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18 Posts authored by: Renee Carney Administrator

Canvas X is where we seek your input on experiments from our secret pandaworks lab!

It's all about starting small, measuring, and learning our way forward!

 

We have been testing Nudge in the US and we are now excited to expand it to our first international region Asia-Pacific! Read below for info and how you can participate!

 

Nudge is a prototype service that helps students effectively manage their time and coursework. This service is the first step in a longer term smart messaging vision for Canvas. When enabled in a course, Nudge sends the following messages to students through Canvas:

  • Upcoming Assignments: An assignment is due in the next 24 hours and the student hasn’t turned it in yet. Prompt them to turn it in / finish.
  • Late Assignments: An assignment deadline has passed and the student has not turned it in. Prompt them to check if they can submit late.
  • Course Checking: The student has not checked the course for more than a week. Prompt them to visit the home page for any updates.
  • Weekly Report: Every week send students a list of assignments/quizzes that are due that week.

 

Because feedback and data are core to our development process, we are reaching out to the community for this pilot. The current version of Nudge is experimental and in early development; iteration is expected as the experiment progresses.

 

Any course that enables Nudge will provide us with insight into the effect of “nudging” different students in different ways. We also value feedback about the user experience and effectiveness of these reminders from your perspective as an instructor.

Your course may be a good fit for pilot if it fits the following criteria:

  • Blended or fully online courses
  • History of teaching the same course in prior semesters
  • Have a course beginning October/November 2018
  • Make use of multiple assignments throughout a course
  • English is the primary language of instruction
  • Multiple sections of the same course (nice to have, but not necessary)

 

Privacy Notice: Canvas is committed to keeping you and your student’s personal information private. All participants will be able to opt out at any time. Any and all use of the data from this experiment will be used to make Canvas a better product and not shared publicly without express prior consent.

 

Fill out the form here to sign up!

https://goo.gl/forms/SAozFtuN3tYRHtkr2

 

Have questions? Leave them below.

Feature ideas from the Community help shape Canvas development. All 330,000 of you (!!) have a part in the decisions we make about what to add and update next. The way we’ve solicited and interacted with feature ideas in the Community has evolved over the years. Today, we’re announcing some updates that—we hope—will make the process a little more clear for everybody.  

 

About three years ago (April 2015), we transitioned the Canvas Community to the Jive platform and transformed feature idea submission and voting from semi-organized chaos to a transparent and concrete process. We’ve made some refinements since then. You can follow the history here:

 

We get a lot of feedback about the Canvas Studio, where feature ideas live—both formal and informal. Most feedback is positive—yet we’re always looking to improve how we learn about what you’d like from Canvas and how we interact with you about your ideas..  Our promise to our community members is that we will always communicate about changes and explain our reasoning for making them.

 

This year at the annual InstructureCon event we received a lot of very helpful feedback, including:

 

Feedback

Our Plan

Timeline

Submitting new ideas is simple, and six months is the right amount of time for idea cohorts.

The submission, moderation, and archive processes will not change.  How do I create a new feature idea?

Ongoing

The Radar stage is not clear—will something in radar stage be developed or not?

The Radar stage will go away. All current ‘radar’ ideas will move to ‘open for voting’ stage--consolidating the two stages to one.

ASAP

Complete

What happened to the 100 vote threshold?

We get this question a lot, so we wanted to address it again.  One hundred votes made sense years ago, but it’s a very low bar when measured against the number of users in the Community today (+330k).  In February 2017, we moved from an arbitrary number to a percentage metric that better represents the level of community support. You can find more detail in this guide; How does the feature idea process work in the Canvas Community?: How long are ideas open for vote?

Complete

There is no way to know which ideas were considered during the quarterly product prioritization


You want to know which ideas will not be developed and why

The top 10% off all ideas will continue to be considered during our Product team’s quarterly prioritization activities. Each will now receive one of three official comments:

  • Yes, this idea has been prioritized for development during this cycle
  • No, this idea has not been prioritized, but will be considered in future rounds if it remains in the overall top 10% of voted ideas.
  • No, we will likely not do this (and why)


We will create a new, easy-to-find list that shows the current top 10% most-voted ideas. We’ll update the list weekly so that you’ll know what’s in and what’s out as the quarterly Product planning exercise approaches.

Prioritization Comments to begin in October 2018

 

 

 

 

 

The overall 10% list will begin ASAP. is implemented on Canvas Studio

 

Feature ideas are incredibly important to us. Canvas would not be what it is today without them, and they’ll play a big role in shaping its continued development. We appreciate your investment and engagement.  

 

*If you’re interested in learning a bit more about how feature ideas fit into the larger Canvas Product Plan, you might want to watch our InstCarn18 “Why we Community” presentation.

Canvas X is where we seek your input on experiments from our secret pandaworks lab!

It's all about starting small, measuring, and learning our way forward!

 

Our June-August Nudge experiment was a success! So now we are opening up the experiment again for a much larger test. Read below for details and signup.

 

Nudge is a prototype service that helps students effectively manage their time and coursework. This service is the first step in a longer term smart messaging vision for Canvas. When enabled in a course, Nudge sends the following messages to students through Canvas:

  • Upcoming Assignments: An assignment is due in the next 24 hours and the student hasn’t turned it in yet. Prompt them to turn it in / finish.
  • Late Assignments: An assignment deadline has passed and the student has not turned it in. Prompt them to check if they can submit late.
  • Course Checking: The student has not checked the course for more than a week. Prompt them to visit the home page for any updates.
  • Weekly Report: Every week send students a list of assignments/quizzes that are due that week.

 

Because feedback and data are core to our development process, we are reaching out to the community for this pilot. The current version of Nudge is experimental and in early development; iteration is expected as the experiment progresses.

 

Any course that enables Nudge will provide us with insight into the effect of “nudging” different students in different ways. We also value feedback about the user experience and effectiveness of these reminders from your perspective as an instructor.

Your course may be a good fit for pilot if it fits the following criteria:

  • Blended or fully online courses
  • History of teaching the same course in prior semesters
  • Have a course beginning August/September 2018
  • Make use of multiple assignments throughout a course
  • English is the primary language of instruction
  • Multiple sections of the same course (nice to have, but not necessary)

 

Privacy Notice: Canvas is committed to keeping you and your student’s personal information private. All participants will be able to opt out at any time. Any and all use of the data from this experiment will be used to make Canvas a better product and not shared publicly without express prior consent.

 

 

The Volunteer Window has closed.  Watch the CanvasX space of the Canvas Studio for future summaries and opportunities.

 

If you successfully signed up you should get a message in Canvas later this week confirming that you are going to be participating. Nudges will then start being sent next Monday (Aug 27th)!

 

Have questions? Leave them below.

Canvas X is where we seek your input on experiments from our secret pandaworks lab!

It's all about starting small, measuring, and learning our way forward!

 

The Volunteer Window has closed.  Watch the CanvasX space of the Canvas Studio for future summaries and opportunities.

 

Based on the feedback from our June-August experiment of the On Track predictor we have decided to make some changes to the model and try another small cohort. We are looking for 3-5 instructors who are interested in providing qualitative feedback about the usefulness and the accuracy of the On Track predictor. The ideal candidates are instructors who:

  • Are willing and available to give direct feedback about their thoughts on the tool semi-regularly (once every two weeks or so)
  • Make use of Canvas widely to teach their courses (use of multiple features like assignments, modules, discussion etc.)
  • Have a course starting in August/September 2018
  • Have a background in statistics or probability (not necessary, just a bonus)

 

For the rest of the community, we would love to open up a dialog about what an On Track predictor (let’s call it OTP) means for Canvas. So what is the OTP and how does it work?

 

What is it? The OTP is a tool to help instructors discover which students are in danger of doing poorly in the course. Every week instructors will receive a report of all of their students that contains:

  • Are they On/Off Track?
  • How confident are we?
  • What are the primary reasons for the prediction?

The intention is that this will enable instructors to intervene with their students earlier and drive better student outcomes.

 

What does it do? The OTP evaluates a student’s likelihood to succeed in a course based on:

  • Academic History: How have they performed overall in courses previous to this one?
  • Course Interactions: How much do they interact with course tools? (grades, messaging, etc.)
  • Content Interactions: How much do they interact with course content (modules, files etc.)
  • Course Performance: How are they performing in their current course?

Using this information, a probability of successfully completing the course is calculated.

 

Given that brief overview we would love to hear your thoughts. How could you foresee using this? What information would you want/not want to see? What are the types of actions you could take to intervene with students? What’s missing?

 

And if you have more questions about the specifics of how the OTP works, members of the team who worked on the project will be monitoring the comments and will make their best effort to answer your questions. So fire away!


Canvas X is where we seek your input on experiments from our secret pandaworks lab!

It's all about starting small, measuring, and learning our way forward!


As a teacher you may want to know, “Which of my students are going to do well?”, “Which of my students should I reach out to sooner rather than later?” and “What do I reach out to them about?” In an effort to simplify teaching the Canvas X team has created the On-Track Predictor aimed to address these questions.

 



We are looking to gather evidence of a general interest in an on track predictor (or early alert if you will). We’d also like to know if teachers and administrators would perceive our On-Track Predictor as useful for decision making and action taking. Finally, we want to know if this feature would actually get used.

Because feedback and data are core to our development process, we are reaching out to the community and looking for interested educators. The current version of On-Track Predictor is experimental—iteration is expected—it is very early in the process.

Right now, we are looking for educators willing to participate in a test experiment. If you participate, you (the instructor) would receive a weekly report via your Canvas Inbox for four weeks. Any teacher that enables this in their course(s) will provide us with insight into its usefulness and ease of use. Your course may be a good fit for this experiment if it falls into one or more of the following criteria:

  • Blended or fully  courses
  • History of teaching the same course in prior semesters
  • Have a course this term
  • Make use of multiple assignments throughout a course



Have questions, comments, or feedback? Leave it below.

Canvas X is where we seek your input on experiments from our secret pandaworks lab!

 

Nudge is a prototype service that helps students effectively manage their time and coursework. This service is the first step in a longer term smart messaging vision for Canvas. When enabled in a course, Nudge sends notifications to students about upcoming and late assignments. Students receive these notifications according to their notification preferences.

 

Because feedback and data are core to our development process, we are reaching out to the community for a beta test. The current version of Nudge is experimental and in early development; iteration is expected as the experiment progresses.

 

Any course that enables Nudge will provide us with insight into the effect of “nudging” different students in different ways. We also value feedback about the user experience and effectiveness of these reminders from your perspective as an instructor.

 

Your course may be a good fit for the beta experiment if it falls into one or more of these suggested criteria:

  • Blended or fully online courses
  • History of teaching the same course in prior semesters
  • Have a course beginning in the next few months
  • Make use of multiple assignments throughout a course
  • Multiple sections of the same course (nice to have, but not necessary)

 

The initial Nudge pilot is closed for participation. If findings look promising, there will be a fuller Nudge pilot in August of 2018. Please check back in August, we hope to have something awesome by then.

 

Have questions? Leave them below.  Please note that this experience is currently limited to United States domestic users.

Renee Carney

Ideas: Archiving Anew

Posted by Renee Carney Administrator Sep 20, 2017

Next week we will archive our first batch of ideas since the beginning of 2017. When we relaunched the evolved feature idea process we took a calculated guess that ideas in the top 10th percentile would be retained.  We’re actually going to retain the top 17th percentile of ideas that opened for voting in March 2017.  Here’s how we came to that number.

 

  • 439 Ideas opened for voting throughout March 2017.

 

  • 24 of the ideas are directly related to Canvas Studio priorities.
  • 46 ideas constitute roughly 10%, so we're retaining the top 46.
  • 381 ideas will be archived and moved to Cold Storage, a repository of archived ideas.

 

 

 

Archiving ideas helps all of us to gauge what’s particularly important in a six-month window of time, and makes room for new ideas.  You can read more about archiving, resubmissions, and Cold Storage in How does the feature idea process work?. You can also find more information about how ideas impact the overall development process in What is the feature development process for Canvas?

 

Your ideas, use cases, and votes are always important to us.  Thank you for the thought and energy you put into helping us make Canvas even more awesome!

Renee Carney

"Alexa, ask Canvas..."

Posted by Renee Carney Administrator Jul 31, 2017

Attendees, and Twitter (#InstCon), were buzzing with news of the new Canvas Alexa integration, following Jared Stein’s InstructureCon keynote Thursday afternoon. Jared stood on the center stage and directed Alexa to “Ask Canvas about my grades”, along with other requests.

Here’s a snapshot (courtesy of @lindajeanlee on Twitter) of what Alexa can do now.


So, how will this new leap forward into digital assistance and voice services impact education? That’s for you to help define!

Read more about Canvas Skill for Amazon Alexa, in Extra Credit: The Canvas Blog. Help contribute to future development by completing the survey at the top of the Community Canvas Studio page or submitting a new feature idea (use the tag #alexa).

You've probably heard us say this before, but we make software that makes people smarter.  We do that by building a great core platform and encouraging partners to build on it!  You all contribute to the core platform through Canvas Studio, and up until now we have archived any feature ideas that were outside the scope of Canvas.  

 

We're introducing a new process that will allow you to express your needs and desires for integrations, and demonstrate those needs and desires with your votes and comments.  In the new Partner Integration ideas space, you can browse existing integration ideas, share a new one, and vote and comment to help encourage a future partner to begin work on a future integration.  Ultimately, the tool provider must decide to build the integration, but we can help pass on your use cases and interest, along with providing them the technical documentation and guidance to build an integration.

 

To participate, read through What is the partner integration idea process?, read, comment, and vote on existing ideas in the Partner Integration ideas space, and maybe even submit a new integration idea!  We look forward to hearing form you!

 

 

In addition to being a fellow textile, ‘“Khaki,” as in “Project Khaki,” is an event in which a diverse group of community members were invited to Instructure headquarters to talk face-to-face with Product and Engineering Teams about allocating 20% of Instructure’s engineering budget to Project Khaki priorities.  Khaki premiered in 2015 as a way to put Canvas users in the driver's seat of prioritizing a piece of Canvas feature development, and its success led to a second event of equal gravity. So now that it’s become a thing, we’re going to take a little liberty with language and verbify the word Khaki.

 

Who attended Khaki?

Regularly active community members, whose contributions are often influential, were initially considered. From there, the selection process wasn’t easy; it’s like asking a parent which child they favor. The Community Team, along with the Customer Experience and Product Teams, put their heads together to select a group that would most broadly represent Canvas users by region, role and institution type. Eventually, this awesome group of admins, teachers and course designers across K12 and higher ed sectors were invited. (Community members outside the continental US were not able to be included this year because of logistics challenges, but will be included in the future!).

 

How does one “Khaki”?

One thing we’ve learned about these events: there’s no standard way to ‘khaki’. While the overarching theme has been the same, each event has been uniquely different.

 

Project Khaki attendees arrived on the scene with some homework already completed (yes, we give out homework). They were asked to review and consider the following list of 50 Canvas feature ideas, which were to be the starting point for the day's conversations.

 

CEO Josh Coates kicked off the event with a warm “panda” welcome, followed by Mitch Benson, VP Product Management, and Chris Hunter, Sr. Director Product Management, who provided a detailed overview of all-things-product-development - from ‘“what is agile?” to “how we do things at Instructure”. With immense knowledge swirling in their brains, the Khaki attendees were asked to apply what they learned and allocate their votes on their homework ideas.

 

Attendees were given 5 stickers and asked to cast their votes (only one sticker per idea please!). The top twelve (plus 3 tied for 13th place) were selected. The Product Team selected 8 of these ideas for further exploration. Each idea was assigned a team that included one Product Manager and Engineer. Attendees joined a team and together wrote out objectives and developed a scope with defined outcomes. As attendees quickly realized, creating a project plan that meets the needs of everyone in the group--as well as the majority of Canvas users--was quite a daunting task. Some teams experienced the struggles of compromise; others contentiously worked through disagreements.  No matter how the teams got to their end result, they all agreed that the process was exciting and surprisingly hard. (And this is what our Product Teams do regularly!)

 

Instructure does not just pay lip-service to this [Customer Focused] concept. They clearly demonstrated, over and over again, how much they pay attention to the Canvas Community (that in itself is the best evidence of a customer focus). Then they fly 40 of us down … [and]... make available what seemed like two-dozen or more highly paid staff members for a day. Then, they didn't just solicit suggestions and listen with polite boredom. Instead they let us actively participate in the allocation of  a significant portion of their product development budget. - Kelley L. Meeusen

 

...we felt like our brains ran a marathon, but we had a lot of content covered and a great start for the Dev team to jump up and start on. What were we left with? About 100 sprints worth of awesome that will take us all the way to InstructureCon 2018. - Roxanne Conroy

 

...it was so cool to get to talk to even more Canvas engineers at Top Golf! For example, I had a great convo with Mark who has been working on quizzes, so when that launches, I will recognize in that product the work and commitment and vision of someone I connected with in person. - Laura Gibbs

 

Where do I find Khaki Progress?

Progress on Khaki priorities will be communicated throughout the community. For all Project Khaki updates, check out (or follow) the Khaki Priority List . But also follow Canvas Studio  and Release Notes  for general product updates. If you’re interested in individual Khaki-related ideas, click “follow” to receive updates on those separately.

 

What can I expect next?

  • We will scope and sequence the Khaki priorities to fit the greater roadmap.
  • We will take the list of Khaki priorities and the 20% budget allocation and build the best possible solutions.  
  • We will follow the process, currently in the Canvas Studio space, by requesting your feedback and testing and sharing updates throughout the development stages.  
  • We will NOT share every detail of each priority as they move through the development process.

 

How can I “Khaki”?

Remember how we said that we were going to verbify “khaki”? Well, now YOU can “khaki” too! In the Khaki Priority List you will find an official tag linked to related ideas and discussions for each priority. To keep these priorities organized, here’s what you can do:

  • Avoid “kitchen sink” (all-inclusive) discussions.
  • Vote on individual and singular ideas within a priority. This helps product teams define the elements that are important.
  • Comment on existing related ideas. Your feedback qualifies these ideas further.
  • Create a new idea. (Please use the official priority tag)!

 

So, even if you “don’t_even_wear_Khaki”, we hope that you’ll jump in and contribute to this effort in making Canvas more awesome, or at least follow our progress! Thank you again to the Khaki 2017: Attendees  and our Product and Engineering teams. But mostly; thank you, Canvas Community, for your enthusiasm! These initiatives would not be possible without such a dynamic and active place.

The Focus Group: DRAFT Feature Idea Space has been open and collecting your feedback for the past three weeks! Your insights have already impacted change! Thank You!

 

On Friday, February 24, 2017, we flipped [the proverbial] switch, and made Canvas Studio the official landing for the Share Ideas space! We’d like to call your attention to a few important changes that have taken place :

  • Additional Product Development Priorities
    Priority: Analytics 2: Teacher & StudentPriority: Canvas Teacher App, Priority: Quizzes.Next: General Availability were added to the priority list. Gradebook Enhancements will be added soon.
  • Simplified Idea stages
    ‘Under Consideration’ and ‘Gathering Information’ stages were absorbed into ‘Product Radar’. Ideas in 'Product Radar' will remain open for vote and comment.
  • Simplified Page navigation (fewer clicks!)
    The ‘Share Ideas’ button on the Home page now directs to Canvas Studio. The pages previously called 'Share Ideas' and 'Canvas Feature Ideas' were deleted, for the new page integrates all of their content and more!
  • Reopened ideas for voting
    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 (three business days after the new process went live), all ideas that are currently On Hold and Archived with 70 or more votes will enter 'Open for Vote stage'. Ideas that did not make the 70 vote threshold were archived and moved to Cold Storage. However, a few ideas that fell outside of those parameters are still Open for Vote; in most cases they aligned with current product development priorities.

 

This was a lot of work, but we're excited to see where this next evolution of process takes us!

 

 For more detailed information on all of the changes, read through the following guides:

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed a relaxing winter break. That being said, we are happy to see you back!

 

If you recall, last month we announced Changes Coming to Canvas Community Feature Ideas. We have been reviewing your survey responses, meeting with various internal teams and brainstorming.  A substantial update to the way the Canvas Community has input in the development of Canvas is well underway.

 

What have we learned so far?

 

Survey says: Community members like sharing ideas and seeing their feedback lead to changes in Canvas. And we think that’s awesome!

 

Here are a few things you like and don't like about the current feature idea process:

 

Like

  • Users have a real impact on the development of the software (Canvas)
  • The process is democratic and transparent
  • The Product Team gives timely feedback (even if the answer is “no, we’re not going to do that.”)

 

Dislike

  • Sorting through large cohorts of new ideas takes a long time
  • It’s hard to track ideas through the voting stages
  • The vote threshold is too high and the the voting windows are too short

What changes are coming?

 

You want a process that provides two things:

  1. Insight into what our Product team is working on right now and a way to give them timely feedback that helps guide their decisions
  2. An opportunity to share ideas about anything to do with Canvas, whether Product is focusing on that are of the application right now or not.

 

With your help, we can build a process that does both

How can you help with the changes?

 

Our goal is to launch the new process by the end of Q1 (March 31).. Here are some things you can do right now to help:

 

NOTE: If you indicated that you wanted to participate in the focus group in the December survey, you should’ve already received the invite to the Focus Group.

The Canvas Community (that’s you) has produced a wealth of feature ideas over the last year and a half that have helped our Product team make Canvas even more awesome. An amazing 155 feature ideas that started in the Community have made their way to production Canvas in the last 18 months. That’s three times as many as made this journey in the prior 18 months. Another 200 ideas are now officially on Product’s radar. We hear you, and we’re acting on what we hear.

 

With your input, we think we can do even more together in 2017. We will keep the best of the current feature idea process and add some new elements that will help us gather your input specifically about Product’s key development priorities.

 

What’s the Plan?

We’re opening a new cohort of ideas for voting today. Ideas currently open for voting will carry on as usual. After this cohort, the current feature idea process will go dormant for a couple of months while we remodel. We’ll open the new and improved feature idea process in Q1, 2017.

 

While we are gathering input from you on what parts of the current process should be kept as is and what should be improved, you can still create new ideas. Community members will be able to comment (but not vote) on them. This will keep the awesome Community feature idea conversation rolling while we build the new process. You will have the opportunity to incorporate your best ideas into the new process when it launches.

 

We want your input!

We have a good idea of what the new feature idea process will look like, and we’ll share more information soon. We’ll need you to help us make important decisions as we build! For starters, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about the current feature idea process by completing this simple survey.

TL;DR: We’re adding a Canvas Feature Idea stage to better communicate what is on our radar and what we are planning for the future.

 

We are adding the Product Radar stage to identify ideas that are on the radar of our product team, but are not currently planned for development or in development.

 

Here’s what you can expect from us:

  • The product team will comment on ideas of their choosing, quarterly.  These ideas will move to an appropriate stage, including Product Radar.
  • Voting will remain open for ideas in the Product Radar stage.
  • An idea may stay in Product Radar, indefinitely.
  • Product Radar Ideas may eventually move into other stages including In Development, or Complete.  Ideas that we decide not to implement will be moved to Archived.
  • Resubmissions of Product Radar ideas will be archived.

 

Here’s why:

Very frequently there is a conversation at Canvas HQ that goes something like this:

Community Manager, “Hey, Check out this idea that received so many votes.”

Product Manager, “Hey, That’s a great idea!  I love this.”

Community Manager, “Awesome!  So, we’re going to build this, right?”

Sad Product Manger, “No, not now. We have to do X, Y, and Z first.”

Sad Community Manager, “So, like, we’ll never do this?”

Product Manager, “Not NEVER, we just can’t say when we’ll be able to.  We want to but it's too far in the future to tell.  It is on our radar though.”

 

radar-icon1.png

 

 

 

So now there is an idea stage for things that are on our product managers’ collective radar - they know about it, understand the need, want to build it but cannot say when it will be possible.

 

*Read more about the Ideation process and idea stages in What is the feature development process for Canvas? and How does the voting process work for feature ideas?

In Josh Coates’ Instructurecon 2016 Keynote, you might recall him referencing the Feature Idea forum as a gold mine. In this robust repository of intellectual gold, you’ll find requests ranging from a simple tweak (‘flake’) to huge tasks (‘nuggets’) that would require a lot of work. And, each of these ideas carry a vote count that represents community priority.

 

Why is Instructure suddenly sprinkling gold flakes?

In upcoming releases, you may start seeing the results of Instructure’s quarterly tradition—an event called Hack Week, where our engineers get dedicated time to work (or play) on a  passion project.



Why does Instructure promote passion projects?

The old proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, translated in modern terms, may read

more like All work and no play burns Jack out. Burnout has compounding consequences mentally, physically, and emotionally. None of us want to see Instructure engineers looking like the working dead, which is why once a quarter they are given a week to select any bite-sized Canvas-related project and play!

 

Play, you may ask? Yes, Play! Play, which is how many engineers view tackling and testing new code and techniques, is a known generator of freeing the mind of mental block, increasing motivation and productivity, and spiking innovation. This isn’t a new concept—you may be familiar with Google’s ‘20 percent time’, which has sparked an educational movement known as ‘Genius Hour’. Instructure’s Hack Week is just a different flavor of the same strategy!



What about current projects?

Hack Week is factored into the development schedule when projects are initially scoped. Of course, if a project is behind or bugs need immediate attention, those tasks take priority. After a week, engineers resume their current projects where they left off—and hopefully, with fresh eyes, clear minds, and new approaches in their skillset!

 

Engineers share the same ‘gold mine’ perspective as Josh, and they love to align their passions with our community. And as a result, don’t be surprised to see a few feature flakes (and sometimes nuggets) that wouldn’t otherwise be completed had they not taken the time for play.

 

Check out these past examples:

 

So, if you’re perusing the release notes over the next few releases and notice a feature that just doesn’t quite fit (having low votes or not quite aligned with larger general projects), that feature just may be an example of an engineer’s passion project aligning with the passions of community members!


Do you have a passion project at work, or do you promote a philosophy similar to Hack Week? If so, we’d love to hear more. Comment below and tell us your story!