Teaching with Canvas:

New Features

  • Analytics Beta is a tool that provides improved analytics for tracking student data using an interactive chart or table. Analytics Beta will eventually replace current course and account analytics. However, Analytics Beta and the current course Analytics functionality can be used concurrently.
    • Full details are available online at Canvas Release: Analytics Beta (Course Grade) at http://bit.ly/analytics-beta-course-grade (Links to an external site.) 
    • When this is made available, Analytics Beta is included in all courses as a hidden link in Course Navigation. To enable in a course, open Course Settings and view the Navigation tab. Move the Analytics Beta link from the disabled section to the enabled section, then save the page. Students are not able to view the Analytics Beta link in Course Navigation.
  • Student Context Cards is a feature option that may be enabled.  The cards will display profile initials for students without profile pictures.
    • Initials are based on the first name and last name of the student’s display name.
    • This change upgrades the current interface functionality of non-profile-picture user accounts.
    • Previously student images without profile pictures displayed a gray profile outline.
    • In any location where student context cards are supported, students without profile pictures display the initials of their name as their profile picture.
Canvas Rich Text Editor (Image: Canvas)
  • HTML5 Media Recorder – For video recordings in the Rich Content Editor, HTML5 can be used instead of flash in Firefox and Chrome browser. 
    • This new feature may require testing ahead of being enabled. While this is in beta a go-live date is not yet announced.
    • The video recording tool is found in Assignments, Announcements, Discussions and SpeedGrader comments.
    • Note: The browser may briefly display a flash message, even though flash is not required. Additionally, the browser may ask to allow access to the computer’s microphone and webcam before initial use.
Canvas Rich Text Editor (Image: Canvas)


  • Rubrics are being updated with a few new features.
    • When grading, after selecting the ‘View Rubric’ button, to view the entire rubric the instructor will need to adjust the width of the rubric section. Note that with the new design the rubrics use more of the screen width.
    • Select the ratings for each criteria as appropriate. Note how the cells now appear with a colored line and triangle at the bottom of each cell. Previously each selected cell was filled in with a color.
Screenshot of the Rubric Adjust
(Image: Canvas)
Screenshot for the Rubric filledin
(Image: Canvas)

For Course Developers:

  • Non-scoring rubrics 
    • When adding a rubric to an assignment, you can choose to remove criterion point values to create a non-scoring rubric. This change allows you to help your students focus on the feedback for an assignment instead of the actual point value and improve learning engagement.
    • When non-scoring rubrics is enabled, you can select the Remove points from this rubric checkbox in the rubric details. Selecting this checkbox removes points from rubrics, and you can no longer see the Use this rubric for assignment grading and Hide score total for assessment results check boxes.
Screenshot of the Non Scoring Rubrics
(Image: Canvas)

Student Experience:

  • When reviewing Grades, rubric results appear in the following format:
Canvas Rich Text Editor (Image: Canvas)

For a complete production release update information: Canvas Release Notes.

2018-10-06 New Feature Screencast from Instructure Community on Vimeo.

2018-10-27 New Feature Screencast from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.

Video note: all features shown may not be available. For example, the new grade book is not yet enabled for Worldwide courses.


The mission of the Rothwell Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence is to empower faculty members in their pursuit of professional growth through diverse offerings for the universal goal of student success.

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