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The Study Hall

Canvas Releases New Enhancements and Capabilities

SALT LAKE CITY — July 26, 2017 — Canvas by Instructure, the open online learning management system (LMS), released several new capabilities and enhancements today at its annual customer conference, InstructureCon, to help make teaching and learning easier. These new features include Blueprint Courses, To-Do List Dashboard, Canvas Teacher App and new updates to Gradebook.

“We’re always striving to provide teachers and students with the best learning experience possible through Canvas,” said Mitch Benson, vice president of Canvas product at Instructure. “These new Canvas capabilities continue to simplify tasks to empower our users to focus on the things that truly matter inside and outside the classroom, and that’s improving learning and helping students achieve their best.”

Canvas’ new industry-leading capabilities include:

  • Blueprint Courses: Blueprint Courses simplifies the distribution of course design through controlled, reusable blueprints teachers can use to create each of their courses. These templates also allow for the building and maintenance of courses that can be secured for use in associated Canvas courses. This feature gives the Canvas community a simplified way to manage and deploy central content and create a consistent user experience for students across numerous courses.
  • To-Do List Dashboard: The new To-Do List Dashboard provides an intuitive, in-depth planner to help students prioritize assignments across courses, identify missed opportunities and add their own items to their list of to-dos to help them manage their time in one place. Leveraging Canvas’ exceptional user experience, the instructor’s view of the dashboard displays a comprehensive to-do list across all their courses, retains their grading to-do list, adds to-dos to their own calendar and allows them to make quick edits to assignments. Instructors will also have the opportunity to add more items to students’ to-do list including announcements, non-graded discussions and pages.
  • Canvas Teacher App: Canvas Teacher combines SpeedGrader with the most frequent Canvas teacher tasks in a purpose-built, role-specific mobile app that dramatically increases the ease of interactions with Canvas. This new app helps teachers manage several high frequency tasks, including updating course content, communicating with students and grading.
  • New Enhancements to Gradebook: Now and throughout the next year, Canvas users will see many new features in Gradebook, a tool that helps instructors easily input and distribute grades. These updates will include significant accessibility enhancements like keyboard navigation and, immediately, a more intuitive organization of Gradebook menus and options, which will streamline workflows, reduce clicks and remember instructor preferences. Educators will also save time with more automation, providing increased flexibility, accuracy and better communication with students in Canvas Grades.

These updates, and many more, will be highlighted at InstructureCon. In addition, many education leaders and influencers will speak from the event’s stages. 

External InstructureCon keynote addresses include: 

Creative people — artists, innovators, inventors — do things differently. In his keynote, Kaufman untangles the lives and habits of a diverse cast of thinkers to reveal the top 10 attributes of so-called “messy minds.” He demonstrates how play, openness and diverse thinking can kickstart innovation in your work, practice and personal life.

Choice is the only tool we have that enables us to go from who we are today to who we want to be tomorrow. In her keynote, Iyengar will explore why people want choice, what affects how and what we choose and how we can improve our decision-making outcomes in order to get the most from our choices.

To learn more, visit