The transition to remote teaching has challenged our assessment and instruction approaches on campus.  The new LMS will offer a substantially enhanced online student experience in a remote environment, making this transition a high priority for USask. With remote instruction, faculty have been requesting more robust technologies that support a wider range of needs and are easier to learn. For that reason, USask has decided to keep moving towards a new LMS. Blackboard will continue to be available at this time, greater functionality will be available for faculty as soon as they access the new LMS, including:

  • Easy to use on the mobile devices that many students and faculty are relying on during the pandemic.
  • Effective, easy to use tools for online or remote class discussions that significantly improve student learning experiences.
  • Easy ways to comment on student work via audio, video or in-text comments that improve faculty and student communication.
  • Online assessment and grading tools that share the information seamlessly with students and support peer assessment.
  • More options for communicating online with students in one simple channel.
With the goal of streamlining our support and providing a consistent student experience between courses, we are hoping to transition into Canvas relatively quickly, but we do not want to rush. We want to make sure that the transition is done well, with the necessary planning and support in each case. Having said that, we will keep Blackboard during the transition, with the final possible end date being the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. We will communicate well in advance of any cut-off date.

You’ve spent lots of time recently in our existing technical tools, and could use less change in your teaching life where possible. 

Our existing teaching tools, including Panopto, WebEx, and TopHat will be integrated in Canvas too and will work well with it.

Each college or school is choosing a window for implementation of Canvas, and is striking a working group that includes representatives for the college or school, the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning, and ICT. The working group will plan and monitor each stage of implementation including: timeline, professional learning for instructors, support and consultation for individual faculty, and migration of Blackboard courses.

We are currently starting the process of getting Canvas set up for faculty to use.  We anticipate faculty being able to get access in June when the professional learning starts.  The first courses that are able to be offered in Canvas will be in Summer Session 2020 for specific colleges, and individual faculty interested in starting right away can use Canvas for their Fall 2020 courses.

You can join a list of early adopters by completing the survey prior to June 3, 2020. Once it is available in June, you can access Canvas on a desktop or laptop, or download the mobile app for instructors and log in.

The selection process has been framed by both a set of principles of effective teaching and learning developed from a USask e-learning research study done by and with faculty in 2017 and Our Learning Charter. A variety of LMS vendors submitted proposals based on the principles and requirements, in the fall of 2019 and were compared to criteria generated in consultation with faculty, technical teams, learning specialists. The various applicants were shortlisted to Brightspace and Canvas, who were tested over the entire winter term of 2020 in order to determine which would be more effective for USask faculty and provide the best student learning experience. The assessment included the following:

  • course pilots of Brightspace and Canvas.
  • faculty and student surveys.
  • presentations from Brightspace and Canvas and feedback about the presentations from faculty and students.
  • usability testing of Brightspace and Canvas with students and faculty.

Canvas was selected based on the scoring of all of the data collected.