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Canvas User Engagement

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For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to promote Canvas adoption in elementary schools across a large school district. While many schools were excited to learn more about Canvas and create a roadmap for implementation, others seemed more hesitant. It can be intimidating rolling out new technology, and often schools are faced with barriers including a lack of time or resources that can lead to resistance. As a solution to this obstacle, three of the schools I support decided to try something not so new during the 2018-19 school year, using pilot teams, to build capacity in Canvas.  


Pilot teams are an awesome way to build an army of Canvas early adopters who become the go-to digital teacher leaders on campus! These digital leaders can then help drive future school-wide technology adoption. While helping facilitate pilot teams was not part of my initial consultant offerings, it came to be out of growing demand from the schools I was supporting.


Pilot Team Members


At each of my three elementary schools who chose to introduce Canvas with Pilot Teams, the composition of the teams varied. Pilot team members were either nominated by school leadership or self-selected to participate. One school chose to have one teacher representative from each grade level PLC including special areas, another selected a single grade level to participate joined by an instructional coach, and the final team was composed of an instructional coach in addition to pairs of teachers from the intermediate grade levels at the school.

Pilot Team Models

Pilot Team Model


At each of the three Canvas pilot team schools, the framework for Canvas adoption appeared very similar. I would meet with school leadership to develop the team’s Canvas goals and schedule a series of visits to work with the team on topics relating to the selected goals.  Sometimes I would meet with the entire team at once, or other times team members would be grouped to meet with me throughout the day to minimize the need for substitute coverage in the classroom. During the sessions, we would focus on the selected topics to develop and enhance Canvas courses including Developing a Homepage, Building Robust Modules, Assignments & Speedgrader, Using External Tools, and Quizzes 2.0. Pilot team members would use their course with students, reflect and refine the activities, then demonstrate how they were using Canvas with their PLC team and other teachers at their school. During subsequent sessions, the team would continue to develop their course while being introduced to other Canvas topics.



Moving Forward


Several members from the 2018-19 Canvas pilot teams at the three schools have now become digital teacher leaders during the 2019-20 school year, helping roll-out Canvas as the official LMS at their school sites. These schools find it helpful to have teachers who are comfortable with the technology supporting their colleagues by helping lead professional development and being available to answer questions from their colleagues who are just getting started with Canvas. Recently, I was so excited to be contacted by one of my pilot team members who was preparing resources for supporting her grade level team with Canvas. This year, her school will go from having 7 teachers using Canvas to over 60!


While technology adoption looks different at every institution, I would love to hear back from you!  Have your schools used pilot teams to develop capacity in digital teacher leaders? How does this model look in your school?

Calling all school level administrators and leadership teams!

Have you ever had a bajillion resources you needed to hand out to your faculty but hate the idea of making all those copies?? Not to mention killing a bunch of trees?! Well, here it is folks… a little something called a Principal Corner course.


What is a Principal Corner?

Principal Corner Course CardSome K12 districts have a course where the administration team is enrolled as “teachers” in the course (to add and edit the content in the course) and faculty and staff members are enrolled as “students” (so they can access and interact with all the published information). At my school district, we’ve coined the term “Principal Corner” for these type of courses.


If you don’t have one of these courses at your school yet , don’t worry! All you have to do it create a new course and enroll or add all of your faculty in as “students.” 


What is the point of the Principal Corner?

Why have all your faculty and staff enrolled in a Principal Corner course? Administrators are leading by example and jumping right into the deep end of the 21st-century digital learning pool. Think of all of those copies you have to make of resources and that humongous binder you have to prepare and organize at the beginning of the school year. You spend all that manual labor working on such a grueling task and you hand them out to all your teachers during pre-planning. Sure, it’s useful information that everyone needs to know and important resources they will need as teachers, but let’s be serious, who knows if they will ever even reference that binder ever again. 


Why not make it digital?

It will be easy to access, visually appealing, and something that your teachers want to reference the entire year. Utilizing the Principal Corner course as a “One-Stop-Shop” school resource hub could be a life saver! As a Canvas Adoption Consultant, I have the pleasure of working with numerous K12 schools and have realized there are so many different ways you can organize your Principal Corner course. 

  • Use modules to organize important school resources such as bell schedules, faculty phonebook and locator, school maps, safety information, faculty handbook, important links… you name it!
  • Upload professional development slide decks and even create a quiz with one question as documentation of their acknowledgment or attendance purposes.
  • Post announcements to communicate out daily school news, important announcements, reminders, and updates to faculty and staff.
  • Add school events, field trips, deadlines for submitting grades, and faculty meetings on the course calendar.
  • Create assignments in order for teachers to digitally submit their lesson plans. They’ll all be in one convenient location and you can easily view who has (or has not) submitted their lesson plans (with a timestamp). You can even create a template with Google Docs and have them submit a Google Docs Cloud Assignment, automating the process for everyone to have an individualized copy!
  • Have faculty participate in a discussion as a place to ask colleagues for any questions they may have, or to share out helpful information. Discussions could also be a great place for teachers to collaborate with their PLC groups.
  • The possibilities are endless!


Take a look at this for some inspiration:


Screenshot of Principal Corner Buttons


Who doesn’t love benefits?

Creating something like this can also help with buy-in. Introducing Canvas this way allows teachers to dive right in and start using Canvas, as well as model all of the different ways Canvas can be used. I personally have witnessed increased usage of Canvas by teachers enrolled in Principal Corner courses. It also gives teachers the opportunity to view Canvas on the student side of things. This way, when students need clarification on how to do something in Canvas, teachers will already have some background information to assist them! Who knows, maybe they’ll even gain some troubleshooting knowledge in the process. 


I imagine you’re thinking, “How would I even tackle something like this?!”

Easy Peasy Squeezy - Start with a plan!

  • What exactly would you like to include in your PC course?
  • How can you organize those resources into sections or categories?
  • Start with a homepage
    • A homepage should provide a visual representation of your course
    • Create a banner or use Header 2, 3, or 4 for a title at the top
    • Include a brief description, introduction, or even a Principal welcome message
    • Create buttons for your different categories (Don’t forget to link those buttons to the appropriate module, page, or resource!)
  • Create your modules and pages
  • Begin placing all of your resources within those modules or pages


Don’t have time to do all the fancy schmancy “design” work?? Not a problem. In the spirit of generosity, I’ve added a Principal Corner Template for K12 Schools to Commons for you to use! For free. You’re welcome.


Principal Corner Template Screenshot


Got some feedback? 

What other information would you consider incorporating into a Principal Corner course??

Does your institution or school have something similar? If so, how is it currently being used? What improvements do you think could be made after reading this post?

In my role as an onsite and dedicated Instructure Principal Consultant in Broward County, Florida, I am fortunate enough to collaborate on many creative Canvas engagement strategies and projects developed by the district. While the need for creative engagement strategies is not necessarily a new topic, it is often revisited year after year after year. To help facilitate engagement conversations, the Canvas Community provides many articles that are definitely worth a close read. Have you read the following articles? The Canvas Rollout, Training, and Adoption is a collaborative community page with tons of suggestions for all things Canvas. VCSS ran a creative contest during their transition to Canvas that others might want to replicate. A Spoonful of Sugar Helps Canvas Go Down examines district transition planning strategies. Shared Practices: Canvas Rollout Strategies is an ongoing discussion about rollout, adoption, and engagement. And Horse before the Cart is a reflection on the need to figure out the why and purpose first!


My favorite engagement projects are those that help to solve challenges in unique ways. A recent challenge that Canvas was able to help solve was overcoming the difficulty of sharing new information across a district. Does your school, district, institution, or organization struggle with this as well? In Broward County, I collaborated with district specialists who had spent the past couple of years creating, curating and publishing instructional materials. The district needed a way to share these resources and teachers needed to know that these new resources were available. Resources such as:

  • fully developed courses by quarter and semester.
  • TCC & QTI cartridges of resources from textbook providers.
  • integrations with numerous external tools.
  • published courses, modules, and assessments in the Canvas Commons.
  • custom designed account roles for school admins and support personnel.
  • multiple paths for learning more about Canvas and just-in-time training in the Canvas Catalog.


Over and over they would hear, ‘No one knows that these resources are available.” Sound familiar? The leadership team began discussing how Canvas might be able to help and how happy teachers would be if they only knew these resources existed. We joked that “Digital Resources Are Easy As…1, 2, 3!” And boom! My favorite engagement idea was born. We uttered aloud, I wonder if we could use course #123 to as communication gimmick to provide teachers information about all of the incredible digital and instructional materials now available? As it turned out, it was course number not being used and has quickly become one of the most popular courses in the district. Overheard in many conversations is the question, “Is that information in the #123 course?”


This course is organized into 5 sections: Canvas Help, Digital Resources & LTI Tools, and Instructional Materials broken down into K-5 Instructional Materials, 6-8 Instructional Materials, and 9-12 Instructional Materials. 

  • The Canvas help pages discuss syncing grades, link to checklists for starting or ending the school year, detail how to use custom roles, describe where to learn more about Canvas, and much more. 
  • The Digital resources pages share step-by-step guides for each of the products integrated into Canvas, as well as, where to get additional support on each of the products.
  • The Instructional Materials pages detail by grade level band how teachers can find fully developed courses, including the student resources or assessments that go along with their textbooks.

General Patton stated one should “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” And so it is! In Broward County, they are basking not only in the hot Florida sun but also in the exhilaration of this victory!


As I reflect on this success, I hope other community members will join into the conversation sharing their successes and answering the question, “What challenges has Canvas helped your school, district, institution or organization overcome?”

As a Canvas Adoption Consultant, I have had the pleasure of working with Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructors over the past few months. These instructors teach a wide range of courses from HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) to digital media, cosmetology, and culinary. These instructors were just beginning to use Canvas and administrators had set one requirement -- use the Canvas grade book. While some instructors just wanted to learn how to use Grade Book, others wanted to improve students' learning experiences by utilizing more features. 


After discussing the differences between K12 and CTE, I quickly realized we were going to have to think outside the box to find unique ways to use Canvas that support their specific curriculum. 




Rolling Enrollment


All of their CTE courses have rolling enrollments. In many of the programs, new students can begin at any time and instructors are expected to support existing and incoming students. Each course is completed after a specific number of hours, not necessarily at the end of a semester/term. Some students coursework may extend into the next term.


Assignments - Many Do Not Count Towards Grade


Students complete traditional assignments throughout their courses to help them learn the content and earn grades. However, they must complete a required set of competencies as well (but these do not count in their grades). For example, in a cosmetology course, students would have to complete twenty shampoos and fifteen conditioners. They do not earn grades for doing these tasks but must have each checked off to indicate completion.




Over the past six months, I have worked through these dilemmas with the CTE faculty to decide how to structure their courses to flow smoothly. The two dilemmas above were our biggest challenges. However, with some creative strategizing, we were able to invent workable solutions. 


Rolling Enrollment


Our initial attempts didn't actually fix our dilemma. We tried to utilize modules with requirements. However, we realized this was not a valid solution since students do not necessarily complete a course at the end of a term. Why? The courses are set up by the district to conclude at the end of the semester. However, if students do not finish a course the previous semester, they are enrolled in a new course the following semester that represents the same course they previously were in. In the new course, the module requirements would dictate that students must restart the content in each module since it is a new course shell. This made us go back to the drawing board.


What worked? We came up with two strategies that fixed our rolling enrollment dilemma. First, we incorporated differentiated due dates. In their courses, instructors would be able to set unique due dates on assignments, as needed, to ensure that students are following the program and progressing through the assignments in order. As students enroll in the course throughout the semester, they could use the "Add" button on the "Assign To" box.


The second component? Utilize the export and import function of the grade book. This ensures students' grades are up to date in the current grade book to show the current level of mastery.


Assignments - Many Do Not Count Towards Grade


As I worked with instructors to enter competencies as assignments, instructors gave feedback that there were too many assignments to manage -- twenty assignments for the required twenty shampoos to mark as complete. Due to this feedback, we decided to use rubrics. We created an assignment group that counted as 0% of the students’ grades to ensure the competencies would not affect their final grade and would allow for quick data collection. 


The entire cosmetology program has over 400 competencies for a student to complete. For each section of competencies, we created a rubric and added criteria for the required tasks. We used the total number of tasks they were required to complete as the number of points. As the student completes each task, the instructor can leave a comment with the date and number of tasks completed that day. An example rubric is below.


One piece of information we found to be important was to explain to students this process since the grade would “count up” as they completed the competencies in the course.




If you are a Career and Technical Education educator using Canvas, what successes have you experienced? What challenges has your organization faced and what solutions were implemented? 


If you still have questions about using Canvas in a vocational setting, check out some of Candice Lim's blog posts:

Tracking Behavior


Keeping track of student behavior can be a challenging task for most teachers.  It needs to be done with fidelity and privacy. It should be recorded as it happens in order to be truly accurate.  It must be done daily, and continue on a consistent basis, regardless of any events which interrupt the regular course of events of the school day.  


As a Principal Adoption Consultant at Instructure, I have experienced several occasions where educators were looking for a way to keep track of behavior within Canvas, especially at the elementary level.  A solution that I devised for them is to create custom Outcomes in Canvas that you can simply swipe to track using the MagicMarker app on an *iPad.  


Magic Marker Logo




Imagine walking around your classroom with just an iPad in your hands, observing as students are interacting in their small groups.  Susie just demonstrated an understanding of a new math standard by using manipulatives? Just swipe up on that standard to give her credit for perservering.  Tommy just got out of his seat and ran to the pencil sharpener, tripping over Melandra on his way. Swipe down for not staying seated. Tory just voluntarily helped another student who didn’t understand how to make equivalent fractions with sets of colored blocks.  Swipe up and smile because you know his mom is going to be thrilled at this show of kindness!


Steps in Canvas

  1. Create a custom outcome group in your Canvas course.
    • Select the outcomes tab in course navigation.
    • Click the +Outcome button.
    • Click the +Group button.
    • Name your new group appropriately, like “Behavior.”
    • Optional: Add details.
    • Save
  2. Create custom behavior outcomes in your Canvas course.  Use this Guide: How do I create an Outcome for a Course?
    • Select the Outcomes tab in the course navigation.
    • Click the +Outcome button.
    • Input a name for this outcome.
    • Optional: Add a friendly name and details.
    • Edit Criterion ratings as necessary by clicking on the pencil icon for each.  
    • Choose a Calculation Method.  Calculation Method information is also found in the Guide: How do I create an Outcome for a Course?

Steps in MagicMarker

  1. Download the ios MagicMarker app from the App Store and install it on an iPad.
  2. Sign in as a teacher on the app.
  3. Choose your course, add students and outcomes.

screen shot from Magic Marker


    • Name your outcomes table “Behavior Outcomes.”
    • Create a table for each small group in your class. 

    4. Assess your students’ behaviors.

screen shot from Magic Marker
    5. Tap on a student to view analytics, or tap on the send icon to email yourself a report of outcome results. 
        You can also view your behavior outcomes within the Learning Mastery Gradebook.

    6. Share results with students and parents.



  • Note: The MagicMarker app does not work on iPhones.




You can view Community Guides to learn more about the MagicMarker app, which are linked below. 


For Community Guides about Outcomes, use these links below.


In my role as a Principal Consultant at Instructure, I work closely with our customers during their transition to Canvas. Using our Canvas Success Model, I help schools connect their vision for teaching and learning to Canvas, and use that vision to create effective plans for communicating, training, and engaging teachers and students. 


As I work with schools on their communication plans, one question is often asked, "Do you have any pre-made communication templates we can use or tweak?" With the help of our very talented marketing team (Shash Cates and Emily Tanner), now I can answer, “YES! We do! You can edit them too!”.


These Canvas communication printables include one-pagers, posters, flyers, student cards, and engaging stickers. Schools have the option of using our pre-made printables or edit the messaging to fit their unique situation and timing. 


To access both the higher education and k12 printables, please view the communication plan phase of the Canvas Success Model. In addition, you can also visit this Google Drive folder link. If you have questions, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager. 


There are many important pieces to consider when migrating to a new LMS or adopting an institution-wide LMS for the first time.  An important step in the process is determining how to introduce the platform to students and what resources they will need to learn how to use the platform. 


Our popular “Be the Hero” and “Growing with Canvas” courses were created as a free resource to help train new admins and instructors. Since their release, we’ve had an increasing interest in a similar resource for students. The Training team is excited to now introduce you to our newest course, Passport to Canvas, which focuses on the student perspective. 


About the Course: 

Passport to Canvas consists of nine modules of content that takes your students through everything they need to know about using Canvas as a student. Participants are taken on a tour around the globe stopping at each of our Instructure offices to learn another facet of the Canvas platform and some fun facts about each of our Instructure offices. This course has been designed for middle school through higher education students. 


Where You Can Find This Course:

You can find this course in the Canvas Commons at this link: Passport to Canvas (pro tip - make sure you're logged in to Canvas!) it is offered under an Attribution-Non-Commerical-ShareAlike license. That means you’re free to share the course, as well as to adapt it to meet the needs of your institution.


If you’ve never used a resource in the Canvas Commons before, all you need is an empty course in your Canvas instance in which to copy the Passport to Canvas course. Once Passport to Canvas is in your instance, you’re free to edit and use the course as you wish. Check out this guide - How do I use Commons? - if you need more help.


It is also available in the Canvas Network. More information about this is in the student section below. 


If you are a Canvas Admin: 

This course will give your students a nice intro to the platform. Check out the Information Module for content that is geared towards helping you get the course set up for your institution. It can also be a great way for you to learn more about the student experience side of Canvas. 


The course is configured to work with Badgr and award badges for completion of each module. Instructions are in the course for setting up the integration, using the images, and awarding the badges.


If you are a Canvas Teacher: 

This course is designed to help your students learn how to navigate the Canvas environment. This free resource will help them to learn more about the various elements of Canvas from the student perspective. This is also a great way for teachers to learn about the student experience in Canvas. If the course is not available to teachers through your institution, but you’d like to participate you can enroll in the course through the Canvas Network. 


If you are a Canvas Student: 

This course is for you to learn how to navigate the Canvas platform. If your institution has not enrolled you in the course and you’d like to participate you can enroll in the course through the Canvas Network. Check out this guide to learn more about enrolling in a course through the Canvas Network


Resource Document: 

This resource document offers several quick links that will be helpful when learning more about Passport to Canvas. 


New Course Orientation: 

Check out the recording of our Canvas LIVE session held on October 23rd, 2019 to introduce the course. 



We will post all updates to the course below, as they are made. Subscribe to this post to stay up to date!


Update Date: October 24th, 2019
Course ItemMore Detail ReasonAction Needed
3.3 | Viewing your Course StreamGif was not looping properly.The video was saved incorrectly.Download the course, then download the video and add it to your live course with participants OR download the updates to the course from Commons. 
3.3 | Viewing your Course StreamA comma was missing after the word stream. Punctuation was not included. Add a comma after the word stream: To see the Course Activity stream, click the View Course Activity Stream button.
8.1 | Peer Interactions | ItineraryChange the word "a" to read "are".Word was spelled incorrectly. In the bulleted list change the text to read: View Groups that you are a member of
9.8 | Replying to a DiscussionRemove the additional space between About and Discussion. Extra space was added between two words. 

Remove the extra space in the page title: About Discussion in the Student App


Please comment below with how your institution is planning to implement this course. We’d love to hear from you!

Bobby Pedersen

Learn Bravely

Posted by Bobby Pedersen Champion Oct 9, 2019

On my way to work I go past several schools and notice the different School Visions emblazoned on flags and gateways. It seems that over the past decades the trend has been to display school visions, mission statements and values for all to see. Of course much time and wisdom has gone into creating these statements that help create a school culture. Some are catchy, some very deep, some way too long. But one has stood out for me lately and really made me ponder about the impact it has on me - just a passerby. 


‘Learn bravely’


So simple. Effective. Challenging. Encouraging. 


If I was a struggling student at that school I would find those words comforting as well as encouraging.

If I was a capable student I would find those words provoking enough to perhaps push myself a little harder. 

If I was a teacher at that school I would feel supported enough to try new things and dig a little deeper to improve my knowledge and skills.

If I was a leader in that school I’d be excited about the potential in those two simple words. The potential to support learners for now and their futures.

If I was a parent in that school I’d be comforted to know that learning bravely was part of my child’s everyday experience. And I’d try to model that myself when they came home from school. 


Learning how to use a tool like Canvas can be scary. It can challenge the bravest among us. It can cause us to try to build walls to hide behind, walls that say ‘too hard’, ‘I don’t understand’, ‘I feel stupid’, ‘I can’t’. 


Perhaps we need to gently encourage each other, and ourselves, to learn bravely

A few weeks ago, I created this resource document while Nirisha Garimella and I were on site.  It is a basic "roll out" training document that you can share with your faculty/colleagues as they dive into Canvas usage!  If you're ever in a training with me, I will always highlight how much I love Canvas as an Instructor, specifically because it saved me time and helped my students access our course content on their timing!  I know it will do the same for you!  Please feel free to take this and use it, share it, adapt it, etc!


GETTING STARTED - First 3 Takeaways

Step 1: Customize Course Navigation

Your students only need a few Navigation options.  Customize your Course Navigation to limit student access without limiting your ability to build and organize your content.  You are the course manager and you know your students better than anyone so do what works best for your students.


  • Trainer Tip: Keep it Simple!  

      • We suggest that you start with Home, Announcements, Modules, and Grades


  • Canvas Guides to get started:

Step 2: Get to Know Modules

Think of Modules as your student facing organizational structure or your course’s Central Nervous System.  How do you want to organize your content for your students?  What do you want your students to see? You can follow this thought process as you start to build your modules:

  1. Do I need a column in my Gradebook?  
    1. No?  Create a Content Page.
    2. Yes?  Do I need my students to talk to each other or see each other’s work? Create a Discussion (Graded or Ungraded)
    3. Yes?  Do I need my students to submit an artifact?  Do I want to give detailed feedback? Create an Assignment.
    4. Yes? Do I need to assess my students’ learning and/or have Canvas grade their submission?  Create a Quiz.

Step 3: Learn the Rich Content Editor

Any time you want to create content in Canvas you will find a Rich Content Editor (RCE).  You will find a RCE as you build Content Pages, Assignment directions, Quiz directions and questions, Discussion questions, and Announcements.  Your students will have RCEs when they submit assignments with a Textbox, Short Answer Quiz Responses, submit responses to Discussion groups, etc.


Stephenie Jordan

Infographic Bonanza

Posted by Stephenie Jordan Aug 14, 2019

For those of you who would like a one-stop-shop for the infographics, I've included the blog posts that house links and interactive pdf's for you to use. Enjoy! 


Triumvirate Tips:

Beginner Tips
Intermediate Tips

Advanced Tips

Essentials Series:

Beginner Essentials

Intermediate Essentials

Advanced Essentials


Start-Up and Clean-Up Series:

What You Need to Know About Blueprinting

Canvas Course Massive Checklist

Canvas Student Set-Up

End-of-Year Canvas Clean-Up

Cool Things Series:

Cool Things You Can Do With Canvas



Thanks to everyone who was able to join us during the Canvas Live event.  Linked here is the recording from the session attached is the chat transcript from the session.  We wanted to move the discussion, connections and conversations to the Engagement Space where you can start your own discussions, continue to post to this thread and to the video as well. 


We hope you all enjoyed hearing what Katy ISD has done as much as we have.  

Here is a link to the fabulous presentation by Stephenie Jordan


For more resources around our community on Gamification here are some very handy links: 



My good friend and former colleague Shara Johnson invited me to present on behalf of Instructure at the Third Annual Nebraska Users Conference, July 26, 2019. Resources, links, and take aways from my presentations are housed below! If you have any questions, please reply to my post here. Would love to connect with you!


Outcomes and Rubrics

Presentation Slides

Canvas Guide: What are Outcomes? 

Canvas Guide: How do I align an outcome to an assessment in New Quizzes? 

Canvas Guide: How do I find an existing outcome to add to a course? 

Canvas Guide: How do I use the Learning Mastery Gradebook to view outcome results in a course? 

Canvas Guide: What are Rubrics? 

Canvas Guide: How do I manage rubrics in an account? 

Canvas Guide: How do I manage rubrics in a course? 

Canvas Guide: How do I align an outcome with a rubric in a course? 





Presentation Slides

Canvas Guide: Canvas Release: MasteryPaths 

Canvas Guide: How do I add requirements to a module? 

Community Blog Post: So, What's a Module Anyway? by Erin Keefe

Community Blog Post: Mad About Modules by Emily Craddock

Community Blog Post: Hacking MasteryPaths by Kona Jones

Community Blog Post: Taking the Mystery Out of MasteryPaths by Kona Jones

Community Blog Post: Mastery Paths Design Sample 1 by Kym Schutz

Commons Resource: Implementing MP Practice Module

Commons Resource: MasteryPaths Course Samples

Commons Resource: PandaPaths

I wanted to take some to share some of the success that we have had with Canvas Adoption Consulting in Wyoming. In dealing with the 10th largest state (in area) and the smallest population, there are some unique challenges in trying to foster collaboration amongst the state’s teachers.


After brainstorming with the Wyoming Department of Education, we decided that a statewide newsletter highlighting Canvas would be a worthwhile communication. The WDE publishes each newsletter after we collaborate on creating the content. Our first newsletter in January 2019, was sent out to district leaders via a curated email list. We encouraged these leaders to forward the newsletter to their staff, and have their staff sign up to receive the monthly email. We started with started with a list of over 1,200 subscribers, and we have had over 100 voluntary additions to the circulation list which is seeing open rates between 38% and 44%!



As we started creating the newsletter, we settled on the following items to be included:

  • Adoption Consulting Update: I give a travel update of my site visits to the various schools and districts. At the top of this section is an image of the Google Map that I curate after each visit, highlighting every client visit I have made, and travel routes for my longer Roadshows.
  • Updates and news of events that occurring throughout the state. I have used this space to help publicize virtual meetings I am holding monthly on a variety of topics.
  • Canvas Best Practices: In this section, we do a quick walkthrough tutorial of a topic with Canvas screenshots.
  • And finally we do a District Spotlight, highlighting positive uses of Canvas that I have seen in traveling the state. Topics for these highlights have included:
    • How K-2 teachers are using Canvas
    • How districts are using Canvas for internal PD for teachers to earn continuing credits, and
    • How districts are using Canvas Outcomes with teacher defined proficiency scales



Our initial motivation for creating the newsletter was to introduce my work around the state, and help to drive adoption of Canvas. Immediately after the delivery of the first newsletter, I had multiple districts contact me about coming out to work with their teachers! Since then, the subscription list has steadily grown. The newsletter has proven to be the most successful of our initiatives aimed increasing Canvas usage throughout Wyoming.


As I continue to travel through Wyoming, I have an automatic connection with many teachers who have read the newsletter--”so you’re the one from the map!” To be honest, I was not expecting the map to be the most memorable piece, but as a strong visual it encourages subscribers to read stories about my trips! This helps to lighten the mood so teachers feel an immediate connection during a training that may not have initially been their idea of fun.


I believe the success of the publication started with the large targeted list, many of whom forward the newsletter to staff members who then voluntarily add themselves to the circulation list. We are seeing continued growth in our subscriber base now that I am able to share more about the local successes individual school districts are having with Canvas throughout Wyoming. I want to leave you with our February 2019 Newsletter, so you can see how our publication is formatted.


Finally, I want to personally thank Laurel Ballard, Robin Grandpre, Alisa Cook, Thom Gabrukiewicz, and Lori Thilmany, all of the Wyoming Department of Education, for sharing their internal metrics as well as their expertise in creating such a well-read publication!