the tl;dr by canvas lms

Reevaluating and Reassessing Education

December 23, 2020 Canvas Product Team Episode 13
the tl;dr by canvas lms
Reevaluating and Reassessing Education
Outcomes Updates—Jody Sailor
Individual Student View—Jackson Howe
New Rich Content Editor Enforcement—Peyton Craighill
Certica Solutions Acquisition—Trenton Goble
the tl;dr by canvas lms
Reevaluating and Reassessing Education
Dec 23, 2020 Episode 13
Canvas Product Team

An overview of improvements to Outcomes, student view updates, the new Rich Content Editor, and the acquisition of Certica Solutions.

Information about the podcast can be found in the Canvas TLDR Blog.




Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

An overview of improvements to Outcomes, student view updates, the new Rich Content Editor, and the acquisition of Certica Solutions.

Information about the podcast can be found in the Canvas TLDR Blog.




Matt Goodwin (00:07)
It's that time again for the Canvas TLDR podcast. I'm Matt Goodwin with product.

Jenn Mitchell (00:11)
I'm Jenn Mitchell with K-12 product marketing.

Ryan Lufkin (00:14)
I'm Ryan Lufkin with higher ed product marketing.

Jenn Mitchell (00:16)
We're here to share the latest and greatest in Canvas.

Ryan Lufkin (00:18)
We're talking about the why in what we build, because pandas can't.

Matt Goodwin (00:23):
Welcome to the December edition of the Canvas TLDR podcast. Welcome everybody. What do we have teed up for today?

Jenn Mitchell (00:31):
Well, we have Jody Sailor's going to join us to talk about some improvements to outcomes.

Ryan Lufkin (00:34):
And Jackson Howe is going to join us from the product team to talk about the quick student view.

Matt Goodwin (00:40):
Then Peyton is going to be joining us, talking about all the changes with rich content editor and the enforced turn-on in January.

Jenn Mitchell (00:48):
And then we have the illustrious Trenton Goble, VP of K12 strategy, is going to join us with exciting acquisition news. And talk a little bit about the K-12 strategy moving forward.

Matt Goodwin (01:00):
Oh, everybody always talks about Trenton is illustrious.

Jenn Mitchell (01:03):

Matt Goodwin (01:08):
I'm excited. It's going to be a good episode to round out the year.

Ryan Lufkin (01:10):
Maybe our best. We've peaked!

Matt Goodwin (01:15):
Still keep listening, please.

Ryan Lufkin (01:19):
We might get better.

Matt Goodwin (01:19):
All right, let's go.

Matt Goodwin (01:22):
We want to welcome to the program, Jody Sailor, who is one of our brilliant product managers working with outcomes. We've got some cool stuff coming out with outcomes, and she's gonna tell us why we're doing it and what problems it's gonna solve for us.

Ryan Lufkin (01:36):
We're all about the why, Jody.

Jody Sailor (01:38):
Excellent. Well, thanks so much for having me again. It's nice to be back with outcomes. So we have some exciting things that are coming out with our next production release. Namely, we have decoupled our proficiency calculations and our mastery scales from the outcomes themselves. So currently within Canvas, all of that is lumped together. Outcomes truly are the standards or the statements of what students should be able to know and do by the end of a certain course or you know, some period of time within their educational experience. We have also coupled that with everything else that you use to then drive that mastery level and understand the data that comes from what students are doing. So we've pulled those apart, and what that affords our administrators is the ability to set at the account level or individual sub account levels the mastery scale that they would like to use across the board, which will then trickle down to all the rubrics across the district or the account level.

Jody Sailor (02:32):
And they'll be able to set those specific mastery skills and the language and the colors and all of those things that they need to do as well as a default calculation method that they would like to use. The other thing that we have changed is right now within Canvas, we have a default of five, three, zero scale, and that doesn't make a lot of sense for a lot of people who use this. So we've changed that to be a four, three, two, one. And we've also included a zero for those that need to say that there was no mastery shown on something that's been assessed.

Matt Goodwin (03:04):
Zeros and fours are a hot debate.

Jody Sailor (03:09):
Every time.

Matt Goodwin (03:10):
Every time. So what does this mean for like a teacher in the classroom?

Jody Sailor (03:15):
Yeah. So for a teacher, when they're creating the rubrics, it will automatically default to whatever the administrator has set for this mastery scale across the board. Also though, if for some reason an administrator would like to open this up, we have added permissions that can be set for a teacher to also set these for their course levels. So this is really great for our higher education folks, especially where maybe your nursing department versus your education department need to have different scales. And you leave that up to those instructors to be able to set those, those permissions can be turned on as well. For those that want to keep it consistent across the account level, again, they can do it at that account level. And it'll just trickle down to each of the individual courses or them instead of the teachers, each having to set it.

Matt Goodwin (03:56):
Are you seeing, like, an increased interest in the use of outcomes? I mean, we've been hearing about it for years. You know, everybody wants outcomes to have better tooling that will support outcome or standards-based approach to education. Are we hearing more about it now with COVID less?

Jody Sailor (04:13):
Yeah, absolutely. With COVID we're hearing it more just because we're seeing that there's nothing consistent for students. We talk about standardized experience and standardized testing and nothing is standardized right now for students in the classroom. We have students who are learning from home, some that are hybrid and doing a little bit at school and an, and at home others that are in the same classrooms, but doing it fully in the classroom while their other classmates are from home. And so we're nothing is standardized, uh you know, a lot of folks are turning to outcomes and really tracking that mastery of what students have learned and where they are with the mastery of the standards that they need to meet.

Jody Sailor (04:48):
So that then, you know, the, the teacher that they currently have can know exactly where they are with that mastery of learning. And then also can pass that along to, you know, the next teacher for the next semester or next year with that in mind too. We're just hearing more and more about it. Like you said, Matt, a lot of people are moving towards competency based education models, are project-based, or any of these other terms that we use. We hear a lot of different terms, meaning similar things, but more and more people are moving towards those competency-based models of education focused on mastery of standards, rather than just that traditional grade.

Ryan Lufkin (05:22):
It was like the COVID-19 crisis has actually raised awareness levels, discussions, people looking at how we're measuring student outcomes, measuring that success. And that seems to be rather timely and supporting those, those conversations. Yeah.

Jody Sailor (05:34):
Yeah, absolutely. We're also hearing a lot more people saying here's the set of standards that I need to be teaching to. And then my school should know let's focus in on what are those priority or power standards that we're going to really—the essential standards that we need to focus on. So while a lot of that's happening, we're seeing more and more usage within Canvas as well.

Matt Goodwin (05:53):
So a lot of what you just talked about—very clear lines to K-12 for standards-based education and classroom struggles. I don't think it's a uniquely K-12 problem though. What are you seeing in higher ed?

Jody Sailor (06:07):
Yeah, so we're seeing actually some, some commonalities across the board of, you know, obviously using standards to know what my students know and don't know is important for any educator in any course that that transcends K-12 into the higher ed model. We also hear a lot of when we're talking about what do we need to do to ensure that we're ready for accreditation. We need to show that we've been meeting the outcomes and the standards that we have set for each of those individual courses that then help towards, you know, proving that yes, we should be accredited.

Matt Goodwin (06:40):
What else, what wisdom do you want to impart with us about outcomes and the future of outcomes and what you see happening?

Jody Sailor (06:49):
Yeah. One thing that I do want to clarify with this actually is we have this as a hidden feature option, and we've done that purposely because we do not want an admin to turn this on and change those defaults to that new default that we have set without having a conversation with your client success manager. So please make sure if you were interested in this, you talked to your customer success manager, they can get it turned on. That gives you time to communicate with your teachers as well.

Jody Sailor (07:12):
You as administrators don't need teachers coming to you, stressed out that they're developed and it looks different. So we definitely want you to be aware of what this will change for you, and also what you need to communicate to your teachers ahead of time. Once that is turned on, you can try it out. Of course you can set it to allow and have certain courses try it. You can set it to on for the entire institution, whatever is best from that administrative view.

Matt Goodwin (07:36):
What you're saying is don't turn it on if you've got a week or two left in the semester.

Jody Sailor (07:42):
Right, right, right.

Matt Goodwin (07:49):
Those are great words of wisdom.

Jody Sailor (07:53):
They also just a quick teaser of some things that we have coming down the pike. We're also working on management of outcomes and making that an easier process for bringing outcomes into your account and into your individual courses, ensuring that teachers you know, can see exactly what they're pulling in right now. We see a lot of teachers that pull in 3000 standards without actually realizing it. And so if we can stop them from pulling in extra outcomes that they don't need to use you know, we want to help them out. So we'll be working on that as well as some alignment items. And of course, some awesome things coming down the pike too, with the MasteryConnect integration and with our new sorta acquisition with you know, standards that are completely the same across the board, eventually.

Matt Goodwin (08:35):
That is awesome. I know we've got thousands of users that are cheering right now, just listening to this. So thanks for joining us, Jody. Really appreciate the updates.

Jody Sailor (08:44):
Absolutely. Thanks again for having me.

Ryan Lufkin (08:49):
Thanks Jody. You're awesome.

Jenn Mitchell (08:49):
I'd like to welcome Jackson Howe to the program. We are talking about student quick view. Welcome, Jackson.

Jackson Howe (08:56):
Thanks! Glad to be here.

Matt Goodwin (08:57):
Glad to have you. So, Jackson let's talk a little bit about quick student view. What problem did we identify or was identified and how did we go about solving that?

Jackson Howe (09:09):
Sure. Yeah. So, you know, as everyone knows in Canvas, teachers like to make stuff that looks good for their students. And so, you know, teachers have a different view of Canvas, of course, 'cause they have more buttons than the students do. They can, you know, they have buttons to edit and to delete content and to move content around, but the students don't need to see all that. And so a lot of times teachers want to be able to switch to a student view to see exactly what the student sees when they look at their course on Canvas. And so we needed some way to make it quicker for teachers to be able to switch it to the student view and then switch back to their editing mode as teachers.

Ryan Lufkin (09:41):
This came out of the Canvas community. Tell me a little more about how that discussion came to be.

Jackson Howe (09:47):
Yeah. Yeah. So I think everyone knows that we have a, you know, a community page on Canvas or a form on Canvas where people can share feature ideas. And then, you know, we can, people can vote on them and, and comments about them and develop the idea. And then eventually the idea is that, you know, get the most votes are taken on by engineers and we build it into Canvas. And this was one of those ideas. I think it started back in 2015, actually. There was a little bit of chatter about it over the years. It's kind of slowly built up a ton of votes and it's become a thing that people have been really interested in.

Ryan Lufkin (10:14):
Democracy at work. I love that.

Jackson Howe (10:17):
I suppose so.

Matt Goodwin (10:19):
We've actually been hearing about it for quite a while, as you mentioned, I think it originally showed up in the community in 2015 ish as a request, but in other places of Canvas, we've had a preview, like when you go to create a quiz there is a preview mode where you can go through and make sure it's behaving the way that you want it to. And the questions are presented in a way that makes sense to the students. And we just got this overwhelming, kind of, swell of requests building around. I just want anything I author to behave like that. You know, I, I need some way to make sure my students can look at that and get out of it what I intended for them to, to get. So why don't you tell us a little bit about the work? Like what was the process of building this out; did it take the whole team like months and months to do or how did you approach it?

Jackson Howe (11:10):
Yeah, so like I mentioned, this was an idea in the community and [from] our product manager. He brought the idea up in our planning and then we had our, every couple of months, we have a hack week, which I think we've talked about before. And I decided to take this project on as my hack week project. To be honest, it wasn't a super involved process. We already had an existing student view functionality. The only problem was it was only accessible from the—there were only two buttons in all of Canvas that could get you into that functionality.

Jackson Howe (11:38):
There was a button on the course homepage and there was a button in course settings that would launch you into the student view. But there are people that were saying, Oh, well, you know what, if we're already in the middle of a quiz or we're already in the middle of an assignment and we want to be able to switch into that student view without going back to the home or back to the settings. And essentially we just built out a button at the very top it's in the top right-hand corner of all the pages in Canvas. So that if you're in the middle of editing an assignment you can just click that button right away and it'll switch you into student view without having to go navigate and find the button somewhere else.

Jenn Mitchell (12:07):
And I just love that. I'm thinking obviously about K-12 users that are new to Canvas and they're still kind of learning the ropes. I think this is so important, especially as we're looking towards little learners on what will they actually see on their side and how can they interact with that? And it, and it allows teachers to continually get better with their practice on how they're designing materials for the students.

Matt Goodwin (12:28):
And I love the fact that this was a hack week project—that you saw the need, it resonated with you, and you found it worth your time to go build. You know, it goes to show, not everything is super complicated in how we have to build it out and not all ideas come from within, you know. This is a great example of the community, feeding us really valuable insights into what they're doing and how they would like the software to behave and us being able to grab those small projects and make them happen.

Ryan Lufkin (13:01):
Yeah, that's great.

Jackson Howe (13:01):
Absolutely. Yeah. Sometimes those best ideas come from the outside because that's what our users really want.

Matt Goodwin (13:07):
Anything else we should know about the the quick view?

Jackson Howe (13:10):
Well, it, you know, it works for—the button will show up for teachers, TAs and designers. Anyone that can see the current student view will see this button once it's enabled for the course.

Matt Goodwin (13:18):
Current role functionality and whoever has that role today where the button would show up, they can now just see it on every page in Canvas.

Jackson Howe (13:28):
Exactly. Yep.

Ryan Lufkin (13:29):

Matt Goodwin (13:30):
Thanks for your hard work, Jackson. Really appreciate it. I know all of our authors out there and, and instructors out there will also appreciate the work.

Jackson Howe (13:38):

Ryan Lufkin (13:39):
Thanks Jackson. We'll have you back on the show soon.

Jackson Howe (13:41):
Happy to be here. Thank you.

Ryan Lufkin (13:44):
It is my pleasure to welcome back to the podcast Peyton Craighill. I think he might've been on the show as our guests more than any others individual.

Peyton Craighill (13:52):
Is that right? I think this is my third time. Does that sound like a record?

Ryan Lufkin (13:57):
I think it is. Yeah.

Peyton Craighill (13:58):
Well, I'm honored.

Matt Goodwin (13:59):
We can feel the excitement in your voice. Today, we especially wanted to welcome you to talk about something that everybody's going to care about, which is changes to the rich content editor, which we'll be rolling out for everybody next month, right?

Peyton Craighill (14:12):
Yeah. Yeah. So we plan to flip on a flag that will make the new rich content editor reality for everybody around the world on January 16th. And the thought behind that date was we give schools kind of enough time to figure out when works best over the holidays for them to turn it on at their own institution. So we wanted to kind of avoid collisions with finals and, and ending terms.

Ryan Lufkin (14:39):
And with our friends in the Southern hemisphere and APAC, they're the reverse of us. So I think they're headed into summer.

Peyton Craighill (14:46):
Yeah, yeah. Right, right. Yeah. And it's, it's, it's a, it's a large change. It's, it's sorta unlike a lot of other feature updates that we make to Canvas that tend to be sort of self-contained. So you can think about something like the new assignment workflow for students. And that's, that's something that we can trust is like relatively well-contained within the assignments sort of area of Canvas.

Peyton Craighill (15:09):
In the case of RCE, it's a little scarier because it crosses all boundaries in Canvas. And so it's something that we've taken a long time to kind of roll out, but I think it was first made available in production a year ago in January. So we've been pretty conservative with how this thing gets rolled out, but we feel good about it. There's a lot of schools already using it in production today. So we feel, we feel like it's in a pretty good place.

Matt Goodwin (15:34):
Why did we decide to do all the changes with rich content editor?

Peyton Craighill (15:37):
There were a couple of reasons why we approached new content editor and said, let's, let's just redo it. And there were really two things. One is the old rich content editor is, is a little bit hard to use. And you can get to know it, but especially for people that approach Canvas for the first time and they have this thing that they're interacting with on basically every single screen, it's a lot to look at and it's, it's kind of poorly organized. The other piece is sort of the responsiveness of the old rich content editor just wasn't there. And responsiveness is one of those things that's better off sort of built in from the ground up rather than kind of retrofitted. And so those were the things that took us surprisingly long time, to be honest, to figure out how we how we improve with, with a totally new rich content.

Speaker 3 (16:29):
That's one thing I love about Instructure. We've never been afraid of calling our baby ugly. Like you're not acknowledging that it was not the ideal user experience. And then...

Peyton Craighill (16:40):
Yeah, well, and as we were building, it's not like the initial design that we had was that awesome either. And that was out there for months. And we got feedback on that as well. So, so if you think about the new content editor, we've got sort of button groups, we created these button groups so that it was easier to organize the toolbar both for us and just cognitively for people that are using it, to see buttons that are related to each other beside each other.

Peyton Craighill (17:08):
But then when you do that, the order of those button groups matters too. So in, in the initial, at least early iterations of the new rich content editor, we had, LTIs shoved off to the side. So and it turns out external tools are used a lot in um—

Ryan Lufkin (17:24):
They are!

Peyton Craighill (17:24):
So we, we had to sort of increase the focus on, on LTI tools by moving that button group over and making it available at sort of smaller screen sizes than they are, if they're all the way over on the right, if that makes sense where they're just going to be the first thing to lose focus, you know, that's one little bit of feedback, but we've had a lot of that over time and hopefully we've sort of arrived in a place that's good for the most number of people.

Matt Goodwin (17:53):
You know, you mentioned the deployment schedule, this is going to hit production mid January. And ideally we're missing everybody's end of semester finals, you know, for something that is this big and it still is a mid-year change. So, you know, are we expecting a lot of additional training needed or hand-holding, or in your view, what, what do we anticipate in terms of feedback?

Peyton Craighill (18:18):
It's a hard thing to gauge because of the sort of scale of change. But I can say sort of qualitatively from the people that I talk to it's, it's actually not, it's not huge in terms of like a training burden. And that comes from both trainers and people that I've talked to that actually use the new RCE. I think we can feel pretty good about the transition and that we have both higher ed and K-12 school systems around the world that have already enabled it or the past semester, at least, and are using it.

Peyton Craighill (18:50):
So I think the transition won't be so bad—it covers a wide scale on Canvas. I think the transition actually won't be that bad.

Matt Goodwin (18:57):
What I think I'm hearing from you is, Hey, everybody, don't be scared. It's actually a lot more intuitive than even the rich content editor that you're used to using. So we feel like it'll be a pretty easy transition.

Peyton Craighill (19:09):
Yeah, that's exactly right. I actually, just recently I got a message from someone who's been messing around with the new RCE and she said I turned on the new RCE to make myself learn it before I train colleagues. And it's much more intuitive than the last time I touched it. So that is a sign of improvement, at least. So I think the transition will be okay; we'll continue to work on it. I think it's, I think I'm super comfortable with where it is right now in terms of allowing everybody to use it. But you know, if you have additional feedback, we always want to hear about it and we'll keep making it better.

Ryan Lufkin (19:44):
Yeah. And we'll, we'll add some links out to, I guess, additional information probably here in the notes of the show and people can take a look at it.

Peyton Craighill (19:53):
Yep. I think we've got all sorts of documentation out there in the community that we could link to.

Ryan Lufkin (19:58):
Thanks, Peyton. It's good to see you, man.

Peyton Craighill (20:00):
Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Jenn Mitchell (20:03):
We have some exciting news on the K-12 front. We announced this month, that Certica Solutions will be joining the Instructure family. And to talk about that today, we are honored to welcome Trenton Goble. I think it's the first time he's been on here. He's the VP of K12 strategy. Hi, Trenton.

Trenton Goble (20:21):
Hey guys.

Ryan Lufkin (20:22):
I feel we've been remiss in not having you on before socially, somehow.

Trenton Goble (20:26):
I'm just grateful to be here.

Jenn Mitchell (20:30):
So for those of you who don't know about Certica solutions trends, can you tell us a little bit about what they bring to our K-12 customers?

Trenton Goble (20:38):
Yeah. I'm really excited about this acquisition. I think it's important before I just jumped right into explaining surrogate. I think it's important to understand from a K-12 perspective where our strategies at what we're trying to do in terms of building off of the Canvas LMS and MasteryConnect. So as we think about our K-12 strategy, we've really targeted four main areas: assessment, data analytics, interoperability, and the teaching and learning areas. And so we're focused on all four of these areas and the Certica deal brings us assessment in the form of the item banks. A lot of people are probably familiar with the Certica Item Bank. They also have world-class interim assessments that are standard spaced psychometric—psychometrically driven and also build off of state level blueprints. And so right now, those, those interim assessments are really working in five to nine States. There's opportunities for us to grow that out.

Trenton Goble (21:38):
But beyond just the assessment piece, we're also really focused on the data analytics. So Certica brings us a really great data analytics platform in terms of visualization and a product called Videri. And they also have been working closely on the Ed-Fi project as has, has MasteryConnect. And Canvas, for that matter, I'm working in the world of the ODSP is, are operational data stores. So it brings us all of those key elements of expanding our assessment opportunities, bringing us the data and analytics.

Trenton Goble (22:10):
And I think everybody who works in ourselves department knows how important it is for us and how that has really kind of evolved to be an important component in the assessment space. And then they also bring us some other key elements—a lot of things that people don't really think about, but as we look to improve areas in Canvas like outcomes in standards, they are the clearing house for K-12 standards across the world with academic benchmarks. So that is another key area that is going to allow us to utilize those resources, to be able to actually grow and improve what we do inside of Canvas.

Ryan Lufkin (22:46):
That's exciting.

Jenn Mitchell (22:47):
So why is it so important? I think right now we're looking at this post COVID world potentially return to in person learning with the vaccine news, but why is this so important right now?

Trenton Goble (22:59):
Yeah, I, you know, one of the areas that I think we want to see or have opportunity to expand in is really on that assessment play. So we have a world-class AMS, we've got, we've got quizzes inside of Canvas, we've got MasteryConnect and that kept being able to track and monitor student performance relative to standards. Teachers and districts can build their own assessments utilizing any of those tools, which is great. But what we see right now in the world of the pandemic is assessment has really been put on the back burner, especially those high stakes summative assessments that we typically take at the end of the year that were not taken last year.

Trenton Goble (23:36):
And there's a lot of question right now around what is the impact been on student learning? How do we know where students are at? And so that opportunity for us to be able to expand our assessment offerings from, you know, those teacher and district created assessments using the item banks but be able to actually grow into another space, which is, which is into those valid and reliable interim assessments is going to create all kinds of opportunities for us as schools and districts are looking for ways to evaluate where students are at. We want to be ready to be able to offer a full suite of assessment tools so that we're addressing that market need.

Matt Goodwin (24:18):
You touched on a couple of really good points there, you know given the current climate, what educators are facing as well as students. For example, in our state alone, I know that one of our school districts they chose not to go back in person and they're reporting record number failing rates. Some of it has to do with the educational piece, but some of it has to do with, with focus and not being available in, in the classroom. But it doesn't mean they're not necessarily understanding the concepts that are being delivered. And I think tying everything together with standards and outcomes is so critical right now. And I love that about Certica. When I heard the announcement, I was so excited just for that piece alone.

Trenton Goble (25:01):
And, you know, what's a good example of that. I was on a call the other day with a curriculum director in Greenville, South Carolina, which uses Canvas and MasteryConnect and also the Certica interim assessments. And we had that same conversation where he said, you know, we have more kids failing right now by a factor of three than we did last year at this time. And I, and I kind of made some assumptions about why that may be—is it, the kids were lazy, what was going on? And he said, what's really interesting is we gave our interim assessments. Our kids were actually performing at the same level or higher than they were last year. And it really forced us to go in and say, well, what is the gap here? Why is it that we have more kids failing, but our kids are actually learning.

Trenton Goble (25:43):
And, you know, in, in that online setting, they—we actually did a pretty good job. And it forced them to kind of look at what was happening, and what they found was teachers were also assigning like five times the volume of assignments and kids were just overwhelmed. They just weren't turning it in.

Ryan Lufkin (26:01):
I've seen that with my own kids.

Trenton Goble (26:02):
And that ends up affecting a grade. And I think when we think about this work that we do and Instructure, it's not just about getting scores in a grade book, you know, it's not just about going through the, the mechanization of teaching and learning. It's really about driving to a place where teachers have the right information that they need to be able to make the right support—to provide the right supports for students so that we are making sure that we aren't just, you know, just this thing that we are, but we're actually contributing to the improvement of student outcomes in schools. And I think that's what this brings us, right? It gives us all of those components; we have the best LMS in the world. We have a world-class AMS, we're bringing the analytics pieces together with high-quality content. And that is, that really is a key, key part of the strategy for K-12.

Matt Goodwin (26:57):
There's no doubt about it. COVID sucks. Like it's, it's not fun for anybody, but you know, the silver lining here that I've been seeing is it's really given a kick in the pants to the educational system to start reevaluating and reassessing. How do we go about educating? And, and for all the reasons you just mentioned, you know, are we, are we providing the right activities that support teaching and learning and, and we're not evolving yet, you know, and, and hopefully this first people along to get that better activity and better content, I think outcomes and standards and centralizing around those things is really going to help. So I'm super pumped about this.

Trenton Goble (27:39):
Yeah. And I, I really want to highlight too, when I said there were four areas that we focus on—could give a test right now to see if people remember, what are those four areas. Jenn, do you know what one of them was?

Jenn Mitchell (27:49):
Assessments, teaching and learning, data and analytics, and interoperability.

Trenton Goble (27:51):
You take good notes. So in those four areas that we're really focused on, you know, we really tap into three of those four that other areas teaching and learning that, that this really doesn't impact the way impacts in those other areas. But it also is in terms of thinking about where we're going, this is our first acquisition, this is a Thoma Bravo–based company, but we are really dialed in to making sure to, to Matt's point that we are doing more on that teaching and learning side as well. So this isn't like a one and done—this is part of getting that our strategy in place, getting this deal done is going to lead us to other opportunities so that we're expanding what we do here at Instructure to better meet the needs of our customer base.

Ryan Lufkin (28:44):
I know there's sometimes a fear that K-12 is new focus, right. And this is, this is just the first of what we hope to be many acquisitions and there'll be across the key 20 spectrum.

Trenton Goble (28:56):
That's right. And it's, it's not like where the focus is. This deal just came up first. You know, if I deal had come up in higher ed, people might probably would, would've said, well, what about K-12? That focus is equally in K-12 and higher ed.

Matt Goodwin (29:11):
Yeah. And I think it's important to note that there's tons of partners out there and in the EDU space. But we're really seeking out those partners with shared vision that are driving teaching and learning and real educational value. And this hits the bullseye for sure.

Trenton Goble (29:27):
Yeah. And I think that's really—I think what you said is important. And when I think about why we kind of tied into those four key areas, because those are the most adjacent to what we already do at, at Instructure with Canvas, right? Like those, those key areas make a lot of sense. But when we think about the acquisition opportunity, there's a lot of work that goes into that. There's a lot of people who are engaged in all aspects of looking at it. But one of those, one of the areas we look at is, do they fit with our philosophy? You know, do they have the same vision around wanting to be teacher and student centric, caring about making a difference and not just saying it or putting it, you know, as a tablet somewhere, but actually living and breathing that.

Trenton Goble (30:11):
And I think they bring that. And one of the things that I think is really important is from an integration perspective, Certica has been a partner of Instructure and MasteryConnect for a number of years. We've partnered with Certica on the MasteryConnect side for what, Jenn—seven, eight years? In not just the utilization of the item bank, but also utilization of academic benchmarks as a means of driving the standards environment, but also delivering their high-quality interim assessments through our platform. And they've also been taking all of that data and pulling that into Videri the data analytics tool to visualize that data after the fact. And so there is in terms of the integration piece, it's going to be, I think, a really good integration for us because so much of it is already in play.

Jenn Mitchell (31:01):
It's exciting. And, and I know this is, like you said, only the first of a lot of investments we want to make in order to improve that teaching and learning experience. So if you are interested in learning more about assessment content and the analytics offering, we will be sending out more information as it comes after the holiday break. You can also reach out to your CSM and they can answer your questions. So thank you again, Trenton for joining us. And we look forward to having you back.

Matt Goodwin (31:28):
Thanks for your hard work. I know there's so much work that goes into these decisions, and there are dozens, if not hundreds of nos compared to the yeses that we move forward on. So thanks again for that work.

Trenton Goble (31:40):
Thanks for having me, you guys.

Matt Goodwin (31:42):
All right. Happy holidays, everybody. I think that's a wrap.

Ryan Lufkin (31:45):
This was our last podcast of 2020. It's historic.

Jenn Mitchell (31:49):
I'm not convinced that 2020 is over. Yet. We might have the first 13th month.

Ryan Lufkin (31:53):
The 13th month?

Matt Goodwin (31:53):
We've missed out on so much this year, we've decided to extend.

Jenn Mitchell (32:06):
I'm looking forward to 2021. I think we all are.

Ryan Lufkin (32:08):
So happy holidays, everyone.

Matt Goodwin (32:10):
Happy holidays. I hope everybody gets a chance to rest and relax and enjoy some time with family and friends. And we'll see in the new year.

Ryan Lufkin (32:18):
Cue the jingle bells.

Thank you for joining us on the canvas tl;dr podcast. If you'd like to take a look at what's happening in our next release, please visit We'll see you next month. Bye!

Outcomes Updates—Jody Sailor
Individual Student View—Jackson Howe
New Rich Content Editor Enforcement—Peyton Craighill
Certica Solutions Acquisition—Trenton Goble