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Buzzwords are everywhere in edtech. But they go in and out of fashion like hemlines and fusion cuisine. So, how do we wade through all the buzz and get to the real meaning of a word? Take “partners,” for example. You hear a lot about collaborative partners these days, but what does that really mean?


I’ve given a lot of thought to this question recently as my position and title at Instructure have evolved to VP of Partners & Programs. Many of you know me from my past role as senior director of Canvas Network, Instructure’s platform for open, online courses, or MOOCs. Instructure regards every institution and instructor using Canvas Network as partnersand that’s a buzz-free connotation. Together, we work toward the shared goal of empowering learners while providing personal and professional learning opportunities that we couldn’t offer alone. See? The very definition of partners.

So, here I am with the word “partners” in my official title. This change reflects not only my experience and ability to build partnerships with educators and technologists, but also Instructure’s philosophy that its mission, “to make smart software that makes people smarter,” requires a team effort. We know what it means to have a VP of Partners & Programs, but we want to make sure you do, too.

Whether they provide technologies, services, or content, our partners help us empower educators in meaningful waysand sometimes, in ways that wouldn’t be possible without the partnership. We understand that in order to provide all the tools educators need to make people smarter, we need help. Educators need choices, so we need partners. Ultimately, this forms the foundation of openness for anyone using Canvas or Bridge, which is a good topic for another blog post.

Even if the industry coins a new fusion-inspired buzzword for collaborative partnerships (say, “synergistic conglomerate,” or “syncon” for short), we’ll still be here, building relationships with our partners, empowering educators, and creating new possibilities for learners. In the coming months, I’ll share more with you about how we explore and evaluate partnerships, as well as the impact these partnerships have on our community.

Keep learning,
Melissa Loble
VP of Partners & Programs