From Blackboard to Canvas

A new Learning Management System is coming to Saint Francis University! Over the next few months, we will transition from Blackboard to Canvas by Instructure. Canvas is a cloud-based LMS featuring a modern streamlined interface and exciting new capabilities. Visit this site for updates on the Canvas Implementation project and to access Canvas resources.

Why Canvas?

In addition to the overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback provided by administrators, faculty, and students from Canvas institutions, here are some of the primary reasons why our LMS Review Team selected Canvas.

  • Canvas is Cloud-based. This translates in to 99.99% system uptime and timely access to product enhancements. All maintenance is the responsibility of Canvas. All updates are seamlessly pushed out on a regular schedule.
  • Canvas has demonstrated a commitment to fast turnaround, high customer service, and continual product development with input from a vibrant user-community of over 80,000 individuals. More than 33% of the most recent product developments have come from ideas suggested by, and voted on by, the Campus Community.
  • Canvas will be integrated with our student information system (SIS), so course enrollments will be updated automatically.
  • Canvas provides excellent, accessible, self-help materials for faculty and students.
  • The Canvas user interface is easy to understand and navigate, even for first-time users. Terminology is clear; elements can be accessed quickly, with few clicks.
  • Every course in Canvas includes a basic web conferencing tool that allows desktop sharing, web cameras, and audio capabilities.
  • Notification Options offer Canvas users multiple methods of staying up-to-date with coursework, including messages sent to cell phones, external e-mail addresses and social media tools.
  • Canvas is designed according industry interoperability standards, allowing the seamless integration of tools such as Google Apps, Digication, Khan Academy, Atomic Learning, Merlot, Respondus products, and textbook resources. Students can access these tools, and faculty can assign content, directly in Canvas without needing to login or access another website.
  • Canvas has significant multimedia capabilities and integrates audio and video throughout. (Think audio feedback on tests and audio discussion posts!)
  • Canvas offers robust Mobile Apps which extend the system to tablet and phone users, and the interface adjusts to suit the screen size of your device.

When we will begin to use Canvas?

All Summer 2017 courses which have an LMS-component will use Canvas. Faculty will have access to the system for training and course development purposes no later than mid-February. In the interim, CETL staff will become trained and will begin migrating specific content to the new system. Spring courses will become available to students for the first time on or around May 1, 2017. Prior to that date, students will be given access to a Canvas orientation course. Visit the Canvas Implementation Timeline for more.

How will we learn how to use Canvas? What if we have questions?

The CETL will provide a variety of training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. There will be:

  • Self-service self-paced videos and guides - Atomic Learning, Canvas-provided materials, You-Tube videos, CETL-developed materials
  • Synchronous hands-on face-to-face and virtual workshops
  • Drop-in sessions at the CETL
  • In-class sessions if requested by faculty

The CETL is prepared to offer the level of support that faculty and students require to be successful with the transition. For more information and a current training schedule, visit Canvas Training and Support. For those that want to dive right in to learn about Canvas, check out the Instructor Quick Start Guide or the Student Quick Start Guide.

What will happen to Blackboard and the materials housed there now?

Blackboard will be used for the Spring 2017 semester and will continue to be accessible until June 30, 2017, when our license expires. Faculty are asked to identify specific courses they want to migrate to the new system by completing the Canvas Course Request Form. The migration will be carried out by CETL staff, in consultation with the faculty member as needed. Existing student data, such as submitted assignment files, will not be migrated to Canvas. Students wishing to save materials from currently available courses may download them on their own and are encouraged to contact the CETL if assistance is needed.

How will we know what is happening with the transition?

We are committed to informing you of our plans and progress as we move forward with this important project. Depending on whether you are faculty, staff, or student, you may see information via some or all of these approaches: e-mail, this website, CETL Newsletter, Academic Affairs Updates, Blackboard Announcements, posters and displays around campus. We are very excited about the new opportunities which Canvas offers and we will make every effort to provide the support needed for a non-stressful transition. You are welcome to contact the CETL with any questions or concerns you may have about the move from Blackboard to Canvas.