E-Learning Blog: Canvas Release Notes for 04/04/15

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Every 3 weeks we bring you the details on scheduled updates to the Canvas
system, with information specific to the Canvas features enabled by our institution.

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This weekend’s update includes a collection of minor updates and feature adjustments.

Updated Features


Unpublished Courses and Grades

Instructors can edit the Gradebook while a course is unpublished. This feature reverts behavior that was previously adjusted in the March 14 release.

Rich Content Editor

Interface Update

The Rich Content Editor has been updated with the most recent interface design. The main feature of this upgrade includes better support for creating and deleting tables. Users can easily add, merge, and split table cells without having to switch to the HTML Editor. Rows can be added, copied, and pasted anywhere in the table.

A screenshot of the updated Rich Content Editor.

The editor also supports directional text so users can insert content right to left. This feature can be added using the Right to Left button within the editor.

A screenshot of the updated Rich Content Editor toolbar, showing the new right-to-left writing option.

Beneath the Rich Content Editor window, users can view HTML elements for any selected content. This feature is beneficial for users who work with HTML and want to view or confirm placement of content.

A screenshot of the updated Rich Content Editor, showing display of HTML elements.

Web Services

Facebook Integration

Facebook will no longer be supported as a web service in Canvas. Any users who currently have an enabled Facebook integration can continue to use the channel until the production release on April 4.

The Facebook integration allowed users to access Facebook and receive notifications about Canvas. Recently Facebook announced that they would no longer support the current API, meaning that Canvas code and engineering resources would have to be allocated to support the new API. Additionally, our engineers measured the current usage of the Facebook tool and learned that the data showed little to no recent interaction, suggesting that updating the tool was not a significant priority.

For users who are interested in bringing back the Facebook integration, our product team welcomes feedback in the Canvas Feature Discussion forums, specifically related to what the ideal integration should look like and what students need from a Facebook integration.

Other Updates


Student Submissions

For student analytics, the Assignments analytics section has been renamed to Submissions. Additionally, no icons are displayed for assignments that do not include a submission (i.e. not graded, on paper) or for assignments that do not apply to a student because of differentiated assignments. These changes were made because assignments that did not require a submission were always being shown as missing, and Canvas could not calculate whether or not a non-submission assignment was submitted on time.

Screenshot of student submissions analytics graph.


Enable Recording Checkbox

When users create a conference, the checkbox to record a conference has been renamed to “Enable recording for this conference.” Some users were unaware that the actual recording button is within the Conferences interface and that marking the checkbox did not automatically record the conference. This change helps clarify the purpose of the checkbox, which simply enables the recording tools within the Conferences interface. Functionality for this feature is not affected.

Screenshot of the changed conference recording option.


Discussion Creation Dates

Discussion creation dates have been modified as an instructor permission, meaning the student and observer views do not display the creation date for a discussion.

This change helps instructors copy course content without having to modify any Discussions content; only instructors can view the creation date for a discussion. Additionally, when Discussions are copied in a course, the last post date will not display on the Discussions index page; the last post date was displaying as the creation date of the discussion.

For complete documentation and list of bugs fixed in this update,
please visit the Canvas release notes page.