Instructure Introduces Canvas Commons to Enable Shared Content and Collaboration Across the Canvas Cloud
Learning object repository developed by popular demand and with guidance from the Unizin Consortium
SALT LAKE CITY — September 25, 2014 — Learning technology company Instructure, the creator of the Canvas learning management system (LMS) for K-12 and higher education, today announced a new platform that will enable educators to tap into the power of crowdsourcing and the social Web. Called Canvas Commons, it’s a learning object repository (LOR) where the best ideas, courses and curriculum can be freely shared — all seamlessly integrated into the Canvas LMS environment.
As paper textbooks give way to digital resources, teachers are looking for ways to efficiently exchange content with their contemporaries. But without the right sharing platform, teachers can spend a great deal of time retrofitting shared resources into their lesson plans and figuring out how to distribute them to their students. Canvas Commons streamlines the process for teachers to discover lesson plans, assignments, quizzes and even full courses that are free and easy to incorporate into the Canvas LMS.
“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.”
With Canvas Commons, Instructure aims to enable a “for the people, by the people” content ecosystem, Stein said. For many educators, sourcing quality content is a necessity. From K-12 administrators and teachers who need lesson plans that align with Common Core, to tenured professors who want to build courses that can be used by adjunct faculty and lecturers, Canvas users will finally have a creative, collaborative space that meets their needs.
The platform was built in response to customer demand and with guidance from newly founded Unizin — a consortium of universities, led by Indiana University, Colorado State University, the University of Florida and the University of Michigan, that is building a Canvas-powered platform of shared digital education resources. Unizin will be the first major organization to pilot the tool.
“Unizin is committed to providing its members with leading tools, based on open standards, and with the usability and depth required to host a sustainable ecosystem,” said Amin Qazi, CEO of Unizin. “Having an open forum like Canvas Commons that educators can call their own supports Unizin’s primary mission.”
Canvas Commons will be free and allow Canvas LMS users to do the following:
- 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.
Canvas Commons is in a limited pilot and will be made available to Canvas users in the coming months. For more information, please visit https://www.canvaslms.com/higher-education/features.
Instructure, Inc. developed the Canvas learning management system to make teaching and learning easier for everyone, everywhere. Canvas empowers learning in every context with open, usable SaaS technologies. And through Canvas Network, Instructure provides a cloud platform where teachers, learners, and institutions worldwide can connect and chart their own course for personal growth, professional development, and academic inquiry. Learn more at www.instructure.com.
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