Canvas to Replace Blackboard in Spring 2017

By Christopher Sarachilli | May 19, 2016

After careful consideration and detailed discussions, the Academic Technology Services (ATS) Advisory Committee recommended Canvas by Instructure to replace Blackboard as Arcadia University’s Learning Management System (LMS). The contract was officially signed by the University on April 28, 2016.

This undertaking would not have been possible without the tireless efforts and dedicated support of the following people:

If you have any questions about the LMS Evaluation process or about Canvas, please contact ATS.

Why We Evaluated

The ATS Advisory Committee was charged with evaluating Blackboard, the University’s current LMS.  The current version of Blackboard’s interface will be changing in the near future. Arcadia University has used Blackboard for over 12 years, and the forthcoming changes made this a prime opportunity to consider the future direction of our LMS. This provided an opportunity to evaluate Blackboard as well as to consider alternative LMS options for the entire campus community in Glenside, Christiana, and abroad.

Many major LMSs appropriate for Arcadia were reviewed, narrowing it down to four to provide on campus demos for the committee. These included Blackboard (Ultra), Sakai, Canvas, and D2L Brightspace. The two LMSs selected by the committee to be piloted during the Spring 2016 semester were Canvas by Instructure and Brightspace by D2L (Desire 2 Learn), piloted by 10 faculty members and 150 students.

Advantages of Changing

Multiple factors were weighed into this decision including the ability for the LMS to function as a teaching tool, integration with current LMS add­-ons, Canvas supplied 24×7 faculty support, training, and implementation assistance.

Canvas offers worldwide 24×7 Tier 1 support for faculty and staff, as well as robust options for live online training sessions for instructors and on-demand resources from the Canvas Community. The decision to go with Canvas will result in the university being budget neutral for the LMS over a four year period and no additional funds will be needed for the migration or implementation.

Implementation Schedule

The tentative timeline for implementation of Canvas will begin with campuswide faculty training in the Fall 2016 semester, with a full implementation of Canvas (teaching and learning) for Spring 2017. Blackboard will not be available after January 31, 2017 (however, we will retain our data from it).