Canvas Update – Fall 2018

Several new Canvas features and updates were released in Fall quarter.


New 24/7 Canvas Help Options

Canvas help by phone and chat is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone and chat questions are answered by support agents from Instructure, the company that builds Canvas.

Phone and chat support are best used for basic Canvas how-to questions and urgent issues, like those causing work stoppage.

How to Access 24/7 Canvas Help

24/7 Help: Live Chat with Instructure Support
Click the Help button in Canvas to access Live Chat

24/7 Help: Instructure Support Hotline
Call toll free: 1-833-277-2031

See our Stanford Go Canvas blog post to learn more about the new 24/7 Canvas help options.


Stanford-specific Canvas Help

For Stanford-specific questions (e.g., enrollment, course creation) it’s best to use these support options:

  • Go to the Stanford Canvas Help Center website for answers to Frequently Asked Questions, step-by-step documentation and helpful tips.
  • Click the Canvas Help button and select Get Help from Stanford Canvas Support to report a problem, ask Stanford-specific questions and give feedback to our VPTL Canvas support team at Stanford. You will receive a response by the next business day.
  • Email the Stanford Canvas Team directly for help at our new email address:


Dashboard Updates

  • View All Courses Button

When you log into Canvas the View All Courses button on the Dashboard allows you to easily access all of your past and current courses.

Dashboard - View All Courses

Dashboard – View All Courses Button

  • Dashboard – List View – To Do List

The new Dashboard List View includes a customizable To-Do List that includes Canvas items with due dates and lets you add your own items and check them off when completed. To access the List View, click the 3 vertical dots (also known as a Kebab menu) in the upper right of the Dashboard.

Dashboard - List View - To Do List

Dashboard – List View – To Do List


Discussion Updates

Section-specific Non-graded Discussions
You can now post non-graded discussions to specific sections.

Section-specific Non-graded Discussions
Section-specific Non-graded Discussions

Rich Content Editor Changes

  • Easier Image Embedding 
    The Rich Content Editor now supports uploading a file to embed directly into a post. (Previously you had to upload the image to Canvas first and then link to it to embed.)

  • Word Counter 
    The Rich Content Editor displays a word counter within the editor browser window. This lets you know how many words you’ve typed in a discussion, page, assignment text entry, or other content location where the Rich Content Editor is supported. The word counter only displays when you’re entering content in the Rich Content Editor. After the content is saved, the word counter is no longer visible unless the content is edited.


Module Improvements

Ability to Duplicate Modules 
New modules default to an unpublished state and have “Copy” at the end of their name. (Note: Quizzes will not be copied when you duplicate a module.)



Non-Scoring Rubrics
When creating a rubric, instructors can select “Remove points from rubric” to rate students’ assignments without impacting points awarded.

Grading Enhancements


  • Image Annotation support (BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF) and image rotation
  • Instructor Annotation Management 
    • Instructors can delete any annotations or comments for any user.  
    • When an instructor deletes a user’s annotation or comment, the annotation or comment is deleted from view for all users except for the owner of the annotation or comment. The owner can retain the deleted items or remove them by clicking the Remove icon. Deleted comments still support replies.
  • Non-Author Annotation Comments 
    • Users can comment on annotations if they are not the author of the annotation. This change allows any user to comment on annotations made by another user if a comment does not already exist.

Anonymous Moderated Grading

  • If moderated grading is enabled for an assignment, students’ and moderators’ names can be hidden to prevent the impact of bias.

Analytics BETA

Analytics BETA is a new tool that provides improved analytics for tracking student data using an interactive chart or table.

Analytics BETA
Analytics BETA

To enable Analytics BETA in your Canvas course, go to:

  1. Settings at the bottom of the Course Navigation Menu
  2. Click the Navigation tab
  3. Click the 3 vertical dots to the right of Analytics BETA and select Enable
  4. Click Save
Enable Analytics BETA
Enable Analytics BETA

Analytics BETA will now appear on your Course Navigation Menu

Grade Distribution Graphs Now Hidden by Default
Previously in Canvas, the default settings allowed students to see anonymized grade distribution data (minimum, average, and maximum score) for Assignments. The grade distribution graphs are now hidden from students by default. If you would like to make the grade distribution graphs visible to students, you can uncheck the “Hide grade distribution graphs from students” checkbox on your course Settings page.


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