Canvas Release Notes (2019-08-17) and Canvas Deploy Notes (2019-08-14) - Canvas
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Canvas Release Notes (2019-08-17) and Canvas Deploy Notes (2019-08-14)

Recently,  Instructure, the parent company of Canvas, has changed how Canvas is updated.

Canvas Releases occur every third Saturday of the month along with Release Notes. A release represents a scheduled event when customer-affecting code is intended to be visible. Pertinent features and upgrades are listed below for the August release. Additionally, Canvas deploys contain code changes that are intended to fix bugs, improve performance, and prepare for new features, but they do not affect customer workflows. These deploys take place every two weeks.

Canvas Release Notes (2019-08-17)

In this Canvas Release (August 17), the Conferences interface (BigBlueButton) supports breakout rooms and closed captioning. Additionally, Conferences is WCAG 2.0 AA Accessible, with some exceptions. In Discussions, the option for students to add file attachments is enabled by default. And in Global Navigation, LTI tools with user navigation placement display in the User Navigation Account Menu.

Feature Options

  • For courses using course card images, the Flickr image search has been replaced by Unsplash.

External Tools (LTI)

  • For courses using New Quizzes, the Build page supports previewing New Quizzes assessments. Additionally, the Item Banks page supports sharing item banks with other users.

Upcoming Canvas Changes

New Gradebook: January 18

On 18 January 2020, the existing Canvas Gradebook will be replaced with the New Gradebook.

For more information, please see Upcoming Canvas Changes.

You may view the full Production Release Notes (August 17), and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on September 21, 2019.

Updated Features

Conferences

Breakout Rooms

Canvas Conferences supports breakout rooms as conference groups for all accounts. Previously this feature was only available to premium tiers. This feature allows instructors to place students into groups for team collaboration during a conference.

Moderators can create breakout rooms for students to collaborate during a conference. Breakout rooms can be created at any time during the conference. A minimum of two breakout rooms are required, and the moderator can create up to 8 rooms. Breakout rooms can either be assigned by the moderator manually or randomly, or attendees can choose which breakout room to join.

Once created, breakout rooms are displayed as their own tab for the moderator to manage and join breakout rooms. If breakout rooms are created before attendees join the conference, invitations can be sent by the moderator for attendees to join a breakout room. Once a participant has joined a breakout room, the participant cannot be assigned or join another breakout room.

When participants are invited to join a breakout room, a message displays inviting the user to join the breakout room. Breakout rooms are opened in a separate tab in the browser and display the remaining time for the breakout session at the top of the window. Once the breakout room time has concluded, the tab will close and return the participant to the main conference automatically.

For additional information about breakout rooms, please see the BigBlueButton Moderator/Presenter Video. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Breakout Rooms for images.

Closed Captions

Canvas Conferences supports live closed captioning. This feature allows a stenographer join a conference as an observer and provide live captioning to attendees.

Moderators can set up a page for closed captions to be written during the conference. When selected, the interface asks for the selected language.

Once created, captions are created as their own tab for the user who will be managing captions. Captions can be typed into a window that displays captions to conference users who enable captioning in the interface. More than one language can be created for captioning if desired. Captions display as subtitles within recorded conferences.

When closed captions are created for a conference, the Conferences interface displays a closed captioning (CC) button. Users can select their own caption preferences including text and background color, font, and text size.

Typed captions by a moderator are included directly in the interface. Users can view and hide captions at any time.

For additional information about closed captioning, please see the Closed Captioning Overview Video. Please see Canvas Release Notes: Closed Captions for images.

VPAT Support

Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) is WCAG 2.0 AA Accessible, with some exceptions. For additional information, please see the BigBlueButton Accessibility Page. This change verifies BigBlueButton strives to comply with government standards for accessibility for Canvas Conferences.

Course Settings

Unsplash Course Card Image Search

The Flickr image search has been replaced by Unsplash. This change replaces Flickr with Unsplash, which offers high-quality, safe images for use as course card images.

When an instructor uses images for course cards, Unsplash image search replaces the existing Flickr search functionality. The Flickr logo has been removed from the interface. Existing images imported from Flickr will not be affected.

Please see Canvas Release Notes: Unsplash Course Card Image Search for images.

Discussions

File Attachment Default

In Discussions, the option for students to add file attachments is enabled by default in new courses.

This behavior aligns consistency with other Canvas features that allow attachments by default and resolves the common expectation by instructors that students can attach files to discussion posts.

When instructors view the Discussions Settings in new courses, the option to Attach Files to Discussions is selected by default. If preferred, instructors can disable the option for students to add attachments in Course Settings or the Discussions Settings menu.

Please see Canvas Release Notes:File Attachment Default for images.

New Quizzes

Quizzes.Next will be known as New Quizzes. Updates to documentation, Community resources, and the Canvas user interface will take place over the next few months.

Assessment Preview

The Build page supports previewing New Quizzes assessments in the student’s perspective. This change allows instructors to view and test assessment questions and settings by viewing an assessment the way students see it.

Instructors can preview a New Quizzes assessment from the Build page by clicking the Preview button. The preview displays most settings, including calculators, timer, question shuffling, and one question at a time. Assessment Preview does not support displaying student access codes and IP address filtering.

Instructors can also submit an assessment and view their results in the preview. The preview results page supports any restricted student result view settings. When viewing an assessment in Preview mode, the assessment displays a colored Preview border. To exit Assessment Preview, click the Close icon.

Please see Canvas Release Notes: Assessment Preview for images.

Item Bank Sharing

The Item Banks page supports sharing item banks with other users. This change allows a user to gain access to another user’s item bank and use those items in their assessments.

Instructors can open an item’s sharing window by clicking the Share link from the Item Banks page. From the Sharing window, instructors can share the item bank with a user, view all users who have access to the bank, and remove access to the bank. Sharing an item bank gives users full access to the item bank, including adding items to the bank, sharing or removing users from the bank, and deleting the bank.

Admins, teachers, and TAs can share item banks with any other admin, teacher, or TA in their main Canvas account.

Please see Canvas Release Notes: Item Bank Sharing for image.

Canvas Deploy Notes (2019-08-14)

This announcement lists pertinent updates that affect instructors and students and omits features that are not applicable for Rutgers Canvas. You may view the full Canvas Deploy Notes (August 14). The next Deploy will be on August 28, 2019.

Interface Updates

Assignments

Post Grades Menu Clarification

In moderated assignments, the Post Grades button text has been updated as the Release Grades button. This change helps prevent confusion with the Post Grades functionality in the New Gradebook.

When a moderator views the grade moderation page, the Release Grades button is used to release grades to the Gradebook. Wording has also been updated while grades are being released and after grades are released. Once grades have been released, grades can be made visible to students via the Post to Students button. Wording has also been updated while grades are being posted and after grades have been posted. Please see Canvas Deploy Notes: Post Grades Menu Clarification for image.

New Gradebook

Automatic Posting Policy Assignment Menu Options Clarification

When an assignment with an automatic posting policy does not include any grades to post, the assignment menu wording has been updated to display as No Grades to Post and No Grades to Hide.

Once grades have been added in the Gradebook, the assignments menu indicates that all grades have been posted and grades can be hidden. This change alleviates confusion for assignment grading visibility. Previously the initial wording displayed as All Grades Posted and All Grades Hidden, even if no grades had been entered.

Please see Canvas Deploy Notes: Automatic Posting Policy Assignment Menu Options Clarification for images.

Automatic Posting Policy Setting Clarification

In the Automatically Post Grades option, the description includes an additional sentence: Grades that have already been hidden will remain hidden. This change is visible in both the Gradebook Settings menu and the Grade Posting Policy sidebar for individual assignments.This change helps clarify that setting an automatic posting policy is not retroactive and does not affect any grades that have previously been set with a manual post policy.

When instructors select the Gradebook Settings menu or the Grade Posting Policy in an individual assignment, the Automatically Post Grades option clarifies the behavior of automatically posting grades and shows that any grades set as hidden by the manual post policy will be retained.

Please see Canvas Deploy Notes: Automatic Posting Policy Setting Clarification for image.

SpeedGrader

Automatic Posting Visibility Menu Clarification

When an assignment with an automatic posting policy does not include any grades to post, the Visibility menu wording has been updated to display as No Grades to Post and No Grades to Hide. Once grades have been added in SpeedGrader, the wording updates to indicate that all grades have been posted but grades can be hidden. This change alleviates confusion for grading visibility. Previously the initial wording displayed as All Grades Posted and All Grades Hidden, even if no grades had been entered.

When graders view an assignment in SpeedGrader with an automatic post policy, and the assignment does not include any graded submissions, the Visibility menu displays that there are no grades to post or hide. Once grades have been entered, the menu reminds graders that all grades have already been posted via the automatic post policy, but grades can be hidden if necessary.

Please see Canvas Deploy Notes: Automatic Posting Visibility Menu Clarification for image.

Release notes also include API updates and fixed bugs. You may view the full Canvas Deploy Notes (August 14) for these bug fixes.