On the first day of Canvasmas, the Canvas Community gave to me: an Awesome Canvas Community...
I wanted to write a blog post about how awesome this community is, but how does one put it into words? I looked to the season for inspiration. Holidays are a time to put aside normal activities and rest, reflect, recreate, practice tradition, and in general come together as people. In that spirit, I sought someone else to commune with in this sharing, as it did not feel appropriate to write about community in isolation. The holiday is a perfect time to take a moment to observe connections with community both with Canvas and beyond.
LAURA: Purr-fect indeed! I am very glad to join in on Adam's post like this. And, yes, I believe everything is connected (“connected learning” is the best label for my educational philosophy), so I made a cat for that: Holiday Cat makes connections.
For those who don’t know, the main reason we have a Canvas Community is because we care a lot about you and your success and we know you care a lot about what you do with our software and your success is important to you and many others around you. To be successful you will need a diverse and ever-present support system. Community provides a very special piece of that system where the various roles we all play mean less and our connections and sharing with one another mean more. However, a community is not software. It is people. It is tradition.
LAURA: Diversity: We likes it!
Tradition means literally handing down or handing over. English “tradition” is from Latin traditio, which comes from the Latin verb tradere, or trans-dare, to give across. You can give things, person to person, across time and across space. That is tradition. Trans-giving.
I am not sure if community is tradition or tradition is community, but in both contexts connecting and sharing are inherent goods. They make the whole stronger through a virtuous cycle of giving to get. Every day I see people taking time to go to a website and help quasi-strangers with a question, concern, or idea. Every day I see people composing incredible thoughts and sharing incredible content with a website, with never a thought for compensation or recompense. And because of this giving, every day I see people getting questions answered by their peers, ideas evolving into impactful change, and blogs inspiring reflection and creativity.
LAURA: Here I'd like to to invoke the Roman god Janus, who gives his name to the month of January. He looks both backwards and forwards at the same time: reflecting on the past and looking for change in the future to come. So, think about Janus when the New Year arrives on the first of January, and take some time to look both backward and forward. Here is the god as shown on a Roman coin, circa 100 BCE.
Every day I see employees, customers, students, parents all working together to solve problems and make each other’s lives better. Some of these connections evolve over time into relationships and those relationships create bonds of connection. This connective tissue is what really supports this special tradition of community we have together.
LAURA: And the words themselves tell us that it makes sense to connect over the Internet, as we are doing right now. The English verb “to connect” is from Latin (con-nectere, to bind together), while net is an English word (originally meaning a web, as in spiderweb) — and both words, Latin and English, connect and net, derive from the same ancient Indo-European root word: *ned, to knot, to bind, to tie together.
As a fresh college graduate looking for work and finding it as a new Canvas admin, this community provided the support I needed to be a force for good and change in my world. Over time I found the more I gave, the more I got in return, and now monitoring and ensuring the health of this community is a passion I will always carry so that the next admin, student, instructor, parent, partner, developer, employee, or curious person will find what they need here to be successful.
LAURA: I have a holiday cat for curiosity too! Christmas Cat is very curious.
In the tradition of holidays I want to tell each and every one of you how grateful I am for what you do here. You have changed the lives of people like me. Also in the tradition of holidays, let us remember to do plenty of resting, recreating, and reflecting with our friends and families. I count you all as both friends and family!
LAURA: With many thanks from me also, hoping good things for all of us in this season of joy! And thanks also to Adam for inviting me to weave in some words as part of his Canvasmas post. 🙂