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May 24th Updates to Canvas

As you may know, Instructure updates and repairs Canvas every few weeks. Here are some highlights from last weekend’s update:

  • Calendar 1, Gradebook 1, and Old Conversations will no longer be available in Canvas.
  • Internet Explorer 9 will no longer be a supported browser.

New Features

Gradebook: Individual View

The Gradebook Individual View allows instructors to assess one student and one assignment at a time. Complete with all features in the Gradebook, this gradebook view is fully accessible to screen readers and improves the accessibility functionality found in Gradebook 1.

In the Gradebook, access Individual View by clicking the Switch to Individual View link. Unlike the standard Gradebook, Individual View does not take up the entire Canvas window and shows the Course Navigation menu. Like all Gradebook tabs, Individual View is persistent and will always display when it is the Gradebook last accessed by an instructor. To leave Individual View, click the Switch to Grid View link.

Gradebook Swith to Grid View link

Individual View contains all the global settings found in the standard Gradebook. Instructors can sort by section and assignments and set any preferred settings options.

Assignment Settings: Online Default

For new assignments, the assignment submission type defaults to online. Additionally, assignment settings are persistent to always remember and display the settings created or edited in the previous assignment in the course. For instance, if an instructor creates a group assignment that accepts text entry and file uploads, the instructor will automatically see those same settings the next time he or she creates an assignment. Note that this feature only applies to settings; it does not include assignment due dates.

Calendar: Undated Events & Assignments

Users can drag and drop undated assignments and events from the undated items list in the sidebar to the calendar month view and create due dates. Conversely, users can also drag and drop dated assignments and events from the month view back to the undated items list.

Calendar view for undated events and assignments

Updated Features

Submission Icons Update

The Gradebook submission icons have been updated to match the same icons located in other areas of Canvas. Icons are also darker throughout the Gradebook.

Profile Pictures

On the profile and settings pages, profile pictures are displayed in a circle. Additionally, the cropping tool in the profile picture uploader also crops in a circle. This change is to make profile pictures more consistent across all areas of Canvas.

Fixed Bugs

Assignments: Google Docs

Restricting file types also blocks Google Docs that don’t contain appropriate file extensions. Additionally, Crocodoc renders any Google Doc that contains an acceptable file extensions.

Explanation: When an instructor restricts file types for an assignment, students have been able to submit Google Docs because most Google Docs don’t display with a file extension. Moreover, Crocodoc can’t render documents with no extension. Canvas code has been updated to include additional parameters in the Google Docs URL and properly identify the file type.

Grades

Student View Scores

Scores generated by the Test Student are not included in Assignment data.

Explanation: On the Grades summary page, test student scores were being factored into the entire course, occasionally displaying as the highest, mean, and lowest scores. Canvas code has been updated to disregard any scores associated with Student View.

Student Detail Page

On the Student Submission Detail Page, students cannot view previous submissions.

Explanation: When viewing a submitted assignment, students could see a link to view the original assignment submission. Because this link is only available to instructors, Canvas code has been updated to remove the view original submissions link for students.

New Conversations: Submission Comments

Submission comments from assignments do not appear in New Conversations.

Explanation: When an assignment submission comment was the last item sent within a user conversation, the submission comments was appearing in the Conversations preview pane. Additionally, deleting all messages inside the thread only created an undeleted submission comment and did not fully remove the thread. Canvas code has been thoroughly updated to never display assignment submission comments in New Conversations.

If you’d like to see all the gory details, check out the complete Canvas 5/24/14 Production Release Notes.

More Faculty Requested Features Now in Canvas

Instructure, the company behind Canvas, is always improving its product, and the last few weeks have seen many great new features. At ITG, we wanted to highlight three that have been requested by Emerson faculty that finally made it into production. First, Groups have been redesigned to be more intuitive and versatile. Here is what Instructure had to say:

To allow for a better user experience, we’ve redesigned the Groups page. The new design more closely aligns with the look and feel of other pages within Canvas. The sidebar has been removed to maximize the Groups view, and creating groups within a group set is more intuitive with the new Group and Group Set buttons. Each group has its own gear icon where you can not only edit and delete the group but also access the Group homepage. Functionality remains the same in that you can continue to drag and drop students within groups and collapse and expand the group lists. (source)

Image showing the new group interface.

 

The Gradebook also got a little love from Instructure with the ability to add a new “Student Notes” column:

Instructors can use a Notes column in their Gradebook to keep track of extra information in their course, such as SIS IDs or just general student notes. This feature is the second-most-requested feature by our users, so we hope it helps with your course management.

To show the Notes column in the Gradebook, click the Gear icon in the Gradebook drop-down menu and select the Show Notes Column link. When the column is shown, Gear icon drop-down option will change to Hide Notes Column. (source)

Image of how to access the new show notes feature.

To make a comment in the notes, click the note field for the appropriate student and type into the text box. Click the Save button to save your note. The note field allows up to 255 characters. (source)

Image showing how to add a note.

Finally, with an uproarious cry of excitement, faculty can now select and perform functions on multiple messages within the Conversations tool! Here is more from Instructure:

When multiple or all messages are selected, the right panel displays a multiple conversations message, and users can collectively archive, delete, mark messages as unread, or star or unstar the messages. (source)

Image of multiple messages selected.

As always, if you have any questions about how these work in more detail, or how to integrate these new features into your course, don’t hesitate to contact ITG at 617-824-8090 or email itg@emerson.edu.