Updates to myCourses for Saturday December 10th, 2016

December 9, 2016

by Peter Doughty

myCourses by Canvas operates on a three-week release cycle through which features are added or updated. Academic Technology Teaching and Learning Support blogs highlights from myCourses’ production release notes, a link to these notes, and other relevant content in the days surrounding a production release.

Here are the highlights of the 12/10 myCourses Production Release:

There are some nice upgrades with this release including automatic favoriting for new courses which will answer many peoples’ questions about where their courses are. (The answer is “right on the dashboard!”) This is the last big release we’ll see before the new year because of the holidays.


  • Course Auto-Favorites: This is my personal favorite for this update because it will affect all users. For users who have customized their “Courses” list, myCourses automatically adds all new enrollments as a favorite. This change helps users locate new courses in the Dashboard and the Global Navigation Courses menu. Customizing a “Course lists” means a user has clicked the All Courses link in the “Courses” menu and manually favorited at least one course in the “Courses” list. Favorite courses in the “Courses” menu and the Dashboard are still ordered alphabetically by course role and course name. There is no limit for favorited courses which is great news as well, as previously the Dashboard was limited to 12 tiles or courses.


  • Group Assignments by Section: When instructors create a group set from the “People” page, the group structure supports randomly assigning students to a group by section. This feature allows instructors to specifically limit groups to users within a specific section. Section assignments also support instructors in large or cross-listed courses. When this option is selected, students are only grouped together with students from their own section. The section designation is available as part of a new group set page and selecting the option to split students into a specific number of groups.

This option is also available when groups are created manually. In the settings menu for the group set, instructors can choose to randomly assign students in groups. Note that with this option, the checkbox to require members to be in the same section is selected by default.

  • Global Font Update: Here comes some esoterica for the truly obsessed: The default font in Canvas has been updated from Helvetica to a modern typeface, Lato. This change helps improve typography standards in Canvas and across all Instructure products. Lato is an open-source font that supports over 100 Latin-based languages and over 50 Cyrillic-based languages (including Greek and IPA phonetics). Although listed here as such, Greek is technically not Cyrillic. Cyril (and his brother Methodius) were Greek and drew from the Greek alphabet to form a new Glagolitic alphabet which was transformed into “Cyrillic” by the Bulgarians sometime later. The Greek alphabet is derived from an older Phoenician alphabet and predates the Cyrillic alphabet by over a thousand years anyway. Additionally, Lato improves legibility for all font sizes and provides better visual hierarchy in Canvas typography.  

I'd also like to mention that in addition to the myCourses chat help, UNH now has a voice-help (from myCourses directly.) Call (844) 725-7347 to speak with a Canvas Support Agent - available 24/7/365. This may be especially helpful over the Holidays and J-Term! Expect more news concerning an exciting new VeriCite integration with myCourses. Plagiarism detection will be on a whole new level.


Find the full text of the release notes as well as the New Feature Screencast here:


You are part of the Canvas community and can propose, share, and vote on ideas here:


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