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Canvas learning management system builds momentum with faculty and students

February 19, 2016

Students and faculty learn about Virginia Tech's new learning management system.
Students and faculty learn about Virginia Tech's new learning management system, Canvas.

Satisfaction has been high among users of Virginia Tech's new Canvas Learning Management System -- with 89 percent of faculty and 91 percent of students reporting an overall positive experience.

This is the second semester since Canvas replaced Scholar the university’s primary platform for course management.

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“A major shift like this one takes a great deal of effort and coordination, but I’m pleased to see the way that our training, support, technical implementation, and customer service teams have risen to the challenge,” said Scott Midkiff, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “I’m also delighted to see faculty across the university converting to Canvas and beginning to use its features to improve learning and simplify teaching logistics.”

During the spring semester, a number of Networked Learning Initiatives courses are helping faculty members gain proficiency with Canvas. One-on-one consultations are available to help with content migrations and course redesign. Direct support is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Canvas.

“The migration tool, which moves course content from Scholar to Canvas, really simplifies the process of getting started. Once migration is complete, there’s time to experiment, add new material, and change things around,” said Danielle Thacker, lead documentation specialist within Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS), a unit of the Division of Information Technology.

The vast majority of students using Canvas in the fall gave it very high marks for usability and portability. Many of the students surveyed at the end of the fall said that the hardest thing about the transition was that they wished all their classes had already made the switch.

Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies Executive Director Dale Pike added, “We’re encouraging all our teaching faculty to learn about Canvas and begin to migrate their courses – the ramp-up phase ended in fall 2015, and now, with all the tools and support fully in place, there’s no reason to delay.”

Canvas is available online.  The Scholar platform for course management will be decommissioned at the end of the spring 2017 semester.

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