rubrics can be added to external tool assignments, though the rubric must be added to the assignment before the assignment is set as an external tool assignment. Students can view the rubric in the assignment details page (accessed through their Grades page), and instructors can view the rubric in SpeedGrader.

File Upload Assignments

Instructors can also continue to create regular file upload assignments. However, when instructor allows file uploads, students can view the Google Drive tab and upload files directly from Google Drive.


Users can create collaborations with documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. The creator can add individual users or groups from the course to participate in the collaboration. Collaborators can be added or removed at any time, but once a user is added to the collaboration, the user always has access to the collaboration in the user’s Google Drive folder. Collaborations require a name before they can be saved.


Users can access their Google Drive folder from the Course Navigation Menu. Google Apps does not display a folder directly in a user’s Files page.


Google Apps displays as a Modules external tool. Instructors can add links to Google Drive documents as an external tool.

Rich Content Editor

Google Apps displays a Google Drive icon in the Rich Content Editor. The icon displays everything in a user’s Google Drive account and allows users to display documents as inline links or embed them directly. Students and teachers can view the icon anywhere they can access the Rich Content Editor, such as discussions and pages (as allowed).

If the icon does not display directly in the tool bar, the icon is included in the More External Tools drop-down menu.

Canvas Mobile App Features

Currently Google Apps integration has very limited integration in the Canvas by Instructure app and SpeedGrader app. Instructors who incorporate cloud assignments into their coursework should let students know that cloud assignment are not currently supported in the Canvas app.