Canvas operates on a three-week release cycle through which features are added or updated. Courseware Support posts highlights from Canvas’s production release notes, a link to these notes, and other relevant content to the Canvas at Penn blog a few days before the production release, which usually occurs on Saturdays. Please contact Courseware Support at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.
4/25/15 Production Release Highlights:
- Anonymous Peer Reviews: This release is the first part of this feature. Hiding the submitting student’s name from the reviewer will be part of a future update. Instructors can choose to create peer reviews with anonymous responses. Located in the “Peer Review” options for assignments and graded discussions, the “Anonymity” option allows instructors to hide the name of the student reviewer from the student with the submission. The student whose work has been reviewed cannot see the name of the reviewer. However, instructors can always view the name of the student reviewer in SpeedGrader and on the student submission page.
- Assignment Shell Date Validation: In the January 31th release, Canvas introduced date validations for new and edited assignments. Now, due date validations also apply to Assignment shells, which act as a placeholder for an assignment until an instructor creates the assignment details. After an instructor saves the information for an assignment shell, Canvas validates the due date against the course start and end dates and generates an error message for an invalid date entry. If the assignment does not contain a due date, 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 due date against the term dates for the course. This feature validates against the “Users can only participate in the course between these dates” check-box for start and end dates in “Course Settings.”
- Email Processor for Bounced Communication Warnings: Canvas includes an email processor that moderates the number of times communication channels bounce, which means the channel cannot generate or deliver a notification. Bounces can occur from blocked servers or invalid addresses (caused by address typos, changed addresses, etc.). Once Canvas has attempted to send notifications to a bounced communication channel three times, the user’s account is flagged, and the user will receive a warning about the bounced channel. When a user is viewing any Canvas page, Canvas displays a warning banner at the top of the user’s browser window if the bounced email was added manually by the user. If a user’s email address was added by the institution via SIS import, Canvas only displays warning icons on the “User Settings” page.
- Instructor Access to Files in Concluded Courses: Instructors were not able to view files in a concluded course if the Files link in Course Navigation had been hidden from students. This behavior was caused by a change in the April 4th release, which allowed instructors in concluded courses to only view the same items available to students. Canvas code has been updated to confirm user role permissions and allow instructors to always view files for a course.
- Student Access to Comments in Muted Assignments: When an instructor left a comment or an attachment on a muted assignment, students were able to open the “Submission Details” page and view the comment or attachment. This behavior occurred because Canvas didn’t consider if the assignment was muted. Canvas code has been updated to hide comments from the “Submission Details” page if the assignment is muted.
- Rich Content Editor: Copy and Paste Options: When users opened the Rich Content Editor, they could not right click and view the copy-and-paste menu option unless the user clicked within the height of the body element. This behavior occurred because the text field defaults to 20 pixels, which is not a large space for content. Canvas code has been updated to make the internal body element to 100 pixels and to display these options.
Other Canvas Changes:
- As of April 20th, Google has deprecated the Google Docs API used in Canvas features such as submitting a Google doc to an assignment and Google collaborations. Users who have previously connected their Canvas and Google accounts will be prompted to re-authorize their connection, either by accessing Collaborations or a Google Docs assignment submission, or by manually re-enabling Google as a web service in their personal settings. Some users have reported error messages regarding collaborations. If you are the author of a collaboration and are receiving an error about your account or about the collaboration owner as no longer being an author, Canvas’ engineering team is currently working on a fix that should resolve the issue shortly.
- On June 6, 2015, Differentiated Assignments (by section) will no longer be a Feature Option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas users as a standard feature. Learn more at: What are Differentiated Assignments?