bCourses Updates: September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015

New Features

Polls in Conferences

Presenters can create polls for participants to use during a conference. Polls can be created ahead of time, such as during a presentation, or created as part of an informal discussion.

Conclude Groups at Course Conclusion

When a course concludes in Canvas, groups in the course also conclude. Concluded groups do not appear in the Courses & Groups menu. Users can still access their previous and current groups by clicking on the “View all groups” link the Courses & Groups drop-down menu.

Screenshot of concluded student groups

Calendar: Recurring Events

Please note: Canvas, our vendor, has announced this feature; however, the bCourses team has held back from enabling it at this time due to a bug that has been identified by the vendor. We are monitoring the issue and will enable and announce it once the bug has been fixed. Meanwhile, you can refer to the full Canvas Release Notes to see a description of this new feature.

Updates (highlights)

Inactive users

Starting Monday, September 21, users who are no longer affiliated with UC Berkeley and have valid CalNet IDs cannot be added to course or project sites. They will not come up in search results via the Find a Person to Add tool and will be flagged “inactive” in sites in which they are a member. bCourses administrators, however, will still be able to see and search for these accounts.

UPDATE 9/22/15: This feature has been rolled back to due unexpected issues affecting some users with a Guest Collaboration ID. We will update this announcement once the feature has been fixed and in use.

Muted Assignments

When an instructor mutes an assignment, scores are muted from the student’s Total score, but not the instructor’s Gradebook. When an instructor mutes an assignment in the Gradebook, the Total column will display a warning indicating that the total score is different than shown to students.

Screenshot of Gradebook with muted grades

Global Announcements and Recent Activity - New look!

The Global Announcements (messages that are posted systemwide from the bCourses Team regarding service updates) that display on the User Dashboard, as well as the Recent Activity feed in individual course sites have gotten a facelift! Each message is outlined and colored, to better separate them from surrounding elements.

Screenshot of new formatting for Global Announcement

Screenshot of new formatting for announcements in Recent Activity Feed

Fixes (highlights)

  • Grades - Entering an invalid character in the Gradebook or SpeedGrader does not alter the state of the assignment. Previously, entering invalid characters, such as “&”, “%”, etc., the grade would be changed to null and the state of the assignment showed as graded. Now, the gradebook will disregard invalid characters and leave the state of the assignment as ungraded.
  • Groups - When a course site concludes, any Groups in the course site will also conclude

For the full list and explanation of new features, updates, and bug fixes in bCourses (Canvas), please see the September 21, 2015 Canvas Production Release Notes. Please note: some New or Updated Features in Canvas might not be implemented in bCourses.