University makes progress on transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas

Canvas+training

Canvas training

Kaitlyn Finchler Reporter

After the announcement of switching the university’s content management system from Blackboard to Canvas, faculty are gaining access to the system and students will be able to do so in the near future. 

Jim Raber, the executive director of informational services, education technology and service management, brought updates to faculty on Mon. March 8.

Raber said the plan is to have everything completely transferred by June 2022. The transfer is occurring in waves with waves of pilot testing occurring throughout the spring semester and into the fall. 

“We had a three day deep dive that included pretty much all of the support groups so that we were well positioned when this thing starts, in a broad sense, that we are ready to help,” Raber said.

Microsoft Teams will be the video conferencing software available through Canvas once the switch is final. Raber and his team are also looking into how proctored software and Flash Books will be available with the new system.

Faculty campus-wide are currently signing up and going through training programs to aid the transition before it is accessible to students, where they can learn and observe the faculty side of Canvas.

“We’re going to prioritize some of our live training offerings in April and May specifically to these faculty members,” Raber said. “We’re going to provide faculty [that are] in the pilot group access to Canvas mid-March, so not too far from now — a little ahead of training to help familiarize them with things like the user interface.”

 

In addition to the training and virtual office hours for faculty, students will also have an opportunity to learn how the program will work for them. 

“We’re also working on a student-centered version of this that will help ease the transition,” Raber said. “So we suspect that students will all transition pretty well because … I should say the look and feel is definitely more modern.” 

Raber said they’re developing ways to launch Canvas in a “large-scale way” and more updates will come to faculty and students as they progress.

“Things are progressing very, very nicely,” Raber said. “We’ve spent a lot of time working through some configuration items that are honestly new to the university that’s going to allow for some pretty interesting flexibility.”

Kaitlyn Finchler covers administration and enrollment. Contact her at [email protected]