Hilary Melander

Canvas Network Newsletter: Change is in the Air

Blog Post created by Hilary Melander Employee on Apr 14, 2016




What’s this? A Canvas Network Newsletter?! That’s right. If you haven’t heard, Canvas Network started the year with a bang by recommitting to its primary mission—promoting openness, innovation, and experimentation in education. Excitement is in the air. The purpose of this email is to communicate important changes, updates, and successes to you, our Canvas Network partners. 


We’re Becoming MORE Open

From the beginning, Canvas Network has taken open education seriously; it’s in our DNA. Open education is critical to making education accessible to all learners and ensuring that creativity and innovation thrive in education. At the beginning of this year, we conducted an internal review to hold ourselves accountable to our primary mission. Here’s our key takeaway: While Canvas Network is an open platform, not all of our policies and practices allow us to be strong proponents of open education.


Take a moment to imagine the ideal open-education course platform. For starters, you’ll most likely envision a lower barrier to entry for learners, the existence of more Creative Commons licensed courses than privately licensed courses, and content available for instructors and designers to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. The great news is all of this is possible in Canvas Network. However, in order to turn Canvas Network into this ideal platform, we need to revisit our strategy.


During the next year, we’ll focus on how to prepare you, our partners, for changes, we’ll revise policies and processes, and we’ll implement initiatives to move toward our vision. In the meantime, we’ve identified three goals to focus on today and achieve by March 1, 2017:


  1. Increase Creative Commons-licensed courses from 40% to 60% of Canvas Network courses.
  2. At a minimum, have as many publicly viewable courses as there are Creative Commons-licensed courses.
  3. Increase the number of courses or objects shared to Canvas Commons from 21 to 300.


Canvas Network is and always has been open. We’re excited to see how much further we can go to promote openness, innovation, and experimentation in education. To read more, check out our blog post .
Learn About MOOCs and Open EducationThe creation and offering of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is just one small aspect of the open education movement. MOOCs contribute to open education by providing a channel for innovation and experimentation in online teaching methods. MOOCs also allow teachers to reach broader and more diverse audiences than ever before.
We’ve created three tools to help you start learning more about Open Education today.

  1. Learn more about the benefits of offering a Canvas Network course by checking out our DIY Open Courses: Do Innovation Yourself with Canvas Network infographic.
  2. If you’re receiving this email, it means that you were invited to join the Canvas Network Training Course at one time. It also means you have access to a new module we created to help share the open education love. In this module you’ll learn why open education is important and how you can use and create open resources. Don’t forget to log in to Canvas Network to view this page.
  3. Interested in connecting with the Canvas Open Education group? Create your community account and join today!

Upcoming: New Features for EVEN MORE Openness
Class Central Course Review Widget

We’re pleased to announce our partnership with Class Central, the renowned MOOC aggregator. Starting shortly, all new course listings will incorporate a course-rating widget created by Class-Central.com. This widget will allow students to give a course a one- to five-star rating and comment about their experience with the course.
Here are a couple of suggestions to help you get the most out of the rating widget.

  • Include an announcement linking back to your course listing page on www.canvas.net to encourage learners to rate their learning experience.
  • When students post compliments about your course on a course discussion board, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them to rate the course using the widget.

Open Badges with Badgr

The good news keeps coming. We are adding Badgr, the open badges tool, at the account level. This means adding badges to your course just got easier. Adding badges to your course can help motivate learner participation as well as provide you with important data points. Over the last few months that we’ve been piloting with Badgr, we’ve been impressed with their responsiveness,  customer service, and feature releases. For example, Badgr just released leaderboard functionality. To learn more, log into the Canvas Network Training Course and view our page on Badgr.




Upcoming Events

Do you have an interesting story to tell? The call for proposals is out for Learning with MOOCs III. The proposal deadline is scheduled for May 15, 2016.


We’re Open to Comments and Suggestions

Several of you have already been selected to provide feedback on new policies and ideas about how we can be more open. So far the feedback has been very positive. As we become more open, it’s important that you feel like you’re part of the conversation. Please email Hilary Melander with comments, questions, and suggestions at hmelander@instructure.com.