Canvas: COVID-19 Ready Release

In addition to the regularly scheduled monthly release, Canvas has released weekly feature options designed to provide immediate solutions to institutions facing COVID-19. This document will summarize the features from the release that UW-System will implement.

Ready Release 05/09/2020

There are no features to release on 05/09/2020. 

Ready Release 05/02/2020

There are no features to release on 05/02/2020. 

Ready Release 04/25/2020

Student Notifications

User Role: Students
Students are notified when comments have been added in DocViewer. This change helps students know when their instructor or TA has added comments in a DocViewer-supported document. If students have enabled the Submission Comment notification type, they’ll receive notifications when a comment has been added to their document via their specified communication channel(s). Notifications can be updated in the Notification Preferences page from the Account Menu. If annotation comments have been made anonymous, notifications are sent without the user’s name who posted the comment.

User Course Access Log

User Role: Admin
The Reports page includes the User Course Access Log report. This change provides a basic account-level report that provides admins with key usage data in monitoring and reporting student online engagement. This report shows all the activity from users enrolled in all courses in a specified timeframe. While configuring the report, an admin can specify a start date up to one month in the past, the end date will be defaulted to the present. Filtering based on user role is also available. The times viewed and times participated are counters from start date until the time the report was generated. A maximum of one month's data could be retrieved. If no start date was selected, by default the report will return data from the beginning of the previous week.

Ready Release 04/04/2020

Assignments: Due and Availability Date Bulk Edit

User Role: Instructors The Assignments page supports editing all assignment, discussion, and quiz dates in a single page.
his change allows assignment dates to be adjusted at one time in the same location. More information:

Commons: Admin Featured Content. 

User Role: Admins. Admins can edit a managed resource and share the resource as featured content. This change allows admins to manage featured content for their institution. Admins can edit a managed resource and share the resource as featured content. Featured resources include a Featured banner as part of the resource, and Featured content displays at the top of the Search page.

Files: Multiple File Upload Enhancements. 

User Role: All users. Course Files has been updated to clarify support of drag-and-drop functionality. The Course Files page and User Files page have been updated with minor adjustments to clarify support of drag-and-drop functionality in the main page and within individual folders. Empty folders show how to upload multiple files within the page or how to choose files from a computer.

New Quizzes: Quiz Engine Option. 

User Role: Instructors. Instructors using New Quizzes can set their preferred quiz engine for each course.When an instructor selects the Add Quiz button in the Quizzes page, the page displays a window asking which quiz type should be used to create a quiz: Classic Quizzes or New Quizzes. Once a quiz engine is selected, the next time the instructor clicks the Add Quiz button, Canvas displays the quiz creation page for the selected tool.

Note: This preference applies to each course individually. 

Ready Release 04/04/2020

Account Settings: Featured and New Help Menu Links

A Help Menu link can be featured in the Help Menu, and a new link added to the menu can be identified as new. For all institutions, the Canvas Guides have been set as the featured link, and the Help Menu includes a new link: COVID-19 Canvas Resources. 

Canvas Commons: URL Sharing

Commons resources pages include a button to copy the resource link. This change allows instructors to share Commons resources via URL outside of Canvas. Users who are not logged into Canvas must log in to Canvas to download, import, or favorite the resource. Additionally, resource previews do not display to non-logged-in users unless the resource has been publicly shared.

New Analytics: Analytics Chart Tabs

The New Analytics chart viewing options have been changed from drop-down menus to page tabs. This change provides easier navigation between analytics data and provides consistency between the Course and Student views.

User Navigation: Teacher Mobile App Login QR Code

Affected User Roles: Instructor

When instructors are in Canvas, their User Navigation Menu includes a QR for Mobile Login link. This link generates a QR code and tells them they can use the code to log in to their account from the Canvas Teacher App.

Instructor QR Code for mobile login

User Interface Update 


The Password Reset confirmation notification has been updated with password recovery instructions. Additionally, the notification is retained until dismissed by the user. This change ensures users can view the password recovery information. Previously the confirmation notification was automatically removed from the page after a few seconds.

Note: this only applies to users of the UW Continuing Education instance of UW-System Canvas using non-UW email addresses. Users with email addresses from UW Campuses need to use the password reset option from their specific campus.

Ready Release 03/28/2020

USER NAVIGATION: Mobile App Login QR Code

Affected Role: Student

Students can use a QR code to log in to the Canvas Student App. This change helps students more easily log in to the Canvas Student App without having to know their institution’s Canvas URL.

When students are in Canvas, their User Navigation Menu includes a QR for Mobile Login link. This link generates a QR code and tells students they can use the code to log in to their account from the Canvas Student app. Canvas Student App version 6.7 is required to view the QR code, which will be enabled in the app on 2020-03-28.

QR Code Location

BLUEPRINT COURSES: Blueprint Association Course Publishing

Affected Role: Admins 

Courses associated with a Blueprint course can be published as part of the initial Blueprint sync. This change allows you to choose if you want to publish all associated courses as part of the sync process.

Courses associated with Blueprint courses may be taught by instructors who are not the creator of the course content. When admins associate courses with a Blueprint Course, you may choose to ensure that courses are published as part of the association sync by selecting the Publish Upon Association checkbox. However, you can choose to disregard this checkbox and publish courses using another method.

Additional Code Changes

In addition to the COVID-19 release changes, there are additional code changes in the March 28, 2020 release that may be beneficial to our users. 

Conversations: Concluded Course Messaging

 Affected User Roles: Instructors, TAs

Instructors and TAs can respond to existing conversations after a course has concluded. Instructors and TAs are not able to start new conversations in concluded courses with students. However, if a student previously began a conversation, or if the instructor or TA previously began a conversation, the instructor or TA can reply to the existing conversation regardless of the course status.

Conversations: Unpublished Course Messaging

Affected User Roles: Instructors, TAs, and Designers can send messages in unpublished courses to other users with the same roles.

This change allows users to send messages to other users with supported roles in a course that has not yet been published, such as an instructor messaging another instructor in the same course. Supported roles can send messages in unpublished courses to other users with the same roles. Users cannot send messages to students in unpublished courses. When a user is composing a new message, the unpublished course displays in either the Favorite Courses filter or the More Courses filter, depending on if the course has been favorited by the user. Courses are not designated as published or unpublished in the Conversations Inbox.

Course Navigation: People Navigation Link Visibility

 Affected User Role: Instructors

Instructors can hide Course Navigation links in Course Settings. Hiding the People page disables the page, and any student who happens to visit the page URL will be redirected to the Course Home Page. Previously the page could not be disabled, only hidden.

Canvas Rapid Release Notes:
Canvas Deploy Notes: