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The Study Hall

Predicting the future one feature at a time

At Instructure, we don’t rely on ESP to predict the future of Canvas. Nor do we read tea leaves, consult tarot cards, or peer into a crystal ball. Heck, we don’t even know Canvas’ astrological sign. When it comes to our vision for how Canvas will grow and evolve, we chart our course using only one magical tool—a product roadmap based on the needs of our users.

Charlie Brown
The future is bright.

Last month at InstructureCon, we shared our product roadmap as part of a four-part series related to higher ed, K-12, mobile, and “nerd stuff.” If you attended any of these sessions, you may have noticed a theme. We’ve always been devoted to making teaching and learning easier and all of our tasks this year are focused on doing just that.

We’re also avid believers in best practices—especially when it comes to teaching methods. If you look under Canvas’ hood, you’ll see intuitive features inspired by some pretty intensive research into best practices. And as you’ll see on the roadmap, it all just keeps getting better.

For example, we know that tracking and measuring learning objectives is an important best practice for instructors—and it’s also critical for accreditation—so we’re enhancing Outcomes to provide more flexible access to data, as well as easy student and course visualizations. We’ll also build a way to link Outcomes to more areas within a course, like individual quiz questions and pages. That way, we’ll all have the data we need to make decisions and iterate on course content.

With new, integrated learning activities, Canvas will provide another great way to engage students in course content. Putting a quiz question, discussion, or chat in a page lets students interact with content and each other in ways that specifically foster peer learning and better outcomes.

In addition, the new formative assessment tool will give faculty an easier way to assess on the fly and to provide the “just in time” teaching students need. It will also increase opportunities for feedback, which has been proven to be the most effective way to improve student achievement.

Even more good stuff on the roadmap includes:

  • a way to spot problem behaviors early
  • a place within a course to build things before releasing them to students
  • improvements to Conversations
  • quiz regrading and SpeedGrader updates
  • so much mobile awesomeness, including annotations and quizzing

If you’d like to see the Canvas roadmap, reach out to your account manager and they can send you a copy. If you’d like to tell us how Mercury retrograde or a lunar eclipse may affect an upcoming Canvas release, contact our Product department. We want to know.

Keep learning,
Hilary Scharton