A committee of 27 faculty, staff and students, representing the major academic departments on campus, as well as information technology services, attended presentations by multiple learning management system (LMS) vendors, explored features of the individual systems within “sandboxes,” and consulted colleagues in their home departments and at other institutions, in order to choose the next LMS. We asked questions in both the instructional and IT arenas regarding the ease of migration and use of the systems that were considered. After deliberations over the summer and fall semesters, the committee has selected Canvas as its overwhelming choice.
The following features played heavily in our decision to select Canvas.
- Ease of use – The committee felt that the overall interface is clean and intuitive, which would promote the exploration and use of the many features contained within the LMS and thereby enhance the teaching/learning experience.
- Mobile Option – Canvas provides full accessibility to mobile devices at no extra charge.
- Cloud SaaS Subscription Service – One distinction that separates Canvas from other new companies is that, as new features are developed and bugs are corrected, the features roll out gradually without the need for major upgrades.
- Multimedia Features – Within all of the interactive tools found in Canvas (e.g., email and discussion postings), the ability to record audio and video is built-in, which will enhance its utility in speech and foreign language courses.
- Ability to Accommodate Peak Demands – Canvas uses a technology termed Automated Provisioning which means that it will provide the same experience to everyone who is online regardless of how much traffic we send their way from a single IP address and the number of concurrent users. This functionality is particularly important to the nursing program, which frequently administers the same exam to 150 simultaneous users.
- Compliance with Accessibility Standards – The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for Internet access by blind Americans, has awarded the Gold Level NFB-NVA Certification to Canvas. Additionally, Canvas conforms to the W3C’s WAI WCAG guidelines.
The college will begin installing and testing features over the Spring semester, with full implementation beginning Summer of 2013.
Debbie Reid, Eugenio Zaldivar, David Yonutas
- Official Site
- Brief Video Introduction to Canvas
- Short Demo Given in Calgary
- Vendor Presentation to Santa Fe College
- Other Canvas Resources
If you are interested in kicking the tires for yourself you can request a sandbox account.