Why We Community: Bridging The Distance and Empowering Every User


This year at Instructurecon, the Community team gave an update on the Canvas Community. We wanted to tell people how much the community has grown and the main reasons people come to the community in the first place. We also wanted to convey why community as a concept is important to Instructure and also what goes on behind the scenes on a day-to-day basis.

The Canvas Community now gets over 3 million page views in a given month. To put that in perspective, that is 1.5x more than many corporate websites receive overall and about 3x what it was four years ago. Over 300k people have now created accounts with 6.5k more new accounts each month. About 20k users are active in a given month - voting, commenting, asking questions, linking, liking, etc. Most people come to the community looking for the answer to just one question, but by any measure a very high percentage of them become repeat visitors.

Manager of Community, Renee Carney talked about the process in which Canvas users come to the community to suggest ways to make Canvas better. Users then stay involved in a conversation back and forth with Instructure's Product team as the original idea is broken down and defined in terms of project requirements and then is built into Canvas.

Manager of Documentation, Erin Hallmark described the intricate and massive effort that goes on behind the scenes to keep all documentation for multiple products up to date with release cycles ranging from one week to three weeks depending on the product. They also provide change management documentation (aka release notes) for up to 12 different release cycles.

Overall there is a huge effort that goes into keeping everybody informed about how Canvas and its related suite of tools work and how they change. Thirteen full time employees and eleven part time contractors work to towards this goal. This is in addition to the thousands of Canvas admins and educators who participate in order to keep themselves informed, pass along information to their peers and help each other. As has always been the case, the purpose of the Canvas Community is to provide a way for people interested in Canvas to find the information they need and to connect with each other.

If you have questions about any of this or comments, as always, please share!

Slide Deck