Canvas - New Features

Last Updated: 06/04/2019


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

  • Beta Tools: 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 Beta Tools page
  • New Features: New features are released every three weeks. 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

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:

Older Updates

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.