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Lisa Dyrda

Undelete, I Love You

Posted by Lisa Dyrda Feb 12, 2020

I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!


Dear Canvas,


Oh, Undelete, I Love You

You Help Me So Much, When I Make a Boo Boo!





I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!



Dear Canvas,


While I know that not everyone gets to see this side of you, I'm so glad you've opened up to me and have shown me the wonders of Canvas Studio. There's so many things to love, but I think I'll focus specifically on how seamlessly you integrate this part of you into the rest of the Canvas experience. All instructors have to do is open Studio up, make a quick recording, and then embed their brand-new video into any page, assignment, discussion, or announcement. I have lost track of how many times I've trained someone on Studio and had them respond "Wait, that's it? That's almost too easy!" And for students submitting videos to discussions or assignment submissions, they can take a video on their mobile device, open Canvas Student, upload their video, and submit it as an assignment. So easy! 


We have our barbering and cosmetology learners all working on styling mannikin heads and then uploading their process for later analysis and feedback. Instructors don't have to miss a thing! We've seen learners in gas utility filming their crews working with equipment and then critiquing the footage as a class. Learner performance has become the object of analysis, and it's so much more engaging and relevant. And don't even get me started on the ability for instructors to provide time-specific commentary on uploaded Studio assignment submissions.


Ah Canvas, I love your Studio side ever so much.





I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!


Dear Canvas,

Module Requirements have made waves at our institution since we fully adopted Canvas last summer.  For many students, it can be a struggle to stay on top of their course content, especially if they are a fully online student.  When we first trained faculty in Canvas, we didn't fully realize just how handy Module Requirements would be as a means for students to see what they have done.  In our Fall semester, several of our faculty reached out asking if there was a way in Canvas to give students a checklist so they could see what they needed to do from week to week.  A quick search around the community and we discovered the wonders of requirements!


Since our discovery, we have made Module Requirements one of our prescribed best practices for course construction across our institution.  By giving learners a visual checklist, you are giving them the means to be better organized, and as a result, setting them up for success.  Thank you for this amazing feature!






I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!



Dear Canvas,


Oh, Link Validator tool! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways  . . . and times you've saved me from a flood of student emails about a deleted link!

  1. I love that you let me know when links of any kind are invalid. Broken links=broken hearts.broken heart
  2. I love that you warn me when a link directs students to a previous Canvas site students can't access, rather than the current one, because the instructor/course designer copy & pasted content instead of using the Import Course Content tool. And that you don't judge me when I make this mistake myself (even though I know better).
  3. I love the way you tell me, gently, that the syllabus link on the course home page no longer works because the file is missing. You don't miss a thing. 
  4. I love the way you make me feel like a superhero when I meet with faculty and help them to publish their Canvas sites with confidence.
  5. And lastly, dear Link Validator, thank you for always providing a kind reminder that students cannot access links to unpublished content.

 When you validate course links, you're also validating me and all my instructional design best practices.Thanks for always being there for me.


Infinities of love,

Rebecca Moulder

I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!


Dear Canvas,


I'll be honest: I love just about everything about the New Gradebook.


I've been using the New Gradebook in my classes since the beta opened after InstructureCon in 2017. I've watched New Gradebook get better and better since then, and we enabled it across courses at Wharton in August 2019 so that our faculty could take advantage of the course-level grade posting policies. Our faculty had been asking for a "default mute" state for years, and we were finally, FINALLY able to deliver that. And our faculty love it! Thank you!!


And as cool as setting a manual course-wide grade posting policy is, that's not my favorite part of the New Gradebook.


I LOVE that I can filter the gradebook by assignment group (like "Ongoing Involvement") and module (like "Week 4: Performance, Tradition, and Folk Culture in the Digital Age"). THIS is my favorite part of the New Gradebook!


Filtering by assignment group and module is especially helpful in my online courses, where I have many, many, MANY assignments. Filtering by assignment group and module helps me to see just the assignments I need at any point in time -- which in turn helps me to get feedback to students more quickly and consistently.


And for multi-section courses and courses that use groups, the New Gradebook can filter students by section and group.


Thank you so much!



Linda J. Lee


Kona Jones

Message students who!!

Posted by Kona Jones Champion Feb 12, 2020

I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!



Dear Canvas,

One of my favorite quick and easy ways to reach out to students and keep in contact with them is the "Message Students Who" option in the gradebook! 


With just a couple of simple clicks, this amazing and wonderous tool allows me to remind just the students who haven't submitted an assignment that their assignment is due... or even that their assignment is late and they can still submit it! It also allows me to message students who didn't do well on an assignment (Ex: Below 70%) and provide encouraging words, tips on how to improve, and a reminder that I'm here to help and support them if they need assistance! Or, on the flip side, I can send a note to just the students who did great on an assignment (Ex: 90% or above) and let them know I noticed how amazing they did and that I really appreciate the effort they are putting into doing well in our course!


These are just a few of the many ways I use the "Message Students Who" tool, but the truly awesome part of using this tool is how it impacts students. I continually get feedback from students about how with their busy lives and crazy class schedules they really appreciate the reminders of when assignments are due. I also hear from students that they feel like I really care about them and their success in our class because I reach out to them with these reminders and messages. Overall, what I've found is that when you keep in contact with students and show them that you care, students end up enjoying and being more successful in your course - and what could be better than that?? 


Love Forever,



I love Canvas, and I hope you do too!


Dear Canvas,

I love the way you tell me what to do every time I log in with the To Do list on the right side of the Dashboard.  You don't tie me down with restraints of having to look in every class, at every assignment.  The To Do list lets me whip through the things I need to get done and it's part of why you've become the dominant LMS today.  



The Rickster



“How do we love thee, let us count the ways”... Never mind, that would take us 601,770 minutes, or 10k hours, at a minimum [that’s allocating one minute for every Community member]! Let’s do a little contest instead!


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we want to demonstrate our love and affection for the fabulous Community by providing an opportunity to win 1 of 10 Amazon gift cards. How can you win one of these awesome gift cards, you may ask? By counting the ways you love Canvas, of course!


Here’s how to write your “Dear Canvas” love letter:

  1. Log into (Login Directions)
  2. Access the “Dear Canvas” template
  3. Write a love letter about the Canvas features you can’t live without. We would LOVE to hear any specific examples of how Canvas has helped you be better at your job (as a teacher, student, administrator, etc.). Have fun with it!
  4. Share the love letter and/or one of these cool graphics on Twitter using the hashtag #CanvasLMSLove by 11:59 PM MST on Friday night (Feb 15) for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (10 total are up for grabs).


So, from all of us at Instructure, Happy Valentine’s Day--and thanks for being the best Community ever.



Canvas Love

Read Canvas love stories

2019 Canvas Advocates are now making the difficult decisions of where to display their sweet badge and when to flaunt their exclusive swag! Now is exactly the right time for you to get in on the 2020 action!


This past summer the Canvassador program was updated to be more inclusive (translatable and accessible) of our global user community, evolving into the Advocate program.  Advocacy welcomes all users that love Canvas and want to contribute to the greater good! But don’t take my word for it: check out some of these Advocate accomplishments from this year.




"Wow" is not a grand enough word, especially since these are only three among thousands of examples. You’ll find others at the conferences you attend, the social hashtags you follow, the blogs you read (like this one!), the podcasts you listen to, and all throughout the Community. [Pro Tip: Follow more Community members with the Awesome A (for Advocate) next to their name!]

We know you’re already doing many of the same things our Advocates are doing, so if you’re ready to be more intentional and official in the way you share, join us! Shine your light, brightly! (swag, maybe?)

Cross Posted: 

Tami Booth

Holiday Superheroes

Posted by Tami Booth Employee Dec 16, 2019

In honor of you, our educator superheroes, the Instructure Customer Success team (CSMs, Support, Community, Training, and Partnerships) combined our individual do-gooder powers to give back and serve in our communities around the world this holiday season. Remote employees and employees from all of our offices took the initiative to find a cause they care about and spend time serving!


Supercharged Service

Our service adventures ranged from the London office collecting food for a local food bank, the Salt Lake City team building backpacks and school kits, the Brazil team donating clothes, toys, and kitchen utensils to Venezuelan refugee families, to the Philadelphia office gathering winter clothes for children. Our remote employees joined in on the goodness to serve at local soup kitchens, volunteer at children's schools, and much more!



A Different Kind of Holiday Spirit

In years past, we’ve sent out gifts to our customers during the holiday season. This year, we wanted to power up our initiative of giving back by way of donations instead of gifts. We made two donations on behalf of our customers to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF). We selected these non-profits because they both support and advocate for children and women to receive an education around the world.


Breaking Down Barriers

Both of these charities work to break down barriers and provide resources that give women and children access to education they otherwise would not have had. Education is Instructure’s superpower, so it was a great fit. These goals are near to our hearts as advocates for education and we are proud to support the global effort of access to education for all.



This year we learned that no matter where you are in the world, there is an opportunity nearby to make it a better place. What opportunity did you recognize and act on during this season of giving?


This morning Instructure announced an agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Thomas Bravo.  You can read the press release here:

Instructure Enters Into a Definitive Agreement to be Acquired by Thoma Bravo 


Because the Canvas Community is a home for Canvas users, here is a link to a letter from Instructure CEO Dan Goldsmith to customers: 

The current Community design worked great when we launched it in 2015. That design focused on what could be done in the Community, but lacked directions for individuals consistent with what they were trying to accomplish in Canvas. We’re going to improve the user experience and make the design prettier in the process.

What’s Changing?

Whether you’re an admin, instructional designer, instructor, parent/observer, or student, you’ll have an improved experience when you’re looking for resources and discussions specific to your role.
The interface colors and layout will be different, but the input we’ve received on the new design leads us to hope that you’ll find it to be not only aesthetically pleasing but also easier to navigate.
Resources are not changing! You’ll still find the same awesome guides, videos, product priority notes, events, Q&A, discussions, blog posts, and more!


Changes will be completed Tuesday, November 26, 2019.


Will this impact my access to the Community?

It shouldn’t impact your access (famous last words, right?). If for some reason the homepage is acting funny, please use the top page navigation to get to what you’re looking for.

Here’s a partial sneak peek!


As many of you will have seen we are now a community of more than 500,000 members worldwide (*high fives, go TEAM*) and to keep the community running smoothly with questions flowing (and not getting stale) sometimes the Canvas Coaches or Community Team jump in and mark the questions with either ‘Marked Correct’ or ‘Assumed Answered’ depending on a number of factors. Today, I want to demystify the when and why of these statuses.


Marked Correct/Correct Answer

This status can be used by the author of the question as well as us. If you ask a question and someone gives you the correct answer that either resolves, or provides an acceptable workaround, you can click the ‘Mark Correct’ button on the question. Marking a question as correct lets the community know that:

  1. If someone has the same issue, the correct answer appears directly below the question (very handy especially for those that find a question from Google and are unfamiliar with the community).
  2. If someone with a particular skill set is has some time free to help out, they can focus their time on an open question.


The status is also used by the Coaches and Community Team in a number of situations. The times we will use the ‘Marked Correct’ status include:

  • Link to an active open-for-voting feature idea or we suggest you log a new feature idea: If there is an already active feature idea, or we recommend you log a new feature idea we mark that post correct. We do this so that everyone can easily see the existing feature request or that the requested functionality is not available and needs a new feature-idea.
  • Referral to an alternative support channel: Sometimes there are things that the community is unable to assist with, so we refer you to the correct support channel and mark the question answered. The other support channels we refer you to will often have the capability to see your particular account and school’s Canvas instance and can provide you the help needed especially around enrolments, particular content items, third-party products your school uses, exams and so on.
  • Existing living/active thread: If we are able to find an existing active thread with significant discussion on an identical topic, we will often link to that thread and mark it as the correct answer. We like to keep identical discussions centralised as it makes finding discussions and answers far easier in the long run.
  • Link provided to existing resource/solution: If we see that someone has already answered your question with a correct solution, or we link you to a solution ourselves we select the correct answer.


Marked as Assumed Answered

The assumed answered status is used by the Canvas Coaches and Community Team to help the lifecycle of questions in the community and ensure questions do not get stale.


As the community continues to grow, ensuring that questions do not linger and become stale is incredibly important.


Before we mark a question as assumed answered, we will do everything we can to try to find an answer, workaround, or share it with the right experts by sharing it into another group, prodding the original author for a response, and liaising with other Coaches for ideas.


The times we will mark a question as Assumed Answered status generally include:

  • No response from original author: If there are follow-up questions from the community and the author of the question has not responded to follow-up prompts.
  • Multiple correct answers: Occasionally the awesomeness of the community brings several correct answers, or the thread in totality itself is the correct answer.
  • And lastly, the tough one… when the right answer is that there is no answer: This is a really tough one to explain. Sometimes, the correct answer to a question is that there is no answer, it is not a feature available, it is not something that would warrant a feature idea, and despite all our efforts, nobody in the community has a suggestion or way forward for the author. It can be truly disheartening when a question reaches this status, but it is important for us to note that there is no answer (at the time) and the question may need revisiting in future.


Hopefully that gives you all some insights into how we manage the epic influx of questions over their lifecycle from inception to answer.


Lastly, if you feel there has been a different case that comes up regularly that I have not covered, please feel free to holler and I will happily track it down and pull thoughts together from the Coaches and Community Team.


May your Canvassing be awesome as always!

I danced a little jig when I saw that the Canvas Community gamification/reward system has been restored. I didn’t realise how much I had missed those regular notifications of missions completed, badges awarded, points gained. 


It did make me stop and think about how aspects of gamification have impacted me and how I have learned about using Canvas. 


Gamification is about more than just playing games, sometimes it does not involve playing games at all. It could be defined as the concept of applying game-design thinking to non game applications.

  • Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”.


Whenever I do Canvas training I get participants to join the canvas Community. More often than not they become instantly engaged when they see they hold the status of Freshman, then become absorbed in changing their avatars. Once this excitement settles they discover they can be awarded badges and points all through sharing, commenting, liking and being active in the Community. I like to pause them and get them to reflect on how that makes them feel, and how they could replicate that in their own classroom environments in Canvas. Food for thought. 

I found a cool website 6 Killer examples of gamification which listed some great benefits of gamification:

  1. Better learning experience.
    The learner can experience “fun” during the game and still learn if the level of engagement is high. A good gamification strategy with high levels of engagement will lead to an increase in recall and retention.
  2. Better learning environment.
    Gamification in eLearning provides an effective, informal learning environment, and helps learners practice real life situations and challenges in a safe environment. This leads to a more engaged learning experience that facilitates better knowledge retention.
  3. Instant feedback.
    It provides instant feedback so that learners know what they know or what they should know. This too facilitates better learner engagement and thereby better recall and retention.
  4. Prompting behavioral change.
    Points, badges, and leaderboards would surely make training awesome. However, gamification is about a lot more than just those surface level benefits. Gamification can drive strong behavioral change especially when combined with the scientific principles of repeated retrieval and spaced repetition.
  5. Can be applied for most learning needs.
    Gamification can be used to fulfill most learning needs including induction and onboarding, product sales, customer support, soft skills, awareness creation, and compliance.
  6. Impact on bottom line.
    On account of all these aspects that touch and impact learners (better learning experience, higher recall and retention, catalyzing behavioral change, and so on), it can create a significant performance gain for organizations.

I can’t thank the Canvas Community enough for providing the push for me, through gamification, to engage, share, discuss, and provoke. This nudged me carefully to knowing so much more than I thought I ever could about using Canvas. I’ve gone from feeling lost and frightened about how much there was to learn to feeling confident about where to go to find things out and being enriched by engaging in some deep pedagogical conversations with amazing people.

How has gamification impacted the ways you learn and teach?

Bobby Pedersen

One little word

Posted by Bobby Pedersen Champion Sep 12, 2019

I’ve noticed a word pop up a lot lately in the Community.


So simple.

Yet it says that support has been acknowledged. Time and effort have been recognised. Kindness noticed.

I’ve seen it especially when community people have offered help with a question, problem solved, shared an idea or resource.


That’s all that needs to be said.

Warms my heart.


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