Canvas has become a valued and efficient means for both K-12 and postsecondary to integrate a simple, yet powerfule Learning Management System with their educator teams quickly and effectively. What many don’t know howerver, is that Instructure (developer of Canvas) also releases a full open source version of the Canvas LMS as a freely available platform, and Navigation North has been working with clients to benefit from the robust features that Canvas offers, while enjoying the flexibility, cost-savings, and data privacy of self-hosting the system.
Traditional SaaS education solutions, whether student information systems (SiS), fiscal services software, or learning management systems (LMS), typically require a district to enter into a recurring, steep licensing agreement beyond the initial implementation. Conversely, districts wanting more control over total cost of ownership (TCO), face an initial long and potentially expensive development cycle to ultimately manage their own system. While “internally owned and managed” solutions can help a district achieve the long-term fiscal sustainability of a valued resource, the technical product often has far fewer features, and a sparse extended user community sharing in ongoing development costs and models of best practice.
Navigation North’s Canvas OSS solution capitalizes on the best of both models. Taking advantage of the Canvas LMS, arguably the fastest growing K-12 platform over the last 3 years, we can deploy a full-featured, robust system being effectively used by hundreds of districts and thousands of schools across the U.S. However, in this instance, you have your own instance of Canvas, hosted on-site at your district or on our cloud-based servers. In so doing, you have the power of an enterprise class solution AND long-term control of recurring costs, customizations, and updates.
Navigation North believes this subtle, yet significant shift in the traditional SaaS Ed. Tech model is the key to finally providing districts a truly cost-effective, high-quality learning management system without obligating them to a single vendor and an ongoing cost-structure that can change dramatically from year to year. Additionally, even for those districts and state education agencies that have targeted ample budget to secure a full-cost LMS, expending a fraction of those dollars initially on an open source version provides them time to pilot Canvas to scale, to validate use-cases, and strengthen adoption with staff, prior to making a full commitment of educational funds. Find a growing list of repositories we are releasing on our Navigation North GitHub Account.