What is this “community” I keep hearing about? Should I be using it? How should I use it? Why should I use it?

The Canvas Community is a massive community of Canvas users consisting of 75,000+ users including numerous nationalities, disciplines, education levels, user types, and engagement levels. This community consists of 3 different areas – answers, ideas, and groups that we recommend all faculty engage with. The community can be accessed via the help button in the lower left hand corner of Northwest Online.

Community Answers… will have answers to some of your most pressing Canvas questions. This is where the guides, release notes, questions regarding Canvas Commons, and partnerships (to name a few) are located. As a Canvas user, you can search the community archives for answers to your questions, or you can pose questions that have yet to be addressed. Other users will post answers to your questions or post their support, as they have the same question. If an answer cannot be found, the question can then be posed as a new idea.

Community Ideas… this area is like one big brainstorm arena! For example, you’ve been creating your course, and would like to see the total number of points available for the course. You can’t seem to locate this area and don’t want to whip out the old calculator, so what do you do? You go to the Community Answers. You search and search…you can’t find the directions anywhere on how to do this, however you do see a yellow light bulb icon that talks about this feature. When you click on it, you realize this feature is not available, but someone else feels it would be useful also. They’ve already thrown out the idea, all you have to do is up-vote this idea to help support it. If you don’t see the yellow light bulb icon and cannot find answers, it’s your time to shine and throw the idea in the pot. At the end of each voting period (a three month period), the Canvas developers take a look at all of the ideas submitted…special attention to the ideas with 100+ up-votes. Be sure to share your ideas with Canvas Community, and to let us know when you’ve submitted a feature idea. We would love to be able to pass those ideas on to others!

Community Groups… likeminded people hanging out with one another. The groups in the community help you connect with others in the community in a more organized fashion. This allows you to connect with others with similar interests… Math professors can connect with other Math professors. Those using TurnItIn can connect with others using TurnItIn. Interested in gamification? There’s a group for that. The list goes on and on. Don’t see a specific group you would like to connect with? Suggest a group. These are great places to be able to communicate, collaborate, and connect with others.

While the community may seem like downtown NYC at first exposure, I highly encourage each one of you to get out there and test the waters! Connect with others, ask questions, suggest features… you have the opportunity to help shape the future of our new LMS just by participating. You also have the opportunity to help others that are making that scary transition that we are making now. The veterans before us have helped to pave this road to an easy transition, so let’s continue to help the future trekkers transition easily as well.

So, what is this “community” I keep hearing about? It is an open forum to collaborate and share with others. We encourage you to use the community and explore options for your courses. Use it to connect with others, use it as a sounding board, use it to better our product… Don’t recreate the wheel, help to transform the wheel of education. Use it to continue improving your course, your program, your discipline, your industry… Reimagine Learning!