The University of Texas at Austin

Project: Canvas Learning Management System

Canvas Learning Management System Evaluation Overview

8/26/2013 - Canvas is available to all faculty for all courses. For more information about Canvas at UT Austin, visit http://canvas.utexas.edu.

Scope

The Course and Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation was a collaborative project between the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Information Technology Services (ITS). The goals of the project were to gather requirements from the university community for a next-generation LMS, conduct a fair and impartial assessment of the LMS options available, and recommend a LMS that meets the stated academic and technical needs of campus. A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued in summer 2011, and after careful review and evaluation, the two finalists (Blackboard and Instructure Canvas) were only separated by a few points. As such, the recommendation of the customer steering committee was to move forward with a dual award. Additional information on the evaluation project can be found here: http://www.utexas.edu/its/course-mgmt.

Moving to a different LMS is a significant proposition: faculty, students, and support staff would need to learn a new system, and faculty would need to move approximately 12,000 courses. According to peer institutions, transitions from one LMS to another take from 1-3 years and require significant investment, both in terms of time and staff. Before making such a decision, it is critical that Canvas has been thoroughly tested in an active classroom setting by University of Texas at Austin faculty and students.

About Canvas:

Canvas is a cloud-hosted learning management system from Instructure (Canvas introduction video). Canvas recently surpassed the 200 customer threshold and is in use by Auburn University, Brown University, New Mexico State University, and the Utah Education Network (including University of Utah and Utah State University). It is currently being rolled out by the University of Maryland and the University of Washington.

Goals

In June 2011, the Course and Learning Management System Evaluation Project Steering Committee recommended two options be considered for the university's learning management system: Blackboard and Canvas (by Instructure). The purpose of this project is to evaluate the use and effectiveness of Canvas. This project will include (1) the implementation work necessary to use Canvas, (2) the limited use of Canvas during academic year 2012-13, (3) evaluating its effectiveness, and (4) presenting the preliminary results.

Timeline

  • May 2012 - Completed contract with vendor and determined initial courses to be included.
  • July 2012 - Finalized courses to be included for Fall Semester 2012.
  • Oct-Nov 2012 - Determined initial courses to be included for Spring Semester 2013.
  • Nov-Dec 2012 - Gathered feedback from faculty and students.
  • December 2012 - Finalized courses to be included for Spring Semester 2013.
  • April-May 2013 - Gathered feedback from faculty and students.
  • June-July 2013 - Presented findings to project steering committee and Research and Educational Technology Committee.
  • July 2013 - Proposal to transition to Canvas as the university‚Äôs central learning management system was unanimously endorsed by the Strategic IT Accountability Board.
  • Fall 2013 - Canvas is available to all faculty for all courses. For more information about Canvas at UT Austin, visit http://canvas.utexas.edu.

For more information on the project, please send an email to canvas@utlists.utexas.edu

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