CANVAS Learning Management System Migration from Blackboard

Large inflatable panda with "canvas" in white letters

M E MO R A N D U M

TO:                 Faculty and Staff

FROM:           Kenneth G. Furton, Provost and Executive Vice President

DATE:            October 23, 2017

RE:                 CANVAS Learning Management System Migration from Blackboard

Dear Faculty and Staff,

After a successful pilot involving our faculty and students, I am pleased to announce that Canvas will soon replace Blackboard as FIU’s official Learning Management System (LMS). In addition, Blackboard is no longer providing the same level of support for our current system, and this move aligns with the State University System’s (SUS) 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education, which specifically selected Canvas as the best way to provide faculty with the resources they need to improve the student learning experience. Along with enhancing the quality, access, and affordability of courses and programs, the change to a common LMS among state universities will also provide students with a more seamless transition as they complete coursework throughout the state. It also means we will be using Canvas for the foreseeable future.

Faculty and Student Benefits

Faculty and students who participated in the FIU Canvas pilot emphasized several benefits that Canvas brings to the teaching and learning experience.

  • An intuitive, easy to learn interface, including an improved mobile app experience;
  • Enhanced and easy to manage syllabus, course calendar, and course schedule that automatically updates due dates for course activities;
  • Improved workflow for more streamlined grading;
  • A dashboard that quickly summarizes all relevant course events and items;
  • Simplified student collaboration and group options; and
  • 24-7 phone and live chat support with Canvas, along with improved instructions, videos, and guides.

In addition, other institutions using Canvas note that it can enhance student learning through features that facilitate interactivity and collaboration, self-directed learning, and formative assessment. While we acknowledge that switching platforms presents some challenges, we believe that the benefits to Canvas outweigh the issues that may be encountered with this migration. 

Transition and Timeline

The transition will begin this Fall 2017 with a select group of courses scheduled for Spring 2018. More information on an opt-in process will be made available soon for instructors who are interested in becoming early adopters and transitioning to Canvas for Spring 2018. Starting in Summer 2018, all courses previously using Blackboard will be taught in the Canvas LMS. FIU Online, the Division of IT, and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching are working closely together with Canvas representatives to ensure a smooth transition and provide ample support to all faculty. We are also reaching out to Deans and Department Chairs to collaborate on the transition process.

Training and Support

FIU will host Canvas training workshops later this month and onsite Canvas migration support in the coming months. We will continue supporting faculty who will transition after spring. Faculty will have a dedicated phone number for call-in support, in addition to walk-in support available at the faculty Resource Center: MANGO building 5th floor and in the Media Technology Services Resource Center: Green Library 150. Additionally, FIU faculty and students have access to Canvas technical support 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year by contacting 1-877-3-ELEARN.

Additional information regarding access and development with specific instructions and LMS assistance is forthcoming. Visit the Canvas Transition Site for frequently asked questions (FAQs), updates and additional information about the transition, training, and support.

Honors College Faculty and former FIU Online Educational Technology Manager

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