Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) - Canvas
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Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18)

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 (January 18), users may associate their user profiles with pronouns. The New Gradebook, Course Card Images, Rubric Criterion Range, and Student Context Card feature options will be turned on for all institutions and will no longer be optional in Canvas. These changes were previously included in Upcoming Canvas Changes.

In the New Gradebook, the Student Name column includes additional sorting options. Additionally, for assignments with a manual posting policy, comments can be posted without a grade.

Feature Options

  • The Direct Share feature option allows instructors to copy individual course items to another course and share individual items with other users.
  • The Rich Content Editor feature option enables instructors to allow the New Rich Content Editor in Canvas courses. The current Rich Content Editor is deprecated.

External Tools (LTI)

  • For courses using New Quizzes, the New Quizzes Settings menu allows answers to be shuffled for each student in supported quizzes, and users can search course outcomes within New Quizzes.
  • For courses using the Attendance tool, instructors can choose to omit the Attendance assignment from the course final grade directly in the Attendance Settings menu.

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 (January 18), and its accompanying screencast. The next release will be on February 15, 2020.

New Features

Assignments

Direct Share

Instructors can copy individual course items to another course and share individual items with other users. This change allows instructors to copy and share content directly in Canvas without having to use a secondary repository like Commons. Please see Canvas Release: Direct Share for full details and images.

Permissions

Users who want to share content directly must have the Course Content – add / edit / delete permission. At the account level, account admins have this permission by default.  At the course level, TA, Teacher, and Designer-based roles have this permission by default. Some Rutgers Canvas course roles do not have this permission enabled. Please see review Canvas roles and permissions.

Course-Level Features

In Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages, instructors can copy content to another course and share individual content items with another user.  Please see  Canvas Release: Direct Share – Course-Level Features for images. The menu for individual content items also include the Send To and Copy To links.

Note: If the content being shared or copied includes other content in the course (such as a quiz that includes a file), only the direct content item selected for sharing/copying will be included. The additional files must be shared/copied individually.

Send Content

The Send To option is used to send content to another user. Users can search for other users via email address as it appears in the recipient’s Canvas profile. Content can only be sent to users with instructor-based roles who can manage course content. Users can be identified by typing at least the first three letters of a user’s name in the search field. Search results display users by name and email address. Select the name of the user when it appears.

Please see Canvas Release: Direct Share – Send Content for images.

The same content may be sent to more than one user by adding other users individually. When all users have been added and the content has been sent, the window confirms the content has been shared successfully.

Copy Content

The Copy To option is used to copy content to another course. Instructors can only copy content to their own courses. Admins can copy content to any course in the account.

To copy content, locate the course where the content should be copied by typing at least the first three letters of a course name in the search field. Search results display courses by name. Select the name of the course when it appears. The content can be placed within a specific module in the course, if applicable. This menu is optional.

To use the module option, type at least the first three letters of the module in the search field. Search results display modules by name. Select the name of the module when it appears.

When all fields have been completed and the content has been copied, the window confirms the content copy process has started successfully. The content may take a few minutes to display in the selected course.

Please see Canvas Release: Direct Share – Copy Content for images.

User-Level Features

Any user who receives shared content from another user is notified about the content In the User Navigation Menu. Shared content is indicated in the user’s Account icon and also in the Shared Content link. Please see Canvas Release: Direct Share – User-Level Features for image.

Shared Content Page

Shared content items are listed in the page in reverse chronological order. Additionally, pagination is supported after a user has received 10 content shares. Each content item displays the title of the content, the type of content, the user who sent the content, and the date and time received.

Users can manage the content item within the page by clicking the Actions menu. Options include previewing the item, importing the item, or removing the item.

  • Preview: The user can preview the content item directly from the page. The content loads in the same window and the user can close the window after the content is reviewed.
  • Import: The user can import the content into a course using the same functionality as copying content to another course.
  • Remove: The user can remove the content from the page and take no action. A separate window will display to confirm the removal.

Content items are considered read once the user has selected an action for each content item. However, content items can be manually marked as read or unread by clicking the dot next to the item. Unread content items are displayed in the account’s primary color.

Please see Canvas Release: Direct Share – Shared Content Page for images.

Community Resources
Future Enhancements

The Canvas Release: Direct Share outlines existing functionality included in the initial release of this feature. The direct share functionality may continue to receive additional feature enhancements over future releases as indicated in Release Notes.

Updated Features

Attendance

Do Not Count Toward Final Grade Settings Checkbox

The Settings menu includes the option to not count the Attendance assignment toward the final grade. This change allows instructors to not count attendance toward the final grade without having to edit the assignment.

If instructors want to omit the Attendance assignment from the students’ final grade, they can open the Settings menu directly in the Attendance tool and select the checkbox to remove attendance from the final grade. Please see Canvas Release: Do Not Count Toward Final Grade Settings Checkbox for image.

Course Settings

Dashboard Course Card Feature Option Enforcement

Course cards in the Dashboard can contain an image as uploaded through Course Settings. As previously announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes for January 2020, this feature option is now enforced by Instructure.

The Course Settings menu includes an option to add an image to course cards. Images can be dragged and dropped into the browser window or uploaded from a computer. Accepted images include JPG, JPEG, GIF, and PNG files. Larger images may take a few seconds to process. Images can also be added from Unsplash. Once the Course Details page is saved, the Dashboard image displays in the course card behind the course color. The image also displays for instructors in their Card View Dashboard.

Students can view the course card image in their Card View Dashboard. As with all courses shown in the Dashboard and Calendar, instructors cannot control the course color. Colors are automatically assigned by Canvas, though students can change the course color at any time.

Please see Canvas Release: Dashboard Course Card Feature Option Enforcement for images.

New Gradebook

New Gradebook Feature Option Enforcement

The New Gradebook includes an improved user experience with additional filtering and sorting options, late and missing policies, and assignment posting policies. As previously announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes for January 2020, this feature option is now enforced by Instructure. This change brings an enhanced version of the Gradebook to all instructors.

For full details about the New Gradebook, please see the New Gradebook Resources list in the Canvas Community.

Postable Submission Comments

For assignments with a manual posting policy, comments can be posted without requiring a grade. This change allows students to view feedback from instructors before they receive a grade for an assignment.

In manual posting policy assignments, instructors can create comments in New Gradebook or SpeedGrader for a student submission and make them visible to students.

Once a comment is submitted, the Post Grades button can be used to post comments the same way as posting grades. The New Gradebook displays all submissions that will have grades and/or comments displayed to students, per the updated wording next to each posting option.

If the option to hide grades is selected for the assignment later on (for when the instructor is working on actual grading), comments will also be hidden until grades are reposted.

Note: For manual posting policy assignments, the hidden label displays at the top of the page to indicate the assignment is hidden when a grade is entered. However, when a comment is added in the Gradebook context tray and SpeedGrader, respectively, the page must be refreshed before the hidden label will display.

If a student’s submission has been posted by an instructor in the New Gradebook or SpeedGrader, the student can view the comment in the Grades page.  If the option to hide grades is selected for the assignment later on (for when the instructor is working on actual grading), comments will also be hidden until grades are reposted.

Please see Canvas Release: Postable Submission Comments for images.

Sort Options

The Student Name column includes additional sorting options. This change allows users to sort the New Gradebook by student name, SIS ID, Integration ID, and Login ID in ascending or descending order.

As part of sorting the Student Name column, instructors can select the Sort By option and not only sort by student name, but also by SIS ID, Integration ID, or Login ID. Each option can be ordered in ascending or descending order.

Please see Canvas Release: Sort Options for images.

New Quizzes

Answer Shuffling

Summary

The New Quizzes Settings menu allows answers to be shuffled for each student in supported quizzes. This change allows instructors to predetermine if students should get shuffled answers while taking the quiz.

Instructors can select the option to shuffle answers in the Settings menu. This option is a global setting that applies to multiple choice, multiple answer, and matching quiz questions.

Note: Shuffling answers does not guarantee the order is displayed differently to every student. Some students will receive the same answer order, depending on the number of answers for each question.

Please see Canvas Release: Answer Shuffling for image.

Outcomes Search

Users can search course outcomes within New Quizzes. This change allows users to search course outcomes when aligning outcomes to a new quiz or to individual quiz questions.

In New Quizzes and Item Banks, users can align quizzes and questions to outcomes with the Align Institution outcomes to this quiz or Align Institution outcomes to this question buttons.

Within the alignment page, users can enter a search term into the search box in order to find specific outcomes. The search term will search and return results with the designated term included in the name and/or description of the outcome.

Please see Canvas Release: Outcomes Search for images.

People

Student Context Card Feature Option Enforcement

For instructor (and admin) roles, links for users with student roles display a summary of student progress in the course. As previously announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes for January 2020, this feature option is now enforced by Instructure. This change allows instructors to view quick insights and context about a student from anywhere in Canvas.

When viewing anywhere in a course, instructors can click the name of a student and view a sidebar that shows quick insights and context about the student.

Context cards are meant to be a simplified overview of a student’s progress. The context is generated from grades in the Gradebook and standard page view and participation activity in course analytics. Mobile data is not included unless a user accesses Canvas directly through a mobile browser, or if a user accesses content within the mobile app that redirects to a mobile browser.

Context Card Users

Context cards are not supported for user names where the user is not a student (e.g. observer, TA, or other instructor). Clicking links for these user roles will always direct to the user’s details page or profile page (if the institution has enabled the Profiles feature).

Student context cards do not display for inactive students or students with pending course invitations. The pending status displays in the People page, while the inactive status can be displayed in Discussions, Announcements, the Gradebook, and SpeedGrader.

Context Card Details

Context cards can display the following details:

  • Profile picture (if applicable)
  • Student name or email: view the student’s user profile page
  • Mail icon: send a message directly to the student from the page
  • Course name and section: view the name of the course and section (section name only included for courses with multiple sections)
  • Last login: view the last login date (does not display if the student has never logged in); the card only displays the time when the login is on the current date, the day of the week when the login was within the current week, and the full date for any later logins
  • Grades: access the student’s grades page
  • Analytics: access the student’s analytics page (button only available to users with permission to view analytics)
    • If New Course and User Analytics is enabled, the button displays as New Analytics and directs to New Analytics data
  • Current grade: view current grade as displayed in the Gradebook (according to grading scheme)
    • For courses using Multiple Grading Periods, the context card only displays the grade for the current grading period; the card does not match the grade shown in any prior or future grading periods even if another grading period is selected in the Gradebook.
  • Number of missing assignments: view the total of missing assignments based on student analytics data, which generates data for both online and no-submission assignments in Canvas
    • For submissions not submitted online, assignment calculations may not be entirely accurate as they are attempted based on the assignment’s grade and when the assignment was graded
  • Number of late assignments: view the total of late assignments based on assignment due date
  • Number of last graded items in the course: view a maximum of the last 10 recently graded assignments with the assignment’s grade (shows according to grading scheme, but grades default to points if the grading scheme does not fit)
  • Participation activity compared to class: view the standard deviation of the student’s participation in the course compared to other students (none, low, moderate, or high)
  • Page views compared to class: view the standard deviation of the student’s page views in the course compared to other students (none, low, moderate, or high)
Context Card Link Locations

Context cards are supported anywhere in a Canvas course that displays a link to a student’s name. (They do not apply outside a course, such as in the Conversations Inbox.) No extra permissions are required for this feature; context cards are inherent specifically to instructor and admin roles.

In addition to the People page (course roster), frequent areas where student names display in courses include announcement and discussion replies, the Gradebook, and the Moderate page for moderated assignments.

Note: Context cards do not display for links that direct to group context (such as clicking the name of a group leader) and student links in Course Analytics pages, as they link to a student’s individual analytics page.

Please see Canvas Release: Student Context Card Feature Option Enforcement for images.

Rich Content Editor

Rich Content Editor Interface Enhancements

The New Rich Content Editor includes an improved user experience across Canvas courses. The existing Rich Content Editor is deprecated. Additionally, the New Rich Content Editor includes several updated features since it was first introduced in the beta environment in the 2019-10-19 release notes. This change allows institutions to enable the New Rich Content Editor for courses in the production environment before it is enabled by default for all institutions on 20 June 2020.

For more information about Rich Content Editor Enhancements, please see the Canvas Release: Rich Content Editor Enhancements document.

Rubrics

Rubric Criterion Range Feature Option Enforcement

Rubrics include a Range checkbox to create a point range for a criterion. As previously announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes for January 2020, this feature option is now enforced by Instructure. This change allows rubric criteria can include a point range instead of just an individual point value.

When the Range checkbox is allowed and selected, each rating displays a maximum and minimum point value. Ranges are managed the same way as non-range rubrics. Ratings can be divided, edited, and removed individually, and total point value changes automatically adjust for all rating values.

When a rubric is added to an assignment, range options are not displayed if the free-form comment option is selected.

In SpeedGrader, rubric values can be selected by an entire range. Students can also view the ranges in the assignment details page and when viewing the rubric in the Grades page. The first value in the range is assigned for the point value.

Please see Canvas Release: Rubric Criterion Range Feature Option Enforcement for images.

Users

Personal Pronouns

Users can associate their user profiles with pronouns. If a user selects a pronoun, the pronoun displays after the user’s name. This change allows users to select a pronoun that represents themselves for a course. Selected pronouns apply for the user in any course where the user is enrolled.

Users can visit their User Settings page, edit their settings, and select from the list of pronouns. Only pronouns set by the Rutgers Canvas admin can be selected; users cannot manually add their own pronouns.

Once a pronoun is selected by a user, the pronoun currently displays in the majority of Canvas course and user areas (as visible for each applicable role):

  • Account People page (admin)
  • Act as User page (admin)
  • Course Sections list (instructor)
  • Student Context Card (instructor)
  • SpeedGrader (instructor)
  • Assignment creation menu (instructor)
  • Assignment peer review page (instructor)
  • User Navigation Menu
  • User Settings page/User profile page
  • Inbox
  • Discussions
  • Course People page
  • Groups People page
  • Comment Fields

Note: LTI tools, such as New Quizzes and Analytics, do not currently support pronouns as they need to incorporate this feature in a future release.

Please see Canvas Release: Personal Pronounsfor images.

Platform/Integration

Theme Editor

Responsive Layout

Canvas provides a more responsive experience for content scrolling according to web accessibility initiative guidelines. This change ensures Canvas continues to meet accessibility guidelines for all Canvas users regarding the vertical and horizontal display of course content.

Please notify Rutgers Help if you notice user interface issues.


Canvas Deploy Notes (2020-01-15)

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 and 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 existing user functionality.  View full Deploy Notes (2020-01-15).