Selection of Canvas
The selection of the ePortfolio/Learning Management System (LMS) to support BGSU’s academic mission is a critical decision impacting faculty, staff, and students. Implementation and utilization of the most appropriate system empowers the campus community to support our academic mission and goals.
The evaluation and review of ePortfolio/LMS solutions began over fourteen months ago. A task force of 65 faculty members, staff, administrators, and students evaluated a variety of LMS and ePortfolio products at that time. In their report on May 16, 2011, they recommended that BGSU investigate the possibility of moving from BlackBoard 8.0. This review phase, by faculty and students, resulted in the decision to pilot Canvas by Instructure, a combined LMS and ePortfolio, during the Spring 2012 Semester before proceeding with any final decision.
The Spring 2012 pilot included 94 faculty and staff with 3400 students in 140 classes representing a broad sampling of the BGSU community. Courses in different colleges and at different levels with different pedagogies were included in the pilot group. Multiple surveys of student and faculty opinions were taken during the pilot program. Responses to closed-ended questions are reported below. Open-ended question responses were collected and used to inform the decision but are not reported here to protect individual anonymity. A focus group was selected and performed an independent analysis of the lessons learned during the pilot program. An executive summary of that report is also provided below.
In addition to that information, we found that:
- 75% of the faculty and staff pilot program participants agreed that they would like to teach future classes using Canvas.
- 72% of the student pilot participants indicated yes, they would like to take future courses in Canvas.
- The technical team recommended Canvas as the better platform for security, system support and infrastructure.
Based upon the recommendations of the initial task force in 2011, the survey results of faculty and students in the pilot program, the focus group’s recommendations, and the technical team recommendations, the decision has been reached to implement Canvas as BGSU’s Learning Management System.
The project that will transition faculty to Canvas and migrate selected data from Blackboard will occur over the next 18 months to be completed by December 31, 2013. This will allow for current instructors using Blackboard to be individually migrated to Canvas during one of the next three semesters and to receive training to ease that transition as well as better utilize the additional features that Canvas offers.
Thank you to all who have participated in the entire evaluation and review processes in addition to those involved in the Canvas pilot. We look forward to sharing additional information with you regarding the Canvas implementation in the near future.
Evaluation and Review Process
The Canvas pilot project will examine the feasibility of implementing the Canvas product by Instructure as the Learning Management System (LMS) and ePortfolio product for BGSU. The Canvas solution is being reviewed as a replacement for the Blackboard LMS and Epsilen ePortfolio applications currently in use at BGSU.
The LMS and ePortfolio systems are integral to the academic mission of the University and the success of all students. This review of currently utilized LMS and ePortfolio applications parallels the campus-wide efforts to re-envision the BGSU undergraduate education experience.
- an integrated LMS and ePortfolio solution.
- a cloud based solution with a significant amount of storage per user that is expandable without individual request.
- a product that provides secure transmission for each page of the system.
- a solution that provides communication options for each user.
- a solution that streamlines completion of tasks.
- a product that provides a means to be accessible with the BGSU username and password.
Pilot group members represent various types of online learning users - copious users, occasional users as well as those new to online learning. The pilot group participants are a cross-institutional representation of faculty, staff, and students in order to ensure that the products meet student, faculty, and institutional needs.
- Fall 2011 - Pilot group participants are identified, introduced to the Canvas product, and trained on how to navigate and utilize the system. Pilot group participants will prepare course materials using Canvas. The amount of course components prepared will be at the discretion of the pilot group participant.
- Spring 2012 - Pilot group members will deliver materials using Canvas. Surveys will be utilized to collect feedback from participants. A decision regarding the implementation of Canvas as the LMS and ePortfolio system at BGSU will be reached by the end of the spring semester.
- Fall 2013 - If it is decided that Canvas will be the integrated LMS and ePortfolio tool for BGSU, the transition would be completed by the end of the Fall 2013 semester.
Learning Management System (LMS)
The Canvas LMS utilizes standard features such as the integrated gradebook, assessment tools, discussions, multiple assignment submission types, rubrics and web chat while also leveraging features such as drag-and-drop uploads, HTML5 video and automatic speech-to-text conversion. It also integrates with popular Web 2.0 tools and social media platforms like Google Docs and Facebook.
The Canvas ePortfolio provides a place where students can display and discuss the significant submissions and experiences that are happening during their learning process. The ePortfolio can be used to:
- Display papers the students are proud of for more than just the instructor to see
- Talk about the thought and work that went into their class submissions
- Gather an overview of the students’ experiences as a whole, including co-curricular learning
- Share the students’ work with friends, future employers, etc.
The ePortfolio can be public or private.
University ePortfolio and Assessment Development Group
The ePortfolio and Assessment Development Group has been charged to develop and present a best practices model for using student ePortfolios as assessment vehicles that will assess students’ achievement of the University Learning Outcomes.