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About Canvas Collections


The immediate spark for Canvas Collections arose from Griffith University's decision to migrate from Blackboard Learn to Canvas. We became aware of the long-known limitations of Canvas' modules functionality. Canvas modules represented a significant step down in both the structural and visual capabilities used by Griffith courses.

The step down was particularly large due to the widespread adoption of the Card Interface tweak in Blackboard (e.g. image below). At last count, the Card Interface had been used by 250+ Griffith courses and had been adopted elsewhere. For more, see these reflections on the Card Interface

A solution to Canvas' limitations was required. Canvas Collections is the result.

Simple Card Interface enabled user interface for a Blackboard course. It shows course cards each with highly visual banner images related to the topics of the connected modules. Each card also includes a relevant description and title. Some include dates associated with modules


Wandering through the related work from the broader Canvas community it became evident that writing your own Javascript solutions was common and apparently somewhat encouraged and enabled by Canvas and Instructure. Writing your own Javascript solution is exactly what happened with the Card Interface. Time to start with Canvas.

Work on Collections started in January 2022. Early releases were vanilla Javascript, horrendous experiences to write, and evidence of the significant learning curve. In early 2023, Collections was re-written using Svelte.


From the middle of 2022 Collections was being used at Griffith University. Initially, as a userscript using "Claytons" Collections to generate static Canvas pages. In July 2022, a version of Collections was installed in Griffith University's Canvas instance.