ID #1289

Canvas Production Release Notes - 12/20/14

The following notes have been released by Canvas for updates that will take place beginning December 20, 2014.

Conversations: Assignment Link in Submission Comments

When users filter Conversations by Submission Comments, the name of the course assignment links to the assignment. This link helps users directly access the assignment submission and view any associated attachments that may be part of the submission comment.

Files: Redesign

Files has been redesigned for a more improved user experience. The new files redesign allows users to view more details about their files, manage editing permissions, and preview files. In addition, Files is fully accessible for all keyboard users and screen readers..

Files is fully searchable by file name and offers quick access to add a folder or upload a file. The left panel shows all folders for quick navigation. Clicking the name of a folder displays all the contents of the folder in the right panel. For each file, users can view and sort files by name, the date the file was created and modified, the name of the person who modified the file (if modified by another user), and the size of the file. Files can also be published and unpublished within Files.

Note: Currently, files can only be published and unpublished within the Files page. If a file is placed in a Module, Modules only displays the state of the file; you cannot directly publish or unpublish files within the module itself.

Additionally, Files is built with responsive design to adjust for browser scaling. The folder navigation window, file displays, and even file names adjust to the width of the browser window.

 

Files can be uploaded and previewed without the use of Flash. Users can view a queue of uploaded files and their status. To upload a file, click the Upload button, or drag and drop a file from the computer desktop.

When a file is selected, Files displays the file toolbar at the top of the window. Users can download the file, edit the file name, share the file, delete the file, and move the file to another location. Users can also edit permissions for files, including setting the state of the file (published or unpublished), schedule availability dates for the files, or make files available to students who have the link. Users can also download, rename, move, or delete a file using the Settings icon for each individual file. Users can select and manage multiple files at one time.

 

To move a file, users can also drag and drop the file into different file folders. Files will display the icon for the file type that is being moved.

To view a file, click the file name. Files can also be previewed by clicking anywhere on the file information and clicking the View button in the toolbar. Files displays any file type that is compatible with the document previewer in Canvas. The preview displays the file and file information details, as well as a link to download the file.

 

Gradebook: Sortable Name

Instructors can view names in the Gradebook by sortable name. Sortable name displays as last name, first name. Click the column header to sort names in ascending or descending order.

Note: The Sortable Name display is a course-level feature option, which means that once it is enabled by the institutional admin, the feature can be enabled by instructors on a course-to-course basis.

When enabled, this feature also applies to the Individual View Gradebook.

 

Updated Features

Groups: Student Leader Management

Student can manage their groups when they are assigned to be a group leader. When students visit their groups page, and the New Students Groups account feature option is enabled, any group where the student is a group leader displays a group icon and a manage link next to the group name.

Managing the group allows the student to manage all the users in the group and add or remove members as necessary. The student can also edit the group name. However, student leaders cannot change the group limit.


Canvas Interface: Buttons and Tabs

As part of our interface redesign, all buttons and tabs throughout Canvas include an updated interface with better accessibility support. More information can found in our Styleguide at canvas.beta.instructure.com/styleguide.

Here is a breakdown of the design changes:

  • Buttons include more padding and flat background colors. The new buttons are slightly larger than the previous buttons, and the dated gradient backgrounds have been removed in favor of simple solid colors. Although the gradients are gone, the base color of each button has remained the same. We’ve also done some tweaking to our colors in order to make sure the button background-to-text contrast is in line with WCAG guidelines for visually impaired users.
  • Form inputs now have more padding to match button styles. To match the button styles, we have also increased the size of some standard form inputs (text inputs, select boxes, etc.)
  • Tabs also include an updated look with no gradients. No outlines are included except when hovering over the tab name.  

No actual button or tab functionality will be affected by this work—this is a purely visual change. However, if you have changed the appearance of your buttons via custom CSS, please check to ensure your styles work with the new buttons.

Groups: Improvements

The Groups Page has been optimized for better loading speed and search capabilities. These changes provide a better user experience for all users and improves support for courses with a large number of groups and groups sets.

Fixed Bugs: Accessibility

The following accessibility concerns have been resolved within Canvas:

Announcements

  • The Announcements Rich Content Editor displays a help icon for keyboard shortcuts.
  • Announcements displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Assignments

  • Assignment due dates can be read by screen readers.
  • The Assignments Rich Content Editor displays a help icon for keyboard shortcuts.

Calendar

  • The Calendar Event Rich Content Editor displays a help icon for keyboard shortcuts.

Conversations

  • The message list hierarchy includes H2 and H3 tags and can be read by screen readers and keyboard users.
  • Conversations displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Course Home Page

  • The Course Home Page displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Course Imports

  • Import status for quizzes and courses can be read by screen readers.

Discussions

  • The Discussions Rich Content Editor displays a help icon for keyboard shortcuts.
  • Discussions displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

ePortfolios

  • ePortfolios display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Modules

  • The Modules Index page retains proper focus on all elements.
  • External Tools are accessible to screen readers and keyboard users.
  • When a user creates a new assignment without a name, Canvas generates an error message. Screen readers can view the reason for the assignment failure.

Pages

  • The Pages Rich Content Editor displays a help icon for keyboard shortcuts.
  • The Pages sidebar displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Quizzes

  • Quizzes displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

Syllabus

  • The Syllabus Rich Content Editor displays a help icon for keyboard shortcuts.

User Profile

  • Information in the Bio and Links fields are accessible to screen readers.

Analytics: User Analytics

User analytics page displays accurate page views and participations.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed the user analytics page, the analytics did not match the participations seen on the graph. Canvas code has been updated to display participations by hour rather than by day.

 

Assignments: Assignments Index Page

When an assignment is reordered via drag and drop, the arrow icon does not change.

Explanation: When an assignment is reordered via drag and drop, the icon drag handle was being overwritten with a mini handle icon. This behavior occurred because the page command was not being applied correctly. Canvas code has been updated to confirm functionality and retain proper icon.

Assignments: Assignment Names

Long assignment names wrap entire words to the next line.

Explanation: If an assignment name contained more than 90 characters, the name would wrap in the middle of a word instead of after the word. This behavior occurred because of a break in the word break CSS property. Canvas code has been updated to wrap complete words when part of long assignment names.

 

Grades: Hide Totals in Student Grades Summary

Hiding totals in the Student Grades Summary applies to the course.

Explanation: When an instructor selects the Hide totals in student grades summary checkbox, the setting was not being applied to the course correctly. This behavior occurred because when the course settings were saved, the page was not reloading correctly to allow the option to be applied. Canvas code has been updated to apply the setting when applied to the course.

Dashboard: Recent Activity Stream

When a course activity or assignment is deleted from a course, the associated notification is also deleted from the Recent Activity Stream.

Explanation: When an instructor created a course activity or assignment and then deleted the item from the course, the Recent Activity Stream was not removing the notification for that item. This behavior most commonly occurred between cross-listed courses and affected the Activity Stream on both the Course Dashboard and the User Dashboard. Canvas code has been updated to refresh the Activity Stream after an item has been deleted.

Discussions: Discussion Replies

Instructors can create replies for a discussion topic, regardless of the state of the discussion.

Explanation: When an instructor edited an unpublished discussion or closed an active discussion topic, the instructor was not able to reply to the discussion. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructors and other with permission to create replies for a discussion topic. Additionally, instructors can unpublish a discussion topic if no students have replied (formerly discussions could not be unpublished if anyone had replied to the topic).

Files: Inaccessible File Links

Students who try to view an inaccessible file link are told to contact their instructor.

Explanation: When a student tried to view a file URL that was inaccessible, the file generated a vague file error. Inaccessible file URLs most commonly occurred when pages or assignments within a course included raw URL file links instead of creating the links through the Content sidebar. Raw URL links directed back to the previous course, which students could not longer access. Canvas code has been updated with a more specific error message for students to contact their instructors regarding inaccessible links.

Groups: Groups Page

The Groups page loads all data and the unassigned students list paginates automatically.

Explanation: The Groups page was not loading efficiently when a course contained multiple groups and group sets. Additionally, when an instructor viewed a group and dragged unassigned students into a group set, viewing more than the first 50 students in the unassigned list required the instructor to refresh the page before additional students would appear.  Canvas code has been updated to increase the number of unassigned students per page and optimize group page results.

Groups: Group Set Edits

Edits to a group set are applied to the group set.

Explanation: When an instructor edited a group set, some of the checkboxes were not able to be selected. This behavior occurred because the labels for each option were not consistently associated with the appropriate content. Canvas code has been updated with unique label IDs for each checkbox option.

Groups: Group Names

Group names are sorted naturally in numerical order.

Explanation: Within a group set, groups that were named numerically were not being sorted by natural number, such as group 10 directly following group 1. Canvas code has been updated to support correct sorting for numerically named groups.

Modules: URL Fields

Editing module items for content other than External URLs or External Tools does not create additional text fields.

Explanation: When an instructor edited a module item for content other than an External URL or an External Tool, the module produced an unnecessary URL field. Canvas code has been updated to hide the URL field for non-external content items.

Modules: Module Name Error

Modules displays an error message if an assignment is created without a name.

Explanation: When a user attempted to create a new assignment from the Module page without a name, Canvas generated an error that creating the assignment failed but gave no additional details. Canvas code has been updated to notify the user that a blank name cannot be used for an assignment.

Quizzes: Gradebook History

Gradebook History shows the name of users who manually update quiz scores.

Explanation: After an instructor (or other user with permission) changed the score of a quiz question, the Gradebook History was not showing the name of the user who changed the score. Canvas code has been updated to show the name of users who modify quiz grades.

Quizzes: Quiz Submissions

When students click the Take Quiz button, quiz submissions are created within Canvas.

Explanation: When a student clicked the Take Quiz button in their course, sometimes the quiz submission was not being created correctly. This behavior occurred because the quiz submission was being created in two steps, with the first step being interrupted. Canvas code has been updated to treat quiz submissions as an individual transaction.

Quizzes: Question Groups with Multiple Quiz Options

Quizzes that pull multiple question groups from a single bank do not generate a page error.

Explanation: Quizzes experienced page errors when an instructor created multiple question groups pulling from a single question bank, and then set the quiz options to One Question at a Time and Lock Questions After Answering. If all the question bank questions had been answered before the student reached the end of the quiz, the quiz generated a page error. Additionally, this behavior also caused inaccuracies with taking and grading quizzes. Canvas code has been updated to not pull quiz questions from the same question bank more than once for the same quiz.

Quizzes: Resume Quiz

Students are able to resume quizzes that are in process.

Explanation: If a student navigated away from the quiz and later returned to complete the quiz, the student was unable to resume the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to return to the quiz if a submission has not been created in Canvas for the student.

Quizzes: Formula Question

Formula questions allow zero to be an answer solution.

Explanation: When an instructor created a formula question, any question where the formula could generate a value of zero will always default to the non-zero answer (only positive or negative integers) and generated an error message. Canvas code has been updated to allow zero as a possible solution.

Quizzes: Blank Responses in Multiple Fill-in-the-Blank Questions

Multiple Fill-In-the-Blank Questions do not allow blank quiz responses.

Explanation: When an instructor created a Multiple Fill-in-the-Blank question and did not remove one of the blank responses for an answer, the blank field was being marked as a correct response as long as the additional field was filled in correctly. Canvas code has been updated to display a error message when attempting to save questions with blank responses.

Quizzes: Median Formula Question

Formula questions properly display results for median value.

Explanation: When an instructor added a median formula as part of a Formula quiz question, the median function was improperly sorting values and displaying the wrong answer. Canvas code has been updated to properly generate median formula responses and sort the list by function.

SpeedGrader

Hide Student Names

The Hide Student Names feature in SpeedGrader hides student names for all submission types.

Explanation: When an instructor chose to hide student names in SpeedGrader, student names were still showing at the top of the page for Discussions and Quizzes. Canvas code has been updated to hide student names for all submission types.

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