In today’s beta release, we’re excited to roll out the long-awaited Canvas Chat tool, which lets instructors collaborate with the students in real time (schedules permitting of course). We also have some new features for Discussions, Course Groups, Gradebook, and the Rich Content Editor. And Canvas helps simplify your lives with the first of several improvements to our embed image tool in the Rich Content Editor, an update to Assignment comment notifications, and for instructors, revamped Quiz analysis CSV files.
The Chat tool allows more live interaction in courses where real-time collaboration and discussion are possible with student schedules. Instructors have the ability to view chat history. Documentation will be available on 6/1 as part of our production release.
Lock Non-Graded Discussions on a Specified Date
Instructors can now set availability dates for non-graded discussions and lock the discussion for comments on a specified date automatically, though instructors still have the option to manually lock the post at any time. Instructors will always see all Discussion topics; students will not see a Discussion Topic until the Available From date. Both students and instructors can read and post between the dates of Available From and Until. After the Until date, the entire Discussion Topic is available in a read-only format for everyone. The Available From date defaults to 12am, and the Until date (lock date) defaults to 11:59pm (as does the Due Date option in graded Discussions). Alternate times may be typed manually into the date fields.
Limit Sizes in Self-Assigned Groups
Instructors can specify a limit on the number of members within self-assigned groups. This setting is only activated when an instructor selects the self sign-up checkbox and can help balance the number of group members within the course.
Message Unassigned Students in Self-Assigned Groups
Instructors can message students who have not signed up for any self-assigned groups. The message students link is located within the Unassigned window and will populate all unassigned students as message recipients. This messaging option is similar to the Gradebook "message students who..." feature.
Points vs Percentages in the Gradebook Total Column
Instructors can choose whether to view grades in the Gradebook total column by points or percentage. This feature offers grading flexibility for instructors depending on their preferred grading styles and can be accessed by hovering over the total column and selecting their grading view of choice. Students will receive this viewing functionality in an upcoming release and can still see cumulative points via the hover over. Please note that this feature is only available in Gradebook courses with non-weighted assignment groups.