How do I manage new features for my course?

Canvas is continually creating new features to improve your experience. The majority of improvements will be made available as part of our regular release cycle. However, some features may change the workflow for common activities in Canvas during your current term. Because we want you to be able to learn about these features at your own pace, they’ll be placed in your Course Settings as a Feature Option. Feature Options allow you to choose when you want to enable the new feature for your course.

In order for a feature to appear, it must be activated by your institutional admin. On the course level, you may have the option to implement features on a course-by-course basis. Instructors have no control over user-level features.

Please note that Feature Options will only be optional for a short period of time. Once a Feature Option is officially released to your production environment, you'll have a few releases (depending on the feature) before the option will be enabled for all Canvas users. Therefore we encourage you to use your beta environment to learn about new Feature Options for your course.

This lesson gives an overview of how to manage a generic feature option. To view specific details about current feature options available in Canvas, visit the current course features lesson.

Open Course Settings

Open Course Settings

In Course Navigation, click the Settings link.

Open Feature Options Tab

Open Feature Options Tab

Click the Feature Options tab.

View Feature Options

View Feature Options

Available features will appear in the Feature Options tab. New features are enabled by your institutional admin, and the Feature Options tab will not display any features until they are granted access to you.

Each course feature includes a feature description. Click the arrow icon next to the feature to expand the feature box and display the description.

View Feature Tags

View Feature Tags

Feature tags help identify the state of each feature. Features may include a pre-production tag:

  • Development [1]: the feature is only available for testing in your beta environment; it is not available in your production environment. (This tag only displays in the beta environment.)
  • Beta [2]: the feature is available for use in your production environment but is still being tested for usability and accessibility behavior. Enabling a beta feature may create unintended behavior within your Canvas account.

A feature with no label [3] means the feature is stable and ready for use in your production environment.  

View Feature Access

View Feature Access

Each feature displays a feature access status as set by your admin.

Note: Course features are activated on a course-by-course basis.

Feature On

Feature On

If a feature is turned on by your admin, the feature will be grayed out and set to On. Your course will be required to use this feature.

Feature Allow

Feature Allow

If a feature is Allowed by your admin, you can choose how you want to manage the feature for your course. The feature will display two options:

  1. On: Select this button to turn on this feature for your course. This option is good for features that need to be implemented across the account immediately or that have been Allowed for enough time that users have adapted to them (if necessary).  
  2. Off: By default, the feature will be off. Leave this button selected if you do not want to enable this feature for your course. This option is good for features that you are not yet comfortable allowing in your course, or features that appear within a semester and you do not want to distract students from the course.

Note: Depending on feature functionality, when you enable a feature to On, Canvas may display a warning message asking to confirm your option, as some course features may have unintended consequences if turned Off.

Feature Off

Feature Off

If a feature that was previously made available by your admin has been turned off, the feature will be grayed out and set to Off. Contact your admin for more information about this change.

View User-Level Features

View User-Level Features

Users can enable User-Level Feature Options at the bottom of their Profile Settings. User level features are activated by your Customer Success Manager.How

Note: Instructors have no control over user-level features.