Canvas Makes Voice-Enabled Technology Capabilities More Open

Canvas is now open sourcing the code for Canvas skill creation within the Amazon Alexa environment. The new, more open environment within the Canvas skill for Amazon Alexa, which initially launched last year, makes way for significant growth in the numbers and types of skills that can be synced to Canvas.

“When it comes to 21st-century education, students and teachers want 21st-century solutions to enhance teaching and learning,” said Melissa Loble, SVP, Custom Success and Partnerships, at Instructure. “With the release of Canvas Skill for Amazon Alexa we enabled users to link their Canvas account in the Alexa app, then simply ask Alexa for details about their courses. Now by open sourcing the code, we’re enabling our institutions to expand the cooperation of Canvas and Alexa in nearly any way they can imagine.”

The last few years have seen a proliferation of voice services, such as Amazon Alexa, in ever-expanding roles. Designed to make it easy for people to ask questions, perform quick tasks, and easily get information from their devices, these applications continue to evolve the way we interact with technology.

By open sourcing the code to the Canvas skill for Amazon Alexa, the makers of Canvas enabled the roughly 350,000 members of their online customer community to drive innovative applications that can be deployed on Amazon Alexa. These applications move beyond the skills already being developed by Canvas, such as helping users craft a new announcement, providing feedback to students or checking in on at-risk students. Canvas’ goal of open-sourcing this code is to lower the barriers to information and tools to help empower learners and instructors alike to create skills that can improve learning outcomes and experiences.

“We’ve seen the emergence of virtual reality, augmented reality, and other tools allowing multi-modal interaction. We envision the power of the community really driving where we go with these types of technologies,” said Loble. “The way we interact with technology is evolving, and our approach to supporting those interactions has to evolve as well.”

Additionally, Loble will participate in a panel about voice-enabled technology during the 2018 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. To learn more, visit the EDUCAUSE agenda.