bCourses Updates: April 25, 2016

April 22, 2016

New Features (Highlights)

Wrapped Assignments and Event Titles

The Calendar Month view supports text wrapping for events and assignment titles with long names. Previously, events with long titles were truncated. This is a feature option that we’ve enabled for bCourses.

Screenshot of Calendar with text wrapping for event titles

FOR ADMINS: Subaccount Global Announcements!

Subaccount administrators can create global announcements at the subaccount level. This much-anticipated feature allows admins to post announcements to users who are within their subaccount/department.

To help differentiate announcements, the message will indicate which account or subaccount posted announcement.

Screenshot of Global Announcement with Sub Account Name

Updates (Highlights)

Gradebook - Performance Updates

Gradebook content is loaded incrementally for improved performance. Previously, instructors (especially those teaching high-enrollment courses) usually saw a lag in seeing the grades load. Now the gradebook loads several rows at a time, improving the overall loading time. Some Gradebook features such as column sorting may not be available in larger courses until all students have been loaded on the page.

Communication Channel Replies

From the Canvas release notes: If a user tries to reply to a message in an unconfirmed communication channel, the error delivery message includes information about how to confirm the communication channel so replies can be sent back through Canvas. Previously the message only mentioned that the reply could not be delivered, and the majority of users were unsure how to update or confirm a communication channel.

Fixes (Highlights)

Announcement Titles

From the Canvas release notes: Long announcement titles do not affect the Announcements Index Page layout.

Explanation: When an instructor created an announcement with a long title, the title affected the announcement text and misaligned the announcement container in the Announcements Index Page. Canvas code has been updated to correct announcement titles from affecting the page layout.

Scheduler Appointments and Deleted Student Enrollments

From the Canvas release notes: If a student enrollment is deleted from a course, any future appointments in Scheduler are also deleted.

Explanation: When a student was deleted from a course, any future appointments with the student were not removed from the instructor’s calendar. Canvas code has been updated to cancel future appointments when a student is deleted from a course.

Recipient Search in Large Courses

From the Canvas release notes: Users can search for recipients when creating a message.

Explanation: When a user tried to search for recipients in a large course with multiple groups or use the Address Book icon, the recipient list was unable to load if the request took longer than 60 seconds. Canvas code has been updated to improve recipient search in Conversations.

Folder Clicks and Page Load

From the Canvas release notes: Clicking a folder multiple times does not affect loading the Files page.

Explanation: When a user repeatedly clicked folders in the left panel, the right panel stopped loading for the last selected folder and did not display any files content. This behavior occurred in Chrome and Safari. Canvas code has been updated to remove unnecessary calls to previously selected folders and view files content.

Conversations Links

From the Canvas release notes: Notifications sent from Conversations preserve URLs within a message.

Explanation: When a user sent a message in Conversations containing a hyperlink, certain ASCII characters within a URL were being converted to ASCII-encoded characters, which broke the link. Canvas code has been updated to retain ACSII characters included in a Conversations hyperlinks.

Crocodoc Annotations and Group Assignments

(The external tool that allows instructors to annotate an assignment submission in the Speedgrader is called “Crocodoc”). When an instructor creates annotations on a group assignment in the Speedgrader, all students in the group can view the annotations.

Explanation: When an instructor graded a group assignment and added Crocodoc annotations for feedback, the student who submitted the submission on behalf of the group was the only student who could view the annotations. Canvas code has been updated to create submission records in SpeedGrader to include all students in the group.


For the full explanation of new features, updates, and bug fixes in Canvas- which is the tool that we at UC Berkeley call “bCourses”- please see Instructure’s April 23, 2016 Canvas Production Release Notes. Please note: some New or Updated Features in Canvas might not be implemented in bCourses. Contact us if you have any questions about any of these features and how to use them in your course