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Big Things Ahead for Canvas Catalog

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2020 taught us a myriad of things in the landscape of education technology. It accelerated a transition we’ve seen coming for a long time with the rapid rise of individuals learning in a remote environment. Furthermore, we’ve witnessed a rise in individuals participating in the pursuit of non-traditional learning - i.e. pursuing certifications, alternative credentials, microcredentials, and other emerging trends that will advance them in their career trajectories. 

A byproduct of the pandemic was a dynamic shift in the workforce that exposed a widening skills gap resulting in companies across the globe competing for unavailable talent in the market. The need for upskilling learners internationally to keep up with the evolving demand of technical and emergent skills is at an all time high to close the gaps. Institutions are confronted with how to cope with the loss of students on campus and more individuals deferring their pursuit of an Associates, Bachelors, or other post-secondary degrees and entering the workforce through apprenticeships or any means necessary. We at Instructure have been actively listening to these needs and understand we have the potential to provide solutions in a meaningful capacity. 


Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Enter Canvas Catalog. 

Many of you may be familiar with Canvas Catalog as a solution we’ve been offering since 2014 as a part of the Instructure family of products. Catalog is designed to create a registration portal for institutions offering courses to their non-matriculated students, faculty, or other learners for continuing education, alumni engagement, business leadership, or a plethora of other possibilities. We have a healthy community of institutions across the globe using Catalog in creative and engaging ways. We want to support them in their endeavours and extend the functionality and capabilities Catalog provides to work in conjunction with Canvas to help engage learners in their pursuit of lifelong learning. 

We’ve heard from our users loud and clear about some shortcomings they’d love to see addressed in the product that have been neglected. After extensive research, institutional business reviews, user interviews across the globe, buy-in and excitement from our Executive Leadership team, we’ve come to the conclusion that Catalog is a critical part of our path forward as an organization to service the needs of online programs. 

What you can expect to see from Canvas Catalog: 


Short term: 

Email Customization

Shopping cart!

Bulk purchase support! 

Mid term: 

Analytics improvements

Integrations with Badgr, Salesforce, Stripe, etc. 

Improved search and filtering capabilities

Certificate / badge improvements 

Long term: 

Course recommendations


Where did this list of improvements come from? From you. Our users across the globe. In early May we sent out a survey to each of our institutions and heard back from 44 of you on a prioritized list of features that you’d like to see built into the product, and we intend to deliver on as many of those over the next 12–15 months as possible. The above is not an exhaustive list, but is top of mind for our users globally. 

My colleague, Zsofi Goreczky, will be leading the charge in the development and prioritisation of this work. Expect to hear much more from her in the future as we validate use cases, enter the design and development processes, and evaluate our progress. Zsofi will be sharing more specific plans in the near future as we consolidate feedback.

Until then, we’d love to hear from you about how you think Catalog will improve your institution's abilities to cater to a new audience of students across the globe! Comment below. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

This update is amazing!!!!! @soberoi Is there a timeline for any of these?? We have been using Catalog since 2017 with a wide audience internal to the university and beyond so these improvements are great to finally see. Will you be asking for more feedback anytime soon? Also, were there feature requests related to any of these items in this roadmap? Thanks again!!!


Hi @jsowalsk! Happy to hear of your excitement associated with the forthcoming updates.  We'll be posting about more specific timelines in the coming months as we hone in on some delivery dates. I will say that email customization is coming this month (June 2021) 🙂 Speaking with yourself about UMD's needs + over 30 institution interviews + the survey helped inform the proposed priorities. 

We will definitely be asking for continued feedback as we progress with other items in the short and mid term. @zsgoreczky will lead the charge on continuing to garner additional feedback as we discover and design these features. We looked at feature requests for most of the items on this roadmap and they will inform our approach and solutions moving forward - we'll be sure to link back to those!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Wonderful! I look forward to seeing the release notes! @soberoi 


As an early adopter of Canvas Catalog we have always seen the potential for what Canvas Catalog could deliver for our non credit use cases at Indiana University.  After years of pushing Instructure to make a greater investment into Canvas Catalog and what it can do I am excited to see this day finally here.  Even more so now we need robust and full featured ways to deliver non credit courses to a wide range of non traditional students.  I can say that I have  talked directly with @soberoi about Canvas Catalog and I can tell he fully understands where the service is lacking and what needs to be done to allow all of us to be able to deliver a much smother and more robust experience for our users.

In particular we use Canvas for not only external training, but also internal training, so things like customizable emails where we can give detailed instructions around course prep and expectations are highly critical.  Bulk purchases of course enrollments by business entities will increase revenue and simplify the purchasing process for fiscal officers.  I am excited to see what else is in store for the short and long term growth of Catalog, but this post has me excited to see what's next!

Learner II

I'm excited to hear about the plans to improve Catalog. Will we see any behind the scenes updates to make things like user custom data management more robust (it's not updateable info right now and only check boxes are supported)?

Thanks for the hard work!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Will we have the opportunity to test out these features in beta before they move to production? I know normally things get just pushed to production. @soberoi 


Hey @jsowalsk We always release every change, even the tiniest one, to Beta first and only a 1-2 weeks later to Production. We will also have release notes for each new feature. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Great, thank you @zsgoreczky.

Explorer III

@soberoi, thanks for sharing this with the community. 

Those of us who have been using Catalog for a few years have seen fits and starts in the development efforts directed towards Catalog and some may have lost confidence as to whether we would ever see the needed functionality that has been requested. What you have shared is encouraging and we look forward to seeing more engagement with the community and updates in the product.



Surveyor II

Hello all - Excited to join this group. We have a large faculty PD/microcredential/training center (CTE) and are excited to launch catalog to better organize our offerings. Looking forward to the August 6th meeting, meeting you all, and receiving updates!  Be well, Lynn Burks (Dean, Faculty and Center For Teaching Excellence/DeVry University).  

Surveyor II

Thank you! @soberoi & @zsgoreczky  This is very timely! Some of these features will expand catalog to be much closer to what we need (we're stretching it pretty thin right now).

We are also excited to see the timeline/release notes. Any rough estimates that you can give for the rest of these features would be very welcome! (The cart, more robust analytics, integration with Salesforce & Badgr ***This is HUGE for us!!!***) are crucial to us being able to use Catalog. It would be great for us to be able to report to our leadership that these things are coming with a little more clarity than, Soon 🙂

I'm not asking for hard and fast deadlines.. Just an idea of when we can expect to see some movement on these. We weren't even sure about Instructure's long-term commitment to Catalog so this is a very welcome post indeed!!! Thanks so much to @jsowalsk for reposting for visibility! We are also interested in beta testing these features and providing feedback. Especially the integrations as we are Salesforce and Badgr Pro customers (other cornerstones of our project). 

Just a little bit about us. We are an initiative by a local community college, but we have a separate canvas instance than our for-credit side of the house and are delivering self-paced workforce training to learners across our state through employers, through catalog to the general public, and through organizational stake holders.  

Thank you!