June 2023 Prioritized Themes

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We are excited to share the Prioritized Themes that our Product and Engineering team has committed to work on!

Without further ado, here are the themes that we’ve committed to delivering on within the next 6 months:

  • Improved rubric creation and usability
    • Rubrics are a powerful assessment tool that is used by many of our users. The UI/UX improvements to rubrics come up frequently on customer calls and this was the top-voted theme! 
  • Improve quiz analysis through robust reporting
    • Quiz reports are key components that help our users understand outcomes and student performance. Reporting should be responsive, easy to manipulate, downloadable, and include the data necessary to help teachers and administrators make sound decisions on effectiveness and mastery. We were not surprised to see this as a top-voted theme, as we have heard from many customers that this level of reporting is essential in their day to day.
  • Improve the user experience with discussions to provide for more meaningful discourse among course participants
    • Improving the user experience with discussions continues to be one of the top requests among our users as well as a major UX/UI pain point. In addition to being ranked within the top 3 themes in this round of voting, internal team members report that questions about the redesign and missing functionality that requires users to partner with 3rd party vendors are topics on nearly every client call with users in Higher Education and regions outside of North America. We have the opportunity to improve the UX/UI and ensure that meaningful discussions can be had.
  • Enable differentiated learning at scale
    • Educators want a simple way to allocate content to specific learners or groups of learners so that they can provide content that’s relative to their personal learning journey. We continue to hear from our users that they want to provide high quality, personalized experiences, but are pressed for time and lack the flexibility needed to effectively differentiate.

How were Prioritized Themes selected?

As a reminder, between April 3 and April 28, 1,019 Community members voted on 12 themes. Based on these votes, the Instructure team took the past few weeks to thoughtfully review and research the themes, work together to understand the complexity and capacity, as well as the alignment with our overall vision and strategy. We also took into consideration which themes would be feasible for our team to take on based on resourcing. Based on these factors, we have selected 4 themes. 

What does it mean for a theme to be prioritized?

This means that our team is committed to delivering on the value of the theme over the next 6 months. It is important to note that we will not address every idea tagged to the themes. As we work through the discovery, definition and delivery of these themes, our team will use the Prioritized Theme discussion area to pose questions to the Community, provide updates on progress, and involve you in the process. 

What happens to the themes that aren’t selected?

Although we aren’t about to tackle all of your fantastic ideas, the themes that weren’t selected will get a chance to be voted on again in our next voting cycle in late 2023 (Oct - Dec timeframe).

We know that transparency into our decision-making is incredibly important to the Community. For each theme that was not prioritized, we will provide the context within the theme about why it was not selected.

Does this mean that we will only work on the Prioritized Themes?

No! Our new process has enabled our teams to have even greater insights into the challenges and areas that are important to Community members. Throughout the year, you will see our team make progress on individual ideas or aspects of various themes. We will continue to call these out in our release notes as we make progress. 

Is anything going to change about this process moving forward?

Thank you to all that provided feedback via the feedback form! We have read each response and appreciate your feedback!

A couple of things will be updated moving forward:

  • Bite-sized themes: a shared sentiment from the Community and from our team is that some themes were too broad, this will change moving forward. Our team is going to be intentional on ensuring that themes are more “bite-sized” to ensure that they 1) are easily understood and 2) are themes that we could deliver on holistically in a 6-month timeframe if prioritized. 
  • Smaller issues not being addressed: with our new review process, there is a commitment from our team to review every idea submitted from the Community. This enables our teams to have greater insights and more easily incorporate the “small” issues organically into our development process. We will continue to call these out in release notes and you will be able to see all ideas “In Development” or “Completed”.

Our team will continue to look at ways and foster opportunities for collaboration and partnership between Community members. 

Community Participant

@TaraGoldman Do you have any more information on theme discussion forums?

"Once prioritized themes are selected, we will convert those themes into a discussion forum. The forum will allow for threaded discussion around all topics and referenced ideas of that theme. The Product team will also be asking questions within the thread and connecting with select representative community members for discovery validation as needed. We'll be taking into account different qualitative and quantitative data along the way and communicating our assumptions and solutions within the theme discussion."

Community Team
Community Team

Hi @jw2546 - When you view Prioritized Themes, each of the four prioritized themes has been converted from a Theme "thread" to a discussion with nested replies. The Product Team also has the ability to pin notable comments to help everyone track the conversation! (Anyone can sort the comments from newest to oldest or oldest to newest for better tracking.)

Community Participant

As I feared... most of the Canvas Catalog items were lumped into a single theme which didn't get prioritized. That means we have to deal with a pretty inferior product for a lot longer, knowing that it will probably never get prioritized due to the amount of Catalog customers vs. just Canvas customers. 😢 


Second @hechla very disappointed since the amount of effort we have put into writing feature requests since at least 2017 to have them be overlooked.

Community Champion

The themes chosen align well with what I think matters to faculty where I work.  I hope others will see it the same way when we get the results.  Although it's too early to draw conclusions,  the new process, which I had my doubts about, seems to me to have passed its first test.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Dear @hechla and @jsowalsk The reason why the Catalog theme hasn't been selected is because it's too large and we cannot commit to every single item in it. We are breaking it down to smaller themes and will commit to those. 

Instructure is still heavily investing in Catalog; we have just finished the work on our new Analytics feature and moved on to our next improvement, which is providing admins with an easy way to apply branding to your catalog's storefront. 




@zsgoreczky When will this happen? Is there a timeline?

The reason why the Catalog theme hasn't been selected is because it's too large and we cannot commit to every single item in it. We are breaking it down to smaller themes and will commit to those. 


Is there any way you can provide us with examples of future improvements besides the branding? 

I didn't see anything listed here: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Canvas-Product-Roadmap/ct-p/canvas-product-roadmap besides analytics and branding.



Community Explorer

I appreciate the update, but I still feel unsure what will change. For example, discussions had many items listed, including multiple due dates from 2015. What will change for Discussions? 

It was stated that Instructure took the past weeks reviewing and researching the themes after voting. 
It seems that it would be better if Instructure determined what they can do before the vote. Voting on an item that will not be added gives false hope. 

Also -  that some themes are too broad and Instructure will make "Bite-sized themes". I agree, again, insturcture can create these before the vote. For example - the Discussion tool's multiple-due-dates was requested in 2015, but just now voted on. I would think this could have been quickly added before 2023. 

It would be nice to see the NEW list of items approved in the vote after Instructure determines what they can do with them. So we know what to expect and about which time to expect it.

Being fairly new to Canvas, the clarity of feature requests would be very helpful moving forward.

Thank you,

Community Champion

I would of course would love to see more on the list but I'm pretty happy to see what's made the cut. I'm excited to see some of our top requested items finally get worked into production!

Community Participant
The reason why the Catalog theme hasn't been selected is because it's too large and we cannot commit to every single item in it. We are breaking it down to smaller themes and will commit to those. 

@zsgoreczky Why did you all lump all of the Catalog items into a single theme if it was going to prove to be too large and need to get broken down into smaller chunks anyway? 

Although, I will stand by my original comment re: the voting... the Catalog items will probably NEVER garner enough votes to be prioritized if they have to compete for votes against regular Canvas items. 

Instructure is still heavily investing in Catalog; we have just finished the work on our new Analytics feature and moved on to our next improvement, which is providing admins with an easy way to apply branding to your catalog's storefront. 

Branding is NOT the most important item that needs to be worked on. It might be the best way to appease the largest amount of customers, but during my recent implementation of Catalog we've discovered numerous shortcomings and liabilities that would give just cause to switch to a different system in the future. These are all items the implementation consultant we've been working with is well aware of and just keeps apologizing for. Those are things that should be worked on... they're functional issues... I'd be happy to list them if you want. 



Community Novice

HI Canvas team ,

I am an instructor and want to implement canvas LMS in my institution and would like to have a quote on how much the pricing tier costs . 

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi @hechla, thank you for your reply. As with all new processes, there are elements that we’ll adjust based on learnings. In this case, we realized there’s an opportunity to further break down this theme. We will continue to iterate and adjust based on what we learn. 
Regarding sharing feedback on Catalog (or any product), we always appreciate if you share your thoughts and input. We are aware of where can improve Catalog, and more improvements are on the horizon - yesterday I called out one long awaited improvement, but we are planning to work on more. 

@jsowalsk We will let you know once the new smaller themes are available. 


@zsgoreczky Thank you.

Community Participant

It's excellent to see some result come out - but as a very significantly sized user institution (and if I'm informed correctly, the single largest user of Sections) - I'm still mystified at the consultation that's supposed to have happened at some point along the way here; Did you consult outside the US region, and how can I ensure in future our institution has opportunity to participate where appropriate)?

As a second point, can some focus please be retained on advance warning, and proper acknowledgement here and in the notes when an idea or idea-like piece is picked up and implemented outside the community voting process? [noting things like hackathons are somewhat anomalous here and can't be well predicted 🙂 ]

Community Contributor

First, I am glad to see it is acknowledged that there are numerous themes that are too broad and have no way to be completed within 6 months.  This was a concern expressed early on with the launch of this new process, so I'm glad to hear it will be addressed moving forward. I'm also glad to see that the top voted theme is among those that was prioritized.  Even though it may not have been my top priority, it is good to see that the theme with the most votes is selected as a priority.  I'm still unclear if this is guaranteed in the future since they are selected based on "highest value", but it was good to see this time.

I'm also glad to see you again mention that you are looking into ways to foster collaboration, but I would like to know what you are planning and what you have considered.  I again would like to recommend at least restoring the ability for users to comment on individual ideas at all times (not just during voting/development periods)

  • We used to be able to comment on ideas to share thoughts about it with each other. 
  • Some users would provide useful workarounds to help while waiting and hoping for the idea to be developed. 
  • There was also an opportunity for users to share their concerns or identify other potential impacts.
  • This also provides product managers and others additional information gathering related to the idea that could help when evaluating themes to open for voting and/or prioritize.
  • Considering some ideas get to by-pass the theme voting and discussion process, it would be helpful to be able to comment on individual ideas so users could share potential impacts that may be important to know.

However, I don't understand why so many of the themes from this voting process say there are additional requirements that need to be met first and/or were too broad to fully develop.  There are a significant number of themes available to choose from, but only 12 themes were selected for voting.  One of the reasons given for why these particular 12 themes were selected is that they were "achievable and attainable by our team to deliver based on domain knowledge and capacity if prioritized by the Community."  Hopefully this won't be as much of an issue in the future with bite-sized themes.

Also, are there any plans to make the voting more balanced so that themes that impact fewer users still have a serious chance of consideration?  Themes that are related to something that affects all instructors/users are at a significant advantage for receiving the most votes since there are more people to potentially vote for it.  Themes that only affect admin users and/or users that license an add-on product are at a disadvantage when looking at the raw number of votes.  Personally, it felt odd that there were themes related to add-on products in the same pool of voting as themes for the core product.  Even though we don't use add-on products at the moment, I can understand the frustration of the users above about the Catalog theme.  When thinking about whether or not to get any of the add-on products, it is also a bit concerning to see that all themes related to add-on products were not prioritized.

Community Participant

Will the work on the 'Improve the user experience with discussions to provide for more meaningful discourse among course participants' theme be happening with the (classic) Discussion tool, or within the Discussion Redesign version?

Thank you,

Community Explorer

Well said, @JamesSekcienski. I would like to second your comment about "restoring the ability for users to comment on individual ideas at all times (not just during voting/development periods)".

As a relatively new Canvas admin, I have found the comments on Ideas to be one of the most useful aspects of the entire Instructure Community. There have been many times when I have identified strange behavior in Canvas, and only by viewing the comments for various Ideas have I been able to: 1) figure out what the heck happened; and 2) find a workaround or fix for the issue.

This information is invaluable. By restricting commenting on Ideas outside of voting periods, I fear the Community will lose the ability to share important information that is not available anywhere else. Comments on Ideas are an important resource for the Community as a whole, not just for Idea prioritization. Instructure, please restore the ability for users to comment in Ideas at all times!

Community Participant

Any word on this one?