Canvas Production Release: June 6, 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.

6/6/15 Production Release Highlights:

  • Calendar Custom Colors: Canvas allows users to set their own colors for each calendar in their account. Canvas will assign an arbitrary color for each calendar unless a custom color is chosen. Each calendar contains 15 default colors, but users can insert a Hex code to create any color of their choice.
  • Differentiated Assignments by Individual: In “Assignments,” instructors have the flexibility to differentiate assignments between individual students and select which students are required to complete specific tasks. When enabled, this feature is available for all assignments (a.k.a. anything set up for grading in a Canvas site), such as Assignments, Quizzes, and Graded Discussions. In the Gradebook, assignment grade cells are grayed out for students who have not been included in the assignment. Assignments that are not assigned to a student are not factored into the student’s overall grades.
  • Student Submission Exports: On their “User Profile” page, students can download all of their assignment submissions from Canvas as a ZIP file. Submissions are for both current and concluded courses and only include any files that were submitted to fulfill an assignment; they do not include any submissions modified by instructors, such as annotated submissions. The download also includes submissions for group assignments, even if the submission was made by another student in the group.
  • Etherpad: “Collaborations” no longer includes Etherpad as a collaboration tool. This change resolves concerns with Canvas user authentication. Only Google Docs will be available to create new collaborations in Canvas. 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.
  • Total Grade Rounding: If the “Total” Gradebook column is shown as a percentage, the percentage is rounded to two decimal places. This change is also shown in Gradebook CSV exports. For instance, if the total grade for a student is 99.567, Canvas previously rounded the grade to 99.6%. With two decimals, the grade is now rounded to 99.57%.
  • Persistent Gradebook Columns: Canvas saves a user’s custom Gradebook preferences and associates them with the user’s profile. This change allows users to rearrange a column in the Gradebook, including the size of the column, and have the changes persist across any computer or browser. This feature only relates to assignment columns in the Gradebook.
  • Courses and Student Grades: Canvas code has been updated to allow students to view their own grades in concluded courses.
  • HTML Characters in Announcement Links: When an instructor created an announcement and included a hyperlink that had a special character, such as an ampersand or an equals sign, the special character converted to an HTML character and caused notifications not to be generated. Canvas code has been updated to send announcement notifications regardless of invalid links.

Other Canvas Changes:

On July 18, 2015, Differentiated Assignments will no longer be a Feature Option in Canvas and will be enabled for all Canvas users as a standard feature. This change includes both Differentiated Assignments by section and individual users, which is part of this production release.

For a complete production release update, please see:

June 6, 2015 Canvas Production Release Notes

2015-06-06 New Feature Screencast from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

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