Canvas release notes for April 22, 2017

Apr 19, 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 April 22, 2017 Canvas release notes, these are the changes:

All users will see a change to the Dashboard view menu.

Production release notes also include fixed bugs.



New Instructor Tutorials

Instructors using Canvas for the first time can use two new tutorial features to become familiar with Canvas and create a module-based course. When enabled for an account, these features apply to newly created courses.

This feature requires the Modules Home Page and New User Tutorial feature options, which apply to an entire account. Canvas admins can enable these feature options in Account Settings.

New Modules Home Page Default

In new courses, the Course Home Page defaults to the Modules layout. Instructors can still choose any home page for the course, but this change replaces the Recent Activity Stream as the Home page default. The Modules page includes two links to help new instructors either create a new module or add existing content through a course import.

If Modules is set to the Home page but no modules content exists, Canvas will prompt the instructor to either publish a module or choose a different home page layout.

Course Setup Tutorial

When viewing the main Canvas index pages, instructors can view a course setup tutorial, which shows the purpose of the page and what to do next. This course setup tutorial replaces the existing Course Setup Checklist.

The course setup tutorial is shown to new Canvas instructors in new courses. New instructors are defined as users with instructor roles created in an account after the new tutorial feature has been enabled. The course setup tutorial can be collapsed from view and is persistent across Canvas pages, so if the tutorial is collapsed in one page, it will stay collapsed until expanded again.

Instructors can end the tutorial series in any page using the End Tutorial button. However, ending the tutorial in one course applies to all other courses. Instructors can view the tutorial in new courses again at any time by accessing their User Settings page and enabling the Course Setup Tutorial user feature option.

Note: This user feature option only displays for users enrolled as instructors. For instance, a user enrolled as an admin wouldn’t see the feature option unless the user were enrolled in a course with an instructor enrollment.


Dashboard View Menu

To switch between Recent Activity and Course Cards, the Dashboard toggle has been updated to a settings drop-down menu. This change helps clarify Dashboard customization and aligns design consistency throughout Canvas.


Pending Enrollments View

When a user is manually added to a course, the pending enrollment only shows the name of the user, the user’s section, and role. Once the user accepts the enrollment, the enrollment displays the enrollment information for the user (email address, login ID, or SIS ID). Previously the enrollment information was also displayed in the pending state.


Student-Performance Texts

Canvas engineering and research teams are collaborating on a new feature designed to help students improve their ability to manage coursework. Students who have opted into receiving text messages may see a new type of notification in the coming weeks. Opting in means that students have provided their phone number as a communication channel in their profile. Students can opt-out of these notifications at any time.

The new text notifications include the following:

  • A reminder to turn in any unsubmitted online assignments that are still available after the due date
  • A reminder to retry a quiz if a quiz contains multiple attempts and the highest score received was less than an A or 95%

These notifications will be sent once daily to students who meet the above criteria. No notification will be sent for assignments with due dates farther in the past than the previous 24 hours, and only one notification will be sent for each assignment. Approximately 0.0001% of active enrollments in Canvas this semester will receive one of these messages.

Text notifications will most likely be changed based on the efficacy data received. Please note that these notifications will not go into effect until the production release and are not available for testing in the beta environment. For additional questions, admins should contact their Customer Success Manager.

Bug Fixes



When an assignment includes multiple due dates, the dates tooltip can be viewed by keyboard users as many times as required.


When a student is removed from a Scheduler appointment group, the name of the student can be read by screen readers.

The undated Calendar list does not include unnecessary buttons and retains focus on each assignment or event.

Course Settings

In the External Apps tab, the All, Not Installed, or Installed options can be read by screen readers.

In the Navigation tab, the disable/move option for each tab is narrated by screen readers.


The Grading Periods page buttons display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

In the expand/collapse button for a grading period, the name of the grading period and the button state can be read by screen readers.


In the student Grades page, the tooltips for the scoring details, rubric, and comment icons do not include assignment title attributes. Additionally, the number of comments for an assignment can be read by screen readers.

What-If Grade fields retain focus when decimal numbers are entered.

When the Revert to this Grade link is selected, the updated grade is announced to screen readers.

In the Gradebook, the Settings icon can be read by screen readers.

In the “Message Students Who” menu window, when the Enter key is used to select the option to message a user who scored less than or more than a specific number, focus is retained in the selection box.


The Must View this Page requirement can be read by screen readers. Overdue assignments and links to external sites can also be identified by screen readers.

When an external URL is included as a module item, the external URL includes an H1 heading for screen readers.


The collapsed or expanded state of the account, course, and user navigation menus can be read by screen readers. In the Grades page, the label defaults to Show Courses Navigation Menu.


The Add People button displays a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.


In a question bank, the Unbookmark, Edit, and Delete buttons include the title of the question bank for screen readers.

When an image is included as a quiz answer and is also marked as the correct answer, the alt text is not affected.

Rich Content Editor

The Equation Editor image alt attribute includes the LaTeX prefix to provide more context for screen readers.


The section labels for due dates display a color contrast of 3:1 for the default Canvas interface and 4.5:1 for high contrast profiles.

When the syllabus edit screen is saved or canceled, focus is retained on the Edit Syllabus button.


In the term creation page, keyboard focus is ordered correctly.

User Settings

In the Approved Integrations table, empty table header elements have been changed to table data cells. The cells in the Dates column include a presentation role. The Access Token expiration form identifies when the token expires to screen readers.


Differentiated Assignments and Large Courses

When an assignment was assigned to more than 11 individual students, and one of the students was past the 200th spot in the course roster in the People page, editing the assignment did not display the name of the student. Instead, the assignment displayed the student’s name as Loading. This behavior occurred because Canvas did not preload all student names in the course. Canvas code has been updated to display all student results associated with an assignment ID.


Multiple Section Enrollments and Scheduler Appointments

When a user had multiple section enrollments in a single course, and one of those section enrollments was deleted, the enrollment would also remove existing Scheduler appointments. Canvas code has been updated to retain existing Scheduler appointments unless no other section enrollments exist for the user.

Course Settings

Flickr Image Search Filter

When an image is added to a course card in the Dashboard, the Flickr image search was not filtering by public domain and did not provide a way to provide attribution for licensed images. Canvas code has been updated to restrict Creative Commons image search results to public domain.


Deleted Discussion Entries

If a post had been deleted in a discussion and a user searched for an unknown author, the discussion displayed the deleted post. Canvas code has been updated to ignore deleted discussions in the user search.


Grading Period Due Dates

When an assignment was created from an assignment group with the same due date as the grading period end date, the assignment did not display in the Gradebook. Canvas code has been updated to support assignments with the same due date as the grading period end date.

Individual View and Letter Grades

When a Letter Grade grading scheme was enabled in course settings, the final grade showed the lowest letter grade available in the grading scheme. Canvas code has been updated to display the final grade with the appropriate letter grade associated in the grading scheme.

What-If Grades and Decimals

When a decimal was entered as a What-If Grade, the grade did not display in the grade field. Canvas code has been updated to accept decimal values for What-If Grades.


Section Limitations

When an instructor was restricted to interacting with users in the same section, the instructor was receiving sign-up notification emails from other sections when students signed up for an appointment group. Canvas code has been updated to only send sign-up notifications to the instructor in the same section.


Moderated Grading

When a user with the Moderate Grades permission view the grades moderation page, grades were not displayed in the page even though the Post button was visible. Canvas code has been updated to allow a user to post moderated grades with the Edit Grades and Moderate Grades permissions.


Alt Text and Images

When an image was included as a quiz answer and was also marked as the correct answer, the alt text on the image was overwritten as “This is set to the correct answer”. This result revealed the correct answer to students taking the quiz and deleted the original alt text entered by the instructor. Canvas code has been updated so that changing the correct answer does not modify alt text for images. To correct any existing quizzes, instructors can edit the quiz and update the alt text for the correct answer.

The next Canvas release notes will be sent on May 10, 2017.

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