This year at InstructureCon, Canvas made some big announcements, including a presentation on the Canvas Community site called Community 2.0: Meet the All-New Canvas Community. One thing I’ve learned from the presentation is that I currently fall into the category of community participant that only engages when I need specific information; more frequent than those who rarely or never visit, but not as engaged as those who are actively commenting and contributing. The new community is built to continue providing the primary function that I visit it for–to find technical support guides–but now also adds improved functionality in idea sharing and group formation, both of which are important to the development of an online community.
Taking advantage of the Jive social platform, Canvas launched their new community site as the follow-up to the already-effective Canvas guides site. In addition to searching for guides from the community home page, users who are logged in to the Canvas LMS can log in to the Canvas Community and create a profile to be able to do things like request a feature, subscribe to a topic, post a user-generated idea, or join a group. With an active user base and an empathetic customer success staff, the site has quickly grown in adoption and content. If you have a question, there is a good chance someone in the community who has already asked it and found an answer. By searching for keywords related to your question or navigating through the table of contents, you can quickly locate guides and other resources to answer your question. In the presentation, Canvas said that most questions now receive a response within 18 hours (an improvement over the previous guides site), and users have the ability to reward each other and help improve guides by marking answers as helpful.
What I really missed by not being as active in the Canvas Community was the opportunity to get involved with other conference attendees before the InstructureCon conference. By connecting with and following the InstructureCon threads and the profiles of the presenters, I am at least able to participate retroactively. If I were to do it over again I would use the community site to follow the topics that I was interested in ahead of time and maybe even contribute ideas to conversations that could become presentation topics themselves.
The community allows you to contribute as much or little as you like. The more you participate, the more you gain. Like many new communities it is still evolving, but the responsive team and customizable platform are quickly shaping the experience to something that is useful for all involved. The early adopters are making it ready for those who are lagging behind (like me). So, what are you waiting for? Join me and the rest of the Canvas Community in the conversation about how we make learning better.