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Instructure Holdings Inc   (INST)
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    Sector  Technology    Industry Software & Programming
   Industry Software & Programming
   Sector  Technology

Instructure Holdings Inc

Business Description


In today’s dynamic, knowledge-driven economy, quality education and constant learning are critical to the success of people and organizations. Academic institutions recognize that for students to reach their maximum potential, they require an interactive and accessible learning environment. Similarly, companies strive to compete by delivering continuous learning and feedback to better attract, develop, retain and promote the best people. Organizations in both markets—education and corporate—also require actionable data to measure, track and improve individual and organizational performance.

With applications for learning, assessment and performance management, Instructure enables organizations worldwide to develop, deliver, manage and track engaging academic and employee development programs. Built on our innovative, cloud-based platform, our applications combine powerful, elegant and easy-to-use functionality with the reliability, security, scalability and support our customers require. They include:

Canvas. Learning management system, or LMS, for K–12 and higher education;

Bridge. Learning and performance management suite for businesses;

Arc. Next-generation online video learning platform for academic and corporate learning; and

Gauge. Assessment management system or AMS, for K–12.

For the millions of students, teachers and employees who use our applications to achieve their educational and professional goals, we provide a native-cloud, engaging and intuitive user experience designed for frequent and open interactions, a streamlined workflow and the creation and sharing of content. Our open standards allow for integration with third-party publishers and software providers to deliver additional learning content and applications. We also provide data analytics capabilities, enabling real-time reaction to information and benchmarking in order to personalize curricula and goal setting; and to increase the efficacy of the learning, assessment and performance management processes.

We deliver our applications through a Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, business model. Customers can rapidly deploy our systems with minimal upfront implementation. They also benefit from regular software updates and 99.9% uptime. Our SaaS business model reduces the need for our customers to buy and support a broad range of IT infrastructure, and reduces the cost, complexity and disruptions associated with implementations and upgrades of on-premise software.

We launched our first offering, Canvas, in February 2011 and have experienced rapid customer adoption in the education market. To better meet the needs of the corporate market, we leveraged a portion of the foundational code underlying Canvas to develop Bridge, which we launched in February 2015. Subsequent offerings include Arc, which we launched in 2016, and Gauge, which we launched in 2017.

We designed our platform from the ground up with modern, web-based design features that enable users to teach, learn and collaborate anytime, anywhere, across a wide variety of application environments, operating systems, devices and locations. We believe our platform offers the following key benefits:

Intuitive User Experience. Our research-driven approach creates a differentiated user experience with elegant and intuitive user interfaces that leverage familiar, consumer web navigation techniques, such as drag and drop, to make using the applications built on our platform easy and intuitive. We enable seamless collaboration among instructors and learners to share feedback and encourage online discussion. These interactive features extend beyond the physical location and facilitate a more engaging experience.

Optimized for Mobile. Our mobile-optimized platform allows users to access their applications anytime and anywhere. We offer a responsive design to ensure an optimal experience on most mobile devices and, for Canvas, we also offer iOS and Android native mobile applications for free download on both phones and tablets.

High Availability and Uptime. Our software is mission-critical for our users and customers and we focus on maintaining enterprise-grade and industry leading reliability with 99.9% uptime.

High Utilization. Millions of instructors, students and employees have used our software. We believe that the intuitive user experience enabled by our platform helps increase organization-wide adoption and utilization of our applications, which increases the return on investment for our customers.

Native Cloud-based Software. Our cloud-based delivery model enables customers to rapidly deploy our platform to experience immediate benefit. Software updates are implemented regularly and transparently. Our single-instance, multi-tenant architecture is designed to scale for rapid growth. Our cloud-based platform provides upfront cost savings over on-premise solutions by reducing the need for expensive IT resources and hardware infrastructure.

Open Access to Data Analytics. For Canvas and Bridge, we provide users with access to data analytics through open application programming interfaces, or API. We deliver the analytics in a way that is easy-to-understand, consumable and optimized for independent analysis. This open visibility allows users to view their own progress in real-time, educators to adjust programs and personalize curricula for maximum effectiveness and organizations to benchmark user data internally and respond to patterns observed.

Open Platform. We are committed to collaboration and openness. Our open standards allow organizations to easily deliver additional content and applications from third-party publishers and software providers. This extends the content, tools and services necessary to satisfy the diverse needs of our customers without sacrificing the innate simplicity of our platform. Canvas users can deploy third-party content and software applications within the application interface or browse our growing catalog of approximately 300 integrations at EduAppCenter.com. Bridge was specifically designed to integrate easily via open APIs with a variety of enterprise resource planning and human resources information systems.

Our applications enhance academic and corporate learning by providing a system of engagement for teachers and learners, enabling frequent and open interactions, a streamlined workflow and the creation and sharing of content with anytime, anywhere access to information. Our applications also provide users with powerful, easy-to-use functionality for intuitive interactions with course content and activities. All of our applications run on our extensible platform, which allows us to easily deploy new applications and features to support the needs of our customers. We use modern, mobile technology to provide anytime, anywhere access to our applications from a wide array of devices, including personal computers, tablets and smartphones. We offer native mobile applications for Canvas on iOS and Android for free download.

Canvas

Canvas is a learning management system designed to give our K–12 and higher education customers an extensive set of flexible tools to support and enhance content creation, management and delivery of face-to-face and online instruction.

Canvas enables instructors and learners to:

communicate through announcements, messages and conferences;

interact with content and collaborate with peers through group assignments and discussions;

create, deliver and analyze quizzes and assignments;

perform outcomes-based assessments;

choose, manage and change courses;

automate classroom activities, including the syllabus, attendance and calendar of course events;

grade assignments, using SpeedGrader, and post grades online;

facilitate audio and video communications for enhanced teacher and student engagement;

access an integrated learning object repository;

analyze course and student data to improve learning outcomes and teaching methods;

set personalized academic goals and track performance;

provide parental or advisor access to assignments and grades;

find and add third-party activities and content from the Edu App Center; and

exchange data and integrate with popular student information systems.

Canvas provides access to a critical set of user and course activity data, including user and device characteristics, discrete page views, user engagement, individual curricula and assessments and evaluations. Data is delivered to administrators in a format optimized for warehousing, performing queries, reporting and making it easier for administrators to benchmark, customize teaching and improve learning outcomes.

Additionally, Canvas supports standards-based integration with hundreds of third-party publishers and software providers. The extensibility of the Canvas application enables our customers to build a learning and teaching environment that meets their unique organizational needs.

Canvas Network

Canvas Network allows anyone around the world access to open online courses for personal and professional development. Through Canvas Network, academic institutions have the flexibility to offer and deliver courses over the internet to a much broader audience than just their own employees or on-campus students. Some institutions choose to pursue a massive open online course (MOOC) format, and some choose to pursue a smaller online course format with more interaction. Institutions already using Canvas can easily move courses onto Canvas Network, extending their reach and enhancing their brand.

Canvas Catalog

Canvas Catalog is a white-label, web-based course catalog and registration system built on top of the Canvas LMS that enables organizations to create and maintain a branded marketplace for their online course offerings. Catalog provides a searchable course index, online payment gateways for student registration and enrollment, custom course landing pages, collections of courses in specialized programs, automatically distributed certificates and other ways to recognize completion.

Bridge

Bridge is a learning and performance management suite designed to enable our corporate customers to develop, retain and promote employees by improving performance and engagement. The Bridge suite includes:

Bridge Learn. A complete learning solution, Bridge Learn helps companies focus on the strategic and innovative side of talent development. Informed by learning science, Bridge Learn gives companies a competitive advantage with a learning program that aligns to business goals.

Bridge Perform. An impactful talent development solution, Bridge Perform expands the manager-employee relationship through meaningful dialogue and continuous feedback based on targeted 1:1 exchanges, providing data that empowers leadership to make critical business decisions.

Bridge Practice. An on-demand assessment and video microlearning practice solution, Bridge Practice facilitates untethered, collaborative, peer-to-peer assessment and coaching opportunities that empower learners to actively master their professional skills and competencies.

Bridge enables organizations to:

provide continuous feedback and development for employees inside the 1:1 tool;

create and align individual goals with company-wide goals and initiatives;

reinforce skills and provide feedback through peer-to-peer video assessment and coaching;

create, organize, group and assign courses and training content;

deliver and track compliance and regulatory requirements;

administer quizzes and provide instant feedback to increase employee retention of training content;

track employee learning, performance and progress, including milestones, tasks, areas for improvement and goals;

identify training gaps and growth opportunities for individuals or teams with peer and skills assessments;

provide a mobile experience to allow access and management anywhere, from any device; and

extend training to reseller channels and other distribution networks.

 

Arc

Arc is a next-generation online video platform designed to enable corporate, K–12 and higher education customers to host, manage and deliver impactful video learning experiences. Our customers who also use Canvas or Bridge can seamlessly integrate Arc for a modern, streamlined, easy-to-use video learning solution that provides the interactivity, insights and reliability organizations need to engage their employees and students.

Arc enables instructors and learners to:

easily upload media and publish videos to courses that can be viewed across devices and in multiple playback formats;

experience high-quality, low-latency video playback around the world;

seamlessly create content through integrated webcam and screen capture tools;

interact directly with video content through real-time contextual commenting;

understand exactly how students and employees are engaging with media to help inform video strategy effectiveness;

make video content fully accessible through automatic speech recognition, or ASR, captioning technology; and

manage and share videos between educators, students or employees.

Gauge

Gauge is a comprehensive assessment management system that empowers K–12 schools and districts to measure student learning and preparedness for high-stakes exams mandated by federal and state regulations. With our simple, elegant and scalable testing platform, educators can create and deliver effective benchmark exams with simple deployment workflows, leveraging data collected to guide instruction and enhance curricula school- or district-wide. Our customers who also use Canvas can integrate Gauge for a seamless user experience.

Gauge enables schools to:

create online assessments with rich multimedia, linked course content and a variety of attempt, grading, viewing and moderation settings;

automatically import user profile demographics from student information systems, or SIS;

use intelligent item banks to create, manage and update items used across courses;

integrate third-party content, applications and standards-based QTI importing and exporting;

link questions to Common Core or state standards to facilitate modern competency- or standards-based grading models;

deploy district-wide, device-agnostic assessments on modern, cloud-based architecture, which allows for nearly unlimited scale and prevents data loss; and

generate reports showing the performance and progress of entire districts, schools or individual students.

Technology and Standards

Built on a modern technology stack, our native-cloud, multi-tenant platform and applications scale to millions of users and enable us to leverage advancements in web design, open source technologies and security. We adhere to industry-standard best security practices to protect our servers and our customers’ critical information.

We host our platform and applications on cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services, or AWS. We primarily use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, or Amazon EC2, along with load balancing, auto scaling and storage services provided by AWS. Our hosting services provide full support, rolling release upgrades/updates, backup and disaster recovery services. Our infrastructure enables us to scale both horizontally and vertically in order to rapidly adjust to variances in usage at the server, database and file store level. Our applications run on virtualized instances in Tier III and Tier IV AWS data center facilities, which provide industry-standard best security practices. As of December 31, 2017, we used domestic AWS data center facilities in Oregon and Virginia, and international facilities in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland and Singapore. We intend to expand operations into other regions based on market conditions. These AWS managed facilities have earned multiple certifications including, but not limited to, SOC 2 Type II, ISO9001 and ISO27001.

We designed our platform for resilience and rapid recovery from component failure. We apply a wide variety of strategies to achieve enterprise-grade reliability and durability. We have automated procedures in place to handle coordinated changes across our various instances and store backups of key data stores in multiple redundant and geographically isolated locations.

Our technology stack is a dynamic web application built with our own automated scaling and provisioning technologies. We use Web 2.0 technologies like Ruby on Rails, Java and Node.js, which provide users a familiar web experience. Our platform was built on underlying open source technologies, allowing us to take full advantage of advancements in scalability and flexibility. We utilize the Linux operating system, Postgres and Cassandra databases, and Redis data structure store. Our platform also provides an API that third-parties can use to add new features and functionality.

Keeping our platform secure is a primary focus of our dedicated enterprise security team due to the sensitive nature of the data contained within the applications. We are diligent about data security and have adopted the AICPA SOC 2 set of security controls. We demonstrate compliance with these controls through annual audits and web application vulnerability assessments.




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