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Canvas Product Changes Announced at InstructureCon 2015

This past week, several members of the Dartmouth Canvas campus team attended InstructureCon 2015 in Park City, UT.  This is the annual conference for Canvas LMS users internationally.  The conference was a jam-packed three days.  In this first feature, we dive into some of the announcements from the Canvas Product Team!

Themes for the Canvas Product Team in 2015-16

Canvas has made lots of improvements to core capabilities and achieved a staggering 99.99% up time in the last year!

Canvas Themes for 2015

Canvas has six themes they are looking at for the next year.  This includes:

  1. Core Quality
  2. Data
  3. Outcomes
  4. Content Simplicity
  5. K-12
  6. International

Across these six theme areas, the Canvas Product Team announced a variety of strategic improvements to the platform.

Area 1: New User Interface and Experience!

Canvas unveiled a new user interface based on a great deal of user research and feedback they have received.

The new user interface favors a responsive and flattened interface that is meant to look great across all of your devices and browsers.  At the core of the design is the ability to get you to learning activities quicker, regardless of the course they're part of.

This feature will be available as an opt-in feature in the fall.  Stay tuned to learn more!

Area 2: Accessibility

Canvas is making accessibility a central component of their product roadmap and development process.  Canvas recently became WebAIM certified for their efforts in this space.

Area 3: Gradebook

Canvas has promised to look at the stability and performance, as well as the overall features in the Gradebook.  This Fall, users can expect to see a better performing Gradebook for large classes that have traditionally experienced Gradebook-related problems.

Additionally, Canvas is incorporating some additional features throughout the year to improve communications with students via the Gradebook and capabilities for more grade creation and management from the Gradebook directly.  Among these strategic improvements in the Gradebook is the new Excuse an Assignment  feature (announced in the most 6/27/15 release).


Area 4: SpeedGrader 2.0

Look for a complete visual and performance refresh for SpeedGrader compliments of the Canvas Product Team.

Area 5: Outcomes

Canvas is redesigning the outcomes features in the platform.  They are looking to align with the needs that K12 and higher-ed competency-based education advocates have expressed.  This will include better integration of objectives and assessment strategies (including rubrics).

Area 6: Canvas Data

Institutions will now have access to their data for direct download.  Previously we would have to write scripts to interact with the Canvas API to get this information.

This is a really exciting development because it will be easier to collaborate with partners to do interesting educational data research and user research inside Canvas course sites at Dartmouth!

We're curious to hear from you.  What resonates with you from this list?  Use the comments below to tell use what you think!

Let us know if you have questions.  Stay in touch to learn more!

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