Canvas has recently been selected as E-Town’s learning management system, effective July 1, 2015. By changing to Canvas, students, faculty and staff will have a flexible system accessible anywhere with internet access. It includes opportunities for:
- Notifications about class activity via text message, Facebook or Twitter! That means you don’t have to login or rely just on email anymore. Of course, if you don’t want to get updates on your social media accounts, you don’t have to. Essentially, it just means it will be easier for the college to communicate with you and vice versa.
- No more “system downtime.” Blackboard provides major updates to their system every few months whereas Canvas is able to push out updates every three weeks. Based on the way the systems are constructed, Canvas can do this without you even knowing it happened.
- More, better features. Faculty were sometimes limited by certain constraints on Blackboard that made it more difficult to offer a lot of variety in their courses. Now, all courses will have links to each week right on the home page—front and center! And, it’s much easier for faculty to use a course calendar and link assignments and dates. Plus, if you have a video to submit—(or just want to respond to a discussion board question via video)–you can do it practically with the touch of a button! No more need for YouTube or other external video recording systems.
- Lots of support. It was sometimes difficult to get a tutorial or figure out how to do something in Blackboard. Canvas offers a multitude of excellent resources so that if you’re stuck on how to do something, you should be able to easily find the answer in Canvas’ help guides that are accessible right from your course. The Canvas pilot users needed very little support and we expect that to be the same when the entire system rolls out.
- iOS and Android products at no additional cost. Canvas has fully committed to mobile technology so they currently offer course access via iOS and Android platforms. In fact, they have separate development and support teams for each. That means, working on your phone or tablet has become that much easier. (And, you don’t have to pay!)
- Functionality that you already understand. Having told you about all these great features, it’s important to recognize that we expect the transition for students to be fairly minimal. It will still have many of the same features you are used to using and we will provide guidance and training opportunities to support you.
Thank you for helping to make this transition a smooth one. We look forward to making the switch from Blackboard to Canvas and building enhanced online course sites at Elizabethtown College. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Linda Macaulay, instructional technologist, at X1554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.