Canvas Updates pt 1- August 2015

Canvas has made many updates during spring and summer. This first of two posts will highlight the updates to Grades, Assignments, Discussions and Draft State that we think you most need to know about at the start of the semester.

Canvas makes updates every three weeks. This year we will post the updates as they happen, so check back often to see what is new.

Content and images provided by Instructure in their Canvas Guides and Release Notes.

Save & Publish (Draft state)

 Grades (Gradebook)

Canvas made several changes to the Gradebook–first of which is to change its name to Grades in order that faculty and students use the same term when referring to it.

Persistent  columns

Canvas saves a user’s custom Gradebook preferences and associates them with the user’s profile. This change allows users to rearrange a column in the Gradebook, including the size of the column, and have the changes persist across any computer or browser. This feature only relates to assignment columns in the Gradebook.

Total Grade Rounding

If the Total Grade column is shown as a percentage, the percentage is rounded to two decimal places. This change is also shown in Gradebook CSV exports. For instance, if the Total Grade for a student is 99.567, Canvas previously rounded the grade to 99.6%. With two decimals, the grade is now rounded to 99.57%.

Enter/Return Key support

The Gradebook supports the Return/Enter key in advancing through each cell in the Gradebook column. This feature benefits instructors who enter all student grades for an assignment at once. When an instructor reaches the end of the column, the Return/Enter key advances to the top of the next column.

Excuse an assignment

Instructors can use the Gradebook to excuse a student from an assignment in their course.

To excuse an assignment for a student, enter the value of EX in the corresponding Gradebook cell. The Gradebook will reflect that the assignment is excused for the student. Excused assignments are not included in the calculation for a student’s total grade.

Students can also be excused from a Group Assignment; the other members of the group will still be able to view and submit the assignment.


When students have been excused from an assignment, they can view the excused status on the assignment submission page, or when they view the grades page. Students who are excused from an assignment will not be able to submit the assignment, though they can still view the assignment details.

Incomplete Quiz score icon

When students complete a quiz that includes a manually graded question, the Grades page displays a Quiz icon instead of the current score, indicating that the quiz score is not yet complete. When students hover over the icon, students can view a message indicating that grading is in progress.




Differentiated Assignments by Individual

In Assignments, instructors have the flexibility to differentiate assignments between individual students and select which students are required to complete specific tasks.

When creating or editing an assignment, instructors can specify whether the assignment should be for everyone in the course, for specific sections, or for individual students. Only the section(s) or student(s) specified in the assignment details can view the assignment. Varied due date functionality remains available for each assignment.

For more information, see this guide.

Online Submission URLs in SpeedGrader

Online submission URLs display as external links. This change allows instructors to open SpeedGrader and view the original URL submissions from students in an external window. A new window will also be opened for internal links as well.




Like Icon

Instructors can create Discussions and allow students to indicate “liked” discussion replies.

The Canvas Like icon is only available in Discussions and is enabled on a per-discussion basis. To enable the liking feature as part of a discussion’s options, instructors can select the Allow liking checkbox.


For more information see this guide


Save & Publish Button

When creating pages, quizzes, assignments or discussions, instructors can use draft state functionality, which allows content to be placed in a draft state before publishing to students. Now instructors have the option to save  and publish at the same time by clicking the Save & Publish button. However, instructors can still save the item in a draft state by clicking the Save button, then publishing at any time as a separate step.