Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) and the Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) conducted an extensive evaluation of Cornell’s Academic Learning Management System (LMS). This included an evaluation of current use, an analysis of the LMS market, and a thorough review and pilot of alternatives. It culminated in a report presented to the Provost. Drawing on this evaluation, the Provost announced that Cornell will adopt Canvas as its LMS beginning in the Spring semester of 2019.
Reasons for switching to Canvas include a strong focus on student-centered learning, ease of use, allowing us to prepare for the future, and an opportunity to join with peer institutions.
Based on the experience of peer institutions, we anticipate students will find Canvas easier to learn and use.
- Students participating in the Canvas pilot reported that they enjoyed using it - especially the modern, clean interface.
- Thousands of new students each year learn to use Cornell’s LMS, making ease of use essential.
- Moving to Canvas will also connect more of Cornell through one LMS. Pockets of Cornell currently do not use Blackboard and either already use or are considering Canvas.
Ease of use
Canvas’ great strength is that it is built to be easier to understand and use. Many faculty found Blackboard difficult to use, and most of our pilot faculty found Canvas an improvement. This will save faculty time and make it easier to experiment with new teaching approaches and tools.
- We anticipate new faculty will spend less time learning to use Canvas than was needed for Blackboard.
- A majority of pilot faculty preferred Canvas to Blackboard.
Preparing for the future
Canvas better facilitates developing and implementing new teaching tools. It can better support efforts - including Cornell’s growing active learning initiatives - to improve student learning.
- Moving to Canvas will allow Cornell to explore new ways to address specific college and department needs that surfaced during the evaluation.
- Over time, we expect this to mean that more teaching tools will be available to Cornell faculty.
A community of institutions
Almost all of our peer institutions have moved to Canvas (e.g. Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Stanford, and Yale). This strong community of peer institutions will keep us at the forefront of developing teaching practices and tools. Additionally, Canvas works closely with the extended Canvas community in developing new features.
We understand there are all kinds of questions about whether people will be able to do what they currently can in Blackboard after we move to Canvas. Many of these questions will be answered in the materials that we will be sharing over the coming months. If you have a more specific question we would be happy to discuss individual concerns. In the meantime, you can find information on Canvas by visiting their website here.
If you have any questions, we welcome you contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.