Instructure raises $30M in final round of funding before going public

Instructure reached $50 million in funding.

Instructure, developer of the popular learning management system Canvas, announced Wednesday that it raised $30 million in what may be the company’s last round of funding before going public.

San Francisco area venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, bringing Instructure’s total funding to $50 million.

Misty Frost, vice president of marketing at Instructure, said that the funds will be used to continue the growth of colleges, universities and school districts adopting Canvas as well as improving and increasing Instructure’s presence in the world of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), an arena the company only entered last November.…Read More

Cash for educational apps?

Developers of the best apps will receive $1,000.

Leading learning management system providers, including Instructure, Desire2Learn, and Blackboard, are offering $250 rewards to anyone who creates an app for the Learning Tools Interoperability standard, also known as LTI.

The “LTI App Bounty” initiative, announced May 13, is meant to encourage innovation and create a host of useful apps that could fill in missing functions in existing LMSs that have developed a reputation as “anti-social” in an age of social networking, said Brian Whitmer, Instructure’s co-founder.

“There’s agreement that this needs to happen to open things up a bit,” he said, adding that LMSs have resisted change an innovation for many years. “I’d like to say vendor lock-in has decreased, but I think it’s just starting to change. … I think that’s a symptom of an unhealthy ecosystem, and something that we really need to change.”…Read More

New software aims to improve course evaluation process

EvaluationKIT recently partnered with Instructure to create integrated course evaluation software.

Course evaluations are one of many standard practices in higher education today. Administrators often find it time-consuming to manage multiple student responses—but new software aims to alleviate this problem.

EvaluationKIT, an enterprise online course evaluation and survey software specifically designed for higher education, has teamed with Instructure to offer a more seamless solution for managing the course evaluation process right from a learning management system. The integrated course evaluation software, dubbed the EvaluationKIT integration for Canvas, is available through Instructure’s Canvas platform.

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New open online course network includes schools of any size

Anyone with internet access will be able to enroll in online courses through the Canvas Network.

The open online course movement has taken off in a big way this year, but until now it has been limited mainly to elite universities that have struck partnerships with open-course platforms such as Coursera or edX.

That could change, however, with the launch of a new open online course network from Instructure, maker of the open-source, cloud-based learning management system (LMS) Canvas.

The Canvas Network, which allows institutions of any size to offer their online courses built with the Canvas LMS to students worldwide free of charge, will debut in January 2013 with more than 20 free courses offered by a dozen schools across America—including two community colleges.…Read More

Cloud-based LMS challenges Blackboard to major security review

Blackboard said its security holes were 'common issues.'

A relatively new kid on the learning management system (LMS) block has jabbed Blackboard Inc. in the chest for three months, daring the commercial LMS behemoth to conduct a publicly available security audit of its popular platform. Blackboard, so far, has ignored the challenge.

Josh Coates, CEO of Instructure, a cloud-based LMS that counts several large campuses among its customers, used a Jan. 24 blog post to challenge the heads of Blackboard, Blackboard Learn, and Desire2Learn to hire a third party to conduct a comprehensive security audit, fix the security shortcomings found in that audit, and publish the results for everyone to see.

Ninety days later, Coates has yet to receive a reply to his audit proposal, and eCampus News interview requests sent to Blackboard and Desire2Learn went unanswered.…Read More