February 2021 Release Summary

Update February 22, 2021: Information regarding “View ungraded items as zero” has been removed as the feature is not enabled for UW System institutions. It may be enabled at a later date.

Beginning February 20, 2021, Canvas will receive several improvements and updates as part of the regularly-scheduled upgrade cycle by Instructure. On February 25, Collaborate Ultra will receive improvements as part of the regularly scheduled upgrade cycle by Blackboard. Updates are made regularly to bring new features, improve user experience, and fix bugs. Such updates do not typically result in downtime.

Upcoming Changes

  • Canvas (February 20)
    • Enter LaTeX equations anywhere, plus MathJax equation rendering
    • Edit HTML using the Pretty HTML Editor
  • Collaborate Ultra (February 25)
    • Quickly view whether a recording is public or not
    • Enhanced chatbot for in-room support (already available)

Enter LaTeX Equations Anywhere, Plus MathJax Equation Rendering (Canvas)

LaTeX equations can be entered in any textbox in Canvas. When displayed to the user, the MathJax library is used to display the equations.

  • Previously: Equation rendering in many areas of Canvas was dependent on the browser. Equations could not be entered in some areas of Canvas.
  • After the release: Equations can be entered in many more places than before, and MathJax displays equations consistently and reliably across browsers in an accessible way.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: Equations can be used by instructors and students in many places in Canvas which greatly increases course flexibility for math-heavy courses. People who rely on assistive technology will have a more consistent experience, which eliminates a barrier to successful learning.

Edit HTML Using the Pretty HTML Editor

The Rich Content Editor can present HTML view using formatting and text highlighting to make the editing of code easier.

  • Previously: HTML code in the Rich Content Editor has no formatting or color highlighting, making code difficult for many to edit when needed.
  • After the release: Changing to HTML view in the Rich Content Editor presents formatted and highlighted HTML in-line with professional HTML editors, which makes the code easier to view and modify.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: this usability change will make it easier for students and instructors to make alterations to their content, fix potential errors, or making customizations to their content that is beyond the abilities of the Rich Content Editor.

Quickly View Whether a Recording is Public or Not (Collaborate Ultra)

View whether a Collaborate Ultra recording is publicly viewable or not from the Recordings page.

  • Previously: Labels for recorded videos are visually similar.
  • After the release: Iconography and text are less similar, and it is easier to determine whether a recording is public or not.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: This productivity change makes it slightly less time-consuming in determining if recordings are available outside of Collaborate Ultra.

Note: this change applies to Collaborate Ultra in both Canvas and My UW System.

Enhanced Chatbot for In-room Support (Already Available) (Collaborate Ultra)

Blackboard offers enhanced support from within Collaborate Ultra sessions with the addition of a new chat bot in the Settings panel.

  • Previously: In-session support was provided by a ticketing system and KB search.
  • After the release: A chat bot is available which offers a much more interactive and versatile support experience.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: There is greater access to support during synchronous sessions, which means any issues experienced by students and instructors are more likely to be quickly resolved.

Note: this change applies to Collaborate Ultra in both Canvas and My UW System.

Learn more

To learn more about this Canvas update, and to see how the changes may affect instructors’ and students’ work, refer to the audience-specific release note links. Remember that some features may not be enabled for UWM or the UW System.