Canvas Production Release: May 16, 2015

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 canvas@pobox.upenn.edu if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.

5/16/15 Production Release Highlights:

  • Discussions Like Icon: Instructors can create Discussions and allow students to indicate “liked” Discussion replies. The Canvas Like icon is only available in Discussions and is enabled on a per-Discussion basis. To enable the liking feature as part of a Discussion’s options, instructors can select the “Allow liking” check-box.
  • Save & Publish Option: When creating Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and Pages, instructors have the option to save and publish them at the same time by clicking the Save & Publish button. Alternatively, instructors can still save the item in a draft state by clicking the Save button and then publishing at any time as a separate step.
  • Student Submission Detail Page: On the student Submission Detail page, the submission feedback/preview bar no longer includes a green background. This change makes the View Feedback/Preview buttons more accessible to keyboard users and screen readers.
  • Big Blue Button Enhancements: All conferences now display the End button, which previously only appeared as part of long-running conferences. When a user with the appropriate permissions clicks the End button, the conference immediately concludes on both the “Conferences” page and on the server. In Groups, users who create a conference are also able to end a conference.
  • Assignment Columns and Return/Enter Key: The Gradebook supports the Return/Enter key in advancing through each cell in the Gradebook column. This feature benefits instructors who enter all student grades for an assignment at once. When an instructor reaches the end of the column, the Return/Enter key advances to the top of the next column.
  • Quiz Question Answer Comments and Rich Content Editor: Instructors can post images, format text, and perform other Rich Content Editor functionality in correct answer comments, wrong answer comments, and general answer comments.
  • Multiple Sections in Course List: If a user is enrolled in more than one section in a course, only one enrollment appears in the course list.
  • Media Previews: Media uploads can be previewed in New Files. Canvas code has been updated to ensure media files are always uploaded for processing. If the media file has not yet been processed for the preview, Canvas will generate a message stating the file has been queued for processing and to try again in a few minutes. Important: Courseware Support doesn’t recommend storing media files in the “Files” area of your Canvas site. For an explanation and alternative media-sharing method in Canvas, please see this blog post.

Other Canvas Changes:

On June 6, 2015, Canvas will no longer host new Etherpad collaborations because Etherpad cannot integrate with Canvas user authentication. Users that have links to existing collaborations will see a warning message notifying them to migrate any necessary content before August 8th, when all Etherpad collaborations that are hosted by Canvas will be permanently deleted. As an alternative to Etherpad, users can also create Google Docs Collaborations in Canvas. The Canvas at Penn blog will posts reminders about migrating Etherpad content before the deletion deadline.

For a complete production release update, please see:

Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-05-16)

2015-05-16 New Feature Screencast from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

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