There I was, sitting, at the restaurant early and ready for my first date with Canvas. I was dressed to the nines and all my courses were published and ready to go. Shortly after I arrived, my students began to appear and take their seats. We waited for the honored guest to arrive. Then we waited some more. Occasionally we would see a glimpse of Canvas and start a conversation only to have it disappear once again. The flickering continued through the entire meal long after desert and coffee were served and eaten. Finally, we gave up and started talking amongst ourselves using hastily made paper copies of our files and drawing on napkins.
During the time that all this was going on, my first thoughts were, “See! Canvas is no better than (fill in name of former LMS)! Why did you spend all that time this summer switching over all your courses only to have no access the first day? Stupid idea!”
But then, I stopped and went to my second thoughts. “No”, I said to myself. “Canvas IS better than (fill in name of former LMS) and here is why. First, during the outages they explained what was happening through Twitter updates and updates to support pages. Second, they listened and attempted to directly address concerns. Third, the CEO posted an update in the evening with a thorough explanation of what happened and what was being done to fix it (http://voice.instructure.com/blog/bid/210688/A-Bad-Day-for-Canvas). Fourth, they followed through on their plans and continued to make updates and improvements the next day and on through the week. “
What does all this sound like? It sounds to me like “effective communication” and “attention to critical issues”. As first dates go, my first date with Canvas was rough. But will there be a second and a third date for me? You bet and hopefully many more after that. Instructure is a young and energetic company with great ideas and, recent history being an exception, a solid product. I am willing to apply a Mulligan on this round.
On the net, traffic happens and sometimes your system does not really get fully tested for traffic until the traffic appears. I am betting that Instructure learned a tremendous amount this week and the kind of outages that happened to us on the West Coast will not happen again.