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2019

When I was first learning how to use Canvas I discovered Collaborations. Talk about excited! So keen was I to share the joy that I wrote Collaborations – Changed my world!

I'm fortunate in my position to travel around to schools to share the magic of Canvas and at any opportunity I extol the virtues of Collaborations. BUT I've discovered a wee blip in getting started with this cool tool. It's tricky (very frustrating) for first time users. After way too many error alerts we have come to the conclusion that:

 

  • Before you make your first collaboration you MUST sign in to Office365.
  • Keep it open in another tab.
  • Then create your Collaboration. 

It should be smooth sailing from there. 

And the wonderful Canvas Doc Team have created this guide to get you started too. 

How do I create a Microsoft Office 365 collaboration?  

 

Have fun collaborating. 

Ahhh! How is March almost over?!? I have no idea where this month has gone! So as to not let my fellow Canvas Community puzzle pieces down, here's a stab at this month's challenge  

 

What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

There are so many ways to answer this question; however, as I've been pondering it (for almost a month, apparently!) a puzzle analogy keeps coming to mind. We are all unique pieces in a grand community puzzle--we each have an individual, specific purpose, yet we accomplish much more when we work together to complete the larger task/goal. ...but don't envision a normal, rectangular, 500 or 1000 piece puzzle with a well defined image that matches the picture on the box. No no, community is more akin to one of those crazy, borderless puzzles without a single correct solution (like this one of the Earth: Nervous System | Shop | Earth Puzzle ) and sometimes it's more like one of the really crazy ones with hidden and upside-down images and extra pieces that don't really fit (https://www.amazon.com/Impossible-750-Piece-Cow-Country-Puzzle/dp/B00005S0J5 ...but don't read too much into the pieces that don't really fit...I mean all analogies have to break down somewhere, right?)

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? 

I am part of many communities; many nested within others. To continue the puzzle analogy, at work, I am part of a small, five member office--one individual cow on the last puzzle link, above, perhaps. We are then a part of our Dean's staff (several cows?), which is a part of our College (a quadrant of the whole puzzle), which is a part of our University (the puzzle as a whole). At each level, we work together to achieve specific parts of our University's overall mission. 

 

Is there someone part of your community who you admire? 

I could list many people here--my coworkers, those of you who contribute to the greater body of Canvas knowledge, etc. Thanks to everyone! 

 

What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

 I actively participate because I don't want others to have to pick up my slack, want to be a useful part of my team(s), and know that many people (be it peers or even our students) will suffer if I don't contribute as I should. 

 

Canvas Community shoutout! 

 

I'm not sure that we are using Canvas for any unique ways or for any unique purposes, but I do want to say how thankful we are for the Canvas Community as a whole. Just this morning co-workers and I were talking about how all the answers we ever need can be found quickly and easily in the Community! We are thankful for the (always updated) guides and other resources. Thanks to everyone who fulfills the role assigned to their individual puzzle pieces! 

 

 

Learn more about the March 2019 Blogging Challenge

Read more Share the Joy stories

 

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Belinda Stutzman

It's Better Together

Posted by Belinda Stutzman Mar 26, 2019

 

What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

Because I am not a person that can work alone in a silo, I seek out the power of community in all that I do.  When I have fallen on personal tough times, blogs and social media groups filled with others facing the same trials have lifted me and given me answers, hope and more resources than I could ever find alone.  When my district adopted Canvas as our LMS I became a member of the Canvas Community for these same reasons.  I wanted to gather information, find answers, and learn from others struggling with the same things I was experiencing.  For the first few years I sat in the community passively and consumed what was there and used it for my own interests.  What really made me grow the most, however, was learning that by giving of myself to the community, both personally and professionally, would increase the value of these groups more than I could ever imagine.

 

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?

I am a part of many communities in person and in my cyber life.  What brings me there is my thirst to learn and to be connected to others.  I have found that in order to be connected it is up to me to find the groups and to reach out to them. 

 

Is there someone part of your community who you admire? How does their involvement or their overall participation influence you?

Stefanie Sanders is someone in the Canvas Community that I admire because she is very active, but also extremely kind and complimentary.  I like how she answers questions and shares her expertise in such a positive and encouraging manner. 

 

What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

I became motivated to be more of a "giver" in the Canvas community because I thought it would be fun to set a goal to be in the top 100.  What I learned in this process is that by giving my advice or expertise to others, I actually get back more in return.  I have learned so much more about using Canvas by answering other people's Canvas questions, responding to polls, reading blogs, and voting on feature ideas. 

 

 

Have you used Canvas in a way that helps you or your team reach a unique goal for your community?

I made it a personal goal to make it into the Top 100 in the community and what it would take to make that happen.  It was a fun way to get more involved and my learning of Canvas grew exponentially.

 

 

Do you or does your team utilize Canvas in a way which is innovative or customized as you serve a specific community of learners?

I enjoy helping teachers use Canvas for student voice and choice.  I have also studied the use of rubrics and outcomes to help teachers measure student learning in a standards based grading system.

 

Why do you value a project like this? How was COMMUNITY a motivating factor in this project’s completion?

Using Mastery Paths, Outcomes, Rubrics and the Learning Mastery Gradebook is a bit overwhelming and can be a daunting process.  I was able to find others in the Canvas Community trying to do the same thing and we were able to bounce ideas, successes and failures off of each other.

 

How has your involvement impacted your life?

I have become better at my job because of my involvement in the Canvas Community. 

 

What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

For me; Community means moving from a transactional state of mind to a relational state.  By this I mean moving beyond a world view where all motivation essentially falls into two categories, which are Self Interest and Caring for Others (Self vs Others).  Instead, motivation becomes 'other-ish' meaning that you realize that you can best help yourself by helping others.

 

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?

To a certain extent, my current occupation rose from my membership in a community of people who support teachers and learners use of technology.  What seems like a very long time ago now I was a workstudy student and then grant funded technology worker on a college campus.  My job was to help the instructors and occasionally the students be successful using classroom technology.  As part of a Title III grant we purchased and implemented a learning management system.  At first nobody on campus much knew what to do with this software platform.  I threw myself into trying to learn everything I could about it.  I scoured technical manuals, sent off emails to my contacts at the company and eventually joined a group of people who were trying to help each other via a listserv.  I'll never forget going to the first users conference and seeing three men literally kneel down in the entrance to the mens room to fire up a laptop based version of the software to test something that one had asked the others about.  They really wanted to help each other (and they helped me tremendously).  As time went on, I learned that if I took each question that went out to the listserv as a personal challenge, I usually learned more than I'm sure I helped the people asking the questions.  Eventually I was at another conference and talking with a small group of people in a breakout session.  I wasn't wearing a name tag and hadn't identified myself to this group of strangers.  A woman said to me, "Excuse me, are you Scott Dennis? ... I though so.  I recognized your voice.  Your YouTube videos have saved my life.  Thank you."  I was flabbergasted.  I had no idea that anyone beside a narrow group of my friends had even seen them.

 

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about Openness and Community as values.  My involvement in this community began in 2010 when I discovered Canvas, Free for Teachers and the first rudimentary message boards.  I was about a week in and trying to learn everything I could when my land line rang.  The man on the other end of the line was a Canvas Admin in Plano, Texas who had read my questions in the message boards, google stalked me to find my landline and called to answer all my questions.  Again, I was flabbergasted that this stranger, at not benefit to himself, would invest 90 minutes of his time helping me simply because we were using the same software.  I was hooked immediately and couldn't wait to have more such interactions.

 

Is there someone part of your community who you admire? How does their involvement or their overall participation influence you?

There are too many people in this community that I admire to mention.  Some of them I have never met and never will while some of them are dear friends I have known irl for many years.  They all have my tremendous respect.  Michael Zimmerman, JB (you know who you are), all of the Coaches, Peter Love, Alan Kinsey, Jayde Colquhoun, Hildi Pardo, Laura Gibbs, Bobby Pedersen, Rob Ditto, Sara Frizelle, Amanda Warren Marshall, Gregory Beyrer and Dallas Hulsey are just a handful of the people I am proud to be associated with in some way.

 

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What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

We all interpret the word COMMUNITY in different ways.  We all live in some type of community...whether in a small town, in a residential community, etc.  In these types of communities, we might be in the same part of the world, but we have different interests.  For me, it's having a sense of belonging...that you feel welcome.  Community is also sharing and talking about common interests...even in smaller group settings.

 

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?

One community that I feel very connected to is my church family.  My family moved to Fond du Lac, WI my junior year of college.  Since then, my family has all moved out of state, but I have remained in Fond du Lac.  Finding a good church "home" is important to my family, and we found that in Ascension Lutheran Church.  I've gotten to know so many great people there that will be friends for years to come.  It's much more than community for me there.  In a way, it's like having a second family saying, "Welcome!  Come on in!"

 

Over the past few years, I've taken a big interest in board games.  Though I don't get to play as often as I'd like, I am a part of a few online communities on Facebook that are centered around the board game hobby.  Some groups are more general, and different games are talked about daily.  Other groups are more specific and only discuss one particular game.  Though I don't know the majority of people in those groups (literally thousands and thousands of people), I feel comfortable asking questions in those groups when I don't understand the rules.  Most people in those communities are helpful.

 

A third community I'm part of is right here, the Canvas Community.  I first found out about the Community and started asking question in the old Community website when we partnered with Instructure about five years ago.  People were so helpful (and still are!), and I was able to learn lots just by asking questions...and eventually trying to help respond to others, too.

 

What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

Plain and simple...I like helping others, and I like trying to help troubleshoot issues.  From the board game perspective, I like gathering with others to have a game night to have friendly competitions or even work together (yes, there are co-op games) to achieve a common goal.

 

Have you used Canvas in a way that helps you or your team reach a unique goal for your community?

My work team is in the process of creating a "Center for Online & Digital Learning" course in Canvas where our instructors can come to find a variety of resources such as course design info, accessibility info, links to Guides here in the Community, our newsletter archive, a calendar of training events, and much more.

 

How has your involvement impacted your life?

In both my church community and here in the Canvas Community, I've made a lot of great friends over the past several years.  I will treasure that always.

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What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

  • Belonging
  • Acceptance
  • Respect
  • Feeling welcome
  • Supporting each other 
  • Sharing stories and wisdom
  • Working together

(My favourite New Zealand Maori quote)

 

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighbourhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?

I've been fortunate to belong to a few communities. Some more effective and healthy than others.

  • As a young mum belonging to parenting support groups helped create little villages to raise our children. I learned so much, then felt strong enough to support others. Telling our stories helped so much.
  • As a teacher belonging to learning communities centered around specific curriculum areas or topics of focus helped me to learn from others then, in time, to nurture the learning in others. Again, sharing our stories of what works, what doesn't, and a few laughs helped also.
  • Teaching in New Zealand had an extra sparkly community with the Maori Community who so desperately wanted to share their culture and language. So many magic memories were made singing, telling stories, learning, learning, learning. This helped me to learn more about acceptance and respect. 
  • Teaching in Tasmania has introduced me to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. They are striving to show us how to make connections with the land and each other. I am new to this community but feel as though it's home and am looking forward to what I will learn alongside these wonderful people. 
  • My Blended Learning Team have become a tight knit group where we explore and create together. Then spreading our reach a little further are the great people in Curriculum Services and the amazing teachers in our schools.  
  • From day one the Canvas Community has been like coming home. First of all I was welcomed by someone across the planet - thanks Stefanie Sanders! Then another person shared how they use Canvas in different ways to what I thought it was capable of, my world opened up - thanks Laura Gibbs. Then others happily shared their stories, problem solved, told jokes, asked questions and before I knew it our little planet had become 'traversable' without getting on a plane.
  • THEN the APAC group became a mini community where teaching with a similar curriculum and in the same part of the Pacific gave us some common ground to make connections and even meet in person. 

 

Is there someone part of your community who you admire? How does their involvement or their overall participation influence you?

So many people. The people who welcome, accept, are patient when teaching, share, collaborate, and know when to share a laugh. 

 

What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

  • When I need to learn something specific - ask a question.
  • When I can help someone out with a question. 
  • When I realise that others might need to hear about something.
  • When I need to collaborate with experts (that's you guys) in the Community to nut something out. 

Have you used Canvas in a way that helps you or your team reach a unique goal for your community?

Creating Canvas Staff Rooms where school staff can not only curate their resources but they can start to immerse themselves in all that Canvas can do as a collaborative and personalising tool thus creating their own community of learning. Hopefully this models how they can use it with their own classes. 

 

 

Do you or does your team utilise Canvas in a way which is innovative or customised as you serve a specific community of learners?

It never ceases to amaze me when I see all of the different ways that teachers use Canvas. It brings me great joy when people see a purpose and create courses and lessons that engage so well. 

My extended team across the whole state, teachers, school leaders and the students themselves are my learning community. AND it's early days. Imagine what it will be like a few years from now. Exciting times!

 

Why do you value a project like this? How was COMMUNITY a motivating factor in this project’s completion?

This project has value for me because it's a way for me to say thank you for the genuine welcome, support, encouragement and wisdom I receive daily from so many of you.

 

It's a way to say to others - please share your stories. 

 

How has your involvement impacted your life?

Belonging to these communities has helped make me - Me. 

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What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

A community is a group of people whose experiences are clustered around a common theme. They can be in the same location in person or online, and each member can find a way to contribute to their shared interests. The best ones are those that welcome new members and appreciate how those formerly outside enrich the community through the breadth of the perspectives and experiences they bring. The best communities also encourage and support those members who connect with other communities. A community that is worth keeping is one that grows, is dynamic, and embraces change.

 

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?

I want each of my classes in Canvas to become a community, and a student in my fully online U.S. history class this semester inspired me to connect with other communities outside of the one we share.  It all began with a discussion assignment in which students compare how a particular topic is covered in our text with certain videos. One student compared how these two sources covered the experience of women during America's Revolutionary War, and another student's reply included a link to a Wikipedia article listing women who had dressed as men in order to fight. I use a grading rubric so typically my comments are brief. In my feedback to that second student I wrote, "Thank you for finding and sharing that list!"

 

That student wrote back to me, acknowledging how easy it was for me to write those words but also that those words had an effect: "It kickstarted my decision to take on the task of citing and editing, if necessary, the information on Wikipedia's 'List of wartime cross-dressers' page." This page would be the focus of the student's participation in a worldwide campaign that was held on March 15, the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon.

 

Fortunately there was a local event for the campaign hosted by a librarian and professor of art history at another college in our city. As a teacher I hope that my efforts, large and small, have a positive effect on my students, but it is a rare treat when I am told so clearly that they do. I saw that my student was inspired to join the community of Wikipedia editors, and I decided to do the same.

 

What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

 

In my job as distance education coordinator I look for ways technology is used creatively to support student success, and a few years ago I explored bringing in Wikipedia editing to my history classes. I lacked confidence, largely because of my unguided practice, and this local event motivated me to participate in the type of thing I might try to support.

 

The purpose of the campaign is twofold: increase the diversity of Wikipedia editors and increase the diversity of topics that are covered well in Wikipedia articles. Along the axis of gender I do nothing to support the first goal, but anyone can support the second. The title of the campaign shows its focus within Wikipedia, so these were additional communities that I could join (art history) and become a more active participant in (feminism). It hurts a community if any of its members are discouraged from contributing to the interests shared by the community. My kind words played some small role in supporting my student to play an active role in these communities that I also value; her response motivated me as well.

How has your involvement impacted your life?

I'm writing this the evening after the event so it's a bit too soon to estimate its impact on my life. I saw my student at the event and hopefully my presence communicated validation and support. So the initial community within our Canvas class has been served, and I will likely post a follow-up announcement or perhaps ask the class if they have ever edited Wikipedia articles. I might even include an editing assignment in a future class.

 

I now have more confidence in the ease and importance of Wikipedia editing, as I have taken a few steps into that community. As a frequent Wikipedia user I have a deeper appreciation for the thousands of others who edit and create entries, and I hope that the few changes I made will make a positive difference to those I will never see on the People page in my Canvas course.

 

Do I feel more connected to the communities of art historians and feminists? That's harder to judge. Though I use art in my history classes I am not an art historian -- I know a lot more about what was going on outside the studio than inside at the time a piece was created. As a historian I teach about feminism and as a teacher I work hard to use an equity lens, but my use of art in the classroom reflects the gender bias of art history in sources like Wikipedia.

 

So heading into the event I had no ideas about the types of Wikipedia articles I would edit except that they would be about artists who happened to be women. Since I'm teaching a class this semester I figured I might find some pages related to upcoming topics in mid-nineteenth century America. In support of one community I was gearing up to become more active in two or three more.

 

But in my morning hustle and bustle I learned about a community on the other side of the world that is suffering, and I knew that editing Wikipedia articles about dead artists would not make much difference to them. I was not distraught but in sorrow and fearful that I would find it even more difficult to focus. Fortunately the organizers had some suggestions and materials to help us if we were stuck, including carts with books about art history. After a short presentation on how to edit Wikipedia articles, I walked back to the carts looking for inspiration. I found a book that allowed me to continue the day's task in a way that was meaningful given the day's news and would allow me in an indirect way to support a community I will likely never meet. It was a book about women artists in New Zealand.

 

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Lars Solerød

Better together?

Posted by Lars Solerød Mar 13, 2019

 

What does COMMUNITY mean to you?

A place where i find people with a common interest. I always seek to work with the experts. Either it is about Canvas or Dog grooming (not that i even like dogs, but if I did . You get my point..)

 

Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?

Hopefully we're all part of different communities. Some comes trough work and some comes after intentionally seek membership. When i moved to a new city i was devoted to be part of communities that could help me getting a network in that city. But that requires participation and efforts on your side to be successful.

 

One example is my mountain bike club. To get a community I volunteered as a trainer and a board member which got me a whole bunch of new friends.

 

Is there someone part of your community who you admire? How does their involvement or their overall participation influence you?

I'm often impressed with the top contributors in the Canvas community how much time and effort they put down to give extensive and thorough feedback to other users questions.

 

What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

 I like when people can solve their problems thanks to my contributions. And of course we all like to get high up in the rankings don't we

 

 

Have you used Canvas in a way that helps you or your team reach a unique goal for your community?

As a part of several institutions joining at the same time from one country we worked close with our integrations. That returned common practices and an invaluable network of experts that collaborate well years after.

 

 

How has your involvement impacted your life?

I've gained a career network that ensures me job opportunities for a long time.

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The Meta Community Group received some outstanding blogs in the Reflect and Celebrate | Blogging Challenge. Let’s keep the momentum and share even more wonderful resources! This is the second of three planned blogging challenges in 2019. Get involved and enjoy the professional growth!

 

 

THE CHALLENGE

A community can uplift, support, and encourage. The joy you experience when you are part of something positive which is also bigger than yourself can be rewarding and motivating. Here’s a big question: which community helps you be you, or which community fuels your passion projects? It’s time to share the joy that you find surrounding you daily. In the next few weeks, take some time to write and share your stories with the Canvas Community!

 

 

Here are a few questions to inspire you as you begin to write. You do not need to answer all of the prompts; just pick what inspires you!

Part 1:

  • What does COMMUNITY mean to you?
  • Are you a part of a community (Canvas, work, or neighborhood)? What brought you there, or how did you initially get connected?
  • Is there someone part of your community who you admire? How does their involvement or their overall participation influence you?
  • What motivates you to be an active participant in your community or group?

 

Part 2:

  • Have you used Canvas in a way that helps you or your team reach a unique goal for your community?
  • Do you or does your team utilize Canvas in a way which is innovative or customized as you serve a specific community of learners?
  • Why do you value a project like this? How was COMMUNITY a motivating factor in this project’s completion?
  • How has your involvement impacted your life?

 

Between now and March 31st April 5th, set aside some time for some reflection and writing. To begin sharing your story, you will need to find the Meta Community Group. (If you aren’t already a member of this group, you will need to join this group in order to publish your blog post.) At the bottom of this introductory blog, you will see a button that says “Share the Joy”. After clicking, a template will be copied for you to use as you write your blog!

 

Please leave the Mar19 and Blogging Challenge tags intact when you publish your blog. These tags make it possible for all of the contributions for this particular blogging challenge to be found in one place, and for the blogs to be connected to one another. Also, if the tags are missing, you may not get the recognition you deserve or qualify for the rewards.

 

Participants who directly invite others to participate in the March Blogging Challenge via a “share” of their blog are eligible for bonus points. Participants must remember to include Kristin Lundstrum in the “share” along with the intended recipient to receive the additional reward points. One recipient (plus Kristin) per share, please. Nobody likes spam!

 

 

REWARDS

All authors who submit a blog post on or before March 31st will receive 250 Community points and receive an exclusive badge added to their profile in the Canvas Community.  Please be patient as this badge and reward points will be awarded manually.

 

Additional point prizes will also be rewarded:

  • 10 additional points = Each time a participant directly invites others to participate in the March Blogging Challenge via a “share” of their blog
  • 250 additional points = Top 10 posts based on likes, views, bookmarks, shares, quality of comments, and the opinions of the Canvas Community Managers + Coaches
  • 500 additional points = 1 Winner (from the Top 10) will be determined by a Community poll

 

 

DEADLINES

  • March 31, 2019 April 5, 2019: All posts must be published in the Meta Community Group using the template linked to the “Write a Blog” button below to be considered for the TOP 10. Posts published after the deadline will be welcomed, but they will not be considered for this contest.
  • April 1, 2019 April 7, 2019 The top 10 blog posts will be announced in a poll and will be eligible for voting. Authors will have two weeks to increase the visibility and ranking of their blog. Share it, Tweet it, get people to read and rate it, comment on it, etc. to help surface your story to the top!
  • April 15, 2019 April 22, 2019: The overall winner will be announced.

 

 

 

Write a Blog