After almost losing our Learning Management System, or LMS (“Breaking Blackboard”), this will be the last semester we will be using WebCT after 7 years.
Dean of Distance Education Martha Mills told me about the extensive 6 month selection process that was launched by a team of 10 staff members to find a new LMS. After the evaluation, a system called Canvas was the clear winner. Both Martha Mills and Vice Chancellor Dr. Kayleigh Carabajal describe the new system being individualized and intuitive.
What makes the Canvas system superior to the other LMS options considered, such as Blackboard and Moodle, is its adaptability. If you’re anything like me you never check your student email address or the portal and miss out on many updates for your classes. Canvas has been designed to work hand and hand with the major apps we use every day like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. If that’s not enough, you can get the official Canvas App that allows you to check grades, message professors, and even complete homework right from your phone.
I signed up for a trial version of Canvas and had access to all of its features. My favorite aspect of the LMS is its homepage’s dashboard design; everything is organized for you to see on one page. It also lets you customize the dashboard to see class info for more important classes.
Professor Marcia Stranix is holding a Word Processing class online this October, which will put the Canvas LMS to the test before the rest of the school makes the move. Professor Stranix, who prefers a face to face class environment as opposed to online learning, says that getting the basics down may be time consuming, but it will be worth it in the end.
But this robust system comes with a robust price tag: a one-time $11,000 implementation fee and a yearly $131,000 licensing charge. Dr. Carabajal and Professor Stranix sounded excited about the new LMS and with online learning almost unavoidable today, an intuitive and student friendly system is exactly what we need.
Note: this article was featured in The Prospector Fall 2013 print edition