Canvas - Latest Updates

Last Updated: 03/23/2020


Canvas makes regularly scheduled updates. There are two categories of updates:

  • New Feature Options: Beta tools are new tools released in Canvas available for instructors to use. “Beta” means that these tools are not yet fully developed and Canvas is working on improving their functionality. Descriptions of the beta tools are listed on the Canvas - New Feature Options page
  • Latest Updates: New features are released every month. Descriptions of these features are listed on this page. Note that some of these features may only be relevant to instructors, and others only to students. Only significant changes that impact CU Boulder are listed; to see the complete release notes from the vendor, visit Canvas: Release Notes

March 21, 2020

For more information about these changes and other Canvas updates please refer to the Canvas release note user summaries for instructors and students.

Instructors: Course Summary Visibility

Instructors are now able to remove the auto-generated Course Summary section in the Syllabus.

Instructors: Re-Upload Submissions Status Page

The re-upload submissions tool has moved to a background process. Instructors can now navigate away from the page without having to wait for a confirmation screen.

February 15, 2020

For more information about these changes and other Canvas updates please refer to the Canvas release note user summaries for instructors and students.

Instructors: New Quizzes Creation

In courses with New Quizzes enabled, the button to create a new New Quiz has moved. Previously located on the Assignments page, the button has merged with the original +Quiz button on the Quizzes page. When you click +Quiz on the Quizzes page, instructors now have the option to create a Classic Quiz or a New Quiz.

Like Classic Quizzes, you and your students will now be able to access New Quizzes on both the Assignment and Quiz pages. The icon for New Quizzes has been updated accordingly.

Enable New Quizzes

To enable New Quizzes please go to your course settings > feature options and toggle the button on next to New Quizzes.

Learn more:

All Users: Canvas Mobile Responsiveness

The Canvas website is now mobile responsive. The user experience of visiting the Canvas webpage through a mobile browser, not the Canvas app, has vastly improved. Visit on your mobile phone to try it yourself!

January 18, 2020

For more information about these changes and other Canvas updates please refer to the Canvas’ release note user summaries for instructors and students.

Instructors: Direct Share

Direct Share allows users to copy individual course items to another course and share individual items with other users.

Learn more: Canvas Release: Direct Share

Instructors: Attendance Tool Updates

Instructors are now able to prevent the attendance tool from counting toward the final grade of the course.

Learn more: How do I use the Roll Call Attendance tool in a course?

Instructors: Postable Submission Comments

Instructors are now able to post comments to student assignments without a grade. This functionality is only available to assignments with a manual posting policy.

See also: How do I use posting policies in a course?

Instructors: New Quizzes Answer Shuffling

Instructors are now able to shuffle answers for all applicable question types in New Quizzes. Previously this was only available as a per-question option.

Learn more: How do I manage settings for an assessment in New Quizzes?

December 23, 2019

For more information about these changes and other Canvas updates please refer to the Canvas’ release note user summaries for instructors and students.

Instructors: New Gradebook

Effective December 27, 2019 all Canvas courses will exclusively use Canvas’ New Gradebook.

Instructors: New Course and User Analytics

Effective December 27, 2019 all Canvas courses will exclusively use Canvas’ New Course and User Analytics.

Instructors: Numeric Question Invalid Input Warning (New Quizzes)

When a student attempts to submit a New Quiz, a warning will display if any Numeric question type has an invalid character in its answer.

Learn more: How do I create a Numeric question in New Quizzes?

Older Updates

November 18, 2019

For more information about these changes and other Canvas updates please refer to Canvas’ release note user summaries for instructors and students

All Users: Course Card Unfavorite Option

While using the Course Card Dashboard, users can open the options menu for a course card, click the move tab, and select the unfavorite option removing the course card from their Dashboard.

Note: The unfavorite option only displays if you previously selected favorite courses.

Learn More: How do I view my favorite courses in the Card View Dashboard?

Instructors: Manually Submit New Quiz Attempts

Instructors can now submit outstanding quiz submissions on behalf of their students, specifically in situations where a quiz will never auto-submit because it is missing a timer and/or due date.

Learn more: 

Instructors: New Training Portal in the Help menu

The Help Menu includes a new training portal link for admins, instructors, and designers. This new training portal contains self-paced training resources and registration opportunities for training webinars.

Note: You will need to accept the authorization request to access your Canvas account.

October 19, 2019

For more information about these changes and other Canvas updates please refer to Canvas’ release note user summaries for instructors and students.

All Users: Course and User Menu Visibility

The Course and User Navigation Menus have been updated to include both color and a visual indicator defining active menu items. 

For Instructors: The Course Navigation Menu now includes tooltips to clarify inactive menu items.

Learn more: How do I use the Course Navigation Menu as an instructor?

Instructors: Private Chat Restriction in Conferences

The BigBlueButton conferences interface now supports restricting viewers from creating private chat messages with other users.

Learn more: How do I use the Conferences interface as a moderator or presenter?

Instructors: Grade Post Policy Icon Updates (New Gradebook)

In the New Gradebook, when an assignment has a Manual Posting Policy, the previously used Visibility icon has been replaced with the word Manual. Additionally, the Visibility icon will now only display once grades have been entered into the New Gradebook that need to be posted.

Assignments using an Automatic Posting Policy do not include any additional indicators.

Learn more: How do I select a grade posting policy for an assignment in the New Gradebook?

September 21, 2019

Instructors: Student Group Filter in SpeedGrader

Instructors can enable a course setting that causes students to be filtered by group when viewing submissions in SpeedGrader. This is designed to make it easier to grade submissions in large courses.

Learn more: How do I enable SpeedGrader to launch filtered by student group?

Instructors: Individual Choice Feedback in New Quizzes

The New Quizzes tool now allows you to provide specific feedback relating to each individual answer choice for multiple choice questions.

Learn more: How do I create a Multiple Choice question in New Quizzes?

August 17, 2019

Instructors: Course Card Images Now Provided by Unsplash

When adding an image to your course card on the Dashboard, you can now search Unsplash, a library of high-quality, safe images (previously, Canvas used Flickr for this purpose).  

Learn more: How do I add an image to a course card in the Dashboard?

Instructors: Student View and Item Bank Sharing in New Quizzes

The New Quizzes tool (previously called Quizzes.Next) now allows you to preview a quiz as a student. In addition, item banks can now be shared with other instructors.

Learn more:

July 13, 2019

Instructors: Grade Post Policies in New Gradebook

The way grades are released to students has changed in the New Gradebook. Instead of muting and unmuting assignments, instructors can post or unpost individual grades. Grades for an entire assignment can be hidden by default and then posted automatically as students complete work, or manually as the instructor is ready.

Learn more:

June 22, 2019

Instructors: See Groups in New Gradebook

Instructors can now see student group data in the New Gradebook, either as Secondary Info under the Student Name column display settings, or as a filter under the View settings.

Learn more: How do I sort and display student names in the New Gradebook?

Instructors: Give Students Extra Time or Attempts in Quizzes.Next

In Quizzes.Next, a student can now be given extra time or attempts on a particular quiz without affecting other quizzes.

Learn more: How do I add assessment accommodations for a student in Quizzes.Next?

June 1, 2019

Instructors: Calculators and Scientific Notation in Quizzes.Next

In Quizzes.Next, Instructors can now use scientific notation for Numeric question answers that use the Exact Response or Within a Range requirement options. Instructors can also now enable the on-screen calculator for an entire quiz at once.

To enable Quizzes.Next in your course, go to Settings, then Feature Options, then click the switch next to Quizzes.Next.

Learn more:

Instructors: View Modules in the Teacher App

In the Canvas Teacher app for Android and iOS, instructors can now view the Modules within their course. The Teacher app does not yet support editing Modules.

You can download the Teacher app any time from the App Store on iOS or the Play Store on Android.

Students: Improvements to Mobile App

In the Canvas Student app for iOS and Android, the Syllabus page of each course has been redesigned for improved usability. In addition, the iOS app now supports creating Siri Shortcuts to quickly check grades for any Canvas course. Shortcuts can be added from Siri & Search or by asking Siri.

You can download the Student app any time from the App Store on iOS or the Play Store on Android.

March 30, 2019

Instructors: Tag and Search Quizzes.Next Bank Items

Instructors can now tag items within Quizzes.Next item banks, allowing for easy categorization of similar items. This also allows instructors to now search item bank results by tag or item type.

Learn More: How do I edit an item bank item in Quizzes.Next?

Instructors: Notifications of Broken Links

Instructors now receive an alert when a student tries to click on a broken link within the Canvas course. By default, instructors are notified once a day if broken links are clicked. Instructors can change this notification frequency or disable it (see link below).

Learn More: How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as an instructor?

March 9, 2019

Instructors: Enable On-Screen Calculator in Quizzes.Next

Instructors can now enable the use of on-screen calculators for Quizzes.Next assessment questions. This new feature allows students access to basic or scientific calculator functionality on relevant assessments.

Learn More: How do I create a Multiple Choice question in Quizzes.Next? (The on-screen calculator can be enabled for any other question type using the same method.)

All Users: Search Discussions by Author Name

Users can now also search and sort Discussions topics by author name, in addition to searching by topic title. This change enhances flexibility for searching specific Discussion topics on Canvas.

Learn More: How do I view and sort discussion replies as an instructor?

February 16, 2019

Instructors: Enhanced Flexibility with Quizzes.Next

Instructors can now reopen students’ access to previously submitted Quizzes.Next assessments. Additionally, instructors have greater control over which information students see in their Quizzes.Next Result View.

Learn More:

January 26, 2019

Instructors: Additional Comments in Speedgrader Rubrics

While grading, instructors can now add additional comments for rubric criteria directly in the Speedgrader sidebar. These additional comments are displayed below each criterion.

Learn More: How do I use a rubric to grade submissions in SpeedGrader?

December 8, 2018

Instructors and Students: Reorder Course Cards in Dashboard

Instructors and students can now manually reorder the course cards on their dashboard by dragging and dropping the card.

Learn More: How do I view my favorite courses in the Card View Dashboard?

Instructors: SpeedGrader Audit Log

Instructors who have enabled anonymous or moderated grading in their courses can now view an audit log in SpeedGrader showing how grades were assigned and what changes were made to an assignment submission. (Note: anonymous and moderated grading are feature options that can be enable by going to the Features tab within your course settings.)

Learn More: How do I audit an assessment in SpeedGrader?

November 16, 2018

Instructors and Students: Direct File Upload for Rich Content Editor

Instructors and students can now directly upload files to embed in the Rich Content Editor, without first having to upload the image files to Canvas.

Learn More: What is the Rich Content Editor?

October 27, 2018

Students: To Do List and Sidebar Updates

The To Do list now displays up to seven items, instead of five, and can display items that are due more than two weeks in advance. Due to this change, the Coming Up section has been removed from the Card View and Recent Activity Dashboard sidebars, and from the Course Home Page sidebar.

Learn More: How do I use the To Do list and sidebar in the Dashboard as a student?

Instructors: Student ID Filter in Gradebook

Instructors are now able to search by student ID number in the New Gradebook.

Learn More: Canvas Release: New Gradebook

August 4, 2018

Students: List View for Dashboard

Students can now set their Canvas Dashboard to “List View,” which displays all course To Do items in an agenda view to help you easily manage tasks across all of your courses.

Learn more: How do I use the Dashboard List View as a student?

Instructors: Quizzes.Next No Longer in Beta

Canvas’ next-generation quiz tool, Quizzes.Next, has been fully released and is no longer in beta. Still, features and improvements will continue to be added over the coming months. Instructors can create a Quizzes.Next assessment by going in their course to Assignments and then clicking +Quiz/Test.

Learn more:

July 14, 2018

Instructors: Moderated and Anonymous Grading

Canvas now offers improved support for moderated grading, along with new features for anonymous grading. Both anonymous and moderated grading must first be enabled in your course by going to Settings and clicking the Feature Options tab.

Learn more:

Instructors: Updated Grading Features

An option to “Remove points from rubric” has been added when creating a new rubric, allowing instructors to build rubrics that are not tied to an assignment’s score.

In SpeedGrader, the Keyboard Shortcuts and Help links can now be found under the Settings (cog wheel) menu.

June 23, 2018

Instructors: New Modules Capabilities

Entire modules can now be duplicated within a course, through the Settings menu.

Only Quizzes. Next quizzes are supported for copying within modules, though. For more information and instructions, see How do I duplicate a module?

Students & Instructors: Updated Discussions Page

The Discussions page has been updated for improved accessibility among all users. For non-graded discussions, instructors can also now create section-specific discussions.

Full details on this new look for Discussions are available here: How do I use the Discussions Index Page?

June 2, 2018

Students & Instructors: Updated Annotations in DocViewer

DocViewer now supports annotations to BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF images in SpeedGrader and the Submission Details page.

Instructors: New Annotation Management Capabilities

Within DocViewer, Instructors are now able to delete annotations or comments by other users, such as students or TAs.

April 21, 2018

Students & Instructors: Update to Rich Content Editor

The Rich Content Editor will now display a word count tracker for students and instructors as they type. This change tells users how many words they have typed into a discussion, page, assignment text entry, or other content location where the Rich Content Editor is supported.

Students: Redesigns in Canvas Student App (iOS)

The Canvas Student app for iOS has been redesigned for improved usability and accessibility.

  • The Grades page now includes labels for late, missing, submitted, and unsubmitted assignments.
  • Students can now “like” individual discussion replies.
  • On the Files page, students can no longer edit or delete multiple files.

Students & Instructors: New Login Page for iOS Apps

The Login Page in the Canvas Student and Teacher apps on iOS has been redesigned for consistency with Android devices. The “Find My School” button has been added to allow users to search institutions.

March 31, 2018

Instructors: Updated Notifications in Teacher App

The Canvas Teacher mobile app now supports push notifications. Users can tap on notifications to open the app and the related page. Learn how to enable push notifications.

For iOS devices, the To Do List and Inbox tools now support notification badges for new items. The To Do List notification badge will display the number of items that need grading for all assignments, while the Inbox will display the number of unread messages in the Inbox. For Android devices, the To Do List displays a notification badge, but not yet the Inbox tool.

March 10, 2018

Students & Instructors: New Announcement Features & Accessibility Updates

Instructors can now create section-specific announcements in their course. While drafting an announcement, they can select to send the announcement to all sections, one section, or multiple sections. Visit the Canvas guide on creating announcements to learn more.

Announcements have also received an updated design to improve accessibility for all users. Most functionality has not been affected.

Students: Course Invitations & Global Announcements Supported in Student App

The Canvas Student app now supports course invitations. Within the app, students will have the option to accept or decline course invitations appearing on their dashboard.

The Canvas Student app also now supports global announcements. Students will be able to view announcements in their Dashboard until it is dismissed or until the due date has passed.

Students: Redesigns to Course Navigation & Dashboard Within App

The Canvas Student app’s Dashboard and course navigation menu have been redesigned for increased usability and accessibility to all students. Visit the Canvas Student app guide for information on using the mobile app.

February 17, 2018

Instructors: New Gradebook Feature Options & Late Policies

Instructors can now choose to individually enable the New Gradebook at the course level. This means instructors can choose which courses they want to enable the New Gradebook for, and toggle this setting themselves. To enable the New Gradebook, click Settings in the NavBar, and under the Feature Options tab, toggle the New Gradebook button so that it reveals a green checkmark.

For more information about using the New Gradebook, see the New Gradebook tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

The New Gradebook now also supports late policies, which allow instructors to automatically apply grading rules for late and missing submissions in their courses. For more information about using late policies in the New Gradebook, see the Late Policies tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

Instructors: Canvas Teacher Now Supports Pages, Files, & To-Do Lists

The Canvas Teacher app now includes support for Pages, Files, and To-Do Lists. For more information about using the Canvas Teacher app, see the Using Canvas Teacher tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

Students & Instructors: Decorative Image Checkbox

In order for individuals with vision disabilities to access your content, images that contain meaningful content should always have explanatory alt text associated with them. (You can add alt text in Canvas through the Embed Image dialog in the Rich Content Editor.) However, if an image is decorative, you can now indicate that it should not be read out by screen readers by checking the Decorative Image checkbox in the Embed Image dialog box.

Students: Canvas Student Grades Widget on iOS Devices

The Canvas Student app now supports a grades widget on iOS devices. This widget displays a student's current grade for up to eight courses. For more information about using the Grades Widget, see this iOS Grades Widget tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

Instructors: Student View Button on Course Home Page

The Course Home Page now includes the Student View button, which allows instructors to view their course as a student without having to open Course Settings. For more information about using Student View, see this Student View tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

December 9, 2017

Students & Instructors: Rich Text Editor Accessibility Checker

The Rich Content Editor Accessibility Checker is designed to help instructors, students, and course designers create accessible content in Canvas. The Accessibility Checker is available everywhere the Rich Text Editor can be used, and is located on the far right-hand side of the text editor menu. For more information about using the Accessibility Checker, see the Accessibility Checker tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

Screenshot of text editor toolbar, with Accessibility Checker icon highlighted

Instructors: Duplicate Discussions

Discussions can now be duplicated from both the Discussions and Assignments page. The duplication option has been added to the Settings menu for each discussion. When a discussion is copied, the word “copy” is added to the end of the discussion name. Copied discussions are set to unpublished by default. For more information about copying discussions, see the Copy Discussion tutorial in the Canvas Guides.

Instructors: Gradebook History Filters

The Gradebook History page has been redesigned for improved performance and can now be filtered by student, grader, assignment, start date, and end date. Previously the Gradebook History page only displayed the name of the assignment with a grade change. For more information about gradebook history filters, see the Gradebook History tutorial in the Canvas Guides.