Skip navigation
All Places > Meta Community Group > Blog > Author: Stefanie Sanders

Meta Community Group

4 Posts authored by: Stefanie Sanders Administrator

My 2018 consisted of a bumpy recovery from a series of setbacks in 2017. When I say “setbacks,” I’m referring to various events, some personal, some external, that taken individually wouldn’t sound like much—but the last of those external events, coming late in the year, hit me like a gut punch and set off a full-blown existential crisis. I knew I needed to reflect mightily on what had led up to that in order to address it.


I realized that I had been responding to those setbacks by shutting off emotional connections in a misguided attempt at self-preservation. In 2018 I worked on reopening those. One concept I revisited in 2018 is that empathy is learned. For my part, I needed to re-learn empathy.


Not only are we to be in touch with the pain and brokenness of others, but we also have to face our own brokenness. It is through the cracks that the light comes in.1


I would not have mustered the courage to reveal those cracks without a rock-solid support network. You’ve no doubt already read the blog posts my colleagues Renee and Adam posted, so you know they’re the best people in the universe, along with the person to whom I arguably owe the most in life, Scott Dennis. And you undoubtedly know the Canvas Doc Team in the aggregate, but you need to know each of them by name: Erin Hallmark, Alli Foote, Allison Dilts, Cody Titmus, Nathan Atkinson, Danielle Jackson, Naomi Petty, Tami Booth, Emily Allen (and you can read more about each of them on the Community Team page). Thanks to these stellar individuals, I have a team on which to lean—and in the process, I learned that vulnerability begets strength. Strength comes through the connections we make. And those connections are sparked by our willingness to show vulnerability. Think about it: If you don’t express your need for help, how is someone going to know to help you? But if you ask for help, you might get assistance from an unlikely source, and forge connections you never imagined you could.


My 2018 mantra was “Always Buy The Ticket,” which is just another way of saying carpe diem. I went to at least 102 rock concerts last year, as well as a week-long yoga retreat, a five-day festival celebrating a revered musician, a second trip to Cuba: always buying the ticket.


And I am considerably stronger for the experience—mended cracks and all.


broken-and-remended-bowl(h/t Danielle Jackson)


If you know me, you know I’m going to tie all of this back to the Canvas Community, because of course I am.


When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.3


The Canvas Community performs the alchemy of transforming vulnerability into strength. People come here to throw their hands up and say, “I’m at my wits’ end; how do I [insert the thing].” And like magic, our wonderful, generous members wave their wands and contribute their solutions. Our person in need just got stronger; our collection of resources just gained a new artifact; and the interaction just made us all more cohesive. Win, win, and win.


Most people are having a really tough time.

They are almost always in more pain than you think they are.4



1 Shane Claiborne, Follow Me to Freedom. h/t Roxanne Conroy

(That’s a footnote—not an exponent.) The shows I can remember attending: Jackson Browne, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Eagles, Mudpies, James Taylor, Petty Hearts, Brit Floyd, Roger McGuinn, Aussie Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary, Gov’t Mule.

3 Fred Rogers, Goodreads Quotes.

4 John Pavlovitz, Life is short. People are hurting. Don’t be a jerk.

Stefanie Sanders

The New Wave

Posted by Stefanie Sanders Administrator Oct 17, 2018

Back in July the Community Team presented “Why We Community” at InstructureCarn ("Why We Community" video and Why we community blog post). The Canvas Community is truly the gift that keeps on giving: if one person creates a resource, and three people see it, and they share it with three others—well, we all know how exponential growth works.


(Just like this, right?)


Fundamental to our mission is creating a space that affords boundless opportunities for engagement in the context of smoothing the way for new users confronted with learning new software, often under time constraints. So during the conference at Keystone, our Canvas Coaches exhorted attendees to be coach-like by welcoming newcomers to the Canvas Community and quickly answering their questions.


And boy, did they deliver! Great on-line citizens from the instructor, designer, and admin ranks, participating from all over the world, stepped in to help out.


Now we’d like to model, reward, and model anew with a set of three new quests.


(the above are for illustration only: to complete the quests,
navigate to the Rewards tab on your profile and scroll down to the Available Quests section)


These are “follow” quests. The members listed in each quest are the very people who selflessly gave of their time during the seasonal “wave” that corresponds with adoptions, learning processes, semester starts, building new classes to help newcomers navigate those swells.


Follow quests are very easy to complete: just remember that if you’re already following one of the people listed in a quest, you’ll need to “unfollow” and then follow that person again to activate the quest triggers. For more information about how quests work in the Canvas Community, please review What is the Canvas Community Reward System?  


Have fun riding the waves!

On the tenth day of Canvasmas, the Canvas Community gave to me: ten Bloggers Blogging...


Blogs are the gift that keeps on giving. Blogs create community, because they're imbued with personality. We get to know people not only through what they share in their blogs, but how they contextualize it. Blog posts give us insight into a person's process and surroundings, so that we learn not only how someone is using a feature in Canvas but also a look at how that person navigated the journey.


Any community member can create a blog post by joining a group and posting to that group's blog. But why is the tenth day of Canvasmas associated with blogs? Well, 10 is one of the signposts on the road to earning a user blog of one's own. A community member who reaches Educator II status and has authored 10 blog posts will be considered for a user blog. Once you've earned a user blog, you'll be able to post directly to your own blog—and you can still share those posts out to groups if you'd like—so that anyone following you can stay on top of your content.


I promised you 10 bloggers blogging, so I've curated content from 10 authors (listed in alphabetical order by first name). Click on the links to dive into a cornucopia of blog posts, which you'll soon discover are the jumping-off point for avenues to a wide array of resources. 



Here's what you can do right now:


  • Explore these collections
  • Click on each person's profile to browse through all of their content
  • Follow these notables (if you don't already)
  • Click on the Groups link in the global navigation above to find groups to join and follow
  • Blog! 


You'll find plenty of guidance in these resources:


How do I create a blog post in the Community? 

How do I add banner images to a blog post, event or user profile? 

What is the difference between a blog and a document in Community Groups? 


And earlier this year, I presented in CanvasLIVE about blogging, and here's the recording of that session:

Blogging for Apples (in the Canvas Community) 



*James shared some of his Canvancements as documents: you'll find the complete list at Canvancements - Canvas Enhancements  

Stefanie Sanders

Day 4: Peer Badges

Posted by Stefanie Sanders Administrator Dec 27, 2017

On the fourth day of Canvasmas, the Canvas Community gave to me: Four peer badges...


'Tis the season to talk about exchanging gifts! Community members can award badges and points to one another. It's a wonderful way to recognize someone for a job well done, or to create a welcoming atmosphere for someone who just arrived in the Community, or just...because. 


The four peer badges are:


welcome badgethank you badgenice work badgecongratulations badge


The badges come pre-populated with short and simple suggested messages, but you can customize these messages however you wish. Badges and their associated messages are publicly visible to all, so feel free to gush.


Peer badges appear right on the user's profile page, and it's fun to navigate to the profiles of some of our more active and prolific members and scroll down to see the Thank Yous and Nice Works they've racked up, as well as how many badges they've awarded. 


Take it from Bobby Pedersen, who is using peer-to-peer badges to help her teachers in Tasmania participate in the Canvas Community as part of their introduction to the Canvas LMS:

The simple thrill [teachers] get in sending each other a badge is glorious. Then when they see what people share in real life, not just how-to guides, it is heart warming.

As you can see, the spirit of generosity is alive and thriving in the Canvas Community. For more about how you can use peer badges to engage with other members and contribute to the fabric of the Community, have a look at How do I give a badge to another user in the Community? 

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: