How do I create a new feature idea in the Canvas Community?

Document created by Canvas Doc Team Employee on Jun 22, 2018Last modified by on Jun 22, 2018
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Feature ideas allow people to suggest ideas on ways to improve or enhance Canvas' functionality. It is one of many inputs considered when choosing to build new features into our Canvas. Feature ideas are found in the Canvas Studio. Learn more about the feature idea process and development process.

In order to ensure your feature ideas are posted successfully, it may help to know a few tips.

Search Existing Feature Ideas

Search Existing Feature Ideas

Before posting your idea, search the Canvas Studio to see if your idea or a version of your idea has been suggested.

To search for feature ideas, use the search [1], the Canvas Studio content tab by searching with different tags and keywords or sort by priority or stage [2], or click the buttons and links available in the Browse by Stage area [3].

Comment, Vote, and Follow Idea

Add your own comments.

If your idea is a slight variation of an existing idea or you have additional thoughts, you may want to add comments to the conversation thread.

Vote on the idea

If the idea is in the open for voting stage, you can vote it up or down.

Follow or bookmark the idea

Sometimes you may want to keep an eye on the idea (along with the comments and status) without having to post your votes or add any comments.

Share an Idea

Share an Idea

In the Share Ideas area, click the Share New Idea button.

Author New Idea

Follow these simple guidelines to write clear and useful idea submissions.

Have one idea per submission

Submissions that contain more than one idea can be unclear and confusing when it comes to voting and discussion.

  • Complicated - Multiple Ideas: I would like to be able to weight rubric points so that all of my criteria have the same weight but differing point totals, and I want parents to be able to see rubrics from the syllabus.
  • Better - Single Idea: I would like to be able to weight rubric points so that all of my criteria have the same weight but differing point totals.
  • Better - Single Idea: I want parents to be able to see rubrics from the syllabus.

Choose a descriptive subject line for your feature idea

  • Non-Descriptive Subject Line: Fix Discussion Threads
  • Better Subject Line: Add a Manual Read/Unread Toggle to Discussion Threads
  • Non-Descriptive Subject Line: Make Pages Better
  • Better Subject Line: Text Wrap around Images on Pages

The Community Team reserves the right to modify an idea title or subject line for clarity and/or ease of search. Author will be notified of changes.

Be Specific

Oftentimes people have the best ideas for improvement when they are the most frustrated. Try to state your idea clearly and concisely. Remember that you are asking many community volunteers to read and consider what you write.

In addition to a clear description, support your ideas with any/all of the following:

  • Include specific examples of ways this feature is needed to facilitate teaching, learning, or administration.
  • Share screenshots and/or screencasts of any kind.
  • Stick to the single idea in your subject line (Please avoid additional ideas in your post as it is hard to vote on a series of ideas. If you need to expand your idea into multiple ideas, please submit a new feature idea.)

State the specific desired outcome or goal and then let the product managers and engineers think about how they can best add a given functionality to the product

  • Prescriptive: I would like a blue button in the upper right corner of the student submission screen in the SpeedGrader that when clicked opens a file browse option that lets the teacher upload a file to the SpeedGrader and adds a submitted by.. text next to the submission date and time. And the student and any other graders in the class should then receive a notification that the teacher has submitted for the student.
  • Specific: I would like for there to be a way for teachers to submit assignments on behalf of students.

Add Use Cases and Scenarios

Make sure other readers can understand why you want the option to do something in Canvas. What is the teaching technique or activity that this feature would enable teachers and learners to employ? Adding a paragraph that begins with phrasing such as, In my discipline professors often ask students to can go a long way to helping people who may not be familiar with the submitter's background can understand why this feature would be a priority.

Tag Idea

Tags increase the success of searching for and sorting ideas. Help connect your idea to other ideas, or help other community members find your idea by adding tags for Feature Ideas.

Be Patient

Canvas is developed using agile methods that let Instructure update the LMS every three weeks. Community input is very important to that process. While it is true that the product changes frequently, many of these improvements take months and thousands of hours of work to develop. We also periodically conduct major overhauls of different areas of the LMS such as the Gradebook or Analytics. This process means that even if everyone agrees that developing a given feature would be a good use of finite development resources, it may be a long time before the feature can be developed and it may have to wait in line as part of a larger development schedule.

Follow or Bookmark Idea

  Follow or Bookmark Idea  

Once you post an idea, you will be following the idea by default. Following means that you will be informed of any comments people add to your idea; how you receive the notifications depends on your notification settings.

You can check the status of your idea by going to your Canvas Community profile, selecting the Content link [1] and filtering by the Ideas link [2].

Follow Idea

Or, you can grab the RSS feed under a specific stage so you can follow ideas by stage.

Your continued support and participation in the community forums are very valuable to Canvas as a product and to the user experience. We urge you to keep sharing, commenting, and voting.

We periodically clean up the comments on this document to keep them manageable for our readers. If a question or comment has been addressed we may remove it.

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