I feel like I am late to the party for these 2018 Reflections blogs my friends are posting. Although, when I think about it, it is still January and the year has just started, so maybe I'm just in the nick-of-time! It may just be the sense of urgency I chronically feel, because I work four jobs and there never seems to be enough time. Or, perhaps, it is just because I have never been particularly good at all this self-reflection introspection stuff. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow ain't here and we can't count on it even happening anyways.
And yet, my past and my present include this Community. If I have a future beyond this moment, it will likely also include this Community.
What a powerful, yet still comforting and familiar, thing this Community is. Locally, I have started referring to the Community Team, and a great many Community members as my "Panda Friends." Like so many friends, they are all different sizes, shapes, and configurations of individuals; and yet still as all friends should be - helpful when I need help and accepting of the help I give. Grateful to both receive and offer help! And like any good Community, a source for continuous learning and growing. It is the helping and the learning that keeps me in here, and I usually find it totally impossible to separate the helping from the learning regardless of which direction they are flowing. The learning potential in here is immense, even if we don't consider all the formal resources provided in here like guides, and videos, and CanvasLive, and all that jazz! The best learning is happening between the members of this Community! I ask a question, I learn. and when I answer a question, I still learn because it makes me reflect on something, explore something, revisit something, test something that I might not have thought about in a long while. Reading the questions and answers of others in postings I am not even participating in have been great learning experiences. It always amazes me that 14 different answers to the same question can all be the correct answers, or include an element of correctness. Learning about thousands of different perspectives on what Canvas is or what it should be, how Canvas is used and could be used, how Canvas works or should work.
In this Community we have such a diverse collection of Canvas users - from teaching every level of education, in countries and cultures spanning the globe and to every level of experience in using Canvas. I think that perhaps a few of you might be very surprised to learn (there's that sitinkin' "L" word again - sheesh), that I sometimes learn the most while trying to help the least experienced users - they know what they want to do, just not how to do it in Canvas; and so many of the things they want to do are amazing!
It may also surprise at least some of you that I also learn a great deal from our most dissatisfied Canvas users. Folks who really need Canvas to do something it can't, and even from those who want Canvas to do something it shouldn't. Every time I find a way to articulate an answer for those folks, I learn something - usually about myself, and my role in a Community such as this.
So for me, the Community is about learning, and learning while helping and being helped. For me, 2018 represented a lot of that!
Thank you every one the 382,000+ members of this Community. Thank you for a great year, filled with helping and learning! That is my crowning achievement for 2018 - growing with this community!
And here I am at the end of this blog, actually in the future of where I was at when I started this blog. So those moments did exist and are now gone. perhaps there will be more.
I am a retired Canvas Admin, an adjunct online professor with more than 20 years experience in five different LMSs, a Grandfather, a great Grandfather, and an old fool. You will never know which of those personas you are dealing with unless you pay very close attention.