Canvas Release Notes (2019-10-19) - Canvas
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Canvas Release Notes (2019-10-19)

In an effort to continually improve Canvas, Instructure, the parent company of Canvas, releases Canvas upgrades every third Saturday of the month along with Release Notes. Pertinent features and upgrades are listed below. In this Canvas release (October 19), the Course Navigation menu has been updated for improved accessibility. In Conferences, the BigBlueButton interface supports restricting viewers from creating private chat messages with other users.

Feature Options

  • The New Course and User Analytics feature option allows institutions to enable the new course and user analytics features for an entire account. The existing course and user analytics pages are deprecated. (This will be enabled for Rutgers Canvas on January 6, 2020)
  • The Slack Notifications feature option allows institutions to enable Slack as a contact method to receive Canvas notifications.
  • For courses using the New Gradebook, the word Manual displays in the assignment header to indicate the assignment is set with the Manual Posting Policy. Additionally, the outlined Visibility icon only displays when entered grades need to be posted.
  • In User Settings, the feature options to manage international preferences of byte-order mark, semicolons, and field separators are supported in account-level Outcome Results and Student Competency reports and the Learning Mastery Gradebook Export report. Additionally, the feature option descriptions have been updated to clarify the options apply to any compatible spreadsheet export.

Previously, Rutgers Canvas notified users of upcoming changes that will result in enforced Feature Options including the New Gradebook and Mastery Paths.  The enforcement will take place on January 18, 2020.

Monthly Release Notes also include API updates. 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 Production Release Notes (September 21), and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on October 19, 2019.

New Features

Notifications

Slack Integration

Users can enable Slack as a contact method to receive Canvas notifications. This integration requires an existing Slack account and is available with any license. A user with admin access to a Slack workspace must set up the Slack integration before it can be used for all users in a Canvas account. This change provides an additional communication medium for users to receive Canvas notifications.

A user with admin access to a Slack workspace can create and install a Slack App for all users with accounts in the workspace. This process must be completed before Slack can be enabled as a communications method in Canvas for all users. For more details about setting up Slack as a Slack account admin, view the Canvas Slack App Admin Installation Guide.

Once a Slack workspace has been enabled for a Canvas account, the Slack Email communication option displays for all users. Any user with a Slack account can register their Slack email address as a contact method.

Users must activate the communication channel by entering a four-character confirmation code that will be sent via message from the Slack App set up by a Slack admin.

Once the code has been entered and the channel is verified in Canvas, Slack notifications should be personalized in the Notifications Preferences page. By default, all Slack notifications are set to never be sent.

All notifications are received via message from the Slack App. Notifications include the name of the course and the notification type (e.g. new assignment, submission comment). Users must access Canvas directly to view the full information. Please see Production Release: Slack Integration for images.

Updated Features

Analytics

New Course and User Analytics

The existing course and user analytics links and pages are deprecated. The New Course and User Analytics functionality is available in all courses. This change allows institutions to preview new Course and User Analytics in their courses before they are enabled by default for all institutions on 21 March 2020.  For more information about new course and user analytics, please see the Canvas Release: New Course and User Analytics document.

(This will be enabled for Rutgers Canvas on January 6, 2020)

Conferences

BigBlueButton Interface Private Chat Restriction

The BigBlueButton interface supports restricting viewers from creating private chat messages with other users. This change allows moderators to manage private chats within BigBlueButton conferences.

Canvas Conferences gives instructors (moderators) the ability to prevent students from seeing and interacting with each other in the Users list. When the lock setting for “See other viewers in the Users list” is enabled, students can only see themselves and the instructor in the conference, and students can only send moderators a private chats (not other students).

If this option is enabled by a moderator, users can send private chat messages to any user in the conference.

For additional details about this functionality, please see the BigBlueButton Lock Viewers guide.

For all chat messages, the chat displays the name of the user who is typing under the chat text field. Please see Production Release Notes: BigBlueButton Interface Private Chat Restriction for images.

User Settings

CSV Report Localization

In User Settings, the feature options to manage international preferences of byte-order mark, semicolons, and field separators are supported in account-level Outcome Results and Student Competency reports and the Learning Mastery Gradebook Export report. Additionally, the feature option descriptions have been updated to clarify the options apply to any compatible spreadsheet export. This change allows users to view commas and special characters in any compatible spreadsheet export that supports the functionality. Previously only Gradebook exports were supported.

In User Settings, the feature options to manage byte-order mark, semicolons, and field separators were previously identified as supported in Gradebook exports only. The wording has been updated to identify the functionality being supported in any compatible spreadsheet export.

For admins, the user feature options apply to the account-level Outcome Results and Student Competency reports, and for both admins and instructors, the user feature options apply to the Learning Mastery Gradebook Export report.

CSV export compatibility in Canvas must be added by Canvas engineering teams individually; future support for additional spreadsheet exports will be announced in future releases.

Other Updates

Navigation

Menu Visibility

The Admin, Course, and User Navigation Menus have been updated to include color and visual indicators to define active menu items. Additionally, the Course Navigation Menu includes tooltip indicators to clarify inactive menu items. No functionality has been affected. This change helps improve accessibility in Canvas. Previously the inactive links displayed in light gray text with a light border, which did not fulfill contrast ratios. Additionally, active and inactive links only relied on color to convey information.

When a user accesses a supported menu, all inactive links are displayed in the account’s primary color. The active link is displayed in black and includes a vertical line. The hover state for a link includes an underline by default (when high contrast mode is not already enabled). When selected, the link displays a focus state with a 2px border.

Default links that are not visible to students display the hidden visibility icon.

Note: No existing functionality has been affected with this change. Third party LTI tools are not included in the course sidebar unless they are visible in the course.

Pages are not visible to a student in one of two cases: a page contains no content, or a page is hidden via the Navigation tab in Course Settings. Tooltip content clarifies the hidden state appropriately.

Please see Production Release Notes: Menu Visibility for images.

New Gradebook

Post Policy Icon Updates

The word Manual displays in the assignment header to indicate the assignment is set with the Manual Posting Policy. Additionally, the outlined Visibility icon only displays when entered grades need to be posted. This change helps simplify the number of icons related to the manual posting policy and provide icon consistency throughout Canvas.

When an assignment is set with the Manual Posting Policy, the outlined Visibility icon has been replaced with the word Manual. This change clarifies the policy status, not the grade status, which aligns consistency with other statuses that display in the Gradebook—Unpublished, Moderated, and Anonymous.

Assignments set with the Automatic Posting Policy do not include any additional indicator aside from the point value.

The outlined Visibility icon only displays once grades have been entered into the Gradebook that need to be posted. This change mimics the icon displayed in the Total column and replaces the solid icon, which is no longer used. Additionally, the icon is no longer associated with the primary color of a custom Canvas theme and always displays outlined in black and white to ensure consistency throughout Canvas, such as in SpeedGrader.

Please see Production Release Notes: Post Policy Icon Updates for images.

Canvas Deploy Notes (2019-09-11)

Canvas deploys contain code changes that are intended to fix bugs, improve performance, and prepare for new features, but they do not affect user workflows. These deploys take place every two weeks. Intended changes in workflow are noted in the Canvas Release Notes published monthly.

Deploy notes include notable fixed bugs and additional updates that do not affect user functionality. View the full Deploy Notes (2019-10-09) and Deploy Notes (2019-10-23).