Posted August 21, 2017
Blackboard to Canvas transition begins this fall
Canvas will replace the university’s current learning management system, Blackboard Learn.
After a semester of pilot courses, Temple is poised to begin transitioning from Blackboard Learn to a new learning management system during the 2017-18 academic year. Most schools and colleges will switch to Canvas, the new system, during the fall semester, while others will transition in the spring. Instructors will notify students when the change will be made to their classes.
Several schools and colleges are set to teach more than 450 courses in Canvas beginning this fall. They include Boyer College of Music and Dance, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Public Health, Fox School of Business, Klein College of Media and Communication, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, and the Tyler School of Art.
To select a new system, Temple ran a universitywide pilot to test two platforms, Blackboard Ultra Learn and Canvas, last fall. Deans from various schools and colleges identified 40 faculty members to participate in the pilot. Early in the test, they decided to continue only with Canvas in the pilot, which ran through spring 2017 and included more than 900 undergraduate, graduate and professional students instructed by 18 faculty members.
“Getting feedback from instructors piloting their courses in Canvas was crucial in the decision making process,” said Susan Hyer, assistant vice president of academic computing. “Instructors and students had to make the effort to learn the new system and answer surveys to give the committee feedback.”
In surveys and focus groups conducted during the Canvas pilot, students and faculty noted positive features, including easy-to-use navigation tools, calendar integration and student and teacher mobile apps.
“The 24/7 support feature offered by Canvas is a great resource,” said Jodi Levine Laufgraben, vice provost of academic affairs, assessment and institutional research who teaches graduate courses in the College of Education and participated in the spring pilot.
Laufgraben cited her own experience of receiving on-the-spot assistance, late at night, to create a rubric for a course assignment.
“I used the online chat feature, and the help consultant was able to send me a video with screenshots of steps to follow,” Laufgraben recalled. “It was very easy, and at the end of my session, I received a transcript that I could save for future reference.”
Canvas is currently used by more than 2,000 universities, school districts and institutions around the world. It will be Temple’s official learning management system by fall 2018.