Instructure has responded to the unplanned downtime of its cloud based Canvas LMS on 8/20/12 with a client/public facing communications plan.
This communications plan, which is outlined in a Canvas blog post today, consists of an "opt-in" e-mail to received notification if Canvas should experience any downtime or system slowdowns. Updates will also be posted on Twitter and on the Canvas Status Update page.
Instructure plans to "proactively communicate with our customers within 5-15 minutes" once a problem has been identified.
Let's give credit to Instructure for first publicly talking about the unplanned downtime that it experienced, and now for developing and implementing this communications plan.
Going forward, I'd like to make 3 suggestions to Instructure to build on this good communications work:
1. Utilize Analytics to Expand Communications: One feature I really like about Canvas is the bundled analytics package. I'd like to see the analytics dashboard extend to various elements of system performance. These metrics are not binary, but should be reported on a continuum of system performance. The analytics tools will also give a visual snapshot of performance history.
2. Get Super Geeky Technical: I'd like to see Instructure take the lead in creating a new vocabulary of communication in the edtech cloud world. First, accept that the downside of talking in details about Canvas' infrastructure are small. Other LMS providers might be interested, but I doubt that any of the technical details about Canvas' architecture would help the competition. The upside of a commitment to full transparency about Canvas infrastructure would be to move Instructure closer to the culture of higher ed. We value openness and sharing. We look for "teachable moments." Take the opportunity to become our "subject matter experts" on cloud based e-learning platforms. Don't be afraid of going over our heads with all the technical details - bring it on.
3. Go Mobile: I'm betting that Instructure will be pushing towards a mobile version of its analytics package. What I'm hoping is that this eventual analytics app includes data on system performance. The ability to set notifications around specific performance levels would be greatly appreciated. If Canvas is running at my school then I want to be alerted when things slow down, and I want that data pushed to my phone.
What ideas to you have for Instructure about system communication?