ID #1300

Canvas Release Notes - 8/8/2015

Canvas Release Notes August 8, 2015


New Features

People: Student Interactions Report Overview

Instructors who access the People page in their course have a corresponding button to the Student Interactions Report.



The Student Interactions Report shows an overview of the last interaction with each student in their course, in addition to the student’s current score, final score, and any ungraded assignments. Instructors can also access individual course access reports by clicking the name of a student.



The report can also be accessed by locating the name of an instructor, selecting the Settings icon, and selecting User Details. The Student Interactions Report link appears in the sidebar of the user details page.




Updated Features

Collaborations: Etherpad

Canvas no longer supports Etherpad as a collaboration tool. All existing Etherpad collaborations that are hosted by Canvas will be permanently deleted. As a product alternative, users can also create Google Docs collaborations in Canvas.

Gradebook: Excuse an Assignment in Individual View

In the Gradebook Individual View, instructors can excuse an assignment for a student. After an instructor selects the student and the assignment from the drop-down menus, instructors can excuse the assignment by clicking the Excuse an Assignment checkbox.



Grades:Total Column Decimals

In the Gradebook, if the Total Grade column is shown as a percentage, the percentage is rounded to two decimal places. The student Grades page also now shows the percentage rounded to two decimal places.
This change also retains two decimals in student view when an instructor uses percentage-weighted assignment groups in the Gradebook.



Quizzes: Quiz Item Analysis Calculation

Canvas has changed the minimum calculation method for quiz item analysis. Canvas Quiz Quiz item analysis will generate a Cronbach’s alpha score so long as there are two or more questions and the test variance is greater than zero. A variance greater than zero implies two or more submissions produce different scores. To maintain optimum course performance, the maximum values for calculation remain at 1000 submissions or 100 questions.  For instance, a quiz with 200 questions will not generate quiz statistics. However, a quiz with 75 questions will generate quiz statistics until the quiz has reached 1000 attempts.

This change resolves a fixed bug in Canvas:
Explanation: Canvas generated alpha data in the item analysis for quiz statistics with a minimum of 15 submissions. However, this minimum was creating data inconsistencies related to the number of quiz questions as related to submissions. Canvas code has been updated to calculate alpha data when there are two or more questions and variance is zero.

Rich Content Editor: Default Icons

The default Rich Content Editor icons have been updated for consistency and style. Updated icons include link to URL, embed image, insert math equation, and record/upload media. Icons added from LTI tools are not affected.


Fixed Bugs



Keyboard users cannot navigate to resizing controls that are available to screen readers.


When users select a file or multiple files to move to a folder, the generated alert reflects the number of selected files.


In Individual View, the grade summary for a student only displays once on the page.


When adding a user to a course and confirming the user, focus is retained on the Done button. 


Group Messages and Section-limited Roles

If a user role is limited to viewing users in a course section, sending a message to all members of a group only displays users who are part of the section.

Explanation: When a user whose role is restricted to viewing users in a course section sent a message to group members in a course, Conversations displayed the names of all users in the group, not just the ones that were part of the section. This behavior occurred because Conversations was not verifying group members and their respective section. Canvas code has been updated to only list the current members of a group within a section.

Course Imports

Answer Comment Symbols in Quizzes

Quiz answer comments containing > or < symbols are retained as part of a course copy.

Explanation: When an instructor created a quiz with > or < (greater than or less than) symbols in the answer comments, copying the course was not retaining the symbols. This behavior occurred because of an inconsistency in copying HTML characters. Canvas code has been updated to retain HTML characters in answer comments.

Closed Discussions

When a closed discussion is copied to a new course, selecting the Remove Dates course copy option removes the availability dates from the discussion.

Explanation: When an instructor closed a discussion, or if the discussion was closed because of availability dates, selecting the option to Remove Dates in a course copy still displayed the discussion as closed. This behavior occurred because course imports still retained the status of the discussion. Canvas code has been updated to verify the status of the discussion when removing dates for course imports.

Discussion Editing Setting

The discussion setting to let students edit or delete their own discussion post is retained in course imports.

Explanation: When an instructor copied a course into an existing course, the discussion editing setting was reversed in the course. For instance, if the setting was set to allow students to edit and delete their own discussion posts, after the course copy they could no longer perform the setting action. This behavior occurred the first time a course was copied into the existing course; all other copies were not affected. Canvas code has been updated to include this setting as a clonable attribute in course imports.

Discussion Group Categories

Group discussions are imported as group discussions.

Explanation: When an instructor created a group discussion and imported it into another course, the course copy did not retain the group discussion setting. This behavior occurred because Canvas did not verify the group setting. Canvas code has been updated to copy the group setting for group discussions.

Dashboard: Unenrolled Students and Assignment Notifications

Students who are removed from a course do not see assignment notifications.

Explanation: When a student was removed from a course, the student was still receiving assignment notifications on the dashboard. This behavior occurred because activity was not being filtered based on user status. Canvas code has been updated to remove notifications for unenrolled students.

Discussions: Grading Schemes

Graded discussions retain their set grading schemes.

Explanation: When an instructor created a graded discussion and assigned a custom grading scheme, the discussion used the default course scheme after saving the discussion. This behavior occurred because discussions were not rendering grading schemes for graded discussions. Canvas code has been updated to retain the set grading scheme.

Files: Folder Previews

Users can preview files inside course folders.

Explanation: When a user selected a folder icon and tried to preview the folder, the preview window would show that the file cannot be found. This behavior occurred because folders were not supported in file previews. Canvas code has been updated to show a folder icon when previewing folders. 

Groups: Adding Students in Unpublished Courses

Instructors can add students to groups in unpublished courses.

Explanation: When instructors created groups in an unpublished course and tried to add students to the groups, Canvas would not allow the students to be added. This behavior occurred because Canvas was verifying enrollment in the course, which was true, but also permission to view the group’s course, which was false. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructors to add students to groups in unpublished courses. This fix was deployed to production on July 28.

Modules: Term-concluded Courses

Instructors in term-concluded courses can view unpublished modules.

Explanation: When a course has concluded from term dates, instructors who tried to view unpublished module items and pages received an error message. This behavior occurred because instructors could only view unpublished items if they had the Manage Content permission. Canvas code has been updated to replace the permission with a user role default to view unpublished items.

Module Progression with Excused Assignments

Excusing an assignment fulfills the module completion requirement for assignments, quizzes, and discussions. 

Explanation: When an instructor excused a student from an assignment, module progressions was only fulfilling the Must Submit requirement for assignments. Any other module item requirement type remained locked. This behavior occurred because excused assignments was not correctly factoring the module requirement types relating to discussions and quizzes. Canvas code has been updated to fulfill all module completion requirements for the assignment type.

Pages: New Pages

Users can add, edit, and view pages with titles that include the word new.

Explanation: When a user created a page with new in the title, Canvas generated a page not found error. The page could be viewed in the page listing, but it could not be viewed or edited. This behavior occurred because the page title conflicted with the command of creating a new page. Canvas code has been updated to support new pages with related titles.

People: Observers in Multiple Sections

Observers always display in the course list on the People page.

Explanation: If an observer was enrolled in multiple course sections while observing no students, the observer disappeared in the list of course users. This behavior occurred because observer display was only associated with observing users. Observers could still be viewed by filtering the Observer role. Canvas code has been updated to always display observers regardless of linked students. If observers are not following any users, the role will display as Observing: Nobody.

Permissions: Manage Wiki (Pages)

Users can view unpublished pages with the Manage Wiki permission.

Explanation: If a custom account admin was granted the Manage Courses permission, the custom admin could view all unpublished content throughout the course except in the Pages index page. This behavior occurred because the Manage Wiki permission was required with the Manage Courses permission to view unpublished pages on the index page though pages were still accessible directly. Canvas code has been updated to remove the viewing right from Manage Courses permission and add it to the Manage Wiki permission.

Quizzes: Question Groups and Negative Points

Canvas does not allow negative points in quiz question groups.

Explanation: When an instructor used a quiz group to create a negative point value and published the quiz, Canvas allowed students to complete the quiz. This behavior occurred because quiz question groups were not verified for negative point values. These negative-point quizzes were not able to be deleted unless the point value was first edited. Canvas code has been updated to restrict users from creating question groups with negative values.

Quiz Take Button and Section Dates

Canvas verifies section end dates for quiz availability in concluded courses.
Explanation: When an instructor created course section dates that overrode the course or term dates, active section dates were applied to all course components except quizzes. Students with active section dates but concluded course or term dates were not able to view a Take this Quiz button that provided no result. This behavior occurred because sections were incorrectly set for verification. Canvas code has been updated to redefine logic for quiz eligibility.

Next release schedule:

  • Beta release and notes: August 17
  • Production release notes: August 24
  • Production release and documentation: August 29


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