LMS (Blackboard-Canvas) Evaluation Project

Introduction

Skip to: Evaluation Timeline | FAQ | Roles & Responsibilities

Stanislaus State has used Blackboard as its primary Learning Management System (LMS) since 2007. The current service contract with Blackboard will be ending on June 30, 2019.  While the system has been updated and upgraded several times over the years, the LMS market has continued to evolve and now is the time to evaluate whether Blackboard remains the best solution for our campus.  OIT and the Technology and Learning Subcommittee of UEPC have been asked to assist with implementing this review.  The review will comprise two phases: 1) evaluate alternative LMS products and choose one to offer as a limited pilot in Fall 2018 and 2) evaluate selected LMS in a pilot and decide whether to retain or replace Blackboard. After an information-gathering process through Fall 2018 involving campus stakeholders, the Provost will utilize all available feedback to help inform her recommendation to President Junn about whether to replace Blackboard, and if so, which LMS should replace it.

Phase I took place in spring of 2018. A small group of faculty compared Moodle and Canvas. The result of that comparison was the selection of Canvas as the subject of a formal pilot in Fall 2018.  In May 2018 a call was put out for faculty participation in the pilot.  Approximately 45 instructors are taking part in the pilot.  No new applications are being accepted.

About Canvas

Canvas logoLaunched in 2011, Canvas has made significant inroads in the LMS market, especially in the United States, and is seeing growing interest in the CSU system. Notably, the entire California Community College system recently standardized the overwhelming majority of its campuses on Canvas. Canvas is developed and supported by Instructure, a publicly-traded U.S.-based company (NYSE:INST).

Canvas Overview

Canvas Features

Canvas Presentation Video

 

 

Evaluation Timeline: Phase I

February 2018

Gathered preliminary faculty input and interest via faculty survey of current LMS environment (download results) as well as in-person and recorded presentations/demos of Canvas and Moodle

March-April 2018

Volunteer cohort of faculty evaluators take deep dive into both Moodle and Canvas

  • March 5-20: Moodle sandbox courses created and evaluated (download results)
  • March 20-April 9: Canvas sandbox courses created and evaluated (download results)
  • Evaluators will be asked to work on the following tasks in both Canvas and Moodle:
    • Create a representative sample of assignments, activities, and student interactions
    • Set up gradebook to match syllabus requirements
    • Use student test accounts to populate the course with student activity
    • Grade and assess test student activity

April-May 2018

  • April 9: Deadline for evaluators to submit feedback and indicate personal recommendation for product to pilot in Fall 2018 (see Canvas sandbox report, above)
  • April 16: Draft report discussed by Technology and Learning Subcommittee
  • April 20: Final report presented to UEPC and Provost. This report will contain a recommendation on which LMS product should be given a limited pilot with live PeopleSoft enrollments in the Fall 2018 semester.

Evaluation Timeline: Phase II [updated December 2018]

Summer 2018

  • Initiate a formal pilot for the selected LMS and begin setting it up.
  • Recruit interested faculty to receive training on the piloted system in preparation for Fall 2018 courses.
  • Negotiate with Blackboard for short-term extension after Spring 2019.

Fall 2018

Courses: Blackboard + Pilot courses

  • Pilot faculty and students use new LMS for courses
  • Pilot faculty and students surveyed about permanent replacement of Blackboard

Spring 2019

Courses: Blackboard

  • Information from pilot compiled into a report with a yea or nay recommendation on adoption of Canvas.
  • UEPC and Academic Senate considers report and provides additional input alongside the recommendation.
  • Report and faculty input sent to Provost for a final decision by President Junn.
  • If the decision is to replace, information campaign communicating the changes begins. Details TBD.

»»» If a decision to adopt Canvas is made, the following timeline will take place:

Summer 2019

Courses: Blackboard + Canvas

All instructors encouraged to run their courses in Canvas, but courses will be available in both Canvas and in Blackboard.  

  • OIT offers Canvas training workshops

Fall 2019

Courses: Blackboard + Canvas

All instructors encouraged to run their courses in Canvas, but courses will be available in both Canvas and in Blackboard.  OIT continues to offer training workshops.

Spring 2020

Courses: Blackboard + Canvas (final semester of live Blackboard courses)

All instructors encouraged to run their courses in Canvas, but courses will be available in both Canvas and in Blackboard.  OIT continues to offer training workshops.

Blackboard server archived after this semester

Summer 2020

Courses: Canvas + Blackboard archive

  • June 1: Blackboard retired from active course usage and system moved to archive status.
  • Previous Blackboard courses remain available in archive for another year.

Fall 2020

Courses: Canvas + Blackboard archive

  • OIT continues to offer training workshops.

Spring 2021

Courses: Canvas + Blackboard archive

  • OIT continues to offer training workshops.
  • May 31: Blackboard archive turned off

Summer 2021

Courses: Canvas only.  All Blackboard classes no longer available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this evaluation happening now?

In short, because the current Blackboard service contract is coming up for renewal in the spring of 2019.  It has been several years since we’ve done a formal evaluation of the primary LMS used on campus, and improvements and changes within the LMS landscape mean it is a good time to examine some options to see if they offer improvements over the current system.

Why are Canvas and Moodle the only options being considered as potential replacements for Blackboard?

Both Moodle and Canvas already have significant market share in higher ed and demonstrate an ability to be deployed on an enterprise level akin to what Blackboard currently offers. Preliminary pricing information also showed that moving to one of these two systems would not increase the university’s cost for providing LMS services.

If there is going to be a replacement, what will happen to existing courses in Blackboard?

As much as possible, existing course material will be backed up and copied into the new system. However, this process is not usually satisfactory from a technical standpoint and the time needed subsequently to “fix” any imported materials is usually as long as starting fresh. Starting fresh also lets instructors rethink and improve their course design in light of the opportunities provided by a new LMS.

How much will a replacement LMS cost compared to Blackboard?

That is currently not known precisely. Importantly, the campus is evaluating a replacement for Blackboard purely for pedagogical reasons, not as a way to save money.

If Blackboard is replaced with Canvas, will faculty still have the option of using Moodle?

Yes. Currently there are no plans to discontinue the availability of Moodle.

What will be the status of Google Classroom if a Blackboard replacement is selected?

Currently there are no plans to discontinue the availability of Google Classroom for those faculty who currently have access to it. The availability of Google Classroom (as hosted by OIT) will depend on broader decisions made regarding the continued availability of the Google Apps for Education suite if and when the student email system is migrated away from a Gmail-based system to an Office365-based system.

If Blackboard is not replaced as a result of this evaluation, will faculty continue to have access to Moodle and Google Classroom?

Currently there are no plans to discontinue the availability of either Moodle or Google Classroom based on the outcome of the Canvas pilot.

Roles and Responsibilities

Jason Myers
Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs
Pilot Administrator

Corey Cardoza
Director, Information & Learning Services (OIT)
Pilot Coordinator

Glenn Pillsbury
Instructional Designer (OIT) and Member (ex-officio), Technology and Learning Subcommittee
Pilot Co-Manager

Bob Koehler
Blackboard Administrator
Pilot Co-Manager

Betsy Eudey
Chair, University Education and Policies Committee

Kimberly Greer
University Provost