ID #1291

Canvas Release Notes 1/31/15

Canvas Release Notes - January 31, 2015

Assignments: Course and Term Date Validation

Instructors cannot create assignments, graded discussions, or quizzes with due dates and/or availability dates outside the start and end dates for the course or term. This feature helps instructors better manage all student coursework within the course schedule.


  • This feature does not apply to areas outside assignments, such as in the Calendar.
  • This feature currently only applies when editing an assignment. Our engineers are adjusting the behavior to apply to new assignments and should be available in beta before the January 31 production release.

When an instructor edits an assignment and clicks the Update Assignment button, Canvas validates any entered dates—assignment due date, available from date, and until date—against the course start and end dates and generates an error message for invalid date entries. This validation takes place for all dates, including varied due dates.

  • If an assignment does not contain any dates, the assignment availability defaults to the course start and end dates.
  • If the course does not include specified course start and end dates, Canvas validates the assignment against the term dates for the course.
  • This feature validates against the Users can only participate in the course between these dates checkbox for start and end dates in Course Settings.

Updated Features

Assignments: Assignment Point Value

When an existing assignment contains graded submissions and an instructor changes the points possible, Canvas displays a warning that changing the point value requires regrading the assignment. This warning message applies to any grading type with assignment submissions, including changing points from or to zero.


Note: If an assignment with graded submissions is changed to zero points, such as for extra credit, this feature does not change the way that zero-point assignments work with assignment groups.

Assignments: Availability Dates View for Students

Students can view any assignment availability dates on the assignments detail page, not just the Assignments Index Page. This feature also applies to discussions and quizzes.

Other Updates

Canvas Menus
As part of our interface redesign, Canvas drop-down menus, calendar menus, and menu windows include a slightly modified interface. More information can found in our Styleguide at

No actual functionality is affected by this work—these are purely visual changes. However, if you have changed the appearance of these components via custom CSS, please check to ensure your style work with the new designs.

New Drop-down Menu


New Calendar Menu



New Window Menu


Fixed Bugs

Accessibility: Calendar

The Calendar date arrows displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles. When a user closes event dialogs in Agenda View, keyboard focus returns to the event that originated the dialog.

Agenda View headings are labeled as headings. Additionally, keyboard users can view any headings that expand and collapse.

After deleting a current event, the focus changes to the next event; after deleting the last event, the focus changes to the Add Event button.

Accessibility: Course Navigation

Screen readers can read disabled or empty Course Navigation elements in Course Settings and see that no content has been added.

Accessibility: Course Setup Checklist

For reading navigation, the close button follows the content so that users can close the Course Setup Checklist with the Esc key.

Screen readers can read the Next Steps checklist and all content. Links are also searchable.

Keyboard users can access all links within the Next Steps checklist content.

Accessibility: Discussions

When a user creates a group discussion, screen readers can read the options for the group sets.

Accessibility: Files

When a user opens a new folder in the files list, screen readers can read the name of the folder. Screen readers can also tell that the file list has been updated.

Edit Display Name

Instructors cannot edit their display name through the API unless all users in the institution are granted the Users Can Edit Display Name permission at the account level.

Explanation: When an instructor attempted to modify their own display name, the name could be changed even if they did not have the permission to do so in the Canvas interface. Canvas code has been updated to separate permissions for reading a profile and renaming a profile, which ensures the admin role is the only one that can edit display names unless others are granted permission via Course Settings. Instructors can continue to view user profiles via the API endpoint without the permission.

Assignments: Observer Role

Users with an observer role view the Assignments Index Page the same way as users with a student role.

Explanation: When an observer viewed the Assignment Index Page, all assignments with a due date in the past were marked as overdue. However, from the student role, only the assignments that had a due date in the past and had not been submitted were identified as overdue, while those with a date in the past that had been submitted were identified as a past assignment. Canvas code has been updated so that observer users view the Assignments Index Page as student users.

Assignment Titles in Internet Explorer 10

Instructors using Internet Explorer 10 can view the full name of an assignment.

Explanation: When an instructor edits an assignment in Internet Explorer 10, the assignment name was being cut off in the field. Canvas code has been updated with increased padding for the assignment name field.

Courses: Course List

The first item in the Courses drop-down menu matches the width of all other drop-down cours names.

Explanation: The first course listed in the Courses drop-down menu contained a width that was not consistent with the other course names, truncating text for long course names. Canvas code has been updated with a revised style layout.

Courses: Home Page

Setting the Course Home Page to Assignments does not cause an error, and resizing the browser window does not obstruct the assignment links.

Explanation: When an instructor changed the Course Home Page to display Assignments, the Home Page was displaying an undefined value error. When the browser window was resized, the assignment links were not accessible because of a hidden element. Canvas code has been updated to confirm permissions through the Courses API to properly display course Assignments and support browser resizing.

Discussions: Due Dates

Discussion due date times set from the assignments page apply when viewing more discussions options.

Explanation: When an instructor added a graded discussion to an assignment group and set a due date time to anything other than 12:00 AM, clicking the More Options button reverted the time back to 12:00 AM on the discussion page. Canvas code has been updated to maintain the selected date and time.

Files: Zip Files

Canvas uploads ZIP files correctly.

Explanation: When a user uploaded a ZIP file along with additional files, the zip file was not uploading because the file was trying to be unzipped before the user was asked for their preference on how to upload the file. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the ZIP upload type (zip intact or unzip all files) before uploading.

Files: Folder List

When a user moves a folder using the Move To settings option, the folder moves to the new location.

Explanation: When a user moved a folder using the Move To settings option, the folder appeared in both its old and new locations within the folder list. Reloading the page showed the folder only in the new location. Canvas code has been updated to refresh the folder list after the folder has been moved. This fix was deployed to production on January 23.

Files: File Access Restriction Date

Files accepts and saves any manually entered date for file date restrictions.

Explanation: When an instructor entered a date to restrict student access to files, the date was not saving in the correct date format after the file was saved. Canvas code has been updated to accept any date format as part of file date restrictions.

Files: Folder Names

Folder names containing a number symbol (#) do not display a page error.

Explanation: When Better File Browsing is enabled as a course feature option, and a folder is created with a number symbol in the name, Files displayed a page error. Canvas code has been updated to no longer truncate all content after the # character to retain the entire link for the folder. This behavior was deployed to production on January 23.

Files: Hidden Links

Folders (and files in the folders) that are restricted as hidden but available with a link can be viewed by students with the link.

Explanation: When a file restriction was set to hidden but students could access the file with a link, students were not able to access the file. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the file permission and allow access as per the restriction.

Groups: Group Limits

Groups cannot contain fewer than two members in the group.

Explanation: When setting a limit on a group size, instructors could set the group to one or a negative number of members. Canvas code has been updated to not allow fewer than two members in a group.  

Groups: Group Leaders

Student leaders who leave a group are no longer able to manage the group.

Explanation: When a student leader left a group, the student was still able to view the link to manage the group. When the group page was refreshed, the manage link disappeared. Canvas code has been updated to remove the leader attribute from the user when the user leaves a group.

Groups: Self Sign-Up Group Limits in Firefox

In Firefox, users can use the up arrow to limit group members when self sign-up is enabled.

Explanation: When a user created a new group set, selecting the option to allow self sign-up and then attempting to use the arrow keys in the Limit group to x members field would not move unless the number was manually typed into the box. Canvas code has been updated to confirm numeric values when inputting number types in Firefox.

Modules: Module Dates

Module dates entered as MM-DD-YYYY are supported as a date format.

Explanation: When an instructor entered a module unlock date in the MM-DD-YYYY format, Canvas was saving the date in the reverse format. Canvas code has been updated to analyze and support the manually entered date.

Modules: Module Requirements

Instructors and TAs without the Manage All Other Course Content permission are not restricted by module requirements.

Explanation: When instructors and TAs did not have the Manage All Other Course Content permission (the permission to edit modules), they were restricted by module requirements. When they tried to navigate into an assignment directly, they were not able to view the assignment as there were unfulfilled requirements. Canvas code has been updated to confirm role permission and support viewing of the Modules Index Page for users who are not students but who do not have editing rights.

Pages: Content Selector Page Links

Page links created through the Content Select with a capitalized page title can be viewed within Canvas.

Explanation: When a page was created by inserting a link to the page in the Content Selector, and the page name contains a capital letter, the link's URL matched the case of the page's title and created an error message. Additionally, when a user on a mobile app attempted to click a link to the same type of page, the page would not load. Canvas code has been updated to remove query parameters when generating the API endpoint for pages and support mixed-case page names.

People: Total Activity Time

Total Activity time on the People page keeps counting after reaching 99 hours.

Explanation: When a student reached 99:59:59 hours of activity time, the time rolled over to to 00:00:00 on the Users index in a course. However, the API call to enrollments showed the correct amount of time in seconds on total_activity_time property. Canvas code has been updated to show the correct activity time instead of restarting at zero.

People: Student Access Report

Student Access Report displays data for accessing HTML files.

Explanation: When an instructor viewed a student access report, the report was not generating any access data for viewing HTML files. Canvas code has been updated to log access for files within the inline page view and within the new files preview.

Syllabus: Syllabus Assignment Times

Syllabus date column shows the time for each assignment.  

Explanation: In the Date column, when a user hovers over the date of an assignment in the Syllabus, the assignment tooltip was displaying an inaccurate time of 12:00 AM for all assignments. Canvas code has been updated to remove the time tooltip in the Date column.

User Settings: Personal Files

When Better File Browsing is enabled, users can preview course files from their personal files.

Explanation: When Better File Browsing was turned on at the account level (enabled for all users in the account), users received a page error when they tried to preview course files from their personal files. However, the preview still worked if they viewed the file in Course Files directly. Canvas code has been updated to confirm the preview URL to display course file previews in the user personal files.


Complete release notes can be found here: Canvas Production Release Notes Jan 31, 2015

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