Canvas is an LMS created by Instructure, a Salt Lake City-based technology company founded in 2008. Canvas was first launched in 2011 and is now used by over 600 colleges, universities, and school districts. The LMS employs a “cloud native” model for delivering its software, meaning:
- The software is hosted on Amazon servers in the US
- The software is updated automatically across all installations (all schools using Canvas are on the same version of the software)
- Canvas can dynamically allocate server resources during peak periods in order to mitigate load-based performance issues
Canvas is built upon a modern web framework and conforms to web standards, meaning browser compatibility is not an issue. Usability is the primary focus of Canvas’ design, and no features are added that may degrade the overall user experience. What differentiates Canvas from most learning management systems are the robust collaboration and communication tools built into the software, featuring easily-customizable notifications.