Canvas Updates

Canvas User Updates – Beta Release Notes April 8

Important Notices – April 8th Beta Release

What are Beta Releases? Canvas tests out new features and fixes in a separate environment, known as the Beta Environment. In this area the software developers and users can preview upcoming changes without interfering with the production or live software. If the tests go well the features are added to the production version of Canvas. Users can access the Maricopa Beta Environment at

Here are some features that are currently being tested in the Beta Environment:

Advanced Math Equation Formatting: The Rich Content Editor’s Equation Editor will be given new functionality. The new Advanced Editor accepts LaTex input for more advanced equation formatting. Users can type LaTeX or copy/paste LaTeX in the Equation Editor Advanced View and see a rendering of the equation.

Math Editor Screenshot

Varied Due Dates Error Checking & Due Date Hover Display: Instructors will be notified when they submit invalid or conflicting due dates for a quiz, assignment, or discussion. Error messages will be given for not unlocking the assignment before it is due, or not placing the due date inside the assignment availability window.

Due Date Warning Screenshot

In addition, instructors will be able to hover over an assignment and view each the individual due dates for sections without opening each individual assignment. This feature applies to Quizzes, Assignments, Modules, Global Assignments, Course Assignments. Varied due dates will be added to the current hover boxes located in Global Dashboard, Course Dashboard, and Course Analytics.

Due Date Hover Screenshot

Did You Know?!?

Canvas Conversation Inbox

How does the inbox work? First it is important to note that the inbox is not an email system, rather, the Inbox collects ‘conversations’ throughout Canvas including the announcements assignment submission and grading areas. Conversations are grouped by user. User Notifications can be set-up to receive conversations from Canvas to email, text, social networks and more.

Inbox Management Tips

The Canvas Conversation Inbox can be overwhelming for first-time users or for large classes. Here are some strategies to help you make the inbox more manageable:

  • Tip 1: Check your Canvas Conversations Inbox once a day and archive, delete and/or respond to messages as needed. More Information.
  • Tip 2: Set your notifications to receive important alerts to your preferred contact method, but go back to Canvas Inbox whenever possible to manage the messages. More Information.
  • Tip 3: Close Announcements for commenting and encourage students to contact you via the Inbox instead. More Information.
  • Tip 4: Use the Canvas Inbox filters to find conversations. You can filter messages by course, name and group. You can also search conversations by status (read, sent, archived, etc.).
  • Tip 5: Canvas Conversations do not have subjects because they are generated from so many different areas in Canvas AND are pushed out to devices (like phones) that do do have subject lines. Put the subject of the message in the body of your conversation, making it easier to quickly see what a conversation is about within the first line of the message.

What is a Bug? And How Are Bugs Fixed?

A bug is a glitch or error in intended software functioning. Whereas a feature is a “like to have” a bug is a “need to fix”. Have bug to report? Let us know,

Canvas Inbox Bugs Fixed: The issues with filtering messages AND sending messages to students no longer enrolled when messaging an entire class in the Canvas Conversations Inbox have been fixed.

Upcoming Releases

The next change to Canvas will occur on 4/20/2013. If you’d like to see a preview of the changes, login to on 4/8/2013. Production notes will be available 4/15/2013.
Training opportunities for Canvas are available throughout the spring semester at MCC, online and with Instructure.



  • 3:00pm Wednesday, April 17 Canvas LIVE! ONLINE Webinar:  Ask a Canvas Expert Register at: The session will be open discussion and Q&A with the Canvas training team.
  • 11:00am Thursday, April 25 Canvas as LIVE! ONLINE Webinar: SpeedGrader Register at: The sessions will include a tutorial on the SpeedGrader, followed by open discussion and Q&A with the Instructure training team.

Mesa Community College: