Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Instructure and Development

I was asked if I could speak with a potential client of Instructure today about the topic of their ability to deliver on development items and to meet deadlines.

So, I thought I'd go ahead and write up my comments here on the subject so that future Instructure investigators can hear about my experience.

The story starts about a year ago when we realized that ANGEL wasn't providing us the data that we needed. We began investigating various LMS options and concluded that Instructure would be the best based off of the development customizations that they agreed to do. In particular we wanted the ability to track student competency across multiple courses and to be able collect documentation about faculty contact sessions so that we could prove satisfactory academic progress reports for financial aid.

We had a meeting with several of the developers and their Director of Business Development (Heather Kane). Because of our unique requests for specific reports we went through and listed all the modifications that we needed. Then they went through the list and determined which are features they should add to Canvas for all their clients and then the ones that were specific for us. They came back with this list and a price quote which I thought was very fair. We agreed on specifics and delivery dates.

During the development process we didn't hear a lot from them other than the occasional "we just finished this part, could you test it out". However, before final delivery they had completed all the required tasks and we were allowed some time to try it out and give feedback on what they did so they could get it correct within the deadline.

Overall the development process went about as well as I could have hoped for. Like all new projects there have been a few minor tweaks to what they did for us as we began implementing it, but they have been very good to work with.

I don't want to embarrass anybody (or leave anybody out), but some of their developers were particularly good to work with. I really enjoyed working with Bracken Mosbacker and Zach Wiley. They were quick to deliver what we needed and wanted to get us exactly what we asked for.

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