In this beta release, Canvas has updated features in the Calendar, Discussions, Modules, and the New Gradebook. Other updates are also available for SAML2 authentication and APIs.
Features are subject to change based on user feedback and testing. Please follow the release notes for the latest information.
The beta environment is for testing new and updated features as available in web browsers. Features are subject to change at any time. Beta features will be available in production environments as noted in Canvas release schedule.
- Not all features will apply to mobile apps, and some functionality may be implemented in mobile apps at a later date.
- Mobile features are updated and announced separately according to app and device in the Mobile release notes.
Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts unless otherwise indicated.
Flash Content Reminder: Canvas displays Flash content as supported within major browsers. Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox default to HTML5 as the preferred method for displaying website content, which promotes a faster, more secure browsing experience. These browsers will eventually block all Flash content. For best performance in Canvas, course content should be designed to support HTML5. Any affected content can still be accessed by manually allowing permission for flash content in the browser. Using the camera and microphone to record media content within the Canvas Rich Content Editor currently still relies on Flash and is being addressed by Canvas engineers.
- Updated Features
- Other Updates
Users can duplicate events in the Calendar. Previously enabled through the Recurring Calendar Events feature option, this feature has been renamed to better represent the intended functionality and align with other feature elements that can be duplicated in Canvas. This feature has been enabled for all institutions and no longer requires a feature option.
When calendar event details are added through the More Options button, the calendar edit page displays the Duplicate checkbox. Like other items duplicated in Canvas, duplicated events are independent from each other, and once created, must be managed individually.
Users can specify to duplicate the event for a certain number of days, weeks, or months. Users can also modify a count number to the end of each event to help differentiate each occurrence once they are duplicated.
Courses Page Design Updates & Section-Specific Discussions
This feature update was previously introduced to the beta environment in the Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-04-09)
The Discussions page includes an updated design to improve accessibility for all users. Most functionality has not been affected. Additionally, when creating a non-graded discussion, instructors can create section-specific discussions in their courses for all sections, one section, or multiple sections.
For full details about these updates, please view Canvas Beta Release Notes (2018-04-09).
Entire modules can be duplicated within a course. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for every supported module item. When a module is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the module name.
A copied module is placed directly below the originating module. While the module is being copied, a loading indicator shows the copy is in progress.
Module and Module Item Status
Duplicating a module defaults the module and all module items to an unpublished status. Each item within the module is duplicated except in situations as indicated by the item type. For details about specific item duplication limitations, please see Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-07-15) (assignments and pages), and Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-10-28) (graded discussions).
Duplicated module items follow the same behavior as a new item created in a module. The item displays in the Modules page but is also visible in the item’s respective index page. All assignments, pages, and graded discussions within the copied module also include the word Copy at the end of the module item name.
- If applicable, the Modules page displays any Blueprint Course icons after the page is refreshed.
- MasteryPath items may be copied in a module, but assigned paths are not retained. Paths should be set after the course module structure is complete.
Only Quizzes.Next Quizzes are supported for copying within modules. If a module contains a classic quiz, the option to copy a module does not display in the module menu. Modules can be copied by removing the classic quiz from the module. Classic quizzes are indicated by a rocket icon; Quizzes.Next quizzes are indicated by an assignment icon.
Canvas Community contributions: Copy a Module Structure
Grade Detail Tray Access Button
In the New Gradebook, the Grade Detail Tray can be accessed in concluded enrollments as well as assignments in closed grading periods. This change allows instructors to more easily view grade details regardless of assignment or enrollment type. The Grade Detail Tray always displays a message for assignments in closed grading periods or if an enrollment has been concluded. These grades are still displayed to instructors as read only and cannot be modified.
SAML response processing has been updated to use a new library. This change enhances maintainability, allows future development for new features, and addresses several deficiencies in the current validation process.
Because of the myriad of SAML IdPs used by customers, this change is being rolled out in a slow deliberate process that will allow schools and Instructure engineers to address contrary behaviors before they occur in production.
Canvas admins using SAML should verify their authentication immediately for correct behavior either by signing in to their institution’s beta instance, which already includes the new change. Verification can also be triggered temporarily in the production environment by signing in to the institution’s production instance and adding the `saml2_processing=1`query parameter (i.e. https://institution.instructure.com/login/saml?saml2_processing=1). Verification in the beta environment should only be used by admins who are confident their IdP supports logging in directly to the beta environment (support for multiple AssertionConsumerService URLs).
If login problems occur, admins can use the SAML Debugger functionality for more details, and either address the problem in the IdP if possible, or contact a Canvas Customer Success Manager for additional support.
Two common issues with this process may include the following:
1. Sending assertions that do not validate against the SAML XML Schema. The current library does not validate against the schema, making it difficult to reason about the security implications of attack vectors. By adding this first step of validation, additional code does not need to consider anything outside of a properly formed SAML Response.
Examples of schema errors include:
- an <AttributeStatement> element, but no contents
- starting ID attributes that begin with a digit
- InResponseTo attribute is present, but an empty string (omit for IdP initiated logins)
These behaviors are most likely to occur with custom or niche IdP implementations and require the assistance of the institution’s authentication provider.
2. An expired signing certificate. Please rotate signing keys by configuring multiple certificates in the metadata and configuring Canvas to accept either one.
API Change Log
Canvas API documentation includes an API Change Log that notes all API changes, additions, and removals for each Canvas release. The documentation also includes a collective summary page of all deprecated APIs for easy reference. However, no APIs are currently deprecated.
The Canvas release notes will continue to reference affected APIs, though all specific details will be posted in the change log.