ID #1308

Canvas Release Notes 2/20/16

Canvas Release Notes  February 20, 2016


Crocodoc Student Feedback Document Review

When an instructor adds Crocodoc annotations to a student’s submission, instructors can view if the student has viewed the feedback. This change does not affect any student behavior in Canvas.

Students view Crocodoc feedback by viewing the submission details page and click the View Feedback button.

Note: Crocodoc only supports specific file types, such as Microsoft Word and PDF documents. If a student submission does not support Crocodoc, SpeedGrader renders the document in the Canvas document previewer and the submission details page shows the Preview button.

Student View


Instructor View





Graph Enhancements

Account, course, and user analytics graphs have been improved for accessibility and readability; changes do not affect current functionality.

The Activity by Date graphs show the number of page views and participation activity by date. The graphs have been changed to display light and dark bars for contrast instead of bars with similar brightness. Specific participations and page views can be viewed by hovering over the date.

In the Courses page, all explanatory text that was shown to the left side of each graph has been replaced with a summary key directly above the graph. Additionally, because the page includes breadcrumb text, the course name at the top of the page has also been removed for redundancy.


The Submissions graphs use different colors and shapes to distinguish missing, late, and on-time assignment submissions. Specific percentages for each submission status can be viewed by hovering over the assignment. The Courses page shows submissions for all students; the users page shows the submissions for each individual student, as well as future assignments that are not due yet.

Courses Page


Users Page


The Grades graphs have a more simplified Y axis with fewer point lines only displayed on the left side of the graph. The percentile color has also been updated for better accessibility contrast. The users page shows individual performance for each and whether the student received a good, fair, or poor grade.

Courses Page



Users Page



In the Courses page, the individual student graph at the end of the page has been replaced with numerical data. Submission data is identified individually as the number of assignments that were on time, late, or missing. Data also includes the student’s current score in the course. The page views, participations, and current score columns can be filtered in ascending or descending order.

Announcements: Announcement Likes in Student Replies

When an instructor creates an announcement, they can choose to allow students to like a reply. This feature is only applicable to courses that allow students to respond to announcements. When a student responds to an announcement, other students can view and click the like icon below the reply.

Announcements mirror the functionality of Discussions in that instructors can set other options for liking as part of the announcement settings. They can choose to allow only graders in the course to like an announcement reply and sort replies by the number of likes.



Assignments: External Tool URL

When an instructor created an External Tool assignment submission, previously instructors could only add an External URL by clicking the URL field. This functionality has been improved by allowing a direct URL to be entered in the link field. Instructors can still locate an External Tool by clicking the Find button.



Dashboard: Sidebar Enhancements

Dashboard sidebar content includes more white space and enlarged font sizes for better readability. All sidebar areas include the name of the course, and assignments also include the total number of points.

The Coming Up section includes the specific date of the assignment or event instead of the day of the week. Additionally, any assignments that have already been graded include the assignment score.
For instructors, the To Do list assignment icons are replaced with an indicator representing the number of submissions that require grading. The indicator matches the primary color of the account's theme as set in the theme editor.




Grades: Grade Sorting

When students view the Grades page, they can sort grades by due date, module, assignment title, or assignment group. By default, sorting is by due date.  If modules or assignment groups aren’t used in a course, they won’t be included as sorting options.



Outcomes: Single Calculation Methods

When calculating a decaying average, outcomes creates a calculation when only one assessment has been made. Previously the calculation wouldn’t return a calculation unless two submissions had been made.




Additionally, when calculating for n number of times, outcomes supports a calculation that is set to achieve mastery only once.




Quizzes: Quiz Statistics Updates

The Quiz Statistics page has been updated for accessibility. The overall statistics graph no longer includes an option to view a specific segment. Instead, the graph includes a Y axis that indicates the percentage of students who received a specific score.




Question breakdown graphs have been changed to display horizontal bars with question responses, the number of respondents, and the percentage of students who selected each response. Correct answer responses include a check mark, while no answer responses are indicated by a striped bar. For responses that show a discrimination index, the index displays the number but no longer displays the associated graph.




User Interface: Font Sizes

The user interface has been updated to support relative font sizes throughout Canvas. This change does not apply to any specific text sizes as noted in HTML, vendor libraries’ css, or through font size editing in the Rich Content Editor.


For details about using Canvas APIs, please see


API Page

The Canvas API page has been revised to help users better view API calls and documentation. Request parameters are shown in columns for easier readability. To access the beta API page, visit [institution]



Multiple Grading Period IDs

When using multiple grading periods, the Courses API and Users API includes the current grading period ID. This parameter can be viewed as part of the following endpoints:

  • /api/v1/courses
  • /api/v1/courses/:course_id
  • /api/v1/users/:user_id/courses
  • /api/v1/users/self/favorites/courses

Fixed Bugs



The Account, Course, and User Analytics pages in Canvas have been updated to address multiple accessibility for both screen readers and keyboard users regarding color, sorting options, navigational cues, and focus indicators. Analytics pages display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.


When displaying a grade as a GPA Scale or Letter Grade, the Help icon and View Grading Scheme links are accessible for keyboard users.

All settings for an assignment include an assignment-specific identifier for screen readers.


The Calendar radio button roles function as tabs.

The mini calendar on the right sidebar shows a black highlight with white text for the current day and black outlines around days with events.

Calendar event buttons behave as buttons instead of links.

When keyboard users navigate through date and time fields, field contents are selected instead of the cursor being placed at the end of the tabbed field.


In the legacy UI, the Dashboard sidebar needs grading text for instructors displays in 12px. In the new Canvas UI, the text has been replaced by a numbered indicator.


When an attachment is removed from a discussion, focus is retained on the Choose File field.


The Message Students Who feature includes a label for screen readers. Additionally, when an instructor selects the grade cutoff score, focus is retained in the score field.

The toggle to expand or collapse a grade history chart includes an aria-expand attribute.

The screen reader warning that tells users the Gradebook Grid View is not accessible has been changed from red to blue.

In Individual View, the fixed width for the complete/incomplete assignment type column has been removed and displays the words Complete, Incomplete, and Excused.

The Gradebook includes a keyboard shortcut icon.


When a keyboard user deletes a prerequisite, focus is retained on the previous prerequisite; if no prerequisites exist, focus is retained on the Add Prerequisite button. When a requirement is deleted, focus is retained on the previous requirement; if no requirements exist, focus is retained on the Add Requirement button.


Keyboard users can edit a module, cancel editing a module, delete a module, cancel deleting a module, and move a module via the Move To menu.


The Outcomes page buttons are focused from left to right. Additionally, the <a> style buttons have been changed to <button> tags.

Using the Space bar on an outcome or outcome group selects the outcome or outcome group.

The Outcomes Back button retains keyboard navigation in the list of outcomes and groups. Additionally, the Back button at the top of the Outcomes page resets focus to the New Outcome button.


The Discrimination Index button in the stats page is accessible to keyboard users.

The Quiz taking page does not include any italics <i> tags that wrap around screen reader tags 

When users take a quiz with one quiz question at a time, screen readers only read the Next or Previous buttons once.

The Quiz statistics page has been updated to address multiple accessibility issues for keyboard users regarding question breakdowns, hover content, and color.

Using the Enter key on the question bank bookmark icon retains focus on the bookmark icon.

When a question is moved or copied to another question bank, focus is set on the dialog’s close button.

Fill-in-Multiple-Blank questions do not include a skip to question text link.

In question banks, the header and text body of questions are not included in the tab order. When a question bank includes more than two pages, the headers are displayed as links in the tab order. Clicking a heading should retain focus and expand the question details.

Multiple Dropdown questions do not contain drop-down options once the quiz has been submitted.

Rich Content Editor

The toolbar insert/edit image button is accessible to keyboard users to navigate and select images from the Canvas tab.

After searching, using the Enter key on a Flickr image sets the focus on the image alt field.

The media recording dialog includes a message indicating that screen reader users can upload pre-recorded media to avoid using flash.

To distinguish the selected color, the text color and background color icons display a focus indicator for keyboard users.


Keyboard focus is not applied to content where there are no actions to be taken.

Using the Enter key on the Add Rubric button sets the focus in the rubric title field.

When a rating is deleted, focus is set to the next available rating edit button. 


Analytics Date Labels

When course data is consolidated into weeks or months, the analytics tooltip updates the content appropriately.

Explanation: When a course used dates that spanned longer than a few weeks, analytics displayed as weekly bars, but the text description indicated the bars were shown by day. This behavior occurred because the bars collapsed into weeks without updating the tooltip data. Canvas code has been updated to identify content when graph data is consolidated.


External Tool Submissions

Assignments set as an External Tool submission must include a URL.

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment shell with an external tool assignment type and did not include a URL, the assignment was able to be saved. However, when the assignment was copied, trying to view the assignment generated a page error. This behavior occurred because the assignment never included a URL to the external tool. Canvas code has been updated for assignments with no URLs to notify the user that the external tool settings were not valid.

Assignment Group Weights and Designer Roles

Designers can update Assignment group weights in a course.

Explanation: When a user with the Designer role tried to update an Assignment group weight, Canvas did not update the change. This behavior occurred because Canvas was saving the course with a grading standard ID attribute, even though it wasn’t affected by changes to group weights, and Canvas does not allow users to change grading standards without the Manage Grades permission. Canvas code has been updated to allow designers to update group weights and only update grading standards if a grading standard is actually being changed by a user with the correct permissions.

Firefox Browser and Assignment Points

Students can view the points possible for an assignment in Firefox.

Explanation: When a student viewed Canvas using the Firefox browser and viewed the assignment page, the points possible for each assignment was faded out. This behavior occurred because of a conflict with the CSS class. Canvas code has been updated to show assignment points possible to students in Firefox.

New Outcomes

Instructors can create new outcomes from an assignment.

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment, added a rubric, chose to find an outcome, and then created a new outcome, the page displayed an error message. This behavior occurred because of incorrect linking to the outcomes page. Canvas code has been updated to display the outcomes page when creating a new outcome.

Passwords and SIS IDs

Users with SIS IDs whose institutions use external SSO and Canvas authentication can reset their passwords.

Explanation: When an institution configured Canvas authentication and an external SSO provider, users with SIS IDs were unable to change their Canvas authentication passwords in the Forgot Password page. This behavior occurred because Canvas was unable to determine if the login was associated with the Canvas authentication or the SSO provider, with the assumption that the login was for the SSO provider. Canvas code has been updated to allow users to reset their passwords if the login is associated with Canvas authentication. Currently logins can only be associated via SIS import or the API.


Courses List and Instructor Enrollments

Users who are added to a future course with an instructor role can only view the course in the Courses list.

Explanation: When an admin created courses in a future term and restricted term access dates for instructors, users who were given an instructor role were able to view the courses in the Global Navigation Courses list, even if the courses were not set by the user as a favorite. Instructors were able to view the courses but could not access the courses. This behavior occurred because the courses were not verifying the term access date set for instructors. Canvas code has been updated to enforce term date restrictions for instructor course access.


Graded Discussion Attachments and Student File Quota

Student attachments uploaded in a graded discussion do not apply to the user’s file quota.

Explanation: When instructors allowed students to add attachments to discussions, and a student added an attachment to a graded discussion, the attachment was counting toward the user file quota. If the user quota had been exceeded, students were unable to attach files to their discussion posts. This behavior occurred because Canvas was not differentiating graded discussions as an assignment submission type; assignment submissions are not included against a user’s quota. Canvas code has been updated to not count student attachments in a graded discussion toward the user’s quota. This fix was deployed to production on February 16.


Storage Quota and Adding Files

Adding a file to user, course, or group files updates the quota respectively.

Explanation: When a user uploaded a file to user, course, or group files, the quota was not updating according to the added file size. This behavior occurred because Canvas was not refreshing the quota after uploading a file. Canvas code has been updated to calculate the quota after any appropriately calculated files are uploaded.


Gradebook Imports and Multiple Grading Periods

When using multiple grading periods, instructors can add an edit assignments to a Gradebook CSV file without due dates. 

Explanation: When a course or account included a grading period set in the future, grading imports were not able to create new assignments for undated assignments. This behavior occurred because the CSV file did not support new assignments in multiple grading periods. Canvas code has been updated to add new assignments in a CSV file to the last grading period available.

Multiple Grading Periods and Admin Permissions

Admins with the Manage Courses and View All Grades permissions can view a course Gradebook using multiple grading periods.


Explanation: Some admins were not able to view grades in a course with multiple grading periods. This behavior occurred if the admin did not have the Manage Assignments and Quizzes permission. Canvas code has been updated to allow an admin to view grades if they have the Manage Courses account permission and View All Grades course permissions.

Account Multiple Grading Periods and Course Gradebook Sorting

Multiple Grading Periods created at the account level do not affect course Gradebook sorting.

Explanation: When an admin created multiple grading periods at the account level where one grading period is in the past, instructors and TAs were not able to sort their course Gradebooks according to their preferred column arrangement as assignments were always being sorted by creation date. This behavior occurred because the visible columns were displaying according to the parent columns. Canvas code has been updated to honor sorting preferences in the course Gradebook when multiple grading periods are enabled.

Q Icon

Instructors cannot change the state of a quiz by clicking the Q icon.

Explanation: When an instructor clicked the Q icon in the Gradebook for a quiz that needed grading, the Gradebook assigned all pending submissions with a score of zero. This behavior occurred because of a change made in the October 31, 2015, release that allowed the Q icon to be removed by entering zero as a grade. Canvas code has been updated to not change the state of a quiz by clicking the Q icon.

Negative Fudge Points

SpeedGrader does not add fudge points when an instructor manually grades quiz questions.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed a quiz in the Gradebook, clicked the comments icon, and clicked the More Details link to view the quiz in SpeedGrader, manually grading the quiz cause the point values to be added as negative fudge points, which were being subtracted from the quiz total. This behavior occurred because of a change made in the October 31, 2015, release. Canvas code has been updated to retain the correct grade for manually graded quizzes. 


Group Submission Comments

Students who submit a group assignment can leave comments in SpeedGrader, regardless of whether the comment is sent to the whole group.


Explanation: When a student submitted a group assignment and left a comment with the Send Comment to the Whole Group box unchecked, the comment was not appearing in SpeedGrader. Additionally, if the student commented from the submissions page without checking the box, the comment also was not appearing in SpeedGrader. Instructors could still view all comments, and students who commented without being the submitter also had their comments posted. This behavior occurred because Canvas only associated group comments with the submission. Canvas code has been updated to apply all comments associated with the group submission ID.


The next release schedule:

  • Beta release and notes: February 29
  • Production release notes: March 7
  • Production release and documentation: March 12

 The full list of updates is found here: Canvas Release Notes 2/20/16

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