Canvas - Release Notes Meetings

The University of Wisconsin-System instance of Canvas hosts a monthly Canvas Release Notes meeting where we review upcoming changes to the Canvas application. We will post a brief overview of the release features covered with links to the official Canvas Release notes and links to the recording of the meeting.


The University of Wisconsin-System instance of Canvas hosts a monthly Canvas Release Notes meeting where we review upcoming changes to the Canvas application. We will post a brief overview of the release features covered with links to the official Canvas Release notes and links to the recording of the meeting.

Canvas Release Notes by Instructure:

October 17, 2020 Release

New features available in Canvas  after 10/17/2020

  • Global Navigation – Recent History: The Global Navigation Menu includes a Recent History link, which displays recently visited pages in Canvas. This change helps users remember what page they last viewed in one or multiple courses
  • Notifications – Notification Preferences Interface: The user-level Notifications page has been updated to match the design of the course-level Notifications page. Additional enhancements have been added to clarify notifications between each level.
  • MathJax Equation Improvements: The MathJax JS library has been improved to render equations in a more accessible format and promote ease of use. Math equations created anywhere in Canvas will be rendered as MathML. This change improves accessibility for equations throughout Canvas. Previously, equations were treated as an image and included title attributes and alternative text and were not available to keyboard users. Additionally, image views varied by browser and screen readers, equations could not be copied, and alternative text could be inadvertently changed or removed.

September 19, 2020 Release

New Features available in Canvas after 09/19/2020
  • New Analytics – Missing Assignment Report: New Analytics provides downloadable CSV files for missing assignments, late assignments, excused assignments, the class roster, and course activity data. Using APIs, all reports provide real-time data except for the Course Activity report, which includes data that may be delayed up to 24 hours.

  • Browsers – TLS Protocol Changes: TLS Protocols 1.0 and 1.1 are not supported in Canvas. Institutions must update to TLS 1.2 by 19 September or switch their API URLs to a legacy endpoint. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 have already been removed from both the Test and Beta environments, which can be used for testing.

August 15, 2020 Release

New features available in Canvas  after 08/15/2020

  • Pages - Bulk Delete: Multiple pages can be deleted at one time in the Pages Index. This allows outdated content to be removed more quickly.
  • People - Course Section Column Visibility: The course section column can be hidden from students in the People page when more than one section is in the course. This will prevent students from viewing the sections of other students in the same course.
  • User Navigation - Global Announcements Page: The User Navigation Menu includes a link to Global Announcements, which displays current and recent announcements for the institution. This will allow users to view announcements that were previously dismissed from the Dashboard.
There is no recording available for this meeting.

July 18, 2020 Release

New Features available in Canvas after 07/18/2020
  • Commons: The Commons menu includes a link that displays frequently used Commons guides.

  • New Quizzes: Respondus Lockdown Browser will be supported in New Quizzes.
  • Assignments: Limited Submission Attempts* Instructors will be able to set the number of submissions that can be made for a Canvas assignment. 
  • Browser: The "unsupported browser" banner will be updated to reflect the two most recent versions of Firefox (77 and 78), Chrome (81 and 83—version 82 was skipped because of the pandemic), and Safari (12 and 13). This update will affect users accessing Canvas in any browser below the minimum version requirement, including extended release browser versions. Chrome and Firefox both offer extended support release (ESR) browser versions.
  • Digital Skills: The Canvas Alexa integration has been deprecated. 
  • Enforcement changes: A number of tool changes are now also being enforced, but should not impact users, as UW-System had already opted in for each tool.

June 20, 2020 Release

New Features available in Canvas after 06/20/2020
  • Edit Assignment Dates The Edit Assignment Dates page supports enhancements to select multiple assignments, batch edit dates, and improve date validation.

  • Course Notification Settings The Course Notification Settings page supports granular notifications for the course.

  • Canvas Permissions: simplified status options Canvas Permission status options have been simplified to enable, disable, and lock. The Lock option is independent and can be used with either status. When the Lock option is selected, a lock icon displays next to the status.
  • Canvas Permissions: Pages The Pages - Add / Edit / Delete permission has been separated into three separate permissions.
Link to Release meeting recording:
Link to Beta meeting recording:

May 16, 2020 Release  (Implemented by UW-System on 05/24/2020)

Feature change on 05/02/2020:
New features in Canvas available after 05/24/2020:
  • Course Settings: Link Validator Celebration. The Confetti for Valid Links feature option displays confetti for instructors who run the link validator on a course and no issues are found. Instructors can disable celebrations for their own account in User Settings.
  • Confetti for On-Time Submissions. Canvas generates a virtual celebration when students submit assignments on time. Celebrations take place in Canvas for on-time submissions, which include both an initial submission and any resubmissions for any file type before an assignment due date. Students can disable celebrations for their own account in User Settings.
  • Help for Unpublished Courses (also referred to as Instructor Publishing Improvements) The Dashboard, Courses menu, and All Courses page display both published and unpublished courses. This change helps instructors see what courses are unpublished in various Canvas locations. The Dashboard displays two sections: published courses and unpublished courses. Unpublished courses display at the bottom of the Dashboard.  Note: The Dashboard only displays favorited courses for the current term or course dates.
  • New User Tutorial New Instructor Tutorials display for instructors in newly created courses. Tutorial pages display in Outcomes, Rubrics, and New Analytics pages to provide additional resources and information about these features.
  • Product Tour (Admin) Canvas provides a welcome tour for admins that guides them through transitioning their institution for online learning. This change displays a welcome tour to orient admins to Canvas and guide them toward Canvas best practices and resources. Each tour area includes links to specific how-to lessons about accomplishing each task.
  • Product Tour (Instructor) This change displays a welcome tour to orient instructors and guide them toward Canvas best practices and resources in the Canvas Community. After logging in to Canvas, instructors view a short welcome message that gives them a quick tour through setting up notifications, locating their courses and setting them up online, and accessing Canvas resources and how-to guides. The setting up a Canvas course section directs instructors to tutorial videos showing them how to set up a course in less than 30 minutes.
  • Product Tour (Student) Canvas provides a welcome tour for students that guides them through getting started with a Canvas course. This change displays a welcome tour to orient students through their courses in Canvas.After logging in to Canvas, students view a short welcome message that gives them a quick tour through finding their courses, contacting their instructors, downloading the Canvas Mobile App, and getting help with Canvas.
  • Assignment Allowed Attempts (currently set to allow) This feature allows instructors to limit submission attempts for students. By default, assignments can be submitted an unlimited number of times. However, instructors can choose to limit the number of attempts a student can make for an assignment by using the Attempts menu.
  • Rich Content Editor Auto Save (currently set to allow) In pages with one Rich Content Editor, the editor autosaves any content that hasn’t yet been submitted for up to one hour. This feature helps users retain new or edited content that may otherwise be lost from inadvertent browser reloads, loss of internet connection, or navigating to another window. When a user enters content in a Rich Content Editor window, the editor automatically saves the content for up to one hour. If the user navigates away from the page or another situation occurs where the user revisits the page within one hour, Canvas will notify the user if any saved content is different from the existing content. The user can preview the autosaved content and select the Yes button to load the autosaved content. Selecting the No button will discard the autosaved content.

Link to Release meeting recording:

Link to Beta Release meeting recording: >

April 18, 2020 Release

New features in Canvas available after April 18, 2020:

  • Notifications: Mute Notifications by Course. Allows users to mute notifications for a course via a button on the course home page.  More information:
  • Assignments: Limited Submission Attempts* Instructors will be able to set the number of submissions that can be made for a Canvas assignment. 
  • Gradebook: Assignment Header Menu SpeedGrader Link. In the Gradebook, there is now a link to SpeedGrader in the headers of assignments.
  • New Quizzes: Multiple Answer Partial Scoring. Multiple Answer questions allow instructors to award students partial credit with penalty if a student selects an incorrect response. This grading option will be the default for new Multiple Answer questions with an option to use Exact Match instead.
  • Rubrics: Course Navigation Rubrics Link. The Rubrics tool is now a Navigation menu link instead of a part of the Outcomes tool.
*Fixed/Flex, Roles & Permissions, and Process Workstream group will determine if and when features notated with an asterisk will be enabled on the UW-System instance of Canvas.

Link to meeting recording:

March 21, 2020 Release

  • When instructors download all submissions for an assignment and then re-upload them as a zip file, clicking the Upload Files button displays a status page. This page indicates that the files are being processed, which may take a while depending on the file size. Instructors can navigate away from the assignment page if needed. Previously instructors had to wait for all files to be uploaded before they could leave the page.
  • The Gradebook export CSV file will now match the order in which the assignments appear in the Assignments page.
  • For plagiarism tools, updated plagiarism icons display in the Gradebook, SpeedGrader, and the student Grades page.
  • The New Rich Content Editor will now autosave any content that hasn't been saved for up to one hour. It is browser specific and will only display in pages with one Rich Content Editor such as pages and assignments. 
  • For instructors, the Syllabus page includes an option to remove the Course Summary Section. The summary button is enabled by default and when unchecked, all other viewers in the course will also not be able to view the course summary.
Link to meeting recording:

February 2020 Release

  • Favorited Commons items can be imported from Quizzes, Pages, Discussion, Assignments, and Modules.
  • Gradebook import CSV files ignore reserved name columns as well as hidden and deleted custom columns. For new custom columns, custom columns cannot have the same name as a reserved column.
  • The New Quizzes button has been moved from the Assignments page to the Quizzes page. Additionally, the quiz creation process supports both New Quizzes and Classic (old) Quizzes. Students can also view New Quizzes in the Quizzes page, complete with the new and old icons to differentiate quiz versions.
  • Admins can allow Include parameters when enforcing scopes for a developer key.
  • Responsive Layout Enforcement. Canvas provides a more responsive experience for content scrolling according to web accessibility initiative guidelines. This change ensures Canvas continues to meet accessibility guidelines for all Canvas users regarding the vertical and horizontal display of course content.

Link to meeting recording:

January 2020 Release

  • The Direct Share feature will allow instructors to copy individual Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages to other courses and to share them with other users.
  • The Student Assignment Enhancements feature will begin testing in Beta. This feature will improve the student user interfaces for completing assignments, viewing rubrics, and accessing feedback. This feature has no release date for Production.
  • In any Assignment with a manual posting policy in the Gradebook, instructors will have the option to share comments with students before assigning grades.
  • Users will have the option to sort the Gradebook by SIS ID instead of student name.
  • Users New Quizzes users will have an option in Quiz settings to shuffle quiz answers for all multiple choice, multiple answer, and matching quiz questions.
  • The Rich Content Editor Enhancements originally proposed in November have been made Optional. Instructors can turn them on in Course Settings. These enhancements will become mandatory some time after Spring semester.
  • Users will be able to associate a set of personal pronouns with their Canvas user profile. This change will be implemented after the Fixed/Flex workgroup consults with experts to determine the correct array of pronoun choices to offer.
  • Changes will be made to the way that Canvas content scrolls in order to make it more responsive and accessible.

December 2019 Release

  • The New Analytics tool will be set to "On" in the DLE instance of Canvas on January 1, 2020, and the old analytics tool will no longer be available. For a comparison of the two tools see Instructure's New vs. Old Analytics post.
  • Instructure has delayed proposed changes which would expose both Quizzes and New Quizzes together on the Assignments page. 
  • In New Quizzes, numeric questions will display an "Invalid Input" warning if students respond to numeric questions with invalid characters (i.e. letters instead of numbers).
  • In Reports, administrators will be able to see four new columns in the Grading Export and MGP Grade Export reports: the current grade, final grade, unposted current grade and unposted final grade columns.

On 12/18/2019, the Release Notes were amended to add the following:
  • ePorfolio Moderation: Admins can moderate ePortfolio spam generated by Canvas users.

November 2019 Release

  • The new Analytics tool has been set to "Allow" in our instance and Analytics Beta has also returned. Instructors can toggle between the tools.
  • In the Help menu, the top link is to the "Training Services Portal" with access to view upcoming training opportunities and pre-recorded video training.
  • Microsoft Immersive Reader is now available. Every Canvas page within a course will display an "Immersive Reader" button. More information:
  • The plagiarism icons in New Gradebook have been delayed and will not be included in this release.
  • The Rich Content Editor enhancements have been delayed and will not be included in this release.
  • Users can unfavorite previously favorited courses from the "Course Card Options" menu on the course card.
  • Instructors can manually submit quizzes on behalf of their students, specifically for situations where a quiz will never auto-submit because it is missing a timer and/or a due date.

Link to meeting recording:

October 2019 Release

  • End of Life for Firefox ESR 60 on October 22, 2019. The warning banner that alerts users about an outdated browser will be re-enabled in Canvas on September 25, 2019.
  • The navigation menu has been updated to include color and visual indicators to define active menu items. Tooltip indicators will indicate inactive menu items instead of grayed out text.
  • New course and user analytics will be enabled at some point after the semester as we currently have Analytics Beta enabled on our instance.
  • Instructors can enable the Rich Content Editor feature option in Course Settings. The toolbar includes a condensed more intuitive look. Toolbar menus are grouped by common icons and interactions.
  • In User Settings, the feature options to manage international preferences of byte-order mark, semicolons, and field separators are supported in account-level Outcome Results and Student Competency reports and the Learning Mastery Gradebook Export report. 
  • The word Manual displays in the assignment header to indicate the assignment is set with the Manual Posting Policy. Additionally, the outlined Visibility icon only displays when entered grades need to be posted.
  • Commons admins can view statistics for their Commons account.
Link to the meeting recording:

September 2019 Release

  • Instructors can filter SpeedGrader assignments by student group via an option in course settings. When the feature is enabled, SpeedGrader will only load submissions from a selected group.
  •  In New Quizzes (formerly known as QuizzesNext) multiple choice questions support individual feedback for each answer.
  • Navigation: Menu Visibility release has been delayed to 10/19/2019. With this feature, instead of disabled menu items appearing in gray to the instructor, an icon will be displayed next to the disabled item. Active link will appear in a different color and with a small vertical line to the left of the link name.

August 2019 Release

  • Users can access LTI tools more quickly without having to open the User Settings page in the User Navigation Account menu.
  • Admins can curate featured content in Commons. When enabled, featured content will appear near the top of the page in Commons.
  • Unsplash has replaced Flickr for course card image search. Flickr images already in use will not be impacted.
  • Student permission to attach files to discussions will be enabled by default. Instructors can still disable the attachment feature in the settings for Discussions or in the course settings. 
  • In New Quizzes (formerly known as QuizzesNext), Instructors will be able to view and test assessment questions and settings by viewing an assessment the way students see it.The preview displays most settings, including calculators, timer, question shuffling, and one question at a time. Assessment Preview does not support displaying student access codes and IP address filtering. Instructors can also submit an assessment and view their results in the preview. The preview results page supports any restricted student result view settings. A colorful border will indicate to the instructor that they are in preview mode.
  • Instructors, admins, and TAs will have access to test bank sharing in New Quizzes. From the Sharing window, instructors can share the item bank with a user, view all users who have access to the bank, and remove access to the bank. Sharing an item bank gives users full access to the item bank, including adding items to the bank, sharing or removing users from the bank, and deleting the bank.
  • In the Mobile App for students (Android 6.6) (iOS 6.6), the Assignments details page has been redesigned. As a part of the redesign, the assignment submission process has been updated. Students can launch external tool assignments and view rubric criterion details within the app. In Android, external tool opens in a browser. In iOS, the external tool appears within the app.
  • The Canvas Teacher app  (Android 1.8) supports viewing Modules.
Link to the meeting recording: