July 2021 Release Summary

This is the latest information on changes to UWM’s Digital Learning Environment which includes changes to Canvas, Kaltura (a.k.a. My Media), Zoom, and other services available in Canvas.

Updates are made regularly to bring new features, improve user experience, and fix bugs. For each item, the change date is provided. Release Summaries are used to communicate planned updates for the given month and includes updates which occurred after the previous update.

Service Maintenance

SCORM modules in courses will be unavailable from 9:00 am to 10:00 am, Central time on July 17, 2021. SCORM is a technology used to offer some presentations and interactive exercises in courses. This event is not likely to have a negative impact on instruction for most courses.

Major Changes

  • Canvas
    • July 15, 2021: Regular Maintenance Windows Introduced
    • July 17, 2021: New Quizzes Follows Module Flow for Students
  • Canvas Catalog
    • June 30, 2021: Email Customization
  • Collaborate Ultra
    • June 30, 2021: End-of-Service

Canvas: Regular Maintenance Windows Introduced (July 15, 2021)

A regular maintenance window has been implemented for Canvas by Instructure. During the maintenance window, Canvas may be unavailable.

As of July 15, 2021, the Canvas maintenance window is scheduled for the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, from 1:05 am to 8:05 am.

  • Before the change: Maintenance was announced and performed as needed.
  • After the change: Most maintenance activity is performed during the pre-scheduled maintenance window.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: Having a fixed maintenance window makes it possible to plan assignments and course activities around likely maintenance events.

Maintenance windows will not always be used, and outages could last from several minutes to several hours.

When an outage is announced a notice will be posted on the Canvas website, and an announcement will appear on Canvas Dashboards. People are also welcomed to subscribe to email notifications provided by Instructure.

  • Alerts for uwmil.instructure.com and uws.instructure.com
    • Affects for-credit courses, Supplemental courses with “UWM.S” in the course code, and master/sandbox courses with “UWM.M” in the course code; also affects cross-institution courses with “UWM.X” in the course code.
  • Alerts for uws-ce.instructure.com
    • Affects courses with “UWM.C” in the course code; certificate, pre-college programs, post-college programs, for-credit courses with non-UWM students, and courses offered by the School of Continuing Education
  • Alerts for uws-td.instructure.com
    • Affects courses with “UWM.T” in the course code; courses used for professional development, student affairs, and training/development opportunities for the UWM community

Canvas: New Quizzes Follows Module Flow for Students (July 17, 2021)

When students navigate to a New Quiz assessment In Home/Modules, the quiz will show the Previous and Next buttons, as well as course navigation on the left. After clicking the Begin button, New Quizzes will fill the browser.

  • Before the change: When students accessed New Quizzes as part of module progression, they are taken out of the module progression flow.
  • After the change: Before students start, and after students leave New Quizzes, they will continue to have access to the Previous button, Next button, and course navigation.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: This change makes it easier for courses which use New Quizzes, and which also rely on a linear progression through modules.

CETL and school/college support do not currently recommend using New Quizzes unless it is needed for specific question types or capabilities. Contact CETL or your school/college support for additional information; and continue using Classic Quizzes whenever possible.

Canvas Catalog: Email Customization (June 30, 2021)

NOTE: This feature is only available to Canvas Catalog administrators

Administrators with access to Canvas Catalog can customize the emails that are sent to course registrants. Emails for registration, enrollment, course completion, certificate, and waitlists can be customized.

  • Before the change: Email messages were defined by Instructure.
  • After the change: Email messages sent to people who register for classes in Catalog can be customized to suit the needs of the catalog owner.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: Customized emails improve the user experience of registering course participants, which can have a significant positive effect on success. Messages can be customized to include critical information, best practices, and other preparatory information to set expectations, and provide guidance.

At UWM, catalogs are available for schools/colleges, departments, and programs. If your unit would like to leverage Canvas Catalog for self-registration and promotion, contact CETL.

Collaborate Ultra: End-of-Service (June 30, 2021)

UW System’s agreement with Blackboard for Collaborate Ultra ended on June 30, 2021 and Collaborate Ultra has been removed from Canvas.

  • Previously: Collaborate Ultra is available from within Canvas and via the My UW System portal.
  • After the change: Collaborate Ultra is unavailable in Canvas and My UW System. Recordings will continue to be available in My Media.
  • How this affects teaching and learning: CETL, the UWM Help Desk, Classroom Services and school/college support offices continue to support UWM audiences in the transition to Zoom (for instruction) or Teams (for administrative activities).

During the Zoom transition, instructors will need to change the way videos are shared to their courses Modules/Home page.

Additional Changes

  • Canvas
    • Grades CSV exports reflect the order of grade columns in the Grades tool. (July 7, 2021)
    • The “Mark as Done” button is moved to the bottom of pages for students. (July 7, 2021)
    • Teachers regain the ability to reset courses. (July 13, 2021)
    • Administrators regain the ability to reset courses. (July 7, 2021)
    • Additional HTML tags and CSS attributes are allowed in the Rich Content Editor (July 7, 2021)
  • External Tools (LTI)
    • Cengage MindLinks is now available as a navigation item which can be enabled in any for-credit, master/sandbox, and Supplemental course. Instructors no longer need to request Cengage via UWM Canvas Tools, and Cengage representatives no longer need to work with Canvas Administrators to activate WebAssign. (July 13, 2021)
    • Chem101 is now available as an opt-in service that can be requested using UWM Canvas Tools. (July 8, 2021)
    • W. Norton Deep Linking is now available as an opt-in service that can be requested using UWM Canvas Tools. (July 19, 2021)
    • The SCORM LTI is updated to increase security when launching modules and exchanging data. (July 17, 2021)
  • Proctorio: ClassCalc has replaced the previous calculators in quizzes, in the In-Quiz Tools widget. (June 24, 2021)

Learn More

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