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The Study Hall

Virtual Virginia Expands Instructure Relationship

Instructure is excited to share our expanded partnership with the Virginia Department of Education and Virtual Virginia (VVA) program. In order to provide equitable access to high quality content and instruction, the Commonwealth has purchased Canvas learning management system (LMS) and Canvas Studio licenses for 1.4 million Virginia educators and students. While VVA and multiple divisions have been delivering instruction via Canvas for several years, we applaud the Department’s effort towards providing a consistent learning experience for all students with a five-year commitment to funding the Canvas LMS for all Virginia public school divisions.  

The Department also recognized the importance of creating a shared understanding of their vision and supporting teachers in best practices for online and blended learning. By offering multiple Virtual Canvas Leadership Institutes and promoting the Canvas Certified Educator program, they are ensuring that educators understand how Canvas can be used to amplify teaching and learning! Achieving their vision of equitable access is already well underway: 

  • 126 Virginia school divisions currently opted into the program
  • 600,000 Virginia Canvas users in the last 12 months (Note: The contract expanded from 600,000 to 1,400,000 licenses as of July 1, 2021)
  • 113,00 active Canvas courses during the 2020-2021 school year
  • 84 state and division leaders have attended a Virtual Leadership Workshop
  • 152 Virginia educators have participated in the Canvas Certified Educator program

Dr. Brian Mott, Executive Director, VVA, is a champion for this expanded program and shares some of the keys to the success VVA has already recognized below.

VVA's Vision and Strategy for Success

Vision

Prior to the pandemic, VVA allowed school divisions to use the Virtual Virginia instance of the LMS as their LMS platform. Once the pandemic hit, it made sense to move that to a state-wide electronic classroom which allowed divisions the autonomy to control their instance/environment. This allowed them to build their own digital ecosystem quickly. Going forward, why do divisions still need an LMS?

  1. Automation
  2. Interoperability 
  3. Organization & security: all in one place
  4. Unlimited access for learners
  5. Easily accessible data: track progress & performance
  6. Saves on cost: printing, travel, professional learning, etc.
  7. Expands the division profile: more options for learners and educators
  8. Division’s Digital Ecosystem: a 2021 solution to a 2021 problem
  9. Blended learning and personalized education
  10. Transparency for parents/guardians

Canvas as a Solution

VVA wanted something that was available to all students and educators regardless of the division size and socioeconomic status. Divisions needed a platform that was both accessible and equitable. VVA wanted to support divisions to ensure that every student was able to have a personalized experience whether online or face to face and have every classroom led by an engaged and supported educator.

Communication Channels

VVA uses many channels like an email campaigns, social media, web-conferencing, individual division sessions, and word of mouth. VVA created a state-wide Professional Learning Network Canvas Course that connected educators of similar grade levels and subject areas.

Systems of Support for Divisions

The VVA Support team and the Canvas Support team helped to develop Internal Support (Canvas Champions) in order to build capacity for divisions to retain autonomy and control their environment. Weekly and monthly statewide calls, regional calls, and professional learning opportunities (i.e. Free virtual blended learning conference, monthly workshops, VIBE Series) have been developed for all educators in Virginia. 

Collaboration

Regional meetings, statewide meetings, Virtual Canvas Leadership Institutes, Canvas Certified Educator program, and the Professional Learning Network provide avenues for collaboration across the Commonwealth.

“It’s a process. You have to be committed to the project but also committed to change at the same time.”

Dr. Brian Mott