Canvas release notes for February 18, 2017

Feb 15, 2017 | Release Notes

The Canvas at Penn State team and Instructure are committed to continually enhancing the Canvas user experience. Every three weeks, we will post Canvas release notes. These include production notes on features and updates. While most are automatically implemented, some features and updates may not be immediately adopted or available for Penn State. Announcements will be shared on features that are not automatically implemented.

For the February 18, 2017 Canvas release notes, these are the changes:

In this production release, instructors can show and hide deleted discussion replies and be included in group collaborations.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.



Deleted Reply Management
When instructors allow students to delete discussion replies, or when an instructor deletes a discussion reply for any user, the reply was previously shown to all users as being deleted. If there were multiple deleted replies in a discussion thread, the discussion could become difficult to navigate among the deleted replies.

In discussions, deleted replies no longer display as part of the discussion thread for all users. However, if instructors need to view notices of deleted individual replies, they can view them using the Show icon located in the discussion bar. (Non-instructor roles cannot view this icon.)

Being able to view deleted individual replies can show instructors how many times a student has deleted a reply or can help troubleshoot student concerns with discussion replies. As with current behavior, users cannot view the actual post that was deleted, and any deleted replies for graded discussions do not appear as needing to be graded in the Dashboard or in SpeedGrader.

However, course discussions always retain the current discussion structure. If a reply is deleted as part of another reply in the discussion, the deleted reply cannot be hidden and still shows to all users as being deleted.


Collaborations User List

In Google Docs collaborations created within a group, the Collaborations user list includes the name of all group members, in addition to the name of any user with an instructor-based role in the course. This change allows instructors or TAs to be added to a group collaboration directly in Canvas. Previously instructor-based roles could only be added to collaborations by sharing the collaborations document manually.

Note: This change does not currently apply to collaborations using the Google Apps LTI or Office 365 LTI.

Global Announcements

Default Announcement Type

The default type for global announcements has been changed from warning to information. This change aligns with global announcement behavior, as global announcements are most commonly not associated with warnings.

User Interface

Canvas Icon Updates

Several Canvas areas have been updated for icon consistency or simplicity and do not affect Canvas functionality:

  • Assignments: Student assignment submission sidebar and submission detail page
  • Outcomes: Aligned Items & Outcome Artifacts (accessed by viewing an outcome in a course)
  • Rubrics: Aligned outcome icon (displayed when an outcome is aligned within a rubric)
  • People: User Details sidebar and User Access Report

Bug Fixes


Account Settings
In the Admins tab, when an admin clicks the Add Account Admin button, focus is retained in the Add More admin type drop-down menu.

In the Reports tab, the Question Mark icon for each report can be selected as many times as required without refreshing the page.

When an instructor launches an external tool for an assignment, the External Tool window loops focus back to the top when screen readers or keyboard users reach the end of the window.

In the To Do list for instructors, the Ignore icon includes descriptive text for screen readers and indicates that the icon ignores assignments until a new submission is made.

When an instructor launches an external tool to add to a module, the External Tool window loops focus back to the top when screen readers or keyboard users reach the end of the window.

The Show/Hide icon at the top of Canvas navigation menus includes text to screen readers indicating the icon shows and hides the navigation menu.

When users can add a profile picture to their accounts, the image cropping tool has been replaced with a tool that is accessible to keyboard users.

Course Import

Account Outcomes and Question Banks
When an admin created an outcome at the account level, aligned an outcome to a course-level question bank, and copied the course, the new course displayed the aligned outcome twice with the same outcome ID. Canvas code has been updated to only display the aligned outcome once in the course.

Assignment Availability

When an assignment was assigned to at least one student or section and was not assigned to everyone, assignments copied into another course were not available to anyone in the course. Canvas code has been updated to default assignments in course copies as being available to everyone.


Instructor Group Calendar Events

When an instructor created an event for a course group, the group event also displayed on the instructor’s Coming Up section, when the event was within seven days. Canvas code has been updated to not display group events to instructors in the Dashboard.

Sidebar Content Length

When the Dashboard sidebar included long content, the text did not wrap content intuitively. Canvas code has been updated to wrap content appropriately.


Discussion Search Results

When a user searched for a discussion in the Discussions search field, results displayed inaccurate date displays for original and edited date times. If a reply was edited, the edited time and date displayed at the top of the page instead of the creation date. Canvas code has been updated in the search field to always display the original creation time for a discussion followed by the date of any edits.


Concluded Courses and Groups

When an instructor viewed a course that was concluded by term dates, the instructor was able to view all content as read-only within the course except for groups. Canvas code has been updated to allow instructors to view groups in concluded courses.


Course Invitations

When a user set the Invitation notification to not receive any notifications, the user still received invitations for course enrollments. Users who are manually enrolled in a course receive course invitation notifications, regardless of the invitation notification setting. Canvas code has been updated to remove mention of course invitations as part of the Invitation notification preference.


Quizzes and Learning Mastery Gradebook

When an instructor created a practice quiz or an assignment quiz worth zero points, outcome results were being created in the Learning Mastery Gradebook. Additionally, quizzes worth zero points aligned with an outcome in a question bank generated an error in the Learning Mastery Gradebook after students completed the quiz. Canvas code has been updated to avoid creating learning mastery results for zero-point and non-assignment quizzes.


Enrollment Status

When a user was enrolled in more than one course section with several enrollment statuses, the inactive enrollment was taking precedence over an active enrollment that was later changed to concluded along with the course. The inactive section enrollment prevented the concluded section enrollment from being able to view the course at all. Canvas code has been updated to make completed enrollments take precedence over inactive enrollments.

The next Canvas release notes will be sent on March 8, 2017.

To see the full release note list by Instructure or watch the Canvas New Feature Screencast, please visit