Easier Interaction: Canvas Skill for Amazon Alexa

Last week at InstructureCon, we released the Canvas Skill for Amazon Alexa, which helps students stay connected with their Canvas courses in the easiest, most natural way possible: by asking.

The Skill lets students who have an Alexa-enabled device simply "ask Canvas" things like…

-What are my grades?

-Do I have anything missing?

-What's due on Friday?

-Are there any new announcements?

Alexa will tell students what they need to know—right that moment, using whatever information is already in their teachers' Canvas course sites.

Amazon Alexa

And that's important for Canvas teachers to know: You don't have to do anything differently or keep track of anything new in Canvas to take advantage of Alexa; the Canvas Skill for Alexa is much like our mobile apps in that it delivers the same information students would find when they log in using a web browser, just in a different format or mode.

Part of what's so exciting about our work with Alexa is that it mirrors an important shift in our connected world: the rise of multimodal interaction—interacting with sight, sound, touch, and text, often simultaneously. It might sound unusual or futuristic, but it’s actually become a ubiquitous way of interacting with information—we do it every day in the physical world and in conversations with others.

Technology is making our interactions with the digital landscape easier and more natural. For Canvas, this means more opportunities to innovate in the user experience—not so much because voice is new and cool, but because it’s one more way to lower the barriers to information and tools that we believe will empower learners and instructors alike.

Amazon echo

If you want to join the conversation about voice services and digital assistants for Canvas, including the new Canvas Skill for Alexa, log in to the Community site: https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas.

Keep Learning,

Jared Stein
Vice President of Higher Ed Strategy, Instructure