What's new in Canvas?

To view recent updates and changes in Canvas, follow the links below.

Staff can access Canvas by going to canvas.ox.ac.uk and logging in using their Single Sign On (SSO) username and password.


Since the start of the 2023-24 academic year, students have had the option to provide their pronouns via Student Self Service. Any pronouns provided in student records are now available to staff and fellow students in Canvas – nothing will show if no pronouns have been provided

Student pronouns are visible to staff, students and other students in several places in Canvas, including ‘Discussions’, ‘People’ and the ‘Student Context Card’. In addition, staff can see student pronouns in ‘Assignment Creation’, ‘Assignment Peer Review’, Course Sections, and the ‘SignUp tool’. 

For more information, go to the Student pronouns section of the staff guide to using Canvas at Oxford.

The media recorder in SpeedGrader now supports screen recording and auto-captioning. This update improves feedback clarity and accessibility by allowing teachers to record their screens and add captions. Please note that these features are only available in Chrome and Edge and that closed captioning takes time to process.

For more information, please go to the Staff Guide to Using Canvas at Oxford.

Account Admins can now create temporary enrolment pairings, enabling recipients to gain access to the courses a selected user is enrolled in, for a specific timeframe. This feature streamlines the process of enrolling substitute users (teachers, course administrators) into particular courses, during periods of absence, observation or assistance.

To learn how to utilise this feature, please refer to the Staff Guide to Using Canvas at Oxford.

Events added to attendees' Canvas calendars now automatically update if they are subsequently added or removed from a sign-up event. Additionally, staff members can manage their notification settings for Signup events.

To learn how to utilise this feature, please refer to the Staff Guide to Using Canvas at Oxford.

It is now possible to unpublish a module only (without unpublishing the items that it contains). This may be necessary if the module is not yet ready for students to view, yet one does not wish to unpublish any items it contains (e.g. Assignments). The publish/unpublish options are available at the individual module level and the overall modules level.

For more information, please go to the Staff Guide to Using Canvas at Oxford.

Following user feedback, the Canvas Enhancements & Inclusive Teaching Enhancements 2 project has enhanced the ‘Manage Courses (Rollover) Tool’, used for ‘rolling over’ a course(s) in Canvas.

Previously limited to 'all' or 'no', Local Canvas Coordinators and Unit Administrators can now specify exactly which user roles to roll over, removing the need to manually add or edit roles in the new course(s), and promoting consistency across academic years.

To see how to use the tool, go to the Manage Courses (Rollover) - how to do it section of the staff guide to using Canvas at Oxford.

As part of the ongoing improvement to the Canvas Calendar, users now have the ability to create, edit, and duplicate events for different sections of a course. Instead of creating recurring events, this update focuses on duplicating single events to optimise scheduling and improve user workflows.

For more information, please go to the Staff Guide to Using Canvas at Oxford.

Since the 2022-23 academic year, students have been able to provide aids for the pronunciation of their name, in the form of an audio recording and/or phonetic spelling, via Student Self Service. The Canvas Enhancements & Inclusive Teaching Enhancements 2 project has now enabled these aids to be accessed by staff and fellow students in a Canvas course via three tools: People, Discussions and Sign-up.

For more information, go to the Student name pronunciations section of the staff guide to using Canvas at Oxford.

Following user feedback, the capacity of the ‘Oxford Signup Tool’ for events has been increased.

Previously limited to 20 attendees per slot, users can now set the maximum number of attendees per slot at 50, reducing the need to create multiple slots for the same time period.

To see how to use the tool, go to the Oxford Signup Tool in Canvas section of the staff guide to using Canvas at Oxford.

Find out more in the Canvas guide.

The new Page Enhancement tool helps course designers create pages that are welcoming and orientating spaces for students.  Two new design elements are available, with no need for specialist or HTML skills. 

  • Banner image – select a default image or upload your own to catch attention, and create a great first impression 
  • Module titles – choose from a visually engaging list or ‘tiles’ to make course navigation easy and quick 

To see how to use the new features, go to the Page Enhancement tool section of the staff guide to using Canvas at Oxford

Following feedback from students and staff, the guidance on setting up notifications has been updated.

Notifications allow you to select how and when you want to be notified when various events occur within a course. You can edit your preferences for many areas, including Course Activities and Discussions, and can choose to receive them via email or mobile. For each area, you can choose to be updated immediately, receive a daily summary (typically sent at 6pm), a weekly summary (Saturday 5-7pm) or not at all.

The Notifications section of the staff and student guides to using Canvas at Oxford have been updated.

Find out more in the Canvas guide.

The ‘University of Oxford’ calendar, with term dates, is now available at account level, meaning users no longer need to import each academic year’s dates into their personal Canvas calendar, and can simply choose to toggle it on or off, on the main/global calendar page. Other benefits include:

  • The new calendar will always carry the terms/weeks for the current and next academic year, removing the need for users to remember to add them manually each year
  • Unlike entries in personal calendars, users are not able to edit the new calendar, reducing the risk of accidentally changing or deleting information.

The Calendar section of the staff and student guides to using Canvas at Oxford have been updated.

Find out more in the Canvas guide.

It is possible for a Local Canvas CoordinatorUnit Administrator or Assistant Unit Administrator to create Canvas calendars at the account level. This makes it possible to share key dates for departmental, faculty or college events and make them visible to all teachers, administrators and students with access to Canvas courses in that sub-account. Users have the option to subscribe to the calendar under Other Calendars

Find out more in the Canvas guide.

It has always been possible to set the Visibility of an entire Canvas course (under Settings) to Course Members, Oxford Users, Institution or Public.

Visibility can now be set for individual Files as well, with the default being Inherit from Course.

This now means you could host a course handbook in Canvas and make only that file public, although it would be discoverable only from a link on an open site.

Find out more in the Canvas guide.

It has always been possible to schedule when a Module will appear to students. You can now also schedule when a Page will appear to students, so for example, you could provide a page of quiz answers after the submission date.

Find out more in the Canvas guide.

Within the Unit Groups option of the Group Enrolment Tool (GET)Undergraduate Groups are now available, as well as other groups within a department, faculty or college.

This enables easy, dynamic enrolment of required groups within a Canvas course.

The Canvas Signup tool has been improved so that when students sign up for an event, the booking will be automatically displayed in their personal Canvas calendar.

The change will only apply to newly created events. For more information visit Using the Oxford Signup tool in Canvas.

With the help of staff at the Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Bodleian Libraries, the Inclusive Teaching Enhancements project has developed resources to support academics and administrators by taking the guesswork out of ensuring that Canvas courses meet important inclusivity criteria.

The guidance page provides lots of resources on planning an inclusive teaching course in Canvas, including an Inclusive teaching checklist and a Canvas Course pre-launch checklist.

Guidance on embedding a JISC Online Survey in Canvas is available and will be of particular interest to staff who are currently using the survey tool in WebLearn, as WebLearn is due to be decommissioned in July 2022

The Export Members tool will export a CSV file of students enrolled in a Canvas course, enabling you to import them into a JISC Online Survey. The Export Members tool is available to specific roles (eg Teacher, Course Administrator). Please note specific action may be required in relation to suspended students or students who have not accepted the course invitation.

A bespoke survey tool in Canvas is planned for future use. This page will be updated once the tool is available.

Ally is a tool that helps increase the accessibility of pages and documents uploaded into Canvas.

  • Students can view/download any document or page in alternative formats such as OCRed PDF, audio, high contrast or easy-read versions to suit all learning styles and benefit all students.
  • Staff can get feedback about the accessibility of any page or document via a course report and an accessibility indicator. Each issue is accompanied by a step-by-step guide on how to fix it.

Find out more about Ally.

Within Canvas, the bespoke Oxford Signup tool has been updated with several improvements, based on user feedback.

Notifications have been improved in various ways, as have security and accessibility features, including support of Canvas high contrast functionality.

The tool now works with Safari and the Canvas mobile student app.

If you would like to know more, view the Oxford Signup Tool page in the Canvas staff guidance.

You can now create a Microsoft Teams Class with all the same users added as are enrolled on your Canvas course.  

You can also schedule a Microsoft Teams meeting from inside your Canvas course, and automatically invite all the enrolled users. The Microsoft Teams meeting will then appear in the enrolled users calendars in Outlook and Teams. 

Users will benefit from all the functionality available when arranging Microsoft Teams meetings outside of the integration, ie the ability to allocate students to breakout rooms, recording, using Whiteboards, survey software. Students will also be able to locate chat information and other resources as previously.  

Please note that the changes will not be automatically enabled in Canvas. For full instructions on how to switch on one or both functions, view the Microsoft Teams integration page in the Canvas staff guidance.

You can now update notifications for individual courses from your central account making it even easier to customise them for your preferences.

The Immersive Reader is now available in more parts of Canvas.

Graders can now change the submission status for a student’s assignment directly in SpeedGrader. The following link provides an overview and further links to a Q&A and usage video: Canvas Release Notes (2021-10-16) - Instructure Community (canvaslms.com)

This new feature enables Canvas users to select and import one of the new inclusive teaching course templates from Canvas Commons at the course creation stage.

As a user, if a new course is created, a generic message now appears as a prompt to import prepared templates so that users are aware of/reminded of the functionality available to them. 

The new calendar sync tool can be used to import your Canvas calendar into another calendar (eg Google or Outlook), integrating ‘due dates’ and other events into any calendar used regularly.

You can also export your Canvas calendar to PDF or Word, and easily print or save your calendar event and share with others.

‘Oxford Terms and Dates’ is the latest addition to the Canvas calendar and will allow users to add the University term names and week numbers to their personal Canvas calendar, helping to keep better track of the academic year within the calendar itself. 

Details of all the changes can be found in the Oxford Canvas guides.

Several bespoke templates have been created for use in Canvas courses. 

Templates simplify course creation and deliver a consistent student experience, offering a standardised format that can be customised to suit the needs of individual departments and courses.

They also incorporate recommendations on accessibility and inclusive teaching, including suggested teaching and learning activities.

Please visit Canvas templates guidance to find out more. 

New roles have been created in Canvas for staff working primarily in undergraduate, admissions and outreach settings. 

The roles come with additional permissions for safeguarding, such as the prohibition of messaging to individual course members and students being prevented from viewing the user list. Roles U18-Student and U18-Teacher can be found in the ‘8HB0SZ Undergraduate admissions and outreach’ sub-account.

Please see Canvas Roles for Use in Oxford for more information. 

The Manage Sections tool has been designed to help users to manage section enrolment in Canvas more efficiently.

Users are able to see the list of course members and the list of members in each section. It is also possible to add a new section within the tool. Drag and drop functionality lets users quickly move course members into the relevant section(s) or remove them from a section. Protections are in place to prevent course members assigned to a section via the Oxford Groups (Group Enrolment) tool being removed from the relevant section.

Staff interested in sections will also find the guidance on Groups helpful.

The new functionality is available to users who already have access to Canvas functionality to manage section enrolments in the People page. This will usually, but not exclusively, be Local Canvas Coordinators and Unit Administrators.

FIT - Flexible and Inclusive Teaching




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