Open Letter to Instructure / Canvas LMS

Instructure recently announced that their Canvas LMS will be open source for a basic edition.

We see this announcement in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Here is the page where they talk about open source. They made an awesome Viral Video with homage to the Apple 1984 commercial. My SI124 students should take note of this video and what it means for idea diffusion when a market is locked in on a seemingly obvious market solution. I may use this video as a final exam question :).

Here is my open letter to Instructure that I also posted on the Chronicle article.

This is a very cool development. Even though I was one of the founders of Sakai, through IMS I work with virtually everyone in the market place, commercial and otherwise. One more participant in the open source area is purely a great idea. Open Source is not Moodle or Sakai and commercial is not just Desire2Learn and Blackboard. There is a rich ecosystem of choices. Products like LearningObjects, Jenzabar, OLAT, and ATutor are all real players in the space and each brings their own wonderful creativity to bear on the problems of teaching with technology.

For me, this is about teachers and students and giving those teachers and students choices. What I really want to see as the next evolution of the LMS marketplace is a situation where teachers can increasingly choose amongst a wide range of outstanding (and well-integrated) choices. So the market can become more heterogeneous and a campus population will no longer be held hostage by an single enterprise choice made mostly by IT folks thinking about system maintainability. I would encourage you to think about ways to provide your services to faculty members without forcing wholesale LMS replacement.

Think about infiltrating campuses virally and then when they wake up and 5 percent of the faculty members on a particular campus are choosing your solution then start charging the campus. And when 70 percent of the faculty are choosing your product – take over as the enterprise default. This is not as far-fetched as it might seem.

I will be in the Salt Lake City Airport in a few hours in between flights. Too bad we could not have coffee to talk about this and draw some pictures on coffee-stained napkins.

Welcome to the Jungle.