This archived article was written by: Debbie Pearson
USU-CEU students will see a change in online learning as USU-CEU adopts a new software application to deliver its online course content within the next two years.
After an extensive evaluation process that began last summer, USU-CEU selected Instructure’s Canvas to replace the Blackboard supported product, Vista, as its learning management system. The need to choose a replacement for Vista came when Blackboard announced it would no longer support the product after December 2012.
In connection with the Utah Education Network, a selection committee comprised of members from each of Utah’s colleges and universities participated in evaluating products from multiple vendors.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) process gained bids from eight competitors, which was then narrowed down to three final candidates: Desire to Learn, Instructure Canvas, and Blackboard Learn. Instructure was unanimously chosen as the first choice of committee members.
Instructure was founded in 2008 by two computer science graduates set out to “disrupt the Learning Management System (LMS) market by setting a new standard for education technology.”
Their LMS, Canvas, provides standard course management tools as well as additional features to enhance learning and improve student-teacher communication.
New to students are social network integration capabilities that will allow them to specify where and when they receive updates and notifications, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, email, or text message. Also, Canvas’ integration with various web tools, lets the students work with tools they already know e.g., Google Docs, Google Calendar, Facebook, Delicious and RSS.
The migration from Blackboard Vista to Canvas will take place over the next 18 months. For students, the first change will be a move from USU-CEU’s Blackboard to USU’s Blackboard this summer.
Then, USU-CEU will start to phase in Canvas starting during the fall 2011 semester. At times, students may have courses on both Vista and Canvas. All courses currently hosted in Vista will be moved to Instructure Canvas by July 2012.
The Faculty Assistance Center for Teaching is coordinating the migration with USU and UEN. If you have any questions you may contact them or find more information online at fact.usu.edu/htm/canvas.
-Contributed by Debbie Pearson