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Partner Day Keynote: Amazon Alexa & Canvas

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This session is part of the Canvas Partner Days, a recurring event (every other month) to highlight our awesome Canvas Partners (plus cool contests and swag giveaways)!


Canvas has created a skill for Amazon Alexa to make it easy for students, teachers, advisors, and parents to ask questions, perform quick tasks and get information from Canvas on their Alexa-enabled devices. Alexa is one example of Canvas's support of an open, edu ecosystem. Join Jared Stein, VP of Canvas Higher Education Product and Strategy at Instructure for this Partner Day keynote session to learn more about the Amazon Alexa and Canvas integration and how it ties in to Canvas's larger strategy for openness.


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Community Participant

I hope this means that the Alexa Skill is expanding. It is cool so far, but it is kind of basic.

Community Champion

Regarding the question I asked during the session, about the demographics of Echo owners and users of Alexa in general, Jared was right that Amazon seems to be pretty tight-lipped. But I Googled, and I did find a couple of sources with interesting data: 

Amazon Echo is officially mainstream - Slice Intelligence 

Study: Shopping with Alexa - JWT Intelligence 

Seems to bolster my anecdotal sense that the 40+ crowd is way more excited about Echo devices than the younger demographics (at least as of a year ago). So... more teacher options in the skill? Smiley Happy

Community Champion

As the session ended, Holly Owens‌ also asked a really good question:

"How do analytics work with this type of use does Canvas record what types of questions are asked and generate data?"

Here was Jared Stein‌'s response:

Canvas should treat Alexa-based interactions the same way that it treats browser-based interactions in terms of log data, but I'm not 100% sure how Alexa-based interactions are treated as activity elsewhere. 

It appears that Alexa-based interactions do not count toward "last login" within a course -- but I may need to follow-up on that.
Inline image 2
Otherwise, you can see the paper trail directly if you hit a user's profile with admin privileges; here's how the Alexa interactions that I demo'ed this morning appear there:
Inline image 1
Now that doesn't list the device used, but we do store that information and make it available via the API -- and I believe it'd be available through the Canvas Data service as well. You'd just look for those with "app_name : Canvas Alexa".
Hope that helps!

Smiley Happy

Community Participant

Thanks for the great info! Smiley Happy I really enjoyed this session.


Community Member

The images don't appear.

Community Contributor

@JaredStein, I'm sorry I missed this webinar yesterday.

Will the recording me posted? I'd love to hear more about this.

Community Member

I would also love an opportunity to see the presentation.  The best laid plans for the day do not always work out in a school.

Community Champion

Hi everyone! For those of you who missed this session, you can watch the recording here: