UM has been using Blackboard Learn since 1999. Our current contract ends June 1, 2018, so it is time to review alternatives before deciding how to proceed. The primary competition to Blackboard is Canvas, a Learning Management System (LMS) created in 2008. Its goal was to make a better Blackboard using the latest and best technology available, and make it easy and fun to use.
Instructure Canvas Pilots
The University of Miami is in the process doing due diligence in comparing Blackboard to its leading competitor. UM started a pre-pilot trial of Canvas in Summer 2016 with six courses using the system. Feedback from students was very positive. Feedback from faculty was positive, with some reservations. A larger pilot (up to 400 students) will be held during Fall 2016.
Because of the expense, time, and effort involved in switching from one course web site system to another, the advantages gained by the switch must be large. The decision to change is therefore complicated. The pilots will obtain feedback from participating students and faculty. This information will be provided to Allan Gyorke, Chief Academic Technology Officer at UM. A Faculty Senate committee will review the results and make a recommendation. If a change to Canvas is recommended, approval will need to be obtained by UMIT, faculty senate, and the Office of the Provost. funding will then have to be obtained by UMIT to cover the transition, when both Blackboard and Canvas would be available. Thus the process is long, with many possibilities of “No Go” decisions, and many obstacles to deciding to switch.
As the process proceeds, this web page will be updated with current information to keep everyone informed.
Learn about Canvas
If you would like to learn about Canvas you might watch this very short videos to get a feel for what it looks like and some of the ways it works.
- Canvas Interface Overview (for faculty) – Gentle introduction to what Canvas looks like and how it works, in general.
If you would like to learn more about Canvas of the company that makes it (Instructure), these short videos might help.
- Get to know Canvas: Promotional video describing (not showing) what you can do with Canvas
- About Us – Instructure Canvas: Short video by Josh Coates, Instructure CEO, about what the company is all about.
- The Cool Things You Can Do With Canvas: Promotional video showing what can be done in Canvas, using actual screen images.
Fall Canvas Pilot
A pilot will take place during the Fall 2016 semester where around 20 faculty will try using Canvas. The pilot invitation is open at this time.