Jeremy Perkins

Getting Started with Ruby & the Canvas API

Blog Post created by Jeremy Perkins Employee on Apr 23, 2018

TL:DR; There is a free course on Canvas Network that can get a non-programmer to write scripts with Ruby & the Canvas API...


Calling all Canvas admins who have ever been frustrated by an Instructure employee telling you, "It can be done through the API." The barrier to entry for using the Canvas API and programming in general can seem very high. Luckily, it's easier to learn than you think. 


As an Implementation Consultant, I understand how frustrating it is to be limited in what you can do through the UI alone. I've spent the last 18 months as an onsite resource for a Canvas client, and have needed to leverage the Canvas API more times than I can remember. Whether it is to pull information, or push a default grading scheme to courses, there are some things that are just easier through the API.


It also just happened to turn out that I am completing a Master's program in Learning and Technology. I had to design an instructional unit as part of a capstone project, and thought that a course on Ruby & the Canvas API would be appreciated. There is a research component associated with the course that I hope you will be willing to participate in. There are more details about this research in the course, but basically I'm attempting to understand the effects of some common Canvas features on learning gains and attitudes. I'd really appreciate it if you are willing to participate.


I've spent a very long time these past few months building curriculum and recording videos as part of the instructional unit. This course is being offered by me, and is not to be considered an official Instructure course. If the engineers saw my code they might have an aneurism because it is pretty far from beautiful. However, the intentional design of the course is to help Canvas Administrators, who like me once, thought that writing a script and running it on your own computer was a task for only the smartest of people.



The course is divided into 5 instructional units, with over 2 hours of recorded video and exercises to accompany them. I will be facilitating the course for the next 4 weeks, so if you have an hour or two that you can spare over the next 4 weeks, I'd love to have you in my class.


Sign up for the Ruby & the Canvas API within the next 4 weeks.