Across the Canvas Cloud

Yesterday, Instructure announced the next big thing for their Canvas learning management system (LMS): Canvas Commons. This new platform focuses on the social needs of educators and the power of the web to connect people.
This learning object repository is designed to be a place where the best practices, unique ideas, courses and curriculum can be freely shared — all seamlessly integrated into the Canvas LMS environment.
Canvas Commons 1
Back in June, Canvas was selected by Unizin, a higher ed consortium, as the learning platform for delivery. The choice largely based on commitment to and support of open standards. Unizin members looked forward to an open, cloud-scale platform of their own to host online classes and share research and analytics, giving educators the flexibility and freedom to shape their own online learning environment. They were also key players in identifying the need for the Canvas learning object repository and will be the first major organization to pilot the tool.
“Teachers and designers often create custom learning resources — or simply accept materials handed down to them — because it’s hard to find and incorporate vetted, relevant, open content, activities and assessments,” said Jared Stein, vice president of research and education at Instructure. “Canvas Commons makes it so much easier to not only find and reuse the world’s best and brightest teaching ideas, but also to revise, remix, and, of course, redistribute those activities back into the community.”
For many educators, Canvas has provided a unique solution to the LMS. As Getting Smart Teacher Blogger John Hardison noted in a recent blog post, “After struggling through previous user-UNfriendly LMSs, I welcome Canvas with open arms.” Innovative and collaborative teachers, like Hardison will surely be excited about the possibilities that Canvas Commons brings to teacher engagement and development.
Canvas Commons 2
Although currently in a piloting phase, within several months, Canvas Commons will be free to all Canvas LMS users and allow them to:

  • Build and share complete courses – With Canvas Commons, users can build and share a complete course, including course activities, outcomes, assignments and quizzes.
  • Create a personal learning object repository – Users can create an individual repository to keep to themselves, providing a single, central location for all of their education assets and eliminating the need to search endlessly for old resources they’ve used years ago.
  • Leverage the Canvas Commons database – Users can search for relevant materials (and filter by topic, grade level, institution and resource type) and assemble courses without spending countless hours creating materials from scratch and scouring several different external sources.
  • Incorporate activities and content from Canvas Commons to Canvas instantly – The seamless integration of Canvas Commons and Canvas makes it simple and easy for users to put the best resources from Canvas Commons into their courses on Canvas.
  • Selectively share across the entire Canvas network – Institutions can share publicly across the network or share specific learning activities under a license that fits their goals.

For more information on features and capabilities, check out
Instructure is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

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