What’s New in Canvas for Fall 2018?


Thank you to Anna Kent and Linda Lee of Wharton Computing for contributing to this post.

Welcome back!

The following information will introduce you to what is new in Canvas for Fall 2018.

For Students

New Student Dashboard

There is a new student dashboard view that includes a list of to-do items. This will help information about upcoming tasks, missing assignments, and recent feedback much more visible to students.

View of the new student dashboard that indicates where to find item-types based on icons (for example, assignments), due dates, item names (for example,

For Faculty, TAs, & Staff

Course Development, Design, & Management

Content Duplication

Previously, course content items could only be duplicated individually. With the recent Modules update, instructors can duplicate entire modules. Please review the Canvas Release Notes and Canvas documentation to view the specifications and limitations of module duplication. More information:

Canvas Teacher App Updates

Introduced in 2017, the Canvas Teacher app now includes many new features to manage your course site using an iOS or Android mobile device, including posting announcements, uploading files, editing course content, and viewing or grading student submissions.

Assignments & Grading

Anonymous & Moderated Grading

Canvas now offers anonymous and moderated grading. Both features can be used separately or in conjunction.

Anonymous Grading of Student Assignments

The new Anonymous Marking  feature helps eliminate potential bias in grading by hiding student names. Anonymous Marking can be enabled for any assignment by selecting the “Anonymous Grading” option, which will hide student names within SpeedGrader.

an example of the

Moderated Grading of Student Assignments

Moderated grading allows multiple reviewers to grade a students work and create draft or provisional grades for an assignment. More information:

Anonymous Instructor Annotations in DocViewer

If you enable the Anonymous Instructor Annotations option for an assignment, students will not see the instructor’s or grader’s name on annotations and comments in DocViewer. More information:

Important: Please note–

  • Anonymous Instructor Annotations only apply to comments made after the option is enabled.
  • Anonymous Instructor Annotations do not currently apply to comments or annotations made while using a mobile device.
  • Anonymous Instructor Annotations do not work with anonymous grading yet, but these features will be compatible soon. Feature-development updates will be posted to Canvas at Penn.

Non-Scoring Rubrics

Rubrics can dramatically speed up evaluating student submissions. Canvas Rubrics now offer more flexibility, including the option to have Non-Scoring Rubrics that provide feedback without a score or grade.

Turnitin Canvas Plagiarism Framework (CPF)

If you are using Turnitin in your course, please note the following:

  • New Turnitin CPF: There is a new version of Turnitin available called the Canvas Plagiarism Framework (CPF). Both the CPF and the LTI (the older version of Turnitin) versions will be available for the Fall 2018 term. Learn more about how the CPF and LTI versions of Turnitin compare. Please consult the Turnitin page on Canvas at Penn for instructions and more information about the CPF and LTI versions of Turnitin.
  • Copied Turnitin LTI Assignments: If you copy a Turnitin LTI assignment from another course, you will have re-enable any optional settings you customized previously and will also have to open the assignment before students can submit to it.
  • Converting a Turnitin LTI Assignment into a CPF assignment: When working with a Turnitin assignment copied from a previous term, the faculty member for whom you are a TA might want to change the type of Turnitin assignment from an LTI to a CPF, the latter of which tends to be easier to manage (please see the link in the preceding bullet-point for more information). The LTI-to-CPF Turnitin instructions explain how to make this change.
  • Create Turnitin Assignments before Students Submit Their Work: Turnitin must be enabled for a Canvas assignment before students begin uploading their submissions. If students have already submitted an assignment, you will not be able to enable Turnitin retroactively and will instead need to create a separate Turnitin assignment and then have students re-submit to that assignment. For more information, please consult the directions for creating a Turnitin LTI assignment in Canvas.

Communication & Collaboration

Section-Specific Announcements

Announcements in Canvas can now be sent to a specific section, to multiple sections, or to the entire class.

an example of the edit-view for section-specific announcements

Select the desire section(s) from the drop-down menu.

Section-Specific Ungraded Discussions

Instructors now have the ability to invite specific sections to view and participate in a discussion so it can be focused to the right audience.


Please email canvas@pobox.upenn.edu

Last Updated: 20 Oct 2021

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