We continue to be amazed at the incredible work our Canvas Community engages in, especially with technology during times of disaster - like the hurricanes in the southern United States, the fires in the American West and Australia, and now the Coronavirus outbreak and (potential) pandemic. It’s heartening to see the community come together in times of difficulty, and we are committed to supporting you in any way we can.
We have heard from you, and we know many institutions and teachers are already providing more online options because of the current outbreak. To meet this need, we are ramping up support to help more students and teachers during this time. We are also aware that most of our customers are assessing current opportunities and looking for ideas on how to respond and prepare for the future. We have setup a safe space in the Community where members can share ideas about how to best use technology if students need to attend class remotely, teachers want to transition a course fully online, or even if entire schools need to have a ‘work from home’ educational experience.
We want to assure you that we have the scalable infrastructure to support these types of events. The platform automatically scales to support a wide range of concurrent users, and we are ramping up our engineering and support in order to scale much higher if needed. We have worked with AWS for years to ensure that we develop our applications to deliver a great experience for students and teachers, whether they are viewing web pages, using our mobile apps, watching a video, or taking a quiz.
We have been impressed with the disaster preparedness of a number of universities and want to share what they are doing. Our amazing community of Canvas Institutions have shared their protocols in various public forums to extend a hand in helping others prepare for unforeseen circumstances. Many of these protocols rely on functions of Canvas to keep their educational operations going during times of hardship so that you can continue teaching and students can continue learning. If you are reviewing or revising your preparedness plans, you should definitely check these out:
– University of Central Florida (UCF) developed an LTI called Due Date Changer. UCF halted operations for several days in 2017 for hurricane Irma. They rolled out Due Date Changer to all faculty at UCF after re-opening to help speedily return to normal operations. This tool was so well received that UCF open-sourced this tool and made it available to Canvas schools impacted by Hurricane Michael.
– Indiana University created a website for disaster preparedness and shared how to take courses online quickly and efficiently.
– Florida State University created and shared this course in Canvas Commons on emergency preparedness.
– Northwestern University created this website that leverages Canvas in emergency situations.
– Don’t forget the resources available to you through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
We have built Canvas to improve teaching and learning in all kinds of situations - the classroom, blended learning environments and for fully online courses all around the world. It’s during times like these that we are especially grateful to work with people like you who are willing to share how to keep people safe and still learning. We’re all in this together. If you have questions, comments, or ideas for how you can help the community, please reach out.