Renee Carney

Day 8: Canvas Coaches!

Blog Post created by Renee Carney Administrator on Jan 1, 2018

On the eighth day of Canvasmas, the Canvas Community gave to me: eight Canvas Coaches…


The Elf on the Shelf has become a social media phenomenon, and a loved (or loathed) family tradition, throughout the month of December. Parents leverage their childlike creativity each night so that kiddos can enjoy the elfish shenanigans each morning. Here at Instructure, we have a tradition of an omnipresent being, and I’m here to tell you how it’s nothing like the little elf on your shelf (or wherever he landed last night)!


I’m referencing the tradition of the Canvas Coach. Canvas Coaches originated in 2011 when the founders of Canvas recognized there were individual users of Canvas that were early experts and naturally service oriented. These individuals were asked to continue what they were already doing so well - helping others - with an official anointing of sorts. Canvas Coaches are admins or teachers at their local institution who also give back to the greater Canvas Community. You can read more, and meet our current Canvas Coaches, here.


Now for a little fun.  Here’s how the tradition of the Canvas Coach is nothing like that of Elf on the Shelf:


  1. The elf on your shelf comes from the North Pole.
    While we don’t have a Canvas Coach from the North Pole yet, our footprint is expanding. Just this year our first international coach joined the ranks from Sydney Australia. The remaining roster resides in the US, but covers the spectrum of eastern to pacific time zones.

  2. The elf on your shelf is only in your house in the month of December.
    Canvas Coaches are present in the Canvas Community year round, even through the summer months.

  3. The elf on your shelf lurks quietly.
    There is no lurking done by Canvas Coaches, they are actively engaged with other Canvas users every day!

  4. The purpose of the elf on your shelf is to tattle to the guy in the big red suite.
    To date, I haven’t seen anyone at Instructure headquarters in a big red suite, so that should be a relief. The purpose of a Canvas Coach is to be your friend in the community; to help you find solutions and build on new ideas.

  5. The elf on your shelf is into mischief, nightly.
    You may see Canvas Coaches in the community all hours of the day and night, but I can promise you that there is no mischief afoot (well, unless they hook up with Community Panda, but that’s a whole other story). Canvas Coaches foster relationships and nurture the individuals of the community.

  6. The elf on your shelf loses it’s magic when touched.
    The magic of a Canvas Coach increases exponentially by the number of people they touch and the interactions they have. The community is all about connections!

  7. The elf on your shelf leaves each year.
    Canvas Coaches never really leave. Some may graduate onto bigger and better things, but their vacancy is usually filled quickly with another gifted and talented individual that loves to serve.