Here we go, Canvas!

From the desk of Dr. Narine Hall

It’s been an exciting week for InSpace as we launch our official integration with Canvas LMS! As a professor at Champlain College, I have long used Canvas for teaching and have appreciated how the platform has helped me to organize and improve the asynchronous learning experiences for my students. In fact, when the pandemic first started last year, I felt confident in my teaching specifically because all of my course content already lived in Canvas, and I knew I could rely on the learning spaces I had crafted for students in the LMS.

However, when all of my courses pivoted fully online last year, as an educator I started to see that there was a missing ingredient in the learning experience on Canvas, something that left my classes incomplete: we struggled to create a true sense of community there. Yes, Canvas had built-in forums and opportunities for asynchronous communication streams, but we lacked tools that enabled a true sense of belonging for students and for teachers. In fact, I had struggled to create community in Canvas even before the pandemic, and had turned instead to other tools like Slack and Google Groups to connect with my students -- but the experience moving across platforms to communicate was clunky and never really enabled us to connect seamlessly in the ways we needed.

But now that InSpace has joined forces with Instructure to integrate into the Canvas LMS, students and teachers can finally enjoy a real community-building space in Canvas using the InSpace virtual communication platform to participate in open-ended virtual study spaces, office spaces where teachers and students can meet one-on-one or in groups, and an informal chat stream where all members of the course can communicate and connect in an enduring way.

This integration is a dream come true for all of us, educators, because now we can use the powerful asynchronous learning tools in Canvas alongside InSpace’s intuitive community-building affordances. What's more, InSpace creates the opportunity for authentic synchronous interactions by offering learners in Canvas a video conferencing environment that is welcoming, human, and always available when students want to stop by. InSpace and Canvas bring together key components of online learning that many of us care deeply about as educators -- asynchronous learning and community building --  to more fully round out the online learning experiences for our students in Canvas. I can’t wait for you to try it out!

At InSpace, we are always curious to know what educators really wish their digital tools could do to improve learning environments. What are your dreams? What do you wish could happen? If you have ideas you would like to see come to life in the world of digital learning on InSpace, we want to hear all about them! Let’s talk and dream big and see what we can come up with to make online and traditional learning even better for teachers and students.