Technology Updates (December 2, 2020): Canvas, ISU AdminTools, Webex, Turnitin, Panopto, Piazza, FERPA

As we have in the past, the Learning Technologies Team will be doing system and vendor updates in between Fall Term and Winter Session to minimize impact during instruction.  The following updates will occur on Wednesday, December 2, 2020: 


The New Rich Content Editor (RCE) will be enabled in all courses. This introduces Autosave functionality and one-click access to Canvas Studio and CyBox directly on the toolbar. 

ISU AdminTools 

The existing course conclusion process will be updated to reduce clutter on the Courses interface, Dashboard, Calendar and Inbox while making it easier for instructors and support staff to copy past courses forward and manage incomplete students. All courses prior to Fall 2020 will be un-concluded and the enrollments within the course will remain concluded. This will not affect student access. Students will retain the same ready-only access in the course unless the instructor altered course settings. Moving forward, this new conclusion process will occur once each semester, approximately 3 weeks after grade submission. 


Webex Trainings can no longer be scheduled from within Canvas. Breakout sessions, polling, and other features have been added to Webex Meetings for greater functionality. See the announcement from September 15. Trainings can still be scheduled through the Webex web portal. 


Turnitin will see the addition of Originality and Draft Coach within Canvas.  See the Turnitin Guide for more information on using Turnitin or Achieving Academic Integrity in Canvas.  


The Panopto update resolves issues instructors have reported regarding being unable to access and re-use videos from previous courses. 


This will be the last month that the vendor will offer the Piazza tool for free.  Instructors using this tool for Spring 2021 can contact for more information regarding the anticipated fee of $379 per instructor per semester. Watch the Piazza teaching and learning page for more updates. 

FERPA Enforcement 

A reminder that instructors must have a valid FERPA certification to maintain access to Canvas beyond December 31, 2020. Check the status of your training or renew your certification by searching for “Understanding FERPA” inside Learn@ISU. 

January 8, 2021
FERPA Enforcement in Canvas has been delayed at this time.

Canvas Studio Webinar: 5 Steps to Increase Student Engagement

When: June 24th – 11:00 a.m.

Join an expert panel of education leaders as they explore how to:

  • Create, deliver, and organize video content from multiple devices and sources
  • Embed quizzes directly into a video clip to gauge student understanding
  • Differentiate and assign videos to students to personalize learning
  • Facilitate discussions and feedback loops with videos for optimal engagement
  • Evaluate how students are engaging with video content …and more!

Release: Maintenance windows and deprecated features – Canvas (July 17, 2021)

The July 17, 2021 Canvas Release contains information pertaining to the following: 

  • Maintenance windows begin. Starting July 15, regular maintenance windows will be implemented between the hours of 12:05 am and 4:05 am local time on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. 
  • Deprecated features will be removed. The Classic Rich Content Editor (disabled at ISU in Dec. 2020) and SMS notifications (disabled at ISU in May 2020) will be completely removed from Canvas. 

The following feature will be enabled during our Fall 2021 technology updates, scheduled for August 16, 2021. 

  • SCORM Launch LinksAdditional security measures will be added to ensure only users enrolled in the course where the SCORM content was uploaded will be given access. 

Additional features included in this update but not currently applicable to the ISU environment include: 

  • New Quizzes and Modules: New Quizzes display within the module for students. 
  • Microsoft Teams Sync: Pending approval of ISU’s request to participate in the beta implementation, course rosters can be synced from the Canvas course People page to Microsoft Teams. 

The LMS Enterprise Team will continue to review these Canvas features as they develop. 

Syllabus Statements in Canvas

Canvas logo - there is a red circle with shapes on the inside and the word canvas in all lowercase next to it

Today, Syllabus Statements in Canvas will be available to all Canvas courses. Syllabus Statements will feature the required and recommended syllabus statements in Canvas as a way to communicate consistent messaging to students.

This option can be found in your Canvas course navigation on the left side of your page. For all new Canvas courses, this feature will auto-populate and be visible by default under the Home tab. For existing Canvas courses, you will need to follow the steps on our Syllabus Statements in Canvas page to enable this feature.

Instructors will be able to add their own course-specific or instructor-specific statements to the Syllabus Statements in Canvas features, in conjunction with the required and recommended statements. Review the full Syllabus Statements in Canvas page for more information and details on how to add more statements.

Immediate Access Training

Iowa State is now using eBooks accessed by the VitalSource Bookshelf Reader for immediate access content needs. Instructors have access to books and student engagement data in a tool called Instructor Dashboard.

On May 12, 2021, a virtual training was held for ISU faculty, covering the topics below.

  • Instructor Dashboard: Accessing instructor dashboard and engagement data
  • Bookshelf Reader: Navigation, features and study tools

Unable to attend the live training? Watch the recording of this session. You will need to enter the password k3vv!$0. in order to access the recording.

Canvas Deploy: Home link, Files Download Link, Missing Label (April 28, 2021)

The April 28, 2021 Canvas Deploy addresses the following features and bug fixes: 

  • Course Navigation Home Link: This option allows instructors to add a Course Link to Home anywhere the Rich Content Editor is supported. 
  • Files Download Links: Links to email addresses and pages with the word files in the title will no longer improperly display the download link inside the Rich Content Editor. 
  • Missing Label and Graded Submissions: When an online submission assignment is not submitted by the due date, the Missing label will now display in SpeedGrader, regardless of whether it has been graded. 

The following features are included in this update but not currently applicable to the ISU environment: 

  • Save and Build Buttons: The New Quiz creation page includes both a Save button and a Build button. 
  • Assignment Enhancements and HTML Tags: When a course has enabled assignment enhancements, HTML tagging code styles added to assignment descriptions are now properly retained in student view. 

Visit the April 28, 2021 Canvas Deploy Notes website for a full description of changes. 

Canvas Release: Course availability date enhancements (April 17, 2021)

In the April 17, 2021 Canvas Release, the changes below are slated to become part of the main Canvas environment.  

  • Course Availability Date Enhancements: In a credit-earning Canvas course, instructors can now choose to use term or course start and end dates via a dropdown in the course settings. Term dates specified by the institution are now visible in this same location. 

Additional features included in this update but not currently applicable to the ISU environment include: 

  • Multiple Attempts First Score Option: The Multiple Attempts menu includes an option to retain the first score for grading when multiple submission attempts are allowed.