Katie Bradford

Canvas Network: Committed to Open Education

Blog Post created by Katie Bradford Employee on Mar 9, 2016

CanvasNetwork_OpenEducationWeek.png

Cross-posted from the Keep Learning Blog at blog.canvaslms.com.

Instructure has seven company values that keep us on track. As the manager of Canvas Network, I find myself thinking a lot about two of these values (integrity and openness) and how they help us achieve our primary mission—to promote openness, innovation, and experimentation in education. To be honest (another company value), I think we’re off to a great start, but we still have room for improvement.

Where We Are Now

Unlike other MOOC platforms, our openness doesn’t begin and end with open entry for learners. The Canvas Network infrastructure supports openness, innovation, and experimentation in at least four big ways. We provide:

  • Open entry for learners around the globe and continual access to course content after the course end date.
  • Open licensing options and access to Canvas Commons where instructors can share course content for others to reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute content.
  • Open platform for others to engage in the ecosystem and build upon Canvas code.
  • Open, de-identified Canvas Network data for researchers to analyze and synthesize.

Where We Want To Be

The way we see it, we need to envision the perfect open platform and then design a strategy to get there. We believe the “perfect open education platform” would:

  • Allow learners to audit a course without having to pay for it with personal information.
  • Allow teachers to publish content and assessments under open licenses.
  • Provide a mechanism for other instructors to reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute content.
  • Provide programs with open credentials.
  • Provide courses with open credentials.
  • Foster research for both open and restricted data.
  • Promote the sharing of competencies.
  • Maintain flexibility for institutions and instructors to achieve their own goals.

Canvas Network Goals

We already have the infrastructure in place, so during the next year, we’ll focus on how to prepare our partners, revise policies and processes, and implement initiatives to move toward our vision. In the meantime, we’ve identified three goals to focus on today:

  1. Increase openly-licensed courses – Of the 504 courses hosted between Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015, 40 percent retain Creative Commons licensing. By Mar. 1, 2016, our goal is to increase Creative Commons-licensed courses from 40 to 60 percent.
  2. Increase publicly-viewable courses – Of the 504 courses hosted between Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015, 26 percent were publicly-viewable. In other words, learners simply needed the course URL to access the material. By Mar. 1, 2016, our goal is to have as many publicly-viewable courses as Creative Commons-licensed courses.
  3. Increase sharing in Canvas Commons – Since the launch of Canvas Commons, 18 courses or learning objects created in Canvas Network were shared to the repository. By Mar. 1, 2016 our goal is to increase that number to 300 courses or course objects. 

Our Commitment

Canvas Network is and always has been open. We’re excited to see how much further we can go to promote openness, innovation, and experimentation in education. So if you have comments or suggestions to help us achieve our goals (and your goals!) for open learning, please let us know. Tag #openeducation and @canvasnet on Twitter, or email the Canvas Network team at courses@canvas.net.


Keep learning,
Hilary Melander
Manager, Canvas Network

 

Outcomes