What is the Timeline?
How can I teach my class(es) with Canvas?
What Canvas support will be provided?
What other resources are available for help?
How can I learn more about the ongoing Pilot? (Documentation)
What additional questions should I be asking? (FAQ)
For the past 20 years, Blackboard has served as the primary tool used for instruction by faculty and students at SDSU. While the product has served the University well for the past two decades, we reached a point where we have the opportunity to upgrade the current version of Blackboard Learn to a product called Blackboard Ultra, or to move on to a fresh start with a new learning management system.
The question guiding our considerations were simple, “Is Blackboard currently the best learning management system to meet the needs of SDSU’s students and faculty?”
While there have been many advances in higher education technologies over the past 20 years, one innovation has stood out from the rest. The use of mobile technologies and cloud-based applications have made connecting students with content, with one another, and with faculty, faster, and with more convenience.
Over the last two years, the 52-member SDSU LMS Advisory Group (composed of faculty, students, staff, and administrators) have engaged the campus in a consultative assessment. Specific endorsements for Canvas focused on its ease of use, familiar layout, wide range of features, mobile readiness, external tool integrations, and functions that promote student engagement, organization, and self-efficacy.
What is the Timeline?
The timelines below outline the major milestones of the Canvas Pilot and the transition from Blackboard to Canvas.
Canvas adoption will begin in Summer 2020 on an opt-in basis. You can opt-in to teaching in Canvas by filling out this form. Blackboard will continue to be available until the end of Spring 2021. That means classes will transition to Canvas over the next year as individual faculty members determine appropriate timing. Canvas will be opt-in for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020, then Blackboard will be opt-out for Spring 2021. Blackboard will not be available after Spring 2021.
Don’t worry! You will be supported every step of the way during this transition process and beyond. ITS will be providing all faculty with support in the following ways:
- Online help via the Virtual Faculty Instructional Technology (vFIT) Center
- Virtual trainings and 1:1 consultations
- Online documentation and videos
Please see our training page regarding upcoming Canvas trainings.
The Canvas LMS team has a significant number of help-based resources including:
We will be using this website to share all documentation of the pilot process, including the list of Advisory Group members, associated slide decks, survey results, and milestones.
Is SDSU switching to Canvas?
Yes, with the endorsement of the Learning Management System Advisory Group, the University Senate’s Information and Instructional Technology Committee, and SDSU leadership, Canvas adoption will begin in Summer 2020. Blackboard will continue to be available until the end of Spring 2021. That means classes will transition to Canvas over the next year as individual faculty members determine appropriate timing.
How is Canvas different than Blackboard?
The primary difference between Canvas and Blackboard is that Canvas is mobile-friendly, developed using recent technologies, and provides an easy-to-use and intuitive interface for faculty and students.
For more information, please refer to this comparison chart.
What are the main features of Canvas?
Canvas has all the features of a typical learning management system including the ability to accept and grade assignments, conduct discussions in forums, administer quizzes and exams, store and organize course resources, communicate with students, etc. Canvas has multiple grading tools including rubrics, audio/video feedback, and a dedicated grading app. Students can access course materials, view course calendars, to do lists and set their own preferences to receive notifications on their mobile devices.
Will I be able to transfer my course content from Blackboard to Canvas?
Yes, ITS will support the transfer of Blackboard course content to Canvas. However, there are a few tools in Blackboard which currently do not have a built-in Canvas direct equivalent, such as Journals or Blogs. There are alternatives to these tools available through Canvas’ rich App Center. The full comparison chart is available here.
Will I still be able to use my SDSUid with Canvas?
Yes. Your SDSUid will be used to login to Canvas. You can sign into canvas at canvas.sdsu.edu.
Are there mobile apps for Canvas?
What will happen to Blackboard?
Adoption of Canvas will begin with the Summer 2020 semester and the transition will continue in Fall 2020 and conclude by Fall 2021. During this time, SDSU will run Blackboard and Canvas concurrently, allowing faculty time to transition their materials from Blackboard. Instructional Technology Services will provide training and support for transferring course content from Blackboard as well as designing new courses in Canvas.
Will Blackboard still be supported during the transition?
Yes! Blackboard will be available during for faculty transition and may be used by faculty to teach courses until the Fall 2021 semester (see timeline above). Blackboard will remain available for the first year of the Canvas implementation, ensuring access to faculty and student data during this time.
What happens if I need content from Blackboard after the transition?
All system files in Blackboard will be archived and available upon request.
Why pilot Canvas?
The decision to pilot Canvas was determined, in large part, due to the recent California State University System’s Request for Proposal process in search of the most up to date and appropriate LMS vendors for the CSU campuses. In July 2017, the CSU Chancellor’s Office signed a Master Enabling Agreement with the companies that represented both Blackboard and Canvas. To date, nine CSU campuses elected to transition to Canvas, with many other campuses beginning pilots as resources become available.
The CSU follows in the steps of the California Community College system, who recently selected Canvas as their preferred learning management system, with a majority of CCC campuses transitioning to Canvas from Blackboard or another LMS. This point is particularly salient given the large population of transfer students we enroll at SDSU, as well as faculty who may also teach at the community college level.
Within the University of California system, all but three campuses have transitioned to Canvas throughout the past 10 years. Similar growth trends for Canvas have been seen at institutions across the United States.
Canvas at Large
Canvas is used by more than 3,000 institutions globally, including K-12 schools and universities.
Were other learning management systems considered?
The decision to limit this pilot to Canvas was determined after ITS conducted extensive research on the landscape of LMS competitors, gathered feedback from peer institutions who have previously evaluated their LMS.
Following trends in the global higher education LMS market, Canvas has seen enormous growth in adoption over the last ten years and is regularly praised for its ease-of-use and intuitive design. Faculty and students have consistently given feedback that they desire a learning management system that is both simple and effective and we believe that Canvas fits these criteria.
Who else is using Canvas?
Canvas is being used by over 3,000 institutions worldwide, including many of our peer institutions and top-ranked universities in the country.
Can ITS provide an introduction to Canvas at one of our department or faculty meetings?
Absolutely! We would love the opportunity to engage your department or discipline in the discussion. We can even customize a workshop to meet your needs if there are particular Canvas features you would like to see covered.
Please contact us through our Support Form, indicating some days and times that would work for your department and we will get back to you.
How do I get help with Canvas?
Instructional Technology Services will be available to support faculty during the transition process providing support, as well as small group workshops and in-depth scheduled consultations.
Where can I learn more about Canvas?
You can learn more about Canvas by visiting the company website at: https://www.canvaslms.com/
Who can I speak with about the Canvas pilot or transition?
Please direct questions related to the Canvas pilot to Sean Hauze, Associate Director of Instructional Technology Services, who will connect you with the appropriate LMS Advisory Group member.
How do I sign into Canvas?
You will use your SDSUid to sign into Canvas at canvas.sdsu.edu.
How will I get email and text message notifications from Canvas?
Canvas is set up with your SDSU email by default. You can add your preferred email and sign up for text and app notifications. This step-by-step guide will help you set up your preferred notifications and contact methods.
How will I know if my course is in Blackboard or Canvas?
Your Instructor will let you know which Learning Management System they will use. They will have to publish the course before you can see any course materials in Canvas.
Will I have to use both Blackboard and Canvas?
Both Blackboard and Canvas will be used during the Summer 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Instructors will decide which Learning Management System will be used and will notify you.