At Instructure we care a lot about our users and it is so great to see in our Community how much our users care for one another. In our day to day interactions, we grow to know one another as people, but because of our busy lives, we can't always delve as deeply as we might like. Conferences like InstructureCon are great, but can be even busier than our daily lives somehow!
The Community Voice is an idea where we pick someone in the Community and interview them so you can get to know them better in the hopes of forming meaningful and lasting connections. You can view the first installment at The Community Voice: Deb Bogard.
|For our second installment, we selected Jayde Colquhoun. She is a Senior Learning Systems and Software Advisor at RMIT University in Melbourne, and she is a Community Rockstar. I enjoyed learning more about Jayde and I hope you all will too.|
The engagement and support in the community from peers and Instructure folk is not like another I have experienced.
I am from Melbourne, Australia. I have lived here my whole life, and began my first job at 14 - washing floors in a cafe and getting paid in dollars and caramel fudge. I’ve always been interested in learning, and while my early career led me into a recruitment administrative role, I was constantly learning everything I could, about anything I could. I began to develop a passion for learning as a student, and an interest in how I was being taught in an environment.
After 10 years in administration, I decided I needed to make the move into the education space so I could contribute to the innovation and progression of education. I began in a small support role at a RTO (Registered Training Organisation) in Melbourne, and low and behold, they had just implemented Canvas. I was in a very small team focusing on the management of Canvas, which I quickly discovered had been implemented quickly and half-heartedly. I had to teach myself how to use Canvas, and fast. This in turn led me to the Canvas Community which grew my knowledge and helped shaped the way I was able to work with Canvas in this organisation to improve the experience for teachers and students.
What sort of organization do you work for?
I now work for RMIT University and am based in the Melbourne campus (though am fortunate enough to work across RMIT Global). We are a large university with over 75,000 students (and over 600,000 enrollments in Canvas courses, guys!) with around 9,000 staff in Canvas.
What is your role with Canvas for your organization?
For RMIT, I am a Senior Functional Analyst and I specialise in all things Canvas. I am currently working on the Canvas implementation for RMIT, now in our final stages. I am looking forward to moving into the next stage of the uplift of content and tools within our delivery of Canvas as an LMS. My role encompasses a number of areas within the project including communication, stakeholder engagement, strategic implementation, change management and technical solution advice. I have also taken the role of acting Project Technical Lead while the lead was on leave.
The networking in Canvas, has sincerely led me to my career I am in today - without the Community, I would not have learnt what I have, met who I have and had the courage to champion this product, or myself as an expert user in the product.
Do you have any comments about how Canvas impacts making learning Simple/Easy, Engaging, Reliable, or Open?
Canvas works well in taking a back seat when it’s time for students to learn. It does not overshadow content, rather supports and encourages enhancement of content by providing an array of features that are easily accessible and easy to manage for any teacher level. Because of the open, platform, we are also able to receive feature/ product updates every 3-weeks with no down time - This keeps the momentum going for improvements on delivery and opens the door for teachers to review their courses to ensure they are using the latest features and enhancements. This supports changing the mindset that course content delivery may only be reviewed every year (or sometimes much longer) when a new version of a learning platform is released. The best part? We as part of the global community can contribute to the improvement of Canvas. This means that the platform is not driven by business decisions or technical advancements, but is shaped by the teachers, administrators and students who use it to enhance the learning experience.
What are you passionate about with edtech?
For me, edtech is one of the most important tools we have, not only in the physical classroom, but also in learning. Learning is a way for us, fundamentally as humans to achieve, grow, improve, share, connect and it forms the backbone for everything we do. Edtech is an exciting, innovating way to meet our needs to strive forward - but make the experience for us informative, fun, light, and engaging. I’m so excited about edtech and about where we are heading in the future.
I am able to remind myself it’s okay to not know everything about Canvas - guess what, you don’t need to - because each of us knows a bit about something and together in the Community, we collectively know almost everything.
If you had 1 wish for edtech, what would it be?
My wish would be for edtech to be more accessible. Given the importance of education in our society today, the limitations around innovation often involves licensing and of course, purchasing! While we know money makes the world go round, it’s the teachers in the classroom every day that are the ones using the technology to enhance their teaching. Often they are restricted because they can’t afford to pay for the “full” version of something out of their own pocket, or have to rely on skills to “sell” the idea to faculty. Teachers should have the freedom to create engaging, interactive and integrated lessons without all this!
What do you want people to know about Canvas?
I want people to know that while Canvas is typically a learning platform, you can expect so much more than this. With the transparent experience between the student and the teacher in Canvas, it becomes less about teaching and more about “learning” in shared space, allowing for improvement and overall better student experience. It is a tool that enables students, and teachers to engage directly with each other in and out of the typical classroom, and encourages open learning in collaboration between students and teachers.
The best part? We as part of the global community can contribute to the improvement of Canvas. This means that the platform is not driven by business decisions or technical advancements, but is shaped by the teachers, administrators and students who use it to enhance the learning experience.
Do you have any Canvas related projects you want to mention or plug?
Currently, I’m researching and reporting on how Canvas handles large courses (+1000 students). We have posted within the Canvas Community to reach out to other institutions to see if they have experienced any roadblocks when delivering courses of this size, and how they may have resolved. The hope is to then present these results to Canvas to help improve the level of delivery capability. Coming together in the community like this is a great example of of all of contributing to the platform as I have mentioned. Please join our conversation, Large course management: Sections/Groups.
What keeps you coming back to the Community?
The engagement and support in the community from peers and Instructure folk is not like another I have experienced. I keep coming back because I know that every time I will have someone respond, there will never be radio silence, I can ask anything and there is someone who has the same need/ experienced something similar. There is an unsurpassable level of knowledge in the Community - I’d love to add everybody’s experience up and see how many years of knowledge we are working with! Though, in saying that, it doesn’t really matter how many years knowledge you have when you have a community like this - what matters is that you are open, ready to forward think and solution with peers. And this is why I keep coming back. It’s like a gold mine!
I decided I needed to make the move into the education space so I could contribute to the innovation and progression of education.
What do you want people to know about the Community?
I want people to know that no question is too big, or too small, nor should anybody be afraid of posting their thoughts or ideas! Don’t know where to post? That’s ok, post anyway. One of the wonderful Community Managers or Coaches will get your post in front of the right people. Don’t know how to articulate your idea? They have that sorted to - follow the guides on how to post ideas, look to others. Even reach out to someone who you have seen in the community and ask their advice - this is the thing, everyone here is so willing to help you no matter what level of knowledge or experience you have.
What has been your biggest surprise in the Community?
The networking in the Community surprised me the most. I have spoken to people from all over the world, I’ve had people reach out to me, I’ve reached out to others! I’ve met international Community celebrities (as I’ll call them!) -
- Have you seen Keegan Long-Wheeler‘s Canvas Camp? I looked to Keegan for inspiration when I was training people in how to use Canvas! And I got to meet him!
- How about Sean Nufer?? His edtech information is next level!
- Stuart Ryan! He is such an inspirational community leader for APAC.
I’ve attended their webinars, followed leaders in the edtech community, learnt things I didn’t know I needed (and now couldn’t live without) and more. The networking in Canvas, has sincerely led me to my career I am in today - without the Community, I would not have learnt what I have, met who I have and had the courage to champion this product, or myself as an expert user in the product.
The Community gives me confidence in my role. I know that if I don’t know something right away - I am not lost, I’m not alone and if I need to, I can reach out to my peers all over the world.
If you had 1 wish you could use on the Community, what would it be?
My one wish would be to bring more people in to the Community, especially from the APAC region. It represents a community of practice, allowing us to share strategies, support and solutions to innovate Canvas and its ability to enhance learning. Especially given Canvas is quite new in the APAC region, I believe it is important that we share and learn together about what works in our region according to our regulations, teaching practice and cultural experiences. It is a goal I am working towards, and I encourage everybody I can to spend at least an hour in here weekly. (Side wish - I also wish Community Trivia would come back! Come on guys!)
How does the Community impact what you do with Canvas?
The Community gives me confidence in my role. I know that if I don’t know something right away - I am not lost, I’m not alone and if I need to, I can reach out to my peers all over the world. If I have a curly one, I can search for previous questions/answers. This has meant that I am able to remind myself it’s okay to not know everything about Canvas - guess what, you don’t need to - because each of us knows a bit about something and together in the Community, we collectively know almost everything.
Would you like to raise awareness around anything?
I’d like to ask every person reading this post, to go and find an unanswered/ unresolved question - and see if you can answer it. Just one! It won’t take but a moment... Share a bit of your knowledge. It’s a good step to get you into the community, and an even bigger step towards knowledge sharing and support - which really is what this Community has become.