David Stokowski

Generating Collaborative Opportunities Using a Canvas Newsletter

Blog Post created by David Stokowski Employee on Jul 10, 2019

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!