New Features in Canvas 9/15/2012

New Features in Canvas 9/15/2012

This week's Canvas Update saw a lot of bugifixes (over 30) -- please read about some of the ones that you might affect you:

1.  If you are using Scibd for document display:  Scribd Only Available for Assignment Submissions

What: Right now due to the amount of files being uploaded into Canvas, Scribd has had a hard time keeping up, causing certain files to not be "previewable".  To alleviate this bottleneck, Canvas is allowing Scribd previewing only for assignments, namely student homework submissions.  The previewing option is being removed from the File Repository, Pages, and other locations short term.

In the meantime, each admin can turn on Google Previewer to use instead for those areas where Scribd was removed.  In order to do that an admin will need to contact their Account Relationship Manager to first turn off Scribd.  Then the admin can turn on Google Previewer in the Account Settings on their own.  The reason an admin will need to contact their ARM is because Google Previewer won’t work unless Scribd is first turned off.  This workaround of requiring an ARM to first turn off Scribd will be fixed in an upcoming release.

Why: Scribd simply doesn't have the bandwidth to handle the load we are taking on together.  We are actively looking at alternative solutions right now to solve this.  

Again this still works for assignment submissions in Speedgrader where it is mostly used by our clients, but we want to make sure there are previewing options in a variety of locations across Canvas.  This is why we are also including the Google Previewer option as a fallback.  

We appreciate your patience on this and hope to resolve this soon.1.  If you are using Scribd for uploading files:

2.  Gradebook Auto-Graded Description

Before when a score was automatically graded in Canvas it would show up in the grading history as "Someone" doing the grading.  That is pretty vague.  Now it says "Graded on Submission" to help the teacher, or any other viewer with access, to know it was automatically graded.

Grade Notification

Teachers or admins could set up a quiz and publish it.  When a teacher assigned a default grade for a quiz to several students, the teacher (or admin) would get a notification of the grades they just graded.  Now the teacher or admin won't be receiving grading score notifications from courses in which they are not enrolled as students.

Grading History Dates

When viewing the Course Grading History page, any action shown that was taken by a teacher or TA was off by a day of when the actual action took place.  For instance, if a teacher graded an assignment on Wednesday, it would say it was graded on Thursday.  Now history dates align with the action of the person grading the assignment.

3.  Quiz Tool

When creating a Formula Quiz question, the user couldn't create a variable that generates a value of zero.  Now zero can be used as a variable value.

Specific Quiz Time

As students submitted quizzes that approached an hour, the report would only tell the teacher an approximate time it took for the student to complete the quiz such as "About 1 hour".  Teachers in certain situations need to know exact times if there is a time limit on the quiz.  Now each student submission will show the exact time it took for them to complete each quiz submission in the Teacher Quiz Report.

Question Bank Reordering

As users reordered question banks the changes didn't persist.  A lot of our data and feedback from clients have shown that reordering question banks hasn't been that valuable and rarely used.  So for the meantime we have removed the capability to reorder question banks and resolved this bug among others.

4.  Rubrics Edit Rubric Button

In Outcomes, when a user edits an existing rubric or creates a new one, a user would press the "Edit Rubric" button.  If they pressed this button multiple times it would keep adding "Update Rubric" icons as well as "Cancel" links.  Now this won't happen as you click the "Edit Rubric" button.

5.  Syllabus

Syllabus Events

When opening events in the Course Syllabus, the user is directed to the Calendar page instead of the Event page.  Now a Course Syllabus event opens into a specific event window instead of the Calendar.

6.  Rich Content Editor Equation Editor "1+1"

In the Equation Editor there is a text field where a user can type in an equation.  It has an explanatory "1+1" intended to help show the user where to put in an equation.  Unfortunately when a user started typing in an equation the "1+1" didn't disappear like it should.  We have now removed the “1+1” from the editor all together so this isn’t an issue.

7.  Module Links in Overwritten Files

If a user overwrites a file in a module, then the link in the module is removed without any notification to the user.  The user would have to figure this out on their own and add the file back in.  Now these file links are maintained even when a file is overwritten.

Please see the screen cast for more information and the whole list of updates at

Content release date: Monday, September 17, 2012