What’s New in Canvas: June 2021

Canvas released some great updates in May and June. We’ve highlighted some of those below, but you can access the full Canvas release notes on their community site.

New Quizzes: Save and Build Button Workflow

When an instructor creates and enters details for a quiz, the page displays both a Save and a Build button. Previously the page only included the Save button, which counterintuitively launched the New Quiz editor.

The Save button saves the content in the existing page and returns the user to the area where the quiz was accessed. This change to the Save button mimics similar behavior located throughout Canvas regarding saving page content.

The Build button saves the existing page and launches the New Quiz editor.

Screenshot of New Quizzes button for Build option.

New Quizzes: Item Bank Management

Item banks can be shared with the entire account as well as one or more courses. Additionally, item banks can be shared as view only. This change allows item bank editors to increase collaboration and disseminate quiz content in either a view-only or edit permission state.

When instructors share an item bank, the item bank supports a new View permission, which can be given to a user and provides access to the bank as read only. The user who shares an item bank can continue to specify editing access for other users. Permissions are selected at the time that an item bank is shared.

Additionally, item banks can be shared with an account or a course. Only Admins can manage access for item banks shared at the account level. If given editing permissions, all instructors and TAs can edit an item bank that is shared with the course.

Screenshot of Item Bank sharing settings.

Item Banks can be accessed using the Item Bank link in both the Account and Course Navigation Menus.

When instructors view the Item Banks page in their course, they can select to view any course banks and account banks from the drop-down menu.

Screenshot of Item Banks in a Canvas Course Menu.

Speedgrader: Comment Library

Comments can be added and saved for reuse within SpeedGrader. This change allows graders to save frequently used comments in SpeedGrader and be reused across multiple students and assignments.

When instructors and other graders access SpeedGrader, the comments field includes a Feedback icon that opens the Comment Library. Comments can be entered in the text field and added to the comment library.

Comments can be edited in and deleted from the library at any time.

New option to Open the Comment Library in Speedgrader.
Adding a comment to the library in Speedgrader.

Comments can be added directly from the Comment Library by opening the library and clicking the comment that should be added. The library will close and the comment will display in SpeedGrader.

Adding a comment from the library in Speedgrader.


  • Comments are saved per individual user regardless of course, so comments saved by a user in one course will also display when the user is viewing SpeedGrader in another course.
  • The Comment Library functionality is not supported in the assignment submission details page.

Global Navigation Menu: Release Notes

The Canvas Help Menu displays an indicator when a release note has been published for the user’s role. Notes display a summary of a feature or multiple features available to the user and provides a link where the user can view more details.

Only default features available to all users are included as release note entries. Each link is customized to the user role and directs to the user summary document for the intended release. Users can choose to disable the indicator that displays when a new note is available. The Help Menu always displays the last 10 release notes posted for the user’s role.

Global Navigation menu showing the new Canvas Release Notes.

Discussions Tool Redesign

For individual discussion topics, the interface has been expanded for maximum space and ensure responsive views. The following modifications have been made to the page:

  • The toolbar has been moved to the top of the discussion thread.
  • Newest replies display at the top of the first page instead of the bottom of the last page.
  • Users can sort replies from newest to oldest, or oldest to newest.
  • Users can also quickly move to the top of the discussion topic at any time.
Comparison of the current discussion thread format versus the new one.

Reply posts can be marked as read or unread in the discussion menu for the reply.

New option to Mark Post as Unread.
Scroll to Top