Ryan John is the author of Canvas LMS Course Design – Second Edition, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt. This book is going to be released on June 9th, 2021.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Ryan: Educational technology and music technology.
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Ryan: I was approached by Packt back in 2013 to write the first edition of Canvas LMS Course Design based on my work during the transition to Canvas at Rider University and Westminster Choir College. I had seen the power of Canvas as a phenomenal Learning Management System, and I was thrilled to be able to help teachers around the world use it to improve their teaching.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Ryan: I’d already spent several years getting to know the Canvas user interface and features quite well before writing the 1st edition, so for the 2nd edition I spent a good amount of time looking through all of the fantastic updates and improvements that have happened with Canvas over the last 7 years.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Ryan: Since Canvas is such an innovative and user-focused service, there were some features that were updated between the time I’d written the 1st draft of certain chapters and the time I was proofing the final versions of the chapters. While this was a challenge to redo those sections of the book to reflect the most current features, it speaks to how Canvas is constantly improving and adapting to meet the needs of teachers, students, and guardians.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Ryan: I truly think that Canvas is one of the most robust, intuitive, and relevant learning management systems out there, and I see Canvas leading the way in the future regarding features, ease-of-use, and innovation to meet the shifting needs of those within the field of education.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Ryan: It can be intimidating to learn how to use a new Learning Management System, and while there are lots of more philsophical and pedagogically-focused books out there about about online learning, the 2nd edition of Canvas LMS Course Design is one of the only books to provide step-by-step guidance through using the main features of Canvas.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Ryan: I hope readers come away feeling empowered to use the features of Canvas to improve their teaching and to better meet the needs of their students. As teacher, everything we do is in the service of our students’ growth and development, so I hope readers are able to take what they learn from the book to harness the power of Canvas to improve the lives of their students.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Ryan: Be patient with yourself, don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help, check out the Canvas Guides if you’re feeling really stuck, and keep the big picture in mind while you’re working on designing your courses.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Ryan: I frequently update my website (www.ryanjohn.nyc) with resources and news; feel free to check it out!
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Ryan: Packt has been very proactive and diligent in my experience with them–I was thrilled to write Canvas LMS Course Design and revise it for the 2nd edition.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Ryan: I tried to organize the book in a way that would be practically useful for everyday teachers trying to build a course with Canvas. I started with outlines of each section and chapter to ensure the key features were covered, then I steadily made my way through each section for the writing process. Whenever I re-read or revised sections, I always tried to imagine I was a teacher who had never used Canvas before to make sure each step made sense.
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Ryan: Keeping the ultimate purpose and audience of your writing in mind can be challenging when working through the process of writing an instructional book, but it’s imperative for the writing to be effective. For me, I always tried to remind myself of the teachers that Canvas LMS Course Design could help as well as their students who would benefit from their expertise.
You can find Ryan John’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here