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Accessibility Clips, Tips, & Tricks...Oh My!

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is excited to share accessibility clips, tips and tricks for our February Teacher Appreciation Event.  Our team values creating quality courses that are accessible to learners with diverse abilities. While it is not only the right thing to do, applying accessibility best practices also meet requirements laid out by federal and state laws.  Knowing where to begin can be challenging. To help you get started creating accessible content, we have compiled a variety of resources.  

 

Canvas-ability: Accessible Content in Canvas is a six-minute screencast that dives into designing with high color contrast, segmenting content with proper heading structure, and writing descriptive hyperlinks.

 

Meeting Accessibility in Your Canvas Course: Recommendations and Resources is a document that provides accessibility best practices for layout and design, images, videos, and documents.  

 

Additional Resources:  

 

Now that you have dived into awesome resources, show off your accessibility knowledge by entering our Accessibility Kahoot Content.  This contest will be open, to the first 100 participants, from February 20th through 22nd.  The top three participants on the leaderboard at the close of the contest will receive Amazon gift cards. We look forward to seeing you battle it out for the top spots.  

 


2020 Course Design Essentials  

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. 

 

Who Are We?

We are Instructure’s Instructional Design Team! More specifically, we are Kristen Andersen, Tiffany Foster, Marah Metallo, Laurie Norris, Lily Philips, and Paola Sanchez. Between the six of us, we have over 36 years of Canvas experience! Within Canvas, we have been students, teachers, admins, trainers, and instructional designers. We have created fully-online, hybrid/blended and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.

 

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices. 

 

Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Sallie Michalsky, Senior Manager of Content Services sallie@instructure.com.

Surveys are possible in New Quizzes, although you may need some tweaking. There is an article here (FAQ: New Quizzes) mentioning that surveys do not exist in New Quizzes. However, this is not logically correct, since it's possible to create assessments without point values.

Let's first look at the current Quizzes tool on surveys.

 

Old Quizzes

 

Instructions 1

 

As you can see, we have the RCE above as well as the options below.

 

Notice that, in a graded survey, since we have 11 questions in the survey, we made it out of 11 points. Students will automatically receive full credit once they take a graded survey. Also, notice the Keep Submissions Anonymous option below. We'll discuss it later on.

 

Instructions 2

 

In Old Quizzes, students will receive full credit whether or not they answered all the questions.

 

Survey Results

 

New Quizzes

Let's test how this survey is going to be affected by migrating it into New Quizzes.

 

New Quizzes Assignments

 

Hold on! Something's not right here. Some features like Anonymous Grading are missing. You should check with your local educational institution for details on how to enable it so that those survey submissions will remain anonymous.

 

The New Survey Builder

We can look at the newly migrated survey here. All 11 questions were imported successfully.

(You cannot use Load this tool in a new tab when migrating a quiz. This feature hides the Global Navigation bar on the left.)

 

Questions

 

 

Settings are not migrated; you must reconfigure them manually. If you will be reusing this survey, allow multiple attempts. A great example of this is a weekly topic submission form. Since we set all questions to zero points, it is safe to keep the latest submission, in which the latest survey responses will overwrite previous responses.

For Restrict student result view, this needs to be turned on. The only options that can be used in a survey are Show items and questions, Show student response, and Show item feedback.

 

Attempt History will be disabled if Show items and questions is turned off.

 

Settings

 

A graded survey requires that all questions to be multiple-choice and that Vary points by answer is turned on. Using other question types may not return desirable results, as students may not necessarily receive full credit once they submit the survey. To be on the safe side, make all questions zero points each and set Display Grade As to Complete/Incomplete.

 

Survey Preview & Debugging

After running the test, here's the result when Show items and questions, Show student response, and Show item feedback are turned on.

 

As you can see below, one question requires grading. Even though it shows that the student finished the survey in 1:13 minutes, it still shows the Points Possible field blanked out. To be honest, if the Show points awarded/possible options are not checked, it should only show the time taken to complete the survey (only if Show items/questions is checked). If no items are checked, the time taken is not shown.

 

Results 1

 

Results 2

 

Recap

  • When migrating to New Quizzes, we recommend that you make all questions zero points each, since graded surveys do not appear to be viable. From the Assignments page, display the grade as Complete/Incomplete.
  • The only options that can be used in Restrict Student Result View for a survey are:
    • Show items and questions
    • Show student response
    • Show item feedback
  • Preview the survey a few times so that you can check for any errors. We always want quality work when building surveys.
    (When we preview a quiz, it resembles as if we are in the director's seat.)
    • "Lock it up": The teacher clicks the Preview button.
    • "Rolling": Loading screen
    • "Action": The quiz screen comes up
    • "Cut": The teacher clicks the Exit Preview button; can be done before or after submitting the survey
      • Before submitting: When you need to fix errors (i.e., spelling) in questions or the instructions
      • After submitting: When you think the answer is right even though the auto-grader is wrong. Make a note of the affected questions on a piece of paper before exiting the preview.

When I studied the comparison table between Old vs New Quizzes, I thought to myself: If quizzes can be exported, why not individual assignments? They should. Here is a viable solution to export/import a New Quiz.

 

For this blog post, call the old course Course A and the new course Course B.

 

Procedure

  1. In Course A, create a new quiz in Canvas using the +Assignment or +Quiz/Test buttons.
  2. Once you arrive at the New Quizzes Build page, write a custom message in the instructions to let yourself know that the import operation worked.
  3. Unlike Old Quizzes, if you are going to export even a single assignment or page, you must export the entire course. To do so, follow the instructions in this article (How do I export a Canvas course?).
  4. Once the export is complete, download the file (it expires 30 days after the export has completed) and save it to somewhere you remember.
  5. Go to Course B, and follow the instructions there to import your course content (How do I import a Canvas course export package?).
  6. Before you get too far, in the Content section, select the option Select specific content, because you're NOT going to import all of the data. Then click Import.
    Selected content only
  7. After a few minutes, the status will show Waiting for Selection. Now click Select Content to choose the data you want to import.
    Waiting for content.
  8. For this example, since our title is Migrating New Quizzes, we check this option only. Leave all other items unchecked. Click Select Content to continue.
    (Keep in mind, assignment groups will have a folder icon next to it.)
    Select Content
  9. Wait for the import to finish and return a green Completed status. If it is red or orange, read the issues and try again.
    Completed!
  10. Verify that the imported New Quiz appears in the Assignments page in Course B. The process is not over yet! We still need to check if the quiz data has been imported or not.
    Assignments page
  11. After you arrive at the New Quizzes Build page in Course B, you should see the message you created when you made the New Quiz in Course A. That's it!
    Success!

 

Warning

You can only export and import New Quizzes assignments within the same institution. If you have Canvas accounts from different institutions, you cannot use this method to export from one institution and import to another institution, even though it is possible to edit the external tool URL to match that of the other institution, as instructions and questions will not import correctly. I've tested with New Quizzes imported from Canvas Commons that were created by other institutions. Even though the import succeeds, the operation failed, since it couldn't find the valid settings for the New Quizzes LTI link.

Hi,

I am finding my way to Canvas and I would like to share this community this canvas template that I have built upon another template that some one shared to the Commons (I can't remember the author now, but thank you who ever you were).

 

Canvas doesn't have allow the creation of  navigation panel unit by unit, like Moodle or Blackboard Learn so I create a table in the frontpage and also use the menu 'Modules' on the left hand side. I don't think that the 'Module' links can be hidden?

 

Any feedback/comments for my template are very welcome.

Mari Cruz

As we move into the month of love, I'd like to share my love and appreciation for the CanvasCasters podcast (anchor.fm) . It's amazing to hear such great Canvas stories from fellow Canvas users. Perhaps you've read my previous blog listing the special guests from some of the 2019 episodes 1-8: CanvasCasters Podcast: Have Ears, Will Listen... & Subscribe .

 

If you've enjoyed the podcast, you will familiar with one of their closing questions asking their guests their big 3 things they love about Canvas or what's in their Canvas backpack? So without further ado.

 

Episode & GuestTop 3 Loves (Canvas Backpack)

1: Megan Tolin

  • Speedgrader- Using rubrics
  • Speedgrader > Options- Sort by submission status, so that when grading you can grade all that submitted back-to-back versus skipping over students who haven't submitted yet 
  • Speedgrader- Audio/video feedback to students
2: Paul Towers
  • Tapping into "New" Analytics
  • Present live from your Canvas course
  • Modules/pages
3 & 4: Kona Jones
  • Gradebook > Message Student Who
    • "New" Analytics - message students who haven't view a Page
  • Gradebook > Notes Column
  • Canvas Community
5: Chris giles
  • Community & Twitter: Connect with people/video chats
  • Teach faculty how to use Canvas Calendar
  • Canvas Tier 1 Support
  • Admit what you don't know; it's okay

6: Eddie Small Marcus Painter

  • (Admin) Global Announcements
  • Using Canvas for Professional Development hosting
  • Studio/Arc
    • Easy to learn and use; integrated into Canvas
    • Student engagement and content creation; integrated quizzes
7: Kyle Beimfohr
  • Canvas Media Recorder, student content creation and instructor feedback
  • Up-to-date Canvas Guides & step-by-step documentation
  • Potential of New Quizzes, variety of type of questions
8: Scott DennisRenee CarneyRenee shared about the Canvas Advocate (changed name from Canvassador) program. Share your Canvas passion with other users. Both Scott and Renee spoke about the Canvas Community and invite users to join.
9: Kevin Self
  • Blueprint 
  • Groups
  • New Gradebook

10: Amanda Kitchell & Amanda_Wilkerson

  • Canvas Conversations/Inbox messages, accessible after-hours
  • Modules
    • Embed everything students need within Canvas
    • If students miss class/poor weather days, they don't miss content
  • Studio, integrated quiz feature with video (hidden markers)
11: Mixtape Volume 1
(2019)
You can also read more about the CanvasCasters podcast in their recent post on the Instructure blog.
12: Announcement
(2020)
Guess who is coming to instcon; that's right your favorite unofficial Canvas podcast! Meet Marcus & Eddie in Nashville; who knows... there might be a live show? instructurecon2020
13: Monica Burns

Monica provides an overview of the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in lovely Miami, FL. She shared how to approach your next conference and a few accounts/organizations to follow.

 

Give them a listen and if you think it's panda-tastic; subscribe! You can find CanvasCasters in a variety of ways:

 

Keep Learning,

Sky V.
Senior Instructional Designer, FIU Online
Adjunct in Marketing & Logistics, FIU

A colleague and I researched Project Management Strategies for Instructional Design Projects and applied the research to our Course Design and Development processes. She's in Florida, I'm in Michigan, and both of our institutions use Canvas and subscribe to Quality Matters. I thought that our research may be helpful to others in the Canvas Community. By the way: for designers who work at QM institutions and use Canvas, it's exciting that a New Partnership Brings Canvas to Quality Matters.

 

We placed our research resources into an open Canvas course as we read and discussed the articles, ebook, presentation, processes, and flowcharts and then made the resource course available to the public at bit.ly/ID-PM. If anyone has an instructional design process or flowchart that we can add to the research resources, please share!

 

We presented our application of the research last month to the ID2ID program sponsored by Penn State and EDUCAUSE. The recorded webinar is included within the research resources. Also, in case it's helpful to anyone, here's our presentation from a pre-conference workshop we facilitated at Quality Matters “QM Connect" last October.

 

This image shows a sample of the articles and other content available at bit.ly/ID-PM:

bit.ly/ID-PM

Yet another benefit of online courses.

Author Thomas Royce Wilson, PhD. @Captain Big Idea – Free "cognitive cartoons" about learning and living with technology 

 

*Shared with permission. 

2020 Course Design Essentials  

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. 

 

Who Are We?

We are Instructure’s Instructional Design Team! More specifically, we are Kristen Andersen, Tiffany Foster, Marah Metallo, Laurie Norris, Lily Philips, and Paola Sanchez. Between the six of us, we have over 36 years of Canvas experience! Within Canvas, we have been students, teachers, admins, trainers, and instructional designers. We have created fully-online, hybrid/blended and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.

 

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices. 

 


Button Samples

January Teacher Appreciation Event: Seasonal Home Page Button Giveaway

For January’s event, we have created free, seasonal-themed home page button images for your course! You can choose from photography or illustration-based designs. Just like changing a bulletin board in your classroom to reflect a season change, you can update the design of your Canvas home page buttons. Be sure to check back in the Community in the coming months for other seasonal button sets. 

 

Each of the buttons can lead to course essential topics: Learning Modules, Resource Materials, Question Forum, and Teacher Contact Information. Link your buttons to relevant materials in your course to give your students easy access to commonly needed materials. 

 

Button Preview

January Home Page Button Preview

Button Access

 

Button Installation

  1. Select the link above to download the button PNG files. 
  2. Upload the button image files to your Canvas Course Home Page and insert ALT tag to ensure accessibility. 
    1. Canvas Guide: How do I insert course images into the Rich Content Editor using the Content Selector as an instructor?
  3. Select each button to link to the appropriate course content while still editing the page.
    1. Canvas Guide: How do I insert links to course content into the Rich Content Editor using the Content Selector as an instructor?
  4. Save your changes.
  5. Test your new buttons to ensure links are functional. 
  6. Enjoy! 

 

Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Sallie Michalsky, Senior Manager of Content Services sallie@instructure.com.

In New Quizzes, one of the things that you may have not noticed is setting the seconds in the time limit. Here's how you can work it out.

 

From the Settings tab, turn on the time limit feature. In the Minutes box, delete any other values. Now, enter a decimal point, followed by the amount you want to put in. When we tested this feature, we noticed that when attempting to enter 3 seconds (0.05 minutes), the decimal point disappears after entering the 0. In order to successfully enter it, we first must enter .5, then move the cursor left and type a 0 to get .05 in the Minutes box.

 

You can only enter the Minutes in 0.05 increments. A 422 error is generated if it is not a multiple of 0.05.

    

 

In this example, because we called this blog post "Who's Got the Fastest Finger?", we set the time limit to 30 seconds (0.5 minutes).

 

Time Limit Decimal Minutes

30 seconds on the clock

 

Why call it "Fastest Finger First"?

You might remember the world's most popular game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, where contestants play one question before the real game begins. The contestants have only 20 seconds to enter the correct order on the keypad, and answers cannot be changed after pressing Submit.

(In New Quizzes, we set the time limit to 30 seconds, due to the fact that time limits can be only set in multiples of 3 seconds, and there are loading times of around 3-7 seconds after pressing Begin.)

 

Fastest Finger First

 

The options are randomized every time the Fastest Finger round begins. Answers 1-4 shown above correspond to A-D below. The order of A-D depends on the order the answers appear once the round begins.

 

Fastest Finger Question
Put the following artists in the order they're going to perform at the 2018 KSCS Country Fest in Grand Prairie, TX.
A: Cole SwindellB: Dustin Lynch
C: Travis DenningD: Harper Grace

 

After submitting, or once time is called, the below screen appears, showing the number of seconds taken to complete. Students will NOT immediately see if they got it right or not. We'll show you why in the next picture.

 

Completed

 

 

The host reveals the correct order, one answer at a time. He/she will give out a brief description of why that item fits in that order.

(This was taken from October 2018.)

 

Show Answer

 

Once the order is revealed, the results are shown.

 

In this example, from the WWTBAM game show, 4 out of 6 players got the question right (in green boxes). Heather got the answer correct in 1.95 seconds. Only correct responses will have the completion times shown.

 

 

If NO one gets the question correct, another question is played. If there is a tie for the fastest time, the fastest students will play again while all the other students sit out. The process repeats until a student gets it right in the FASTEST time possible.

 

Whoa there! There seems to be a problem here in New Quizzes.

(Ignore the times and scores below, all Fastest Finger rounds are limited to 30 seconds, and scores can only be 100% or 0%.)

 

The teacher will take a few minutes to review the times and correct statuses.

 

 

The time is shown whether or not he/she gets the question right. The main problem is: what if there are two students who got the question right AND finish in 11 seconds, or even ALL students got the question right in the SAME number of seconds?! We don't want to go to a sudden death round or play a game of rock paper scissors! The only thing that I want to see in New Quizzes is showing the hundredths of a second in the Time column (if the Time Limit is set to one minute or less) so that instructors can accurately tell who is correct in the FASTEST time. For example, if Student A finishes in 11.45 seconds, and Student B finishes in 11.50 seconds, Student A wins by only 0.05 seconds.

 

Another problem to know here is: how to enter ordering questions quickly? A more viable approach is to press the numbers 1-4 that correspond to the items in the right order and tap Submit, but this has not been implemented in New Quizzes yet.

 

ANOTHER METHOD

If you use Chrome with touch screen enabled devices (Chromebook, iOS, Android, Windows), make sure you enable Touch Initiated Drag & Drop in the Chrome Flags menu (chrome://flags). However, this will require you to press and hold the item for at least one second in order to move it, which wastes precious time. You should tap the dots to the left of the item and move it up or down.

 

Chrome Flags

 

Best Practices

In the education world, Fastest Finger First is used to give students something like a daily warm-up when class begins. The question types are not limited to Ordering questions, but other types are possible without issues (excluding File Upload and Essay questions).

In the example below, students will need to click on the note that answers the question of what that singer's peak vocal range is.

 

Peak Vocal Range

 

 

Tips & Tricks

You can combine minutes and seconds together; however, there is a catch. To do so, first enter the decimal, followed by the main minutes. For example, to set 28 minutes and 15 seconds, first enter .25 (15/60) (this shows up as 0.25), highlight the 0, and enter the desired minutes.

 

Sorry about that, the hundredths got cut off here.

 

Time Trick

After entering 28.25 minutes, we get:

 

28 min 15 sec = 28.25 min

 

And that's how you fine-tune the quiz timer! One more thing to note. In the past, the sky was the limit; you can set a time limit as long as you want, like days, weeks, months, or even years, but that is no longer the case with New Quizzes. Now, the maximum time limit you can set is 168 hours (or 7 days). The only way to increase this further is from the Moderate tab.

 

7 day maximum

 

168 hours

 

Caution

We do not recommend setting below 30 seconds, as the "Time is up" message appears if it takes too long to load. The longer it takes to load, the shorter the time limit will be.

 

If you submit before the question is loaded, a foul will occur. Even though the time shows 0.00, the score will not count.

 

Foul!

You may have noticed today there is a new look in Free-For-Teachers. The new responsive layout is here! This layout ensures that the Canvas website looks great on ALL devices, even on smartphones and tablets! See this link Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) for more info.

 

According to the release notes, Canvas provides a more responsive experience for content scrolling according to web accessibility initiative guidelines. This ensures Canvas continues to meet accessibility guidelines for all Canvas users regarding the vertical and horizontal display of course content.

 

Local institutions implementing custom JavaScript or CSS through the Theme Editor should review the WAI reflow standards and their current code to ensure no conflicts exist with Canvas pages.

 

This responsive layout change is enabled by default in the beta environment, but it can also be optionally tested in the production environment until February 2020 with the Responsive Layout feature option in Account Settings.

 

This feature option is now enabled for Free-For-Teacher accounts at this moment and will be enabled for all other accounts in the production environment by default starting this February.

 

Here's a sneak peek of what's to come with the Responsive Layout.

 

Dashboard

The dashboard will look similar to the one in the Canvas mobile apps. Options to start a new course and view your grades are shown at the bottom.

Dashboard RV

 

Navigating the Menus

The Global Navigation bar (How do I use the Global Navigation Menu as an instructor?) can be accessed from the hamburger menu at the top left. Some items include dropdowns that you can click to expand their menus.

 

Global Nav RV

The Course Navigation Menu is shown as a down arrow next to the course name.

 

Course RV

Clicking it will reveal the Course Navigation Menu. Items are clearly marked with their corresponding icons. LTI tools will be denoted by a plug icon.

(We do seem to have issues with the Free-For-Teachers version, where it only shows the first 18 items.)

 

Course Navigation Menu

 

Remember, Responsive Layout is available now in the beta environment and will be released to production this February (for all other accounts).

 

I did not expect the Responsive Layout feature to be released to production that early for Free-For-Teachers, but it makes Canvas more intuitive to use!

 

What to Work On

Tables still need to adapt to the responsive layout, but we'll get into that later.

 

We hope you continue to enjoy Canvas as the Winter/Spring 2020 semester begins!

It is in our best interests to ask ourselves clarifying questions as we struggle with design puzzles. Are we pursuing the right solution? Are we even focused on the right problem? 

Every improvement helps. That said, it is tempting to want a slick, impressive layout for a course when the real need is better content. It is tempting to want greater speed building course content when the real need is a better UX plan with a student-centered rationale. We sometimes want our courses to be more entertaining when they really need to be less confusing. 

"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."

Bill Gates

Innovations in technology are changing our world faster than futurists can line up to predict what is next in business or education trends. Anyone who is old enough to remember standing in line to register for a college course or life before Google knows that there is no going back, and we don't want to. Nostalgia for what is lost has little value until it contributes to what is next.

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer

Examining trends in Leadership and Organizational Communication reveals familiar, deceptively simple issues with severe impact. Organizational growing pains are utterly predictable and unavoidable, yet they stand as a somewhat positive marker of success. Growth is good, right? Unfortunately, growth is also laden with missed opportunities and unaddressed issues that grow as companies grow, with deep roots and scaling repercussions.

Solutions may be counter-intuitive to leaders because the same skills and vision needed to create successful companies can become the precise limiting factors for stable growth. Most companies and innovations would not exist without a leader's skills and attitudes, yet these same entrepreneurial skills often require being consciously set aside in order for organizations to move to the next level. Case in point is one of my favorite user experience UX heroes--and cautionary tale--Steve Jobs. 

Playing to Your Strengths versus Tackling Your Growth Edges

Long before documentaries, books, and feature films charted Jobs' amazing comeback and world-changing innovations, he was also a scary Silicon Valley poster-boy for purging hugely-successful companies of their founders in order to reach the next level. His maniacally-long work hours cut down legions of talented employees through burnout. Since stability and balance were not his virtues, he did not value it in the people around him. Converting the public to his elegant taste seemingly led rise to a belief that the rest of his decisions were infallible as well. Which, of course, they were not.

No alt text provided for this image

One takeaway is: Whatever skillset leaders use to create their companies will tend to be over-used. Eventually, those same overused skills will aggravate the lingering weaknesses. Organizational needs may change and mature. The temptation is for leaders to just add more of what worked before. After all, it works! Until it doesn't.

For contrast, consider Starbucks' Howard Schultz who is generally lauded as a visionary leader. He was gracious enough to acknowledge a tough phase for his company when they had reached a peak of success and were risking a crash due to losing touch with customer feedback. (Check out fascinating interviews with Schultz and other thought leaders.) In a nutshell: An entrepreneurial founder tends to keep momentum by ignoring distractions from naysayers and charging ahead with a vision, inspiring people to join along the way. When that same company is a success, leaders do not readily change gears. 

Addressing the Little Things

Starbucks grew fast, outrunning feedback from customers and low-level employees while essentially labeling any unpleasant news as coming from complainers and their "negativity." Then the business was blindsided by the realities of shop closures as organized protests smeared the company image. Starbucks' growth and global reputation teetered until they reconsidered their strategies and the limiting attitudes toward feedback and complaints that were now embedded throughout the company.

Not surprisingly, a leader's attitudes become the organization's attitudes for better or worse. If the boss does not value customer complaints, no one else is motivated to accept feedback either. Starbucks re-blossomed when top brass gathered people with varying skill sets to manage communications and invited input from every employee. Now, each Starbucks Barista is considered the top advertiser and the top investment for retaining customer loyalty. 

Making room for complementary skills--not complimentary--is the mark of a mature leader. (See the book: The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make.) Leaders get successful by paying their dues, often fighting distractions to their vision and supplying the bulk of effort to successfully create a new product or innovate at the foundational level. Continued growth beyond a launch can be treacherous territory unless conscious effort is expended to stabilize and solidify innovation.

This ideal of stable growth is the product of cooperation from teams who duplicate the passion, but not the methods or personality of the original leader. Bold leaders set themselves apart when they cultivate differences, including skills and viewpoints they lack. Fine-tuning and addressing the little things like user complaints, employee ideas, and unpleasant feedback stabilizes organizations through the dangers of fast growth. Sometimes these small adjustments move beyond stabilizing and open the flood-gates for exponential growth, therefore, valuing interaction and openness is the next level of growth leadership. 

In the UX process of discovering what is useful and usable, learning moments (*mistakes) have an upside: lots of cautionary examples to share. Enjoy this selection of standout bloopers and rookie mistakes.

The iterative worlds of SAM, Agile, and ADDIE invite a continual balancing act between "get it done" versus "get it right." -Rachael Sweeten
No alt text provided for this image
  • Asking your users to design the product. Looks like designers taking the users' orders. Sounds like, "If I give them exactly what they asked for, then they'll have to be happy."
  • User relies on the "Back" button. Puhleeez.
  • User is completely stuck. Excruciating.
  • Blaming the user. Sounds like, "They aren't tech savvy," or "They just need to learn how to do this." * The user has probably just learned to hate your product and to distrust you. 
  • Shaming the user. Sounds like, "C'mon. This is really easy." *Remember, everything is intuitive for the person who designs it. 
  • Breaking the 4, no more, rule. Long feedback forms require too much recall and invite ultra-negative feedback. Prioritize to 4 main questions, unless your goal is specifically to weed out unwanted users. 
  • Overconfidence in your product. Sounds like, "What's there to change? It's fine. Those complainers aren't our target market."
  • Uncertainty avoidance. Looks like analyzing in mid-test, rushing feedback, or accepting a wrong conclusion over not knowing.
  • Shiny Objects. As a rule, designers and other primates tend to covet shiny objects like the coolest interaction and the spiffiest layout. Designing to impress other designers is satisfying--until it bombs with your real users.

***

A space where news and reactions to the proposed Thoma Bravo acquisition can be gathered that would be of interest to the community. Please add additional resources, questions or concerns in the comments.

2/19/20 Update: Lots happening in the last week or so, newest updates now at the top. Phil Hill expressed it well:

Last week: Check out this wild 72-hour period of news on Instructure.
This week: Hold my beer.

Stay tuned for more news!

News and Reactions

  1. What’s Next for Instructure? (2/19/20 — eLiterate)
    "My position has always been neutral-positive on Instructure being acquired by a private equity company in general and neutral on being acquired by Thoma Bravo in particular. Instructure needs some time to move past its current growth plateau. There is a reasonable argument to be made that they could focus on doing that with fewer distractions that could harm their core work for customers if they were under private ownership rather than under the quarter-by-quarter performance pressures of the public stock market. Instructure's acquisition could be good or bad for education, depending on two major factors."
  2. Instructure CEO Dan Goldsmith Resigns and New Approach for Bravo Acquisition (2/18/20 — Phil Hill)
    "For those who have not followed corporate acquisitions before: No, this is not typical. I’ve talked to several people in the investment community who have noted that they have never seen a sales process like this before. And there will be much more to the story as the new tender offer comes out."
  3. Corporate Leadership Changes and Acquisition Updates (2/18/20 — Canvas blog)
    "First, today we announced that Dan Goldsmith has informed us of his intent to step down as CEO... As an executive team, we realize some of this can seem overwhelming, but we will continue building products and helping this community to create the best educational experiences possible. We also promise to continue to be as transparent as possible."
  4. To Our Customers (1/20/20 — Dan Goldsmith, Instructure CEO)
    "In December, we announced that Instructure had reached an agreement to be acquired by Thoma Bravo, LLC, a private equity investment firm. Our board has always had a financial responsibility to the shareholders of Instructure, but as you all know, key components of the financial health of any organization are ensuring that customers’ needs are being addressed and that innovation is continuing at a healthy pace. Financial health, customer commitment, and innovation are inextricably intertwined and must remain balanced. Thoma Bravo also appreciates this balance and shares our commitment to customer success."
  5. Insights From Instructure Preliminary Proxy Statement (1/1/20 — Phil Hill)
    "I realize that the proxy statement is primarily driven by SEC rules, but Instructure is harming its brand by its consistent focus on monetization and shareholder value with no meaningful communication to customers or prospects (I do not consider the letter above meaningful). The academic LMS market deserves better from its market leader."
  6. Instructure’s Better Possible Future (1/19/20 — eLiterate)
    "Instructure's brand has, until now, been its primary and best product. It is still one of the best in the sector, even if it is getting a little ragged around the edges. Because the brand is still good, the company can still build the relationships it needs to make good acquisitions, evangelize those acquisitions to its customers, and work with its customers on even the most sensitive (and important) product research and development efforts."
  7. Instructure’s Proposed Acquisition is a Bad Risk for Everyone (1/6/20 — eLiterate)
    "Has Instructure provided customers with a detailed and credible enough strategic roadmap to inspire confidence that they have a more compelling alternative for growth? No, they have not. Has Dan Goldsmith thus far proven, lacking such a roadmap, that his reputation for performance alone is worth betting the company on? No, he has not. No smart PE company would make an attractive counter-offer under these circumstances. There is no sound investment thesis until Instructure is able to regain its footing as a product-led company."
  8. Letter to Instructure (12/26/19 — Ethical EdTech)
    "While debate continues regarding fair market price for the company (Hill, 2019b), there is much speculation within the Community and amongst stakeholders about the role being played in the sale by the student data Instructure has spent years collecting and harvesting to inform the company’s innovations."
  9. What’s the LMS Worth? (12/9/19 — EconProph)
    "Underlying the valuation question though, is the real concern. Can we discern the plans and future for Canvas (and thereby schools, instructors, students, the higher ed system, pedagogy, etc) from this transaction? "
  10. Private Equity Firm Thoma Bravo to Acquire Instructure for $2 Billion (12/4/19 — Phil Hill)
    "Obviously this is big news for the LMS market, and it is worth noting that in the press release Thoma Bravo specifically mentions Canvas but not Bridge, which should give a hint about future plans. And perhaps more importantly, the press release explicitly mentions future growth that will or could include M&A – Instructure buying other companies."
  11. New Ownership for an LMS Giant: Private Equity Firm to Buy Instructure for $2 Billion (12/4/19 — EdSurge)
    "But whether the sale is good news for colleges and other education customers remains to be seen, Hill added. “It’s now a waiting game to see how their strategy changes,” he said. 'Don’t expect it to be the same.'"
  12. Canvas parent Instructure to go private in $2B deal (12/4/19 — EducationDive)
    "How private equity will influence Instructure's operations largely remains to be seen. And as part of the deal, the company has 35 days to entertain other offers.'"
  13. Instructure—Creator of Canvas LMS—Acquired by Private Equity Firm for $2 Billion in Cash (12/4/19 — EdWeek Market Brief)
    "Brian Jaffee, a principal at Thoma Bravo said, 'We’ve followed the impressive Instructure growth story for many years and believe Canvas is a highly unique vertical market SaaS leader with exciting scale and future growth potential.'"
  14. Seven Things We Mostly Know About the Planned Instructure Acquisition and Three We Don’t (12/4/19 — Phil Hill)
    "What does this mean for Instructure’s future? One guess is to expect the Bridge separation with increased focus on the Canvas / academic business to happen quickly. Another guess is to expect Instructure to ramp up their corporate acquisitions starting in 2020."
  15. Letter from Dan (12/4/19)
    "Working with Thoma Bravo over the past weeks, it is apparent that they support our strategy for focus on continued investment in Canvas LMS, expanding our impact in education, positioning Bridge to be more successful, and being a well-run business. As a private company, we will be able to better control our future and execute on these strategic imperatives."
  16. Instructure Enters Into a Definitive Agreement to be Acquired by Thoma Bravo (12/4/19 — Instructure Press Release)
    "The Instructure management team, led by CEO Dan Goldsmith, will continue to lead the Company in their current roles. Thoma Bravo will support Instructure as it increases investment in education technology innovation and expands internationally."

Background Information

  1. Thomas Bravo Website
    "We are a leading private equity investment firm building on a 40-year history of providing capital and strategic support to experienced management teams and growing technology companies."
  2. Instructure Considering Sale Options (Phil Hill)
    "For academic community, it is worth noting that much of the investor-based pressure is for Instructure to focus more on supporting Canvas, not less. Instructure management has made it a point to say that they are increasing investment in Canvas, but today’s news puts even more emphasis on that need."
  3. Why Instructure’s News Matters: Market history (Phil Hill)
    "Why is a potential change as mundane as having Instructure’s shares traded in public markets vs. being owned by a larger company newsworthy?"
  4. Canvas LMS Provider Instructure Considers Sale (EdSurge)
    "The last time a publicly traded learning management system provider was taken private was Blackboard, back in 2011."

Resources and Reactions on Twitter

Twitter Thread of Resources from Kyle M.L. Jones on Twitter:

Kyle M. L. Jones on Twitter: "I'm gathering literature on the Instructure sale. Seeing as this doesn't seem to be in one…

 

 

 

 

Other Conversations in the Community

I'm sure more news and reactions will be coming in and as I'll update this as they do - feel free add any links or questions in the comments, follow to stay up to date. It will be very interesting to understand what this means for the future of Canvas!

 

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Just before I get into the SpeedGrader, there has been some changes to the New Quizzes feature on November 16. You can still add/edit/remove any rubrics, but you cannot modify the instructions once the Quizzes 2 LTI is added.

 

New Quizzes Assignments 1

New Quizzes Assignments 2

 

Now to the main story. In my previous blog post (Hidden Gems: Working with Rubrics in New Quizzes), we've discussed how rubrics can be added to New Quizzes. This time, we'll talk about using SpeedGrader for New Quizzes.

 

Unlike regular assignments, where you go in and click on the SpeedGrader button on the right, New Quizzes does not display the button to you directly. You will need to go to the New Gradebook to do it.

 

FROM THE NEW GRADEBOOK

To go to the SpeedGrader from the New Gradebook, click the icon next to the grade (expand-start, the one with a right arrow inside a rectangle), then click the SpeedGrader.

Warning

If you turn on Launch SpeedGrader Filtered by Student Group in Settings, you must select a student group before launching SpeedGrader. This is to make sure there are no grading issues for large courses.

 

 

USING A URL

To launch the SpeedGrader for any assignment (including New Quizzes), visit your Canvas URL for your local institution. After the URL, type /courses/XXXXXXX/gradebook/speed_grader?assignment_id=YYYYYYYY where XXXXXXX is the 7-digit course ID and YYYYYYYY is the 8-digit assignment ID. For example, if the course ID is 1234567 and the assignment ID is 12345678, you would enter /courses/1234567/gradebook/speed_grader?assignment_id=12345678 after the URL.

Note: If the numbers contain leading zeros, you do not need to enter them.

 

There we go! 

 

Uh-oh! Some of our students failed to submit! That raises eyebrows for us! We click on the View Rubric to see the rubric that we've created from the previous post. 

 

SpeedGrader in New Quizzes

 

This is the rubric that we've created from the previous post.

 

SpeedGrader in New Quizzes

 

Since the student did not take the quiz at all, we would click No. A Yes is denoted by a green arrow, while a No is denoted by a red arrow. Finally, save the rubric selections.

 

Yes or No?

 

We would mark the completion status as Incomplete in this case. You can also leave a comment to encourage the student to catch up.

(Please be polite when writing comments in the SpeedGrader. You don't want students to get upset!)

 

Rubric Incomplete

 

In Part 2, we'll show you how to grade questions and check for errors in SpeedGrader for New Quizzes.

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