Canvas Release Notes Highlights: Winter Refresh

Canvas operates on a three-week release cycle through which features are added or updated; feature releases in the production environment take place on the third Saturday of every month. SUNY Geneseo’s EdTech team posts highlights from Canvas’s production release notes, a link to these notes, and other relevant content to our blog a few days before the production release, which usually occurs on Saturdays. Please contact the Canvas Support Team if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.

Notifications: Global Announcements

All users now have the ability to decide how regularly they are notified about global, or account-wide, announcements. By default, this alert is set to “immediately” and “by email”; all other notification channels default this alert to off.

Assignments: Sharing (Instructors)

At the course level:

Instructors can now copy and share content directly (i.e., Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages) within Canvas. Previously, the use of a secondary repository was a requisite step when sharing content with other Canvas users.

Looking at the “Assignments” assignment group, clicking the 3 vertical dot option menu now displays two new direct-share options for Canvas content.
  • Only the direct content item selected for sharing/copying is included
    • additional files must be shared/copied individually
  • “Send To…” sends selected content to another user
    • search by email address
    • only users who can manage course content can receive through this feature
    • the same content can be sent to multiple users simultaneously
  • Instructors can use “Copy To…” to copy content into another one of their courses
    • content can be copied directly into a module within the destination course

At the user level:

Users who receive content are notified in the User Navigation menu.

Shared content is indicated in the user’s Account icon and also in the Shared Content link

Content items are listed on the “Received Content” page in reverse chronological order and will be displayed across multiple pages once a user has received 10 content shares. Users can manage the content item within the page by clicking the three vertical-dot Actions menu,

Content can be previewed, and loads in the same window, on this page. Users can import content into a course using the same functionality as copying content to another course. Content can be removed and users will receive a prompt to confirm their removal.

Content items are considered read once the user has selected an action for each content item. However, content items can be manually marked as read/unread by clicking the dot next to the item. Unread content items are displayed in Geneseo-blue.

New Gradebook

Postable Submission Comments

  • This change focuses on assignments set to manually post grades
  • Instructors can provide feedback, that’s viewable by learners, on assignments without grading submissions
  • Once a comment is made, in either New Gradebook via grade detail tray or SpeedGrader, an instructor can use the “Post Grades” option to post comments
  • Note the updated wording in the Post Grades pane:
  • Comments cannot be posted without grades unless no grade has been entered
  • Once a comment is posted, the instructor can choose to hide grades while grading the assignment. Doing so will hide the previously posted comments until grades/comments are reposted

Sort Options

The “student name” column now offers additional sorting options: SIS ID, Integration ID, or Login ID.

Users: Personal Pronouns

This feature will be introduced to SUNY Geneseo at a later date. Please check back here for updates.

  • Users can select a pronoun that represents themselves for a course. 
  • Selected pronouns apply for the user across all enrollments.
  • Users can edit User Settings to display and select from a list of pronouns
  • Once a pronoun is selected by a user, the pronoun currently displays in the majority of the Canvas course and user areas 

You can find the full 12/21/19 Canvas Release Notes document and the 1/18/2020 Canvas Release Notes document, available from Instructure, within the Canvas Community. You do not need to log in to access this content.

Please contact Geneseo’s Canvas Support Team with your questions. Reach us by email ( or through the Canvas Hotline at 585.245.6000 (weekdays 8AM – 4PM). Happy learning!

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