bCourses Updates: November 20, 2015

November 20, 2015

We hope that the Fall semester has been a good one for you and your students! We’d like to share some new updates to bCourses, as well as offer support, especially for grading, communication, and Clickers to help you finish out the term.

Pre-finals support reminders

Support Hours

Need grading assistance? We’re here to help! Here is a reminder of our support offerings:

  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM; Closed November 26-27 (Thanksgiving holiday) and December 24-January 1 (Curtailment)
  • Drop-in support: Dwinelle 44
  • Email support:Submit form or email
  • Phone support: (510) 643-2571
  • Schedule a 30-minute consultation (remote sessions via Blue Jeans or Hangouts available, by request)

Your messaging questions answered!

We’ve created this new bCourses help article to address the most frequently asked questions about messaging and communication in bCourses: Communications FAQ

! Reminder for instructors using i>clickers: Don’t wait to synch!

Please do not wait until the end of the semester to sync your i>grader roster and points with bCourses. If there are any issues with synchronization or students who have been unable to register their clickers, you want to discover this sooner rather than later. Please see our help document on synching your roster; you can send students to our Student Troubleshooting help doc if they need help registering their clicker.

! Reminder: Upcoming scheduled outage of bCourses

Our LMS vendor, Canvas, will be performing system-wide maintenance on Tuesday, November 24 between 11:15 PM to 1:15 AM PST. During this time, all users will experience about 15 minutes (or less) of downtime where we will be unable to access or use bCourses.

Please plan to complete any work in bCourses before or after this two-hour maintenance window. Also, instructors, please consider modifying any due dates or deadlines that fall within this timeframe.

As always, you can check the Canvas system status at http://status.instructure.com/.

New Features

Recurring Events in the Calendar

When creating a new calendar event for a course, instructors can choose to create multiple copies of the event every day, week, or month. Once created, recurring events are not linked together and are independent events. Therefore, if users need to modify an event, each event has to be modified individually.

Calendar optionsRecurring events option

For instructions and more information on this feature, please see this Canvas guide: How do I add a recurring event to a course calendar?

Anonymous Grading Student View

Students can view whether or not an assignment was graded anonymously (instructors can set anonymous grading by opening the SpeedGrader options and selecting Hide Student Names checkbox, screenshot).

Graded anonymously - Assignment

Graded anonymously - Grades


Assignment Link

In the Assignments submission sidebar, the download link for the assignment is shown below the submission details link.

Graded anonymously - Assignment

Crocodoc Annotations in Firefox

(Crocodoc is the name of the file viewing and commenting tool within Speedgrader) When an instructor uses the Crocodoc annotations for an assignment submission within the Speedgrader, the Firefox browser frequently removes the last annotated comment when updating the score field. This behavior is a Crocodoc-specific limitation within Firefox that cannot be resolved by Crocodoc at this time.

To warn about the effects of Firefox and Crocodoc annotations, Canvas displays a warning banner that says “Warning: Crocodoc has limitations when used in Firefox. Comments will not always be saved.” To avoid losing any annotations, instructors may choose to use another browser when providing Crocodoc annotated feedback, or try clicking the screen before navigating to another student.


Save and Publish Button and Notifications

When an instructor creates an assignment but leaves the content unpublished, users receive a notification once the instructor publishes the assignment.

Explanation: When an instructor created an assignment but did not publish the assignment, editing the assignment at a later date then clicking the Save and Publish button was not generating a notification. This behavior occurred because notifications was not verifying the prior workflow state for the assignment. Canvas code has been updated to send out notifications for an assignment once it is published.

Automatic Peer Review Distribution

When an instructor assigns automatic peer reviews, peer reviews are distributed evenly across all students.

Explanation: When an instructor set an assignment with a peer review and chose the option to assign peer reviews automatically, peer reviews were being distributed inconsistently, where students were being reviewed more times and fewer times than other students. This behavior occurred because peer reviews were not being distributed according to a specific factor. Canvas code has been updated to use the peer review ID when automatically assigning peer reviews. The peer review ID is factored with the peer review count, so if a peer review is set to receive three reviews per student, the peer review ID will be used to count accurate distribution.

Scheduler Group Appointments and Group Memberships

Changes to group memberships are shown in previously created scheduler appointments.

Explanation: When a student is in a group and signed up for an appointment in the scheduler, the Scheduler was not updating the appointment if the student moved to another group. This behavior occurred because the scheduler was not verifying the user’s current group. Canvas code has been updated to use active group memberships in scheduler reservations.

Folder with 100+ Files

When a folder contains over 100 files, the Files page loads more efficiently.

Explanation: When a user opened a Files folder containing over 100 files, the files took a long time to load and even locked up the browser. This behavior occurred because of an issue with rendering file image thumbnails instead of the entire file. Canvas code has been updated to improve page functionality when view multiple files.

For the full explanation of new features, updates, and bug fixes in bCourses (Canvas), please see Instructure’s November 21, 2015 Canvas Production Release NotesPlease note: some New or Updated Features in Canvas might not be implemented in bCourses.