Tag Archives: accessibility

Canvas Updates January 2018

Welcome back to a new year and a new term. The Macomb CTL is here to support you in developing productive and rewarding courses for your students.

Let’s take a look at the Canvas releases of January 6 and February 3.

The New Gradebook

The major change is that the New Gradebook is now available for instructors to turn on in your courses. This can be done from the Settings page in the left-side course navigation menu. Then click on the Feature Options tab to see the New Gradebook toggle switch (see image below).

Some of the differences in the new gradebook include:

  • New menus for more settings and sorting options.
  • Late and missing flags with automatic deduction policies.
  • More filtering options.

new gradebook

Do be aware that if you turn the New Gradebook on and then turn on automatic grading for late or missing assignments, you will not be able to return to the “old” Gradebook unless you deactivate the late/missing automatic grading policies.

We invite you to test out the New Gradebook and familiarize yourself with its look and feel before it permanently replaces the current gradebook. We’ll continue to update you well in advance of the launch date as we get more information from Canvas. The New Gradebook will officially launch in the second quarter of 2018. At this point, the old (current) Gradebook will be retired.

More information about the New Gradebook can be found at:

Additional January 6 Updates

Please see the New Feature Screencast for a video demonstration of the updates in the January 6 release:

The Release Notes contain a complete documentation of the release.

One notable update is the ability to add extra credit points to your rubric criteria in SpeedGrader.

Rubric extra points

You may find this method useful for adding extra credit to assignments that use rubrics.

Additional January 27 Updates (delayed to Feb 3)

See the screencast of new features below, and also see the full documentation in the Production Release Notes. 


There’s also a change in the DocViewer mode of SpeedGrader. Now you can make free-floating annotations anywhere on the page, with either a white or transparent background.

Docviewer Free Text

The next Canvas release after February 3 will be February 17, and it can be previewed on the beta server starting February 5.

We wish you the best for the Winter semester. Please contact us at 586-226-4774 with any questions you may have, and don’t forget to look over the CTL Winter 2018 Professional Development booklet for any workshops that may interest you.

Canvas October 28 Release

It’s time for the triweekly Canvas release – let’s take a look at some of the new features.

The release will take effect Saturday, October 28. To view the changes before then, please visit the Canvas beta site. This site resets every week and any changes you make will not be reflected on the “normal” (Production) Canvas site.

Foremost is the Accessibility Checker, found in the Rich Content Editor toolbar (the new person-shaped icon to the right of the Paragraph styling menu – depending on your screen resolution, you may have to use the scrollbar to scroll to the right.) The Checker allows you to detect and fix common accessibility issues with headings, text color, images, links, and tables.

Accessibility Checker

This much-requested feature is already generating lots of discussion in the Canvas Community where faculty and course designers are sharing feedback. We expect ongoing development and improvement of what promises to be a valuable tool in making courses accessible for persons with disabilities.

See Canvas’ New Feature Screencast video for a demonstration of this release.

You can also read and comment on the full Release Notes in the Canvas Community.

Also notable is the restyling of comments in the DocViewer application (for viewing file submissions in SpeedGrader.) Rather than showing the full text of multi-line comments, DocViewer will show expandable ellipses. This will allow you to view more comments at once without sacrificing detail in your comments.

DocViewer comments with condensed content

This update is already available in the current production environment.

The next Canvas update will be released November 18 and can be previewed in Beta mode starting November 6.

Dr. Sue Richardson (English) will be facilitating a Lunch and Learn workshop on using Canvas Groups to enable peer reviewing among your students. Join us on Friday, November 10 at 10am–11:30am at South Campus, J-211 – lunch will be provided! Please register on WebAdvisor and search for 5-digit registration number 54489.