Why SSU should continue with Moodle

Moodle vs Canvas

  1. Why are we focusing any energy on evaluating an alternative to Moodle when 80% of the SSU faculty responding to a survey indicated that they are: "extremely or somewhat satisfied" with Moodle?
Fall 2017 faculty survey results available here http://lms.sonoma.edu

Fall 2017 faculty survey results available here http://lms.sonoma.edu

  1. Features in Moodle 3.4. How does Canvas compare?
  1. r-exams is an powerful tool that I use to create quizzes for Moodle that are not compatible with Canvas.
  • r-exams: One-for-All Exams Generator to export the same exercises to written exams, online quizzes, self tests, and live voting software.
  • Create randomized dynamic exercises
Output r-exams

Output r-exams

Note: Canvas is not one of the possible outputs!

  • All of my quiz questions are the cloze type (combination of the question formats), which is only compatible with Moodle.
  • I will lose years of work if SSU switches to Canvas.
  • If SSU continues with Moodle, I will offer free training and support to anyone that wants to learn how to use r-exams.
  1. Moodle is open source software
    • SSU can host it or a third party can
    • Third party hosts have little pricing power because there are low barriers to entry for competitors
  2. Canvas is commercial software owned by the public company, Instructure
    • Only Canvas can host it
    • Instructure’s strategy is to its increase market share at any cost
    • Large losses now for future profit
      • For every $1 of revenue it has 63 cents of Sales and Marketing expense
      • For every $1 of revenue it loses 48 cents
    • Negative cash flow
  3. Administrators conflicting messages to faculty
    • to lower textbook costs for students by substituting open source for proprietary material
    • to switch from an open source LMS (Moodle) to a proprietary one (Canvas)
  4. What are the attributes of a “next-generation” Learning Management System?
  5. If SSU switches to Canvas, what criteria will be used to assess whether the choice was a success?
  6. Why isn’t SSU carefully evaluating the options?
  7. Canvas executives have no experience in the educational market, but have lots of experience marketing
  8. Canvas lists stricter privacy and labor regulations in the EU relative to the US as risk factors for expanding its business in the EU. Why?

Excerpts from Canvas Instructure’s presentation to Investors

Customer acquisition costs from presentation to Instructure’s investors

Customer acquisition costs from presentation to Instructure’s investors

Canvas has 20 pages of risk factors in its annual report (Form 10-K filed with the SEC) a few excerpts

  • Factors that are alarming

history of losses and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future and may not achieve or maintain profitability in the future.

We have incurred net losses of $110.9 million, $53.0 million, and $41.4 million 2016, 2015, and 2014, respectively. We had an accumulated deficit of $196.5 million at December 31, 2016.

  • Revenue growth depends on government funding of education

We could lose revenue if there are changes in the spending policies or budget priorities for government funding of colleges, universities, schools and other education providers.

  • Competition

We face intense competition from other software companies that develop learning management systems. Canvas primarily competes with systems offered by Blackboard, D2L and Moodle in the education market.

Current competitors have, and potential competitors may have, significantly more financial, technical, marketing and other resources than us, and may be able to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, sale and support of their applications and services, have more extensive customer bases and broader customer relationships, and longer operating histories and greater name recognition than us.

  • Concerned about stricter privacy laws in the EU relative to the US

more stringent regulations relating to data security and the unauthorized use of, or access to, commercial and personal information, particularly in the European Union;

  • Concerned about stricter labor laws in the EU relative to the US

Differing labor regulations, especially in the European Union, where labor laws are generally more advantageous to employees as compared to the United States, including deemed hourly wage and overtime regulations in these locations;

  • Collection and use of personally identifiable information, or PII, and other data from its customers and users

We use this information to provide services to our customers and users and to support, expand and improve our business.

We may also share customers’ or users’ PII with third parties as allowed by applicable law and agreements, authorized by the customer, or as described in our privacy policy.

Many foreign countries and governmental bodies, including the European Union, Canada, Australia and other relevant jurisdictions, have laws and regulations concerning the collection and use of PII obtained from their residents or by businesses operating within their jurisdiction.

These laws and regulations often are more restrictive than those in the United States. Laws and regulations in these jurisdictions apply broadly to the collection, use, storage, disclosure and security of data that identifies or may be used to identify or locate an individual, such as names, email addresses and, in some jurisdictions, Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses.

Financial statements

Table 1: Instructure Income Statement (in thousands)
Accounts Year ending Dec 31, 2016 % Total Revenue
Subscription and support 97115 88%
Professional services and other 13765 12%
Total revenue 110880 100%
Subscription and support 24252 22%
Professional services and other 8497 8%
Total cost of revenue 32749 30%
Gross profit 78131 70%
Sales and marketing 69991 63%
Research and development 35973 32%
General and administrative 25542 23%
Total operating expenses 131506 119%
Loss from operations -53375 -48%
Interest income 352 0%
Interest expense -87 0%
Change in fair value of warrant liability 62 0%
Other income (expense), net -353 0%
Total other expense, net -26 0%
Loss before income taxes -53401 -48%
Income tax expense -167 0%
Net loss -53568 -48%
Income Statement

Income Statement

Allowance for doubtful accounts

Allowance for doubtful accounts