E-Learning Blog: Canvas Release Notes for 01/31/15

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Every 3 weeks we bring you the details on scheduled updates to the Canvas
system, with information specific to the Canvas features enabled by our institution.

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In this update, instructors can now better manage their course assignments by more easily keeping assignment availability dates within the course or term. Also, students can now easily view assignment availability dates as part of the assignment. As always, the production notes also include other Canvas updates, platform integrations, and fixed bugs.

New Features


Course and Term Date Validation

Instructors cannot create assignments, graded discussions, or quizzes with due dates and/or availability dates outside the start and end dates for the course or term. This feature helps instructors better manage all student coursework within the course schedule.

  • This feature does not apply to areas outside assignments, such as in the Calendar.
  • This feature currently only applies when editing an assignment. The Canvas engineers are adjusting the behavior to apply to new assignments and should be able to update that soon.
  • When an instructor edits an assignment and clicks the Update Assignment button, Canvas validates any entered dates—assignment due date, available from date, and until date—against the course start and end dates and generates an error message for invalid date entries. This validation takes place for all dates, including varied due dates.


  • If an assignment does not contain any dates, the assignment availability defaults to the course start and end dates.
  • If the course does not include specified course start and end dates, Canvas validates the assignment against the term dates for the course.
  • This feature validates against the Users can only participate in the course between these dates checkbox for start and end dates in Course Settings.

Updated Features


Assignment Point Value

When an existing assignment contains graded submissions and an instructor changes the points possible, Canvas displays a warning that changing the point value requires regrading the assignment. This warning message applies to any grading type with assignment submissions, including changing points from or to zero.

Note: If an assignment with graded submissions is changed to zero points, such as for extra credit, this feature does not change the way that zero-point assignments work with assignment groups. Please see this guide on extra credit for more details.

Availability Dates View for Students

Students can view any assignment availability dates on the assignments detail page, not just the Assignments Index Page. This feature also applies to discussions and quizzes.

Course Settings

Viewing for Authenticated Users

Instructors can allow authenticated users in their institution to view a course. Located in Course Settings, this visibility option allows users who are authenticated (logged in) in the Canvas account to view the course before they enroll in the course. The course content shown to authenticated users is the same content shown to the public for publicly visible courses.

Note: The Make this course publicly visible option and Make this course visible to authenticated users option cannot be used together. The first option will override the second so the course will always remain public, even when the user is not logged in.

Other Updates

Canvas Menus

As part of an interface redesign, Canvas drop-down menus, calendar menus, and menu windows include a slightly modified interface. They have been given a cleaner, flatter look. All functionality remains the same.

 For complete documentation and list of bugs fixed in this update,
please visit the Canvas release notes page.