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Marsha Reske, Dean of Distance Education at American River College (ARC), speaks at Can*Innovate, which was held Aug. 14, 2017, at ARC in Sacramento, Calif.As colleges geared up for fall term, staff and faculty who use Canvas gathered for a day-long event to share effective practices, build community and learn about integrating student support tools and services into online and hybrid courses.

The Can*Innovate event, held on Aug. 14, was the first-ever Canvas user group meeting specifically for California Community Colleges (CCC) faculty and staff, and brought together nearly 300 people representing 25 colleges from around the state. In fact, registration had to close prior to the event as it was filled to capacity!

The event was hosted by American River College and the Los Rios Community College District, with support from Instructure, the CCC Online Education Initiative and the Los Rios Colleges Federation of Teachers. The energy and enthusiasm brought by participants was palpable and, as I have traversed the state and visited numerous colleges, it seems representative of what faculty, staff and students demonstrate when Canvas comes up in conversation.

Learning, Networking Opportunities

Can*Innovate featured 33 breakout sessions from 57 presenters, plenty of time for participants to get connected to one another, and representatives from several OEI vendor partners on hand to talk with faculty or college staff about the resources they offer. Some of the workshops were also streamed live to the Canvas Community website.

I had the privilege of offering the morning keynote and providing an overview of the OEI online learning ecosystem — with Canvas at the core, and providing integrated access to helpful student and faculty resources. The afternoon keynote was presented by Jared Stein, Instructure’s Vice President of Product Strategy for Higher Education, who shared information about the Canvas roadmap and how these innovations provide more tools to help students be successful.

A Can*Innovate session discussing the Online Education Initiative online learning ecosystem was led by Bonnie Peters, OEI Chief Student Services Officer; Jory Hadsell, OEI Executive Director; and Logan Murray, OEI Project Analyst.Connecting The Colleges

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time may recall former OEI Executive Director Pat James as having said, “Canvas is making us more of a system.” That is a point I have reiterated in this blog and in face-to-face conversations as well, and this event was evidence of that. There is tremendous energy that builds when our faculty are connected, no longer in the silos of our old learning management systems, but instead building relationships inside and outside of their own colleges to connect with others.

Canvas provides that platform as a starting point, and I am committed — along with the rest of the OEI team — to ensuring that the OEI functions as a social and technology infrastructure for faculty and others to collaborate and innovate in ways new and exciting ways that foster student success. This was clearly on display at Can*Innovate, and I’m so proud of the work that has taken place on the ground by faculty, staff and students at so many colleges to move toward a system that pulls us together and creates new opportunities.

More Events Being Planned

If you missed Can*Innovate, there will be future opportunities to come together in this way. Plans are underway to secure a host location in Southern California for a spring event. Initially, our plans are to hold rotating events around the state twice a year. As this evolves, we will learn and adjust course as needed. The @ONE team will provide more information as details are confirmed.

Lastly, I want to recognize the many hard-working individuals who made this event happen, as it came off “without a hitch.” This event has set a high bar for future CCC Canvas user group events and it could not have happened without the dedication of staff, facility access, and student and volunteer time that went into the conference logistics and programming.

Every day, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have a system that comes together like a big family, and that we have so many creative and resourceful people in our midst. I’m looking forward to the next CCC Canvas user event, and hope this mode of helping people connect continues to be a valuable resource to colleges across the system.

Jory Hadsell, EdD, is Executive Director of
the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative



CCC TechEDge News and CCC Technology for Student Success News ceased publication in 2018.

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