Rachel Lee

Challenge Accepted: A Canvas Success Story

Blog Post created by Rachel Lee Employee on Dec 13, 2019

In my role as an onsite and dedicated Instructure Principal Consultant in Broward County, Florida, I am fortunate enough to collaborate on many creative Canvas engagement strategies and projects developed by the district. While the need for creative engagement strategies is not necessarily a new topic, it is often revisited year after year after year. To help facilitate engagement conversations, the Canvas Community provides many articles that are definitely worth a close read. Have you read the following articles? The Canvas Rollout, Training, and Adoption is a collaborative community page with tons of suggestions for all things Canvas. VCSS ran a creative contest during their transition to Canvas that others might want to replicate. A Spoonful of Sugar Helps Canvas Go Down examines district transition planning strategies. Shared Practices: Canvas Rollout Strategies is an ongoing discussion about rollout, adoption, and engagement. And Horse before the Cart is a reflection on the need to figure out the why and purpose first!


My favorite engagement projects are those that help to solve challenges in unique ways. A recent challenge that Canvas was able to help solve was overcoming the difficulty of sharing new information across a district. Does your school, district, institution, or organization struggle with this as well? In Broward County, I collaborated with district specialists who had spent the past couple of years creating, curating and publishing instructional materials. The district needed a way to share these resources and teachers needed to know that these new resources were available. Resources such as:

  • fully developed courses by quarter and semester.
  • TCC & QTI cartridges of resources from textbook providers.
  • integrations with numerous external tools.
  • published courses, modules, and assessments in the Canvas Commons.
  • custom designed account roles for school admins and support personnel.
  • multiple paths for learning more about Canvas and just-in-time training in the Canvas Catalog.


Over and over they would hear, ‘No one knows that these resources are available.” Sound familiar? The leadership team began discussing how Canvas might be able to help and how happy teachers would be if they only knew these resources existed. We joked that “Digital Resources Are Easy As…1, 2, 3!” And boom! My favorite engagement idea was born. We uttered aloud, I wonder if we could use course #123 to as communication gimmick to provide teachers information about all of the incredible digital and instructional materials now available? As it turned out, it was course number not being used and has quickly become one of the most popular courses in the district. Overheard in many conversations is the question, “Is that information in the #123 course?”


This course is organized into 5 sections: Canvas Help, Digital Resources & LTI Tools, and Instructional Materials broken down into K-5 Instructional Materials, 6-8 Instructional Materials, and 9-12 Instructional Materials. 

  • The Canvas help pages discuss syncing grades, link to checklists for starting or ending the school year, detail how to use custom roles, describe where to learn more about Canvas, and much more. 
  • The Digital resources pages share step-by-step guides for each of the products integrated into Canvas, as well as, where to get additional support on each of the products.
  • The Instructional Materials pages detail by grade level band how teachers can find fully developed courses, including the student resources or assessments that go along with their textbooks.

General Patton stated one should “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” And so it is! In Broward County, they are basking not only in the hot Florida sun but also in the exhilaration of this victory!


As I reflect on this success, I hope other community members will join into the conversation sharing their successes and answering the question, “What challenges has Canvas helped your school, district, institution or organization overcome?”