As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, announcements were made that school buildings would be closed and that teaching and learning would be done remotely from the homes of teachers and students through online platforms. In a perfect world, educators would be provided professional development and time to familiarize themselves with the tech tools to be used in delivering instruction. Students would also be taught how to access curriculum and submit course work in those same platforms. But, we're not living in a perfect world. Not even close. And, let's face it, we never will be.
While administrators, coaches, and facilitators rushed to get teachers trained on Canvas and instructional designers worked to create templates and blueprint courses, we at Instructure got to work updating features that help our new users to access in-product training and scaffold their learning of Canvas in order to ensure a higher level of success in using the platform. We've known that these in-product training and supports have been needed and that they will continue to be valuable to our users, but this unprecedented time pushed these initiatives to the top of the priority list.
In an effort to better understand our users' needs, we analyzed support data and feedback from our CSMs to determine specific areas that could use additional support. Given this information, we've updated the help menu to make it easier for users to find needed links. We've also created tour points that orient users to the global navigation. And, for instructors new to Canvas, we've updated our New User Tutorial.
The New User Tutorial is available to all instructors and provides a tutorial tray for each of the index pages found in the course navigation. Information about this feature can be found in How do I use the Canvas course setup tutorial as an instructor? When enabled, a tray opens that includes a detailed description of what the feature is, a call to action for the teacher, and relevant links to our guides and help articles to help the new user get started.
Administrators can enable this feature at the account level by turning on the New User Tutorial feature option. Teachers can collapse the trays or even dismiss the tutorial once they feel confident in their use of Canvas. If, at a later time, a teacher would like to turn it back on, they can reenable it from their user setting under feature options as long as it is still enabled at the account level.
At Instructure, we are proud to support teachers who are on the front lines in education during this pandemic. We applaud educators around the globe for the outstanding work being done to keep students learning and to stay connected during these difficult and unsure times. Thank you!
I am a passionate educator and life-long learner. My work in product management provides the opportunity and platform to share that passion with others. I am also an adjunct professor and former K12 educator and district administrator.