Academic Systems Key Feature Updates

Knowing the latest updates on the learning systems we use at Western--Canvas, Zoom, Panopto, and Socrative--can help you teach and learn at your best. 

Top 5 Tech Things To Know (Fall 2022)

For more on each of these updates, scroll down for links and details.

  1. Canvas' new Immersive Reader option on content pages/assignments gives users options including reading text aloud. 
  2. Canvas also allows custom view filters in the gradebook, assignment enhancements that improve the interface and student submission workflow, and new analytics for course grades, weekly online activity, and individual student view.
  3. Zoom breakout rooms now allow meeting host to talk to all rooms (in addition to sharing screen), search for participants in rooms, and save room assignments for future use. Update your Zoom software for the best experience!
  4. Panopto's captioning supports find and replace, allows creators to switch caption languages, and enforces an end date for access if desired.
  5. Socrative Pro (licenses available) now accommodates up to 200 participants.

Fall 2022

CANVAS - Learning Management System

See: Canvas Help

  • Microsoft Immersive Reader: Provides an enhanced reading experience by improving accessibility and boosting reading comprehension. Students can use the Microsoft Immersive Reader when viewing a Course Home Page, a Syllabus, or viewing an individual assignment or page. See How do I use the Microsoft Immersive Reader in a course as a student?
  • Anonymous Instructor Annotations: When creating an assignment, teachers can enable anonymous instructor annotations in DocViewer supported submissions. When students view a submission with anonymous instructor annotations in DocViewer, comments do not display an instructor's name. This option only affects comments added in DocViewer in the SpeedGrader submission window. Comments added in the SpeedGrader sidebar are not anonymous. Anonymous instructor annotations is currently a course opt-in feature. See How do I enable anonymous instructor annotations in student submissions?
  • Assignment Enhancements: An update to the Classic Assignment Details page that improves the assignment interface and submission workflow for students. See What is Assignment Enhancements?
  • Enhanced Gradebook Filters: Allows teachers to select and manage condition types and conditions used in a gradebook filter and enable or disable a filter. A filter may be used once or saved for future use. See How do I use Enhanced Gradebook Filters? 
  • New Course and User Analytics: Provides a richer analytics experience for course grades, weekly online activity, and individual student view. All analytics also include mobile page views. New Analytics includes improved analytics for tracking student data in published courses using an interactive chart or table. See New Analytics

ZOOM - Videoconferencing and Online Meetings, and Webinars

See: Zoom for Western | Zoom Learning Center


  • Enhanced access to cloud recordings: Cloud recordings can be more easily accessed and shared from the desktop client. Additionally, a notification will appear when a recording is finished processing.
  • Broadcast mic audio to all breakout rooms: Meeting hosts can broadcast their microphone audio to all breakout rooms in a meeting. Previously, only device audio could be shared to breakout rooms from the main session.
  • Share audio with content to all breakout rooms: Hosts are able to share computer audio, along with shared content, to all breakout rooms. This can be enabled when beginning the share, or while sharing is in progress. This also supports the Share Video option as well for Breakout Rooms.
  • Search breakout rooms: Hosts and co-hosts are able to better manage breakout rooms with the ability to search for participants in breakout rooms by name, allowing them to quickly view, assign, or move participants between breakout rooms.
  • Enhancement to Waiting Room participants order: Hosts can choose to display the participants currently in the Waiting Room in either chronological or alphabetical order. This is set in the Waiting Room customization settings in the web portal.
  • Rename participants in Waiting Room: Hosts and co-hosts can rename meeting participants in the waiting room before they enter the meeting. After locating a participant's name in the waiting room section of the participant list, an option appears in the ... menu to rename that participant. The participant is notified of this change.
  • Save Breakout Room assignments for future use: When breakout rooms are created, the host can save that current configuration and participant assignments, which can be used in future sessions. This is only available for recurring meetings and limited to 10 saved configurations per user.


  • Simultaneous sharing for panelists: Webinar attendees can now experience the sharing of simultaneous presentations by panelists. This is the same functionality that is already available in Zoom Meetings. The webinar attendee can choose which screen to view, such as seeing the content in their language when a presentation is shared in different languages. This can be helpful when sharing presentations in multiple languages.
  • Show invitee list in Participants panel: Displaying the invitee list in the Participants panel allows hosts, co-hosts, and alternative hosts to view a Not Joined section in the Participants panel of the meeting. This section lists the people who were invited to the meeting but have not yet joined, as well as their calendar response. This feature requires hosts and users to have the Calendar and Contacts Integration (Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar) configured in their Profile.
  • Webinar Backstage: The webinar host and other panelists can move between the backstage area, which is not visible or heard by attendees, and the live webinar area, which is visible to and heard by attendees. Panelists backstage can still hear and view the live webinar to keep an eye on the presentation and know when to rejoin. This feature requires version 5.10.0 or higher for panelists, and the host must have a Zoom Events license.
  • Webinar Session Branding: Hosts can customize the appearance of the in-webinar experience by adding a wallpaper behind the video tiles, setting a common virtual background for all panelists, and providing name tags for each panelist. This requires version 5.10.0 or higher to use and/or view, but does not require this version to join the webinar.

PANOPTO - Video Management and Creation System

See: Panopto for Western | Panopto Documentation

SOCRATIVE - Live Polling/Student Response System

See: Socrative