the tl;dr by canvas lms

Sportsball and Student Assignments

March 24, 2021 Canvas Product Team Episode 16
the tl;dr by canvas lms
Sportsball and Student Assignments
Microsoft Immersive Reader—David Lyons
Submission Reassignments—Jody Sailor and Augusto Callejas
Webcam Assignment Submissions—Jody Sailor and Manoel Quirino
Portfolium Updates—Peter D'Orsey
Customer Marketing & Canvascasters Podcast—Eddie Small
the tl;dr by canvas lms
Sportsball and Student Assignments
Mar 24, 2021 Episode 16
Canvas Product Team

An intriguing series of interviews about Microsoft Immersive Reader, Student reassignments and webcam submission features, Portfolium updates, and the history of the Canvascasters podcast.

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



Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

An intriguing series of interviews about Microsoft Immersive Reader, Student reassignments and webcam submission features, Portfolium updates, and the history of the Canvascasters podcast.

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 (00:24):
Happy March, everybody. Welcome to the Canvas TLDR podcast, March 2021 edition. It's been a full year since lockdown, right?

Ryan Lufkin (00:33):
A full year of COVID. Wow.

Jenn Mitchell (00:35):
The one anniversary I don't want to celebrate, but here we are. A year later.

Ryan Lufkin (00:41):
It's March madness! We have a lot of information to get to so good luck to all our teams playing in the big tournament. And let's jump right into to our guests. Let's see, this week we've got this month we've got David Lyons from our product team, formerly an SE, but has moved to the, our product team. He'll be talking a little bit about Microsoft and the Immersive Reader, things like that.

Jenn Mitchell (01:05):
You know, and then we have Jody Sailor, who I think has now officially become our most frequent guest. She's talking about submission reassignment and webcam submission.

Ryan Lufkin (01:15):
She's filling out that punch card quickly.

Matt Goodwin (01:17):
Peter's going to come talk to us about Portfolium some of the changes and advancements we're doing there with that product.

Ryan Lufkin (01:24):
And we're super excited. Many of, you know Eddie Small from the Canvascasters podcast, he'll be joining us as well, just as he's joined Instructure. So more there let's get to it.

Matt Goodwin (01:36):
Welcome to the show Mr. David Lyons. David is one of our product folks over all the gloriousness that is Canvas. And he's going to talk to us a little bit today about the Immersive Reader. So welcome to the show.

David Lyons (01:50):
Yeah. Mr. Goodwin, I'm happy to be here.

Ryan Lufkin (01:52):
I'm gonna say welcome back. You've been on the show before, right?

David Lyons (01:56):
I may have snuck in, in the past, but I think I'm here in my first official capacity.

Ryan Lufkin (02:01):
Your first official appearance.

David Lyons (02:02):
That's right, right. Yeah, the, the Microsoft Immersive Reader is a, it's one of those really exciting accessibility features we have in Canvas. It's obviously something we have in partnership with Microsoft. And we've been sort of experimenting with it for gosh, a couple of years now where it was sort of in a, a free trial mode. And then just this past month, we were finally able to, to move out of that free trial mode. So it's now in general availability, anybody can use the Microsoft Immersive Reader throughout any Canvas page. And then what we're most excited about really is not just that general availability, but how do we broaden that out? So now it's available across syllabus across the homepage, across discussions and assignments and really, really expanding that, that those options for where it can be used.

Ryan Lufkin (02:55):
That's awesome. This is kind of been that first foray into a much deeper Microsoft Partnership, right. That I think we've, we've talked about here and there. We talked about it InstructureCon in October. We've, we'll be talking more about that over the next year, right? As we roll out more things, but this is, this has been really well received by, by our community and, and people really seem to love it.

David Lyons (03:16):
Yeah. And that deeper Microsoft partnership, I think, is it's really coming from a place of shared values, right. For the Immersive Reader. They care a lot about accessibility. We care a lot about accessibility for access and storage and convenience and streamline workflows, right. There's just a lot of kind of shared DNA when it comes to how do we help people in education focus on what they're trying to do and not have to worry so much about the tools. And so Immersive Reader was one of the first sort of steps in that direction. And it's just continued to grow as the rest of that partnership has expanded too.

Matt Goodwin (03:50):
Yeah. And this is one of those tools that, you know, I've said this in the past, when we talk about anything that has to do with accessibility you know, there's definitely those students that, that need it. They need some sort of tooling around you know, cognitive needs or other impairments or disabilities. This can benefit anybody. Like I know that sometimes when I read a passage versus have something read to me, I can think about it in a different way. So these are just great tools in general, regardless of, you know, whether or not there's a specific plan in place to help a student.

David Lyons (04:26):
Yeah. And I think accessibility is for a lot of folks, they don't really have to think about it and that's great, right. For anyone who's like, Oh, I don't need this. But that kind of cuts them off from what's possible, right. For someone who needs a—assistive technologies, because they have a, you know, some sort of different ability that's just a normal part of their life. But for me with the Immersive Reader, one of the most common uses I had for it when I was a Canvas user day in and day out and that I've seen other folks do is having it read the page to you so that you don't have to sit there and look at the screen. There's something really freeing about I'm you know, a working adult, I'm trying to get dinner ready for my kids. I'm taking some continuing ed courses or a master's course or something. And I just, I need to read this passage, but I just can't do it right this second. So I will have the Microsoft Immersive Reader read it to me. And that's a huge convenience, but it's an accessibility feature.

Ryan Lufkin (05:25):
Yeah. You know, like we all sit in front of computer screens all day. Sometimes the rest of our eyes.

Matt Goodwin (05:30):
This is why audible accounts exist. This is why podcasts exists. This is why this show exists. You know, I don't always go read release notes, but I like to know what's going on with the software and the tools that I use. So, yeah.

David Lyons (05:44):
Yeah. And just the, the Immersive Reader part of Immersive Reader is the, it strips away visually kind of the, the rest of the application. So you just have the content of that page, which for some people is all they want—they don't need it read to them. They don't need it translated. They don't need the highlight features or any of those other things. They just don't want the visual clutter. And again, an assistive technology that someone might not think they need or that they require for their daily life, but it helps their experience. It helps them focus on the content. I've never seen assistive technology that wasn't beneficial to darn near everyone, right? There's always some way anybody can benefit from it, even if they don't need it all day. Every day,

Ryan Lufkin (06:30):
We've got a ton of support materials out, both, you know, Microsoft has it, but we have it. You just have to Google Canvas and Immersive Reader and you'll get more than you ever wanted, but we'll add some of those, the links here, but what do schools need to do beyond that? I mean, what are some tips and tricks for getting that activated?

David Lyons (06:46):
So right now it's an admin setting. So any administrator can go in and turn it on to make it available to the whole institution. Then anyone who's a Canvas user has it, it's students, teachers, instructional designers, right. Anybody who's in a course and that's available on all Canvas pages right now. What I'm most excited about is getting that out into the other parts of the application so that a student can use it on their assignment instructions or to read a long discussion post or an announcement comment or their syllabus. Right. So right now, one switch will turn it on for all Canvas pages for all users. And you can expect to see that, you know, expand out in the coming quarters to all the other parts of Canvas.

Ryan Lufkin (07:30):

Matt Goodwin (07:31):
Well, thanks for coming on. Look forward to having you back.

David Lyons (07:35):
Yeah. I'll be here.

Ryan Lufkin (07:36):
Yeah. We'll be talking about a lot more of the, these kind of Microsoft integrations with everything from teams to the different LTIs. And so we'll have you back on to talk more about this in the future.

David Lyons (07:46):
Looking forward to it.

Matt Goodwin (07:50):
We want to welcome to the program, Jody Sailor, and Augusto who are part of our product and engineering team. And they cover all the stuff that we care a lot about. They've got some exciting release updates that they want to talk us through today. With that, welcome to the show.

Jody Sailor (08:09):
Thanks so much for having us. I think Jody, you, you are here as much as probably I am here, which is awesome. Which means exciting things are happening in Canvas, right? Whenever we see you on the podcast.

Jody Sailor (08:22):
Yeah, absolutely. I've been a return guest, I guess. I feel like I'm not anymore, but I'm happy to be here each time I get to.

Matt Goodwin (08:36):
Good. Well we're happy to have you. Always means the best things for our users, our learners when you're on the show. Why don't you tell us what you're here to talk about today?

Jody Sailor (08:46):
Yeah. Today we're here to talk about the reassigned submission or submission reassign which essentially is the ability for a teacher, as they're in SpeedGrader, going through their grading of it, an assignment. If they see that a student has turned in maybe less than stellar work or a blank assignment or the wrong assignment, whatever it may be they can provide feedback to the student and then have the ability to re-assign that assignment directly to the students so that they know that they need to focus on that assignment again and try a second submission or third or fourth.

Matt Goodwin (09:24):
That's kind of a big deal because the workaround for this historically has been a pretty huge pain for a teacher.

Jody Sailor (09:31):
Yeah. So typically before this was released, we had teachers who were trying to either re-create the assignment as a second assignment for those students that needed to redo it, or they were having to reopen an assignment for all students, if it was past the availability date and that sort of thing. So it was a pretty heavy lift on the teacher's part. If they didn't have to reopen or do any of those things, they still had to figure out the best way to communicate with students to say, I need you to redo this. And then of course, they're going back to the student as many times as needed to make sure they got that message and ensure that they're getting it done. So we've worked to make it a little bit easier process for the teacher to provide that feedback and make sure that it's clear for the student and visible to the student, and then that they are able to easily redo that assignment and have it resubmitted for a new grade or mark or feedback.

Jenn Mitchell (10:26):
And I just love how that really supports mastery learning, right? Like this is, this is so important for people. And I, and I think on the K-12 side, especially as we talk about kind of COVID-related learning loss and getting students up to where they need to be, I think we'll see this process over and over again, whether we're learning remotely or back in the classroom. And it's so great to know that that's now an easier process for students and for teachers.

Jody Sailor (10:50):
Absolutely. Absolutely. It goes right along with mastery or competency-based education models that we're seeing people focus on, which we know are best for students. And, you know, also just that feedback loop is so important. And so making sure that that feedback is front and center, so the student does know here's what my teacher is helping me to understand better so that I can have another attempt to show what I do know, or maybe still don't know, but it's that growth mindset, right? That we're always talking about in education, where we want the student to have that opportunity to learn and try again and get the best that they can.

Matt Goodwin (11:28):
You know, the, the whole submission workflow—you highlighted and talked about all of the things that are so very critical and important in that learning process and really the submission workflow and the reassign is super critical to that. It doesn't seem like an easy feat to get this right. Like, it seems way easier to screw this up than to get it right. Maybe walk us through a little bit about, you know, your approach and how you ended up where you did in terms of the workflow and design.

Jody Sailor (12:02):
I'm going to let Augusto actually share a little bit about what we did from the technical perspective and how this works for the teacher and student. But really, you know, I want to reiterate the fact that this also is something that we were hearing from users on a regular basis. And Jenn, you hit it on the head with the whole COVID time. We're seeing this much more often and more frequently requested that teachers need just an easy way to provide that feedback and help students to see when they need to redo something. So it goes to why don't you talk a little bit about what exactly we did within the system so that you know, how it looks and what teachers should expect to see?

Augusto Callejas (12:41):
Okay. So when an instructor is viewing a student's submission in SpeedGrader, they may see a reassigned button that is disabled at the bottom right of the screen. And what so I'll discuss about what the caveats are for actually seeing that button, because sometimes you don't see it, but in terms of the workflow if an instructor decides that the student needs to resubmit the assignment, they first need to provide some feedback in the form of a submission comment. So once they add that submission comment, the reassigned button becomes available to use. And once they click that the student on their side will see in their list view of the dashboard, a redo tag that appears next to their assignment, along with the comment to give context of why they need to redo the assignment for the student.

Matt Goodwin (13:41):
That makes perfect sense. Like I can see why you would have that disabled without the comment, right? It would, it could be super confusing to a student. I'm just seeing this redo tag show up. Maybe I submitted the wrong thing and I didn't know I submitted the wrong thing. And so I see that that workflow being super useful and invaluable.

Jody Sailor (14:02):
Yeah. We really focused on that feedback as the important piece here. And then also Matt, and you can imagine students thinking, Oh, Canvas, didn't get my submission. Or my teacher has gone a little crazy forgot. We already did this assignment or all those different things we hear. Right. So we wanted to make it very clear that yes, the teacher has seen your initial submission. They have provided you that feedback. And they do know that they have requested that you redo that assignment.

Matt Goodwin (14:27):
Which is huge, right. Because the system is only part of the equation. There is the human element, right? How many how many times as a student or a teacher have we heard the excuse loop, right? And, well, I didn't see it. I never got it. Oh, I must've submitted the wrong thing. This at least takes the system air out of that equation and make sure that there's a context around that that redo.

Jody Sailor (14:53):

Jenn Mitchell (14:54):
Yeah. It brings me back to the time when I just got a comment that said on one of my final papers, my senior year of college, that just said, Hey, Jenn, that dog, that dog wants won't bark. So I'm just imagining and seeing that in Canvas now. But I do love that idea. And, and I think also on the K-12 side, it helps parents know, right. If parents are assisting students, they know what the mistake was, whether to Matt's point, maybe they submitted the wrong thing or there's something that, you know, they could use some additional help on at home.

Matt Goodwin (15:25):
That peels back the layers a little bit into what kind of the student Jenn was, I guess.

Jody Sailor (15:30):
I think I pushed that literary theory a bit too far that time.

Matt Goodwin (15:38):
I wasn't always a great student either. Right. I had my fair share. What else should we know about about this workflow? And again, timing, this is available now with this March release, correct?

Jody Sailor (15:49):

Augusto Callejas (15:49):
Yeah. So there's a, a couple of details. So first the assignment either needs to have a due date or the section of students that you assign the assignment to. It needs to have a due date so that it appears properly in the list view of the dashboard. Also it respects the maximum allowed attempts. If you have that enabled on the assignment, then it won't let you reassign it. If the student has reached their maximum allowed of submission attempts.

Matt Goodwin (16:20):
Interesting. So, so if, if let's say you only get one attempt on this, that resubmit button will not show.

Augusto Callejas (16:26):
Yeah. Well it will show up, it'll be a disabled. Yeah. And also the teacher will see if they hover over that button details on why they can't click on the button. Oh, good. That's helpful. And then finally, just real quick, I'll just say that it only currently supports online submission types.

Matt Goodwin (16:43):
Which makes sense. I guess, you know, if, if it's an online submission type or if it's a paper submission type you're already having that discussion with the student in, you know, real time, real life face-to-face or via Zoom or whatever that makes sense.

Jody Sailor (16:59):
Absolutely. Or they're like Jenn's teacher, right, tat writes it at the top of the page and hands it right back. So they don't need to work within Canvas as well.

Jenn Mitchell (17:08):
In red pen.

Jody Sailor (17:09):
The red pen that scars.

Matt Goodwin (17:17):
Well, awesome. We're super excited what this is going to do for students and teachers as they're going through the submission submission workloads. So really appreciate the hard work passed along. Thanks.

Jody Sailor (17:30):
Yeah, we absolutely will. I do want to add one more thing, actually. We have received questions about why we retain the initial due date when we're asking students to resubmit? And we actually did that intentionally. The reason being that we have a lot of instructors that really rely on the grade pass back from Canvas to their student information systems. And if we were to change that, it becomes a differentiated assignment, which those do not pass. So we wanted to make sure that teachers still have the capability of passing these grades to their student information systems as they would typically expect. So that's one thing to also keep in mind, as you're looking at this, it's not going to change or let you set a new due date for that student.

Matt Goodwin (18:13):
And I imagine also would be helpful in setting up like conditions around late submissions, right? If you're saying you're docked X percent per day, that this is late you know, if the student rushed something in last minute, just so that they were on time, but then they get it reassigned. They would still be impacted by that discounted grade. I would, I would imagine. So yeah, it's not going to undo anything that teachers have set up for their course and how it should behave with grading. That's cool.

Jody Sailor (18:52):
Right. And it would allow then for the teachers to be able to look at those submissions in those timestamps to make the decisions that they think are the right decisions for that student's final grade.

Matt Goodwin (19:00):
Awesome. Looking forward to the feedback, the early feedback from people using this feature. Thanks again.

Matt Goodwin (19:05):
We've got a newcomer to the program, Manoel Quirino. Did I get that right?

Manoel Quirino (19:12):
Yeah, almost.

New Speaker (19:19):
I'll take an almost. But today they're here to talk about webcam submissions or webcam capture submissions, which is huge. It's something that we haven't supported really well in the past or at all in most cases. And we're excited to add this feature. Why don't you tell us a little bit more about why we did it and how to use it?

Jody Sailor (19:41):
Yeah. So the reason that we did this was we hear from users all the time that students are often doing a paper-based assignment or an activity at their desks such as like a word sorting or some sort of activity and lots of centers in our elementary classrooms, especially, or workshops depending on where you are, what you call them. But they need the ability for students to just quickly hold up their paper, take a picture and submit it through Canvas. And the way that they do that currently is they either have to switch over to the app where we do support that pretty easily, or they're borrowing mom's phone, or they're borrowing some other device, then they have to send the pictures to themselves, download, and then re-upload, and it can be quite a few steps and quite an experience, especially for our youngest learners to try and get those into Canvas.

Jody Sailor (20:28):
So we wanted to make sure it was an easier process for them to simply hold up that paper. You know, math teachers are very excited about this because they want to be able to see the work the students have done so they can now upload their, their scratch paper or their actual assignment with the work actually on it. So that's the why and the, what it is, is just being able to take that picture quickly and submit it through Canvas. And Manoel, do you want to talk a little bit about how they do this and where they would go to actually use this functionality?

Manoel Quirino (21:00):
Yeah, sure. So in a normal submission page, when students go into the submission currently, as Jody said, the users has to take another device like a phone, take a picture, send it to their PC and upload as a normal file. But now yeah, we add user webcam. So users can click there. We are prompted we prompt our permission page asking users to allow permission to use their webcam. We display their webcam and users can take a photo. Users, can re retry again, select, take another photo. And then after they are good with the photo that they choose they can they select, okay. And they can upload the photo as our normal files. So the whole process was made simple. Now you'll just see each student doesn't have to have another device just to submit their work. They can use the web cam, and they can kind of hold their work to the web can. They can hit a button and upload very easy.

Matt Goodwin (22:16):
So we're talking about supporting a webcam on their Chromebooks or their laptops not on their handheld mobile devices, right. That's the big difference. Mobile historically has been a little easier to capture those images. But we've it's been rough for a lot of our students. Especially like you said, Jody, the, the little learners to you know, be working on an assignment on their Chromebook and figure out how to submit that that physical artifact into Canvas.

Jody Sailor (22:50):
Exactly. And just to clarify Manoell mentioned that this is in the file upload assignment type. So when they go into that file upload, they can still select the regular files that they've always been able to upload there, but there will also be that second button that says, you know, capture the image from the webcam.

Matt Goodwin (23:08):
So if I've captured it already in some other method with that file upload, I can use that select browse to the file, or I can select camera. And like you said, Manuel, it'll make sure if you've not set up permissions, it'll prompt you for permission, grant permission to your webcam, and then you can do the capture and then it behaves like you would expect it to where you can retake if it was blurry, if the kid's not holding still enough or whatever. Yeah. Been there done that myself many times.

Jody Sailor (23:39):
And this is actually part of our March release. So it will be alive and well as of March 20.

Matt Goodwin (23:47):
Awesome. So how do users actually turn this on?

Jody Sailor (23:51):
This will actually just be enabled for all users across the board. So it will just be turned on for everyone to use as they see fit.

Matt Goodwin (24:00):
Awesome. So they don't even have to do anything special to have access to this awesome feature. They can just use file upload submission type as they normally would. And this is just an extra option for them. Tools like this are incredibly valuable, especially I think now with, you know, a huge number of the population, continuing with distance learning and having to submit things all digitally and not physically. So thank you for your hard work.

Jody Sailor (24:29):
Absolutely. Thanks again, having us, Matt.

Manoel Quirino (24:32):
Thanks, Matt.

Matt Goodwin (24:36):
Let's welcome Peter D'Orsey to the show, Pete, you've been on here before.

Ryan Lufkin (24:39):
Yeah, welcome back.

Peter D'Orsey (24:39):
Nice to be here. Thanks for having me again.

Ryan Lufkin (24:45):
Yeah. So you head development for Portfolium and all things Portfolium. So we wanted to have you on and talk a little bit about having some changes to how we're organizing the products and things like that.

Peter D'Orsey (24:59):
Sounds good.

Ryan Lufkin (24:59):
Yeah. So tell us a little bit about kind of how we're positioning it now.

Peter D'Orsey (25:04):
Sure. In the early early days of Portfolium, we were largely an ePortfolio tool. So a lot of the messaging around it was heavily structured on ePortfolios as being the core product. We added two products after that. One focused on assessment, specifically at the program level, and the second being pathways and badging. As time went on, we decided that it made a lot of sense to direct customers towards one of those two avenues—either you're heavily focused on the institution and the outcomes and curriculum and how that's affecting students top down, or you're interested in putting students on paths and journeys to better understand where they are credential them, and, you know, have that flow into an ePortfolio. So by having a bifurcation of those two kind of lanes the product's a little bit clearer now.

Ryan Lufkin (25:59):
Yeah, we looked a lot of the use cases and people really did fall into one of the two paths. Right.

Matt Goodwin (26:05):
And to be clear, before we get too far down the path we're talking about Portfolium, which is primarily a higher ed tool at the moment, right? Like there are definitely some—there are some use cases and some advantages that could be benefited from our K-12 population, but that's not really our focus at the moment. So when we're talking about, you know, pathways for within an institution, we are talking about higher ed.

Peter D'Orsey (26:29):
Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, a lot of the tooling is still around what we call student success or workforce readiness or things like that, where you would want to take that work that you've been doing inside the LMS and making it public and showing that to potential employers or internship programs and things like that.

Ryan Lufkin (26:48):
That gets a little more problematic with younger students, right. With privacy issues. And so that's generally the reasons that it's higher ed focus, but again, yeah, we bought, I mean, Instructure purchased Portfolium in 2019. So it's, it's, it's been a minute. And you know, I still, it's such a, it's such a great portfolio tool. You know, I wish I had it when I was in college and had saved. It was allowed me to have saved all those projects I worked on, but I could have used when I wanted to get a job, but that wasn't really the case way back then.

Matt Goodwin (27:20):
Well, you're old. So, you know that said, you know, what are the advantages or what, what's the latest and greatest that students today can take advantage of or institutions?

Peter D'Orsey (27:34):
Specifically to Portfolium you know, we've seen the high adoption across pathways as institutions are looking for kind of alternative ways to express remote learning. Pathways and badging are a great way to do that. You can get a very high level view of your skills and credentials from a single tool. And as you know, education is changing having tools to show outcome effectiveness to still get accredited and those things, the program assessment tool has been, you know, very successful at that as well.

Matt Goodwin (28:09):
Yeah. And not that this wasn't useful before it absolutely was, but I can't think of a more critical time for a tool like this to exist.

Ryan Lufkin (28:19):
Yeah. There's so much conversation right now around adult learners and re-skilling, and up-skilling those adult learners and, you know, non-degree pathways, like how do we, how do we help people develop new skills and show those skills to employers without necessarily having to get a traditional degree? Like, that's just the—these are all hot topics that have been made even hotter by the last year they'll be crisis.

Peter D'Orsey (28:39):
Yeah. And then ePortfolio also being digital helps when you just want to kind of attach it to a social media profile or an email, and somebody can get a kind of holistic view of what you've done. It helps to really surmise that without having to do a face to face.

Ryan Lufkin (28:57):
Yeah. Well, I know we've got some exciting stuff coming out later in the year with Portfolium so you will be back on the show, we'll have you back on the podcast yet again but thanks for coming on and giving us a little bit of an update.

Ryan Lufkin (29:09):
It is our pleasure to welcome Eddie Small to the TLDR podcast.

Matt Goodwin (29:14):
Welcome Eddie.

Eddie Small (29:15):
Hey, thanks for, thanks for having me guys excited.

Jenn Mitchell (29:20):
So for those of you who don't know Eddie, he's a bit of a Canvas customer royalty. Tell us about the podcasts that you've been doing for a while, for those who aren't familiar with it.

Eddie Small (29:29):
I don't, I don't know if I'd call it royalty, but I was a, a previous customer of Canvas and just a huge cheerleader of, of the brand. So, and about a year and a half ago, we decided to sit down and launch a fan base on official podcast of Canvas LMS with my good friend, Marcus Painter, who is a, an educator here in Northern Indiana. And we were just sitting around the table. We actually were at a conference. We had a chance to do a digital leadership conference for Indiana teachers. And we we met and kind of sat around a, it was a table and I just always remember a small table at an AirBnB. And I said, dude, I got this idea about maybe doing like a, I want to do a podcast. Cause I, I tried one before it was called a Small Indiana, the ed tech podcast. And it was just me going around telling stories of educators and ed tech, people in Indiana. It was very short about four episodes.

Eddie Small (30:30):
And not that that's any indication of what ed tech is like in Indiana, but mostly it was mostly, it had to do with the fact that I just, it was hard. It was something really difficult. And I taught audio video production for eight years at a high school that I graduated from. And my students always asked like, Mr. Small, you should have a podcast. And I was like, no, I don't, it's a lot of work. I don't want to do that. And I found out really quick after four episodes, I was pretty much done. So add a little bit of a hiatus, but I really wanted to get back into the podcast game and knew that Canvas was a product I was really passionate about and he was really passionate about, and we had all this experience, but it was kind of a weird idea because he had been what we call the OG in Canvas.

Eddie Small (31:13):
He had been on Canvas for a long time, basically since its inception and had been using the product and I was brand new. So like I was seeing things that maybe he was kind of pushing off to the side as like, well, you know, the old timers, we do it this way. Right. And I always joke about, you know, well, you've been doing this a lot longer than I have. And we just had this really fun banter back and forth just in our daily lives, discussing things that were going on in Canvas and how I was rolling it out and the new stuff that I was seeing. And we wanted to just put that out there into the world and then try to see if we could connect people that were doing really great things with the platform to other people that were potentially gonna listen to us. So we weren't quite sure how successful it would be. And we've been very lucky, like tons of tons of people have been following us and re-tweeting, and, and listening to the podcast, which is awesome. But it really is a lot of just me and Marcus finding tips and tricks from people out there that like, that are way smarter than we are to tell us how to use the product and has definitely helped in our careers as being educators and, and ed tech.

Ryan Lufkin (32:14):
We've talked for a long time about how do we do some, some cross podcasting with you guys, but the exciting news is that you are now a part of the Instructure family, right?

Eddie Small (32:25):
Yeah. I've been poached as they would say. No, I think I, I, you know, it was a really hard decision to leave education. That's something I've, I've thought a lot about over the last, you know, eight months getting into the corporate world after being in education for almost 12 years. And, and being a part of this family, but I wouldn't have done it for anyone other than Instructure and Canvas, right. Because I was such a big fan of just the brand itself. And knowing the stories of everybody that's been super successful here made it made it a little bit of an easy transition, but I'd been working for the learning services department for the last six months. And Mark Boothe, who obviously director of digital here asked me if I wanted to come over and do do customer marketing. So I was very excited, obviously this is like the dream job, because I just wanted to continue to tell great stories like I was doing in the podcast, or I was doing on, you know, every day on Twitter. I wanted to continue to tell those stories in an official role. And now I can do that.

Ryan Lufkin (33:25):
Jenn and I get to work with you a lot more on customer case studies and testimonial videos. And as soon as we get to go back out into the world and visit customers on campus, we'll probably be traveling together.

Eddie Small (33:37):
Right. I love it. Yeah. The, the world is crazy right now. Right. That's that's the one thing I miss because I am obviously very social and I think that's, that was kind of the biggest transition as I was going to school. I was tell people in my old department, I put the backpack on every day for 14 years, you know, I was walking into these buildings and I was able to collaborate with all these educators and students. And then all of a sudden I'm at home, you know, working—working from home in front of a little computer webcam, and then talking to people halfway across the world, which is, which is incredible. Like, that's, that's a fun thing to do, but then you have to deal with the other stresses of the outside pandemic. But yes, I'm so excited. Listen, I'm excited 'cause I'm ready to get back into the real world and see people. Right.

Jenn Mitchell (34:23):
And I want to go back to something you mentioned about the difficulty of kind of leaving education. We have a lot of former educators that work at Instructure, and I think that's what makes the Instructure family, you know, so powerful, but I think what's good is in this role where you're really focusing on customer marketing, it's, you're able to impact a lot of, you know, a wider variety of educators, like you said, across the world and how they can better implement, you know, Canvas with fidelity to really make that impact.

Eddie Small (34:54):
Yeah. I think for me it was a—it became a natural transition between every role that I had taken on after leaving the classroom 'cause I've been out of the classroom for about four years. I wanted to continue to, to make a greater impact, right. At first it was, Oh, I'm going to move to a larger district because now I'm going to greatly impact these teachers in their ed tech journey. And then when I, when I moved on from that district to, you know, the next thing which was career and tech ed, well, those were my people. Like I was now, I'm going to be able to do a larger impact on people that I really felt passionate about, which was career and tech ed and, educators using educational technology tools and non-traditional formats. And then being involved with, you know, the association of career and technical education and kind getting involved in those PLCs. And PLNs really helped me have a greater impact.

Eddie Small (35:42):
And then when I got this opportunity, you know, you sit down at the kitchen table and essentially the family says you will never have another opportunity to have more impact than you would in this role. So and that's, I think that's what drew me to being a part of this. And that's, what's continued to drive me now as, as your senior manager of customer marketing, which is just to tell these really great stories and to hopefully, you know, impact those districts out there that may feel a little stuck right now. That may feel like there, there isn't a whole lot of positives happening because of you know, the situation they've been forced into because of the pandemic. But honestly there have been some great stories and we just we're scratching the surface of what is out there to be able to tell. So it's, I'm really excited. We get to that.

Matt Goodwin (36:29):
I hope that, you know, obviously the, the impact that you'll have in your current role is tremendous. I hope you don't stop doing the podcast. Either though, because I think the audience that you guys serve in the podcast and hearing those stories it is huge. It is a huge impact in the difference between, you know, what we're trying to do. We're talking about the products that, the features that we're releasing and how that might impact the classroom. This has nothing to do with how teachers use it on a day to day, day to day basis. So I hope you guys never stopped doing the podcast.

Eddie Small (37:09):
Yeah, I don't, there is no plans. There is no current plans. And honestly, when we, when we started the podcast, we got a call from Canvas marketing and here Marcus and I, you know, teachers in Indiana just started a podcast. We were a little worried. We were going to be shut down, you know, like, Oh, okay. The man's going to shut us down. That's fine. We had our fun, it was, we were like six episodes in but they didn't, it was, it was a lot of conversation about you know, how, how can we help? Is there anything that you'd be willing to help us out with? We can help you out. And it was like this really good relationships and partnership with the company when we first started, before I started working for Instructure and yeah, we have no, no intention of stopping.

Eddie Small (37:48):
Now, I will tell you that the podcast launches have gotten a little farther apart because we are kind of in a weird space right now with, with COVID. And I think a lot of educators are just a little bit burnt out, which is fine. I think, I think a lot of people are but there is, it looks like there's light at the end of the tunnel, right? People are getting vaccinated and people are going back to school, which is fantastic. And we've seen that too. So hopefully we can, we can tick it up and, and, and kind of stick to that. We do about two episodes a month if we can. But if, you know, if we don't, it's not a big deal, we're not on like a set schedule. Which is great, but we do yeah, we're not, there's no plans.

Ryan Lufkin (38:29):
Talk to me a year ago about like, what do we do? You know, first off I think were saying can you teach us how to do a grownup podcast? And then after that, we were like, how can we do a crossover with you guys to make sure, you know, because that said, we, we serve, you know, kind of different purposes, but we love what you guys are doing. And then COVID hit and everything went on the back burner there. And so we, this is kind of the first time you've been on the show, but we kind of, we look forward to actually doing, you know, some more crossover with you guys and how do we, how do we keep kind of serving both of these purposes?

Matt Goodwin (39:02):
And it, it was funny 'cause I remember when we were talking about starting this podcast and we were very careful to not step on anything that you guys were doing. We, we loved right from the get-go and wanted it to continue. And, and we were very careful that we did not want this to impact your show and what you guys were doing. I think it's a perfect marriage of features plus use.

Jenn Mitchell (39:29):
And as a reminder, just for people who are not listening and want to subscribe, tell us just, you know, Canvascasters available on all major formats?

Eddie Small (39:42):
Officially The Canvascasters podcast. And we are on all platforms, Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, any, any place where you get your pods. Uh we are, we are a part of that.

Ryan Lufkin (39:54):
I think we will probably put a link in the show notes too. So it'll make it easy for folks to find it.

Eddie Small (39:58):
Yeah, absolutely.

Ryan Lufkin (40:00):
Awesome. Well, thank you. This, this is your first time I promise you. It'll probably not be your last time on the podcast. So we're excited to have you on board. It's good to see you.

Eddie Small (40:09):
Yeah. Great seeing you guys.

Jenn Mitchell (40:14):
So they say March comes in like a lion or out like a lamb. I think we went into this podcast like a lion and we're coming out like a lion.

Ryan Lufkin (40:21):
David Lyons.

Matt Goodwin (40:21):
Happy spring.

Ryan Lufkin (40:22):
The ides of March.

Matt Goodwin (40:23):
Are you two sports ball folks? I'm not really a sports ball folks anymore.

Ryan Lufkin (40:28):
I'm kind of a sports ball. And my son is really a sports baller. So I kind of am by proxy. So, many of our customer institutions are actually playing in the tournament. Good luck to all of you.

Matt Goodwin (40:39):
Sports ball.

Ryan Lufkin (40:39):
Sports ball. I'm going to go finish my corn beef for the St. Patrick's day holiday. See you next time, everybody.

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!

Microsoft Immersive Reader—David Lyons
Submission Reassignments—Jody Sailor and Augusto Callejas
Webcam Assignment Submissions—Jody Sailor and Manoel Quirino
Portfolium Updates—Peter D'Orsey
Customer Marketing & Canvascasters Podcast—Eddie Small