Canvas to Replace Blackboard
The following message was sent on behalf of Dr. Alan Utter, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs:
I am pleased to announce that Canvas by Instructure has been selected as the sole learning management system (LMS) at Texas Woman’s University. The Canvas system is ready for use, but Blackboard will remain available through Summer 2019 in order to allow for a phased transition. PLEASE NOTE: All courses must be transitioned to Canvas prior to Fall 2019.
Canvas by Instructure is a Software as a Service (SaaS) application hosted on Amazon Web Services. This architecture provides scalability, no downtime for maintenance or upgrades, and permanent retention of data. The Canvas product represents emerging LMS standards and provides an open technical architecture that will allow us to create more engaging and meaningful learning experiences.
The decision to move to Canvas is based on the results of a year-long pilot study of the product and a technical/market assessment conducted by the TWU Distance Education Advisory Committee (DEAC). During this pilot, a group of 30 faculty representing all 3 campuses taught 72 courses, with approximately 1600 students. A majority of the faculty found Canvas to be satisfactory, easy to use, and well designed. DEAC also reviewed upcoming developments in the Blackboard LMS product. Blackboard has completely redesigned the overall structure of its newest release, and the architecture and functionality are very similar to Canvas but at a substantially greater cost.
I certainly recognize that transitioning to a new LMS is not a trivial undertaking, but the long-term benefits to TWU (ease of use, reliability, expanded functionality, and reduced cost) will serve the University well as we "Boldly Go" into the future. We are excited to bring this new environment to campus and are committed to providing resources necessary to assist you in this transition. We will be appointing a Canvas Transition Taskforce in the coming weeks, which will oversee the project. A new website has been developed (http://www.twu.edu/canvas-transition/), and we will be updating the site regularly to keep you informed of our progress. The Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) has scheduled a number of workshops and specialized support activities. I urge you to take advantage of these offerings.
If you have any questions regarding this transition, please feel free to contact the Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology.
Alan C. Utter Ph.D., M.P.H., FACSM
Texas Woman's University