2016: Canvas and the Year of Open

Blog Post created by katie@instructure.com Employee on Feb 1, 2016

CanvasLMSOpenSource.jpgCross-posted from the Canvas LMS blog

Call it what you like—a New Year’s resolution, a renewal of learning platform vows, or just extra punctuation on an already emphatic sentence—but in the coming year, Canvas will reaffirm its commitment to openness.

What do we mean by “reaffirm” (and how and why)? Well ...

We’ve been open from the beginning. From day one, we’ve promoted a more robust ecosystem by building a platform that’s open to integrations. In fact, we’ve helped lead the way in developing open standards like LTI®. We’ve created an open community where the voices of our clients shape the decisions we make as a company. And we facilitate openness in the platform itself by enabling users to make their courses public and openly licensable, leveraging open tools like Flickr Creative Commons for images and BigBlueButton for conferencing.

An open platform can help eliminate barriers to entry. This matters because adoption is one of the greatest challenges faced by the open education community. So how do we inform educators about openness and help them put it into practice? One way is to leverage the ubiquity of the learning management system to create a community where OERs can easily be shared, curated, and discovered. Most institutions use an LMS, but for those using Canvas, the high adoption rate means more instructors can be reached more quickly; and with the click of a button, they can openly license their content and share it publicly.

Open education can make a real difference in the world (and we want to be in on that). From cost savings for students at community colleges to increased access for learners in developing nations, open education can help people. This fact is especially true because open education and its advocates tend to be on the cutting edge of educational innovation, making open content more relevant, more global, and more innovative than what you might find, for example, in a traditional textbook.

So keep your eyes open (see what we did there?) for upcoming Canvas events, initiatives, and research aimed at helping promote and expand awareness about the value of openness. And join us in the Canvas Community to discuss what open education means to you.

Keep learning,

Melissa Loble (Instructure), VP, Partners & Programs

Jared Stein, VP, Research & Education