Our Product Approach When it Comes to AI: Adopting an Educator-First Mindset

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At Instructure, our ethos is and always has been about openness and building a true partnership with our customers and the edtech industry at large. When I joined the company a year ago, I spent much of my first months getting out into the field, visiting classrooms and institutions across the globe. I talked to customers, but mostly I listened and learned what was most important and how we could better meet their needs. 

We believe firmly that collaboration fuels better products and, while on the road, I heard loud and clear the need for greater transparency and more communication. Following this listening tour, I made a commitment to publish the Instructure Product Roadmap and to capitalize on customer ideas and feedback through voting and community channels

Over the past year, we have delivered things that you said would make the greatest impact for  you: 

It was important to us to demonstrate our commitment to partnership in all that we’ve delivered this past 12 months. And we will continue this commitment as we look at new emerging technologies.

It’s no surprise that during our recent listening sessions with customers, AI has been dominating the conversation. AI is not new, but it is more widely available as an accessible technology than ever before. We have seen that the excitement around AI is following the predictable path of most new tech: an initial peak of incredible interest and high expectations, followed by a valley of questions, concerns, or disappointment, and then a settling into a state of steady stabilization. 

Speaking with customers during this cycle has allowed us to gather critical insights into how and when we implement the power of AI into the Instructure Learning Platform. We have had thoughtful conversations about everything from academic integrity and data security to equitable access and time-saving applications. We want to provide educators with exciting new tools that AI can power, while also avoiding the disappointments that can follow with AI’s potential downsides.

Which takes us to where we are today, nearing the stabilizing steady state. Here, we’re taking the same approach as we’ve done for the last year: actively listening and thoughtfully partnering to craft solutions that are not ‘technology first’ but instead ‘educator first.’ 

Our approach to AI, whether in the products we’re building or in the public policy we’re helping shape, in the guidelines for institutions, in the data protection strategies–will always align to our core tenets and guiding principles.

“At Instructure we believe in thoughtful, strategic, ethical implementation of new technologies. We are committed to partnering with our customers and the edtech community at large to develop a positive and responsible approach to the use of AI.” Chief Privacy Officer, Instructure 


If you attended ISTE in June, discussions and presentations on AI were everywhere. We pulled together a recap of the top insights shared at the conference in keynotes and the numerous AI-focused breakout sessions. We were also privileged to convene a diverse group of educators across K-12, Higher Ed, and professional ed for a thoughtful, deep-dive discussion. Our goal of this meetup was to create a space for them to express their ideas and hopes for how AI can be leveraged to solve their most pressing needs and drive learning outcomes for their students. 

It was great to hear the rich dialogue, the commonalities, and also the divergence. In the coming weeks, we will begin introducing ways for everyone to become part of this conversation with dedicated community space and more. 

“I’m looking at AI to present to leadership the overall state of things. We need to be ready for this - this is one of those defining moments we’ll remember the before and after,” an administrator and Canvas LMS user.


And, as we look ahead to InstructureCon 2023, we’ll be sharing some exciting developments on how we’re infusing AI into our products, not just offering a technology solution, but to provide ways to solve the needs of educators everywhere. 

We’ll be doing this through our Instructure Learning Platform, living out loud our community focus and innovative spirit — building things with our customers and partners in the mix. I’m looking forward to sharing more details with you on the vision of our platform, past, present, and future — and how AI, as well as enduring shifts, such as career readiness, insightful data, and effectiveness weave into the work we do to help every learner achieve their full potential.


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