bCourses Updates: March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016

New Features

Page Views Table

Account, course, and user analytics can be now be viewed in either graph or table view. This change improves accessibility and allows keyboard users to access additional data that could previously only be viewed by hovering over the graphs. Analytics pages (which are found at the account-, course-, and user-levels) always default to the graph view.

Screenshot of Analytics Table View

Differentiated Group Assignments

When creating a group assignment or group discussion, instructors can differentiate between groups. This feature allows instructors to create different assignments for different groups, or set different due dates each group in a course.


  • Since quizzes cannot be taken in groups, this feature is not available in Quizzes.

  • Group memberships should always be finalized before assigning assignments to groups. Changing groups after assignments have been submitted may misalign submissions and grades.

To enable differentiated assignments for groups in an assignment or graded discussion, the assignment must be set as a Group Assignment. Then, under the "Assign to" field, instructors will be able to select from a list of groups that exist in the course site.

Screenshot of Differentiated Group Assignments option

Updates (Highlights)

Scheduler Student Signup View

When students sign up for an appointment in the Scheduler, the calendar defaults to the agenda view. This change improves accessibility and allows users with screen readers to view the dates and times of each appointment slot.

Instructor Quiz Previews

Instructors can only preview quizzes in Canvas. Previewing a quiz allows instructors to complete a quiz the same way that students will complete the quiz, including submitting the quiz. However, an official quiz submission is never created in Canvas.


  • For file upload questions, instructors can simulate uploading a file, but the actual file is not uploaded into the quiz.

  • This change does not apply in the Canvas by Instructure app.

This feature resolves a fixed bug in Canvas (see “Instructors and Quiz Submissions” below).

Fixes (Highlights)


View Discussion Permission and Concluded Courses

Students and observers cannot view announcements in concluded courses if they are not granted the View Discussions permission.

Explanation: When a student or observer was not granted the View Discussions permission, the user wasn’t able to view announcements. However, when a course had already concluded by specific dates and the Users Can Only Participate in the Course Between These Dates checkbox was selected, the user was able to view announcements. Canvas code has been updated to verify user role overrides in concluded courses instead of course or term dates.


Differentiated Assignments and 200+ Enrollments

When creating a differentiated assignment for a student, instructors can view all student names enrolled in the course.

Explanation: When an instructor created a differentiated assignment and searched for the name of a specific student, any students beyond 200 enrollments displayed as Loading instead of displaying their names. Canvas code has been updated to improve how student names are cached in differentiated assignments.


Announcement Notifications

Announcement notifications can be deleted from the Dashboard.

Explanation: When a user viewed and removed an announcement notification, refreshing the page would display the same notification. The Dashboard was displaying duplicate announcement notifications where the duplicate could not be removed. Canvas code has been updated to prevent duplicate notifications.

To Do items and New Quiz Submissions

Quizzes with essay questions appear in the To Do list after a new submission is made to the quiz.

Explanation: When an instructor created and published a quiz with essay questions, the quiz appeared in the To Do list for grading once it receive student submissions. If the instructor chose the Ignore option, the quiz would not reappear in the To Do list once the quiz received a new submission. Canvas code has been updated to make submissions with manual grading reappear in the To Do list.


Unpublished Files and Concluded Courses

Instructors can download unpublished files in concluded courses.

Explanation: When an instructor was in a course concluded by course or term dates, the instructor was unable to download unpublished files in the Files page. Canvas code has been updated to verify permissions for instructors in concluded courses.

User Quotas and File Attachments

If an instructor allows students to attach files to discussions in a course, students cannot attach files if they have exceeded their user files quota.

Explanation: When a student tried to attach a file to a discussion, but the student had exceeded his or her user files quota, the post appeared to save but did not include the attachment. When the student refreshed the page, Canvas generated a warning that their file quota had been exceeded, but the reply was not included in the discussion. Canvas code has been updated to warn students on attachment upload if they are out of space. This behavior does not apply to graded discussions, where attachments are considered part of the assignment submission and are not counted against a user’s files quota.


Instructors and Quiz Submissions

Instructors can only preview quizzes in Canvas.

Explanation: When an instructor took a quiz, the instructor was no longer able to manage the quiz, such as unpublishing the quiz. Additionally, the instructor’s attempt was logged in quiz statistics and the Gradebook history, and the instructor received a graded notification in the Course Navigation menu that could not be removed. These behaviors occurred because Canvas did not differentiate quiz submissions by user role. Canvas code has been updated to only allow instructors to preview a quiz.

For the full explanation of new features, updates, and bug fixes in bCourses (Canvas), please see Instructure’s March 12, 2016 Canvas Production Release NotesPlease 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.