Amid the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, countless institutions are moving online—schools are shifting to E-Learning, universities are reconfiguring syllabi to accommodate “online-only” courses and workplaces are encouraging their employees to work from home.
The quick and exponential growth of users relying on software such as Google and Canvas has led to widespread worry about the ability of these software to accommodate the increasing number of users.
Executive Director of AU’s Information Technology Services Michael Tucker explained that he is confident in the software used by AU to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of online users. According to Tucker, AU uses Software as a Service (SaaS) for most of the resources provided through the university, such as Canvas, Google, and Zoom.
Tucker explained that these software used by the university were run on physical servers in the past. Due to technological advancements, however, Tucker noted that these applications are now “hosted in the cloud” and managed by their software companies.
“We don’t anticipate any issues, because one of the advantages of the SaaS model is, in times like this, more server resources can be brought online to meet the increased demand—resources are scaled to meet the load needed,” said Tucker. “ITS staff have been reaching out to the various software companies and vendors with whom we have support agreements to find out their plans as they deal not only with our increased needs but also how they are responding to their own employees’ impact of the Coronavirus and how that might affect their support of us.”
According to Tucker, the messages ITS has been receiving from their software companies are optimistic—most responses indicate that their resources are spread across the country, better positioning the companies to provide continued service.
Instructure, developer of Canvas, recently released a statement about their commitment to schools like AU during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Canvas… can automatically scale to address the increased needs of schools dealing with the Coronavirus or other situations that might require an institution to move to an online model,” read the statement. “We are working… to ensure your use of Canvas will work seamlessly in an online-only environment.”
Photo by Jacey Crawford