<h1>Extra Credit: The Canvas Blog</h1>
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Apr 19, 2013

By Mitch Macfarlane

Do you have a good idea for Canvas?

Sometimes people have really good ideas. For instance, there’s a bacon alarm clock that wakes you up with the smell of bacon. Or a way to rent a grandma when yours is just too far away. Or slowly building up an immunity to iocane powder. Maybe you have a really good idea for a new product feature. And maybe you want to know how to sneak it onto the roadmap. Well, the good news is there's no sneaking necessary. Instructure has a number of established channels for soliciting and evaluating product input.

Princess BrideAs you wish.

As much as we love education– and some of us here have extensive experience in education– most of us aren’t educators, we're technologists. We take hard problems and apply the best technology available to solve those problems. That's why we need open channels of communication with the Canvas Community.

Product input comes from a number of sources:

1) Product Discussion Forums: We provide a forum for members of the Canvas community to share ideas and garner support from other Canvas users. This provides an opportunity for Canvas users to interact with each other. Occasionally the Product team will chime in with comments or a question, but we're really looking for the community to find common ground with each other. The votes and comments are very important in helping us determine which features will have the greatest impact on learning.

2) Customer and Technical Support: Every Canvas institution has an assigned Account Relationship Manager (ARM). We ask our ARMs to talk about product features and concerns with their clients and to compile those into a prioritized list. With additional input from Implementation Managers working with new clients and our Technical Support staff who understand the urgency and frequency of bug requests, we get a very clear sense of where improvements need to be made.

3) Sales: Our Sales staff constantly talks to new institutions, making contacts across the education space. It's amazing just how different and unique each institution is in their approach to teaching and learning. Even with nearly 400 schools now using Canvas, we still learn new things every day. And our prospective Canvas institutions provide tremendous insight into what we ought to be working on next.

Once we have all the feedback, it’s combined and evaluated. First, we look for urgent support items or problem areas for our current clients. If something is obstructing learning, we make every effort to quickly squash it. We then look for consensus across channels. If all the channels are saying the same thing, it's pretty clear we need to tackle that item. Lastly, we look for really innovative ideas that perhaps don't have widespread support but have tremendous potential to improve learning and we research those further. And that’s how the proverbial sausage gets made.

So, if you have an idea, we’d love to hear about it. Pick whichever of the above approaches that works best for you and send it our way.

Oh, and “no more rhyming, I mean it.”

“Anybody want a peanut?”

Keep learning,
Mitch

PS: INCONCEIVABLE!

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