Transparency from Instructure

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Recently, the parent company of Canvas, Instructure, began the process to be sold to Thoma Bravo for $2 billion. There is much speculation about the role being played in the sale by the student data Instructure has spent years collecting and harvesting to inform the company’s innovations. Many calls for clarity have ensued, yet both Instructure and Thoma Bravo have side-stepped addressing specifically how the student data will be handled. It cannot go without notice that our students’ data, collected without the ability for them to refuse, will soon be sold as part of Instructure for a hefty price tag. 

Before the finalization of the sale set for January 8th, 2020, we, the Community and Institutional Stakeholders, are requesting the following from Instructure in the name of protecting students and their privacy: 

  • A clear and legally-binding statement from Instructure about what will be done with the student data in their possession. We have received reassurances about Instructure’s ethics, but to date, nothing specific or legally-binding. 
  • A clear and legally-binding statement from Instructure about how they intend to protect current student data, future student data, and access to both under new ownership.
  • A feasible option for students to opt out of data collection and retention. It is imperative that students have the autonomy and information necessary to make informed decisions when it comes to sharing their data, especially when the potential for monetization and/or exploitation is at stake. 

See the full letter to Instructure on the Ethical EdTech site: https://ethicaledtech.info/wiki/Meta:Letter_to_Instructure

Image: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.