Skip to main content

      Previous Page

      Focusing on the Connections Between Us

      There are a few things I know to be true. For me. In my experience. As a husband and a dad. Through two and a half decades in edtech. And especially in my role as Instructure’s Chief Product Officer. These truths color how I see and approach the world. Here’s one of them:

      People desire connection. 

      In many ways, this reality has and continues to shape our relationship with you. (Yes, I think we have a relationship. You and me. We. Us. And Facebook might think “it’s complicated” recently).

      For many of us, this journey at and with Instructure has been about redefining how companies and customers connect – by creating real, personal, authentic connections between people. By focusing on those connections and giving them voice.

      Chip and Dan Heath might describe what we’ve done together as “recognizing where the prose of life needs punctuation.” I like that our shared purpose, our relationship, the impact of our work in the lives of teachers and students all over the globe demands the constant overuse of exclamation points! And gets celebrated with some Hammer. And some Olivia Newton-John. And some They Might Be Giants. In the snow. In the rain. But always together.


      We’ve created moments together that transcend the typical labels of company and customer. And perhaps that’s why, for some of you, the last little while feels different. Like our relationship is changing. Like it’s less real. Less personal. Less authentic. Like we’d been paying more attention to another relationship (ahem, Bridge?).

      I hear you. We hear you.

      For me, for us… this is personal. It’s regaining focus on education. It’s about connection – to the people around us and the work we do. It’s about building simple, elegant, purposeful software that vanishes into the background and amplifies the impact of remarkable people. Our people. Your people. You.

      Let’s connect (maybe re-connect). Us. The amazing people here at Instructure. And each of you doing the amazing work of teaching, learning, and leading. I’ll go first (cool?) and reintroduce you to the people responsible for continuing to drive our products forward. People like:

      Steve Townsend and his CanvasLMS team who, with immediacy and conviction, are committed to making sure that your collective voice (granular permissions or large courses, anyone?) is heard, validated, and implemented in product. Ask Steve about the 100 stories he intends to tell (or have you tell) at InstructureCon in Nashville.

      Kevin Turco and his data and insights team who will, with the help and guidance of dozens of active Product Validation Tours and beta contributors, release new product focused on helping instructors and administrators more effectively meet the needs of students with better “insights."

      Mick Hewitt and his assessment team will join Mastery Connect with CanvasLMS giving teachers and students an integrated, outcomes-driven experience that’s equal parts assessment for learning and differentiated instruction.

      And they will make the new Quizzes environment functionally attractive to users and invisibly migratable. Finally.

      Adam Markowitz and his team will replace the antiquated “portfolio” capabilities of Canvas with the Portfolium global network of e-portfolios - allowing students to demonstrate what they know and what they can do. With evidence. Aligned to outcomes. Through traditional coursework and less traditional “pathways." Where students are at the center of creating, curating, and connecting – while at your institution and after they move on.

      And they will equip institutions with the ability to assess and demonstrate their outcomes with less effort and more accuracy.

      In the coming weeks you’ll get introduced (or re-introduced) to these people and their teams and their vision. You’ll get more visibility into the work they are doing now and will do in the coming months. You’ll find new ways to connect. Get involved. Be heard. Rekindle that smoldering romance.

      We’ll keep working on our relationship.

      While there are substantially better intellects that can help us understand how to build lasting relationships (you’ve all watched Brenee Brown’s special on Netflix? OMFG, right?!?), I always come back to the source of honest, authentic, unabashedly human inspiration when I need grounding:
      “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”

      You and me. We. Us. Let’s read less financial press and more Hunter S. Thompson. Laugh more, here and now, today. And fret less about the future we get to invent together.


      Keep Learning,