Contributing to the Canvas Community

by Aaron Bannasch

Northwestern University Canvas users can use the Canvas Community site to:

Contributions can range in complexity and significance, but each active member helps increase the amount of opportunities for interaction, discovery, and learning. In this blog post, I will highlight a very simple activity that anyone who uses Canvas at Northwestern can do to interact with the Canvas Community: voting.

I view the Canvas Community as a vast network made up of knowledge artifacts and relevant discourse. One of the pillars of the community is the “Share Ideas” section; the other two areas are the “Find Answers”, which contains manuals and guides, and the “Join Groups” section where individuals can collaborate with others around similar interests.

Within the “Share Ideas” section, one of the most popular topics to follow is Canvas Feature Ideas. Canvas—an open-source technology provided by Instructure, an all-around open organization—recognizes the power of direct engagement and provides this feedback channel to its customers. If you, as a user of the Canvas platform, have an idea that isn’t already documented within the Canvas Community, you can suggest it here to begin the process of having it vetted by both your Canvas Community peers and the community administrators. A detailed document explaining the entire democratic process of proposing and voting on feature ideas is available here and a related blog post from our friends in Northwestern Information Technology can be read here.

You may find that your Idea is similar to another Idea that has already has begun the process of being considered. You can add your vote to the existing proposed feature idea and even reply with a comment to express your intended use for the feature. Not all feature ideas are able to be implemented, but because Canvas is open-source anyone who has the technical expertise and the drive to create can build custom solutions for their own organization’s Canvas instance.

Some custom solutions are simple and can be done without modification to your organization’s Canvas instance. I enjoy viewing popular tags in the Canvas Community Groups to discover topics that I might not otherwise have found. Through the Canvas Hacks tag I was able to join a Canvas course site that is populated with content by other Canvas Community members and contains simple design solutions or workarounds that can be done within a course site using basic web design skills and a little bit of trial and error.

Have you contributed anything to the Canvas Community? If you have, share a link to your contribution with us on Twitter @NUSPSOnline or find me on the Canvas Community by connecting with my user profile.


The featured image is a screencapture that was taken from https://community.canvaslms.com/welcome at 10:33 AM CDT on October 5, 2015. A gradient transparency dissolve effect was applied to transition between the image and the white background of the blog post.



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