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Clark University is excited to announce that after a yearlong evaluation, Clark University has chosen Canvas as our new Learning Management System (LMS).  Detail around the evaluation and selection process can be found here.

The Canvas platform is a modern, innovative, and well-established LMS that fulfills all the major themes identified by participating faculty, students, and staff as important to Clark, including:

  • Strongly teaching and learning centered
  • User-friendly; including modern aesthetics, organized interface, customizable experience, predictable to navigate, accessible, mobile friendly
  • Flexible; easy for those who want the basics, but sophisticated for those with specific needs, and scalable for Clark’s future growth
  • Strong support network for community members
  • Cloud-hosted; secure and reliable; easy integration with existing tools

Interested in learning more about why our participants were so excited about Canvas? Check out the demonstrations below.


Moving to a new LMS is both exciting and significant. Based on feedback from other institutions that have moved to Canvas, all spring 2023 courses will be housed in Canvas. This migration will not impact the summer or fall 2022 semesters. We are looking for approximately 40 courses to pilot Canvas in the fall semester. Details about the pilot, including how to register if you choose, can be found below.

ITS will be working hard over the next six months (and beyond) to support this transition including the technical implementation, migration of all courses from Moodle to Canvas, training, and communication. We know that you will have questions about this implementation and how it will support your teaching and learning. ITS has created an overview of the timeline and answers to many questions, that you can find below.

All of us in ITS are excited for this evolution of technology to better support our teaching and learning needs across campus. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk or another ITS team member anytime throughout this process with questions.

Important Dates

June 27 2022
Register your interest in participating in the Pilot
June 28 2022
Pilot participants notified
Fall 2022
Pilot courses available in Canvas. All other courses available in Moodle
October 17, 2022
Curricular courses migrated and available in Canvas
November 2022
Spring 2023 courses available to Faculty only in Canvas
Spring 2023
All Spring 2023 course available only in Canvas
February 15 2023
Non-curricular and non-standard courses available in Canvas
Summer 2023
All Summer 2023 courses available only in Canvas
July 1 2023
Community access to Moodle removed
Beyond
All courses available in Canvas

Pilot

In Fall 2022 a number of courses will be offered in Canvas as part of a pilot. This pilot will allow us to confirm integrations with internal and external technologies, refine visual design and software settings, and identify opportunities for training. The pilot courses will be chosen from a list of volunteer departments and/or faculty and we will strive for a balance in course offerings – undergraduate and graduate, face-to-face and online/hybrid, multiple departments, etc.

Click here to register your interest in being a part of the pilot. We will accept applications until June 27.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions about this exciting change.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk (helpdesk@clarku.edu, 508 793 7745) or another ITS team member anytime throughout this process.

Evaluation and Selection Process

Clark University has been using Moodle as a Learning Management System (LMS) since 2008. An open-source application, hosted by ITS on campus, Moodle is used by approximately 90% of standard courses each semester.

A required upgrade to Moodle 4 in 2023 would present major interface changes, entail significant acclimatization by the community, require external services to complete in a timely manner, and force a move from self-hosted to cloud-hosted. With that on the horizon, combined with increasing comments from the community, the 2021/2022 academic year was an appropriate time to evaluate Moodle’s place on campus. ITS convened an advisory group – the LMS Evaluation Committee, and invited the Academic Technology Committee to help advise and guide the process.

Click here (or read below) to learn more about the evaluation process.

The evaluation process took place during Fall 2021, and encouraged all community members to share their feedback about Moodle and their specific needs from an LMS, via surveys, general and departmental focus groups, and one-on-one conversations. This evaluation of Moodle (and the spring evaluation of candidates) was promoted via the ITS newsletter, Moodle announcements, digital signage, and targeted outreach by ITS staff and committee members.

On conclusion of the feedback period, ITS identified some major themes in the needs for an LMS and a more detailed 320 item rubric. The evaluation of Moodle on these themes and rubric (Moodle scored 53% total, meeting 69% of “very important” criteria) indicated that Clark should evaluate if other market options could better support Clark’s current and future needs.

ITS performed initial evaluations of the three major LMS systems on the market (Canvas by Instructure, Blackboard Ultra by Blackboard and D2L by Brightspace). After these explorations it was determined that Canvas and Blackboard were the two candidates that should be evaluated by the Clark community.

The candidate evaluation process took place in spring 2022 and included candidate demonstrations, open access to candidate systems for explorations and subsequent surveys. Additionally, ITS did significant evaluation of each candidate against the rubric with Canvas scoring 88%, meeting 91% of “very important” criteria, and Blackboard scoring 86%, with 88% of “very important” criteria.

Click here to view the rubric used to evaluate Moodle and the candidate LMS

In April 2022, based on the community feedback, in-depth technical evaluation, and evaluation of the rubric, ITS determined that adopting Canvas as Clark’s new LMS is the appropriate path forward. The Canvas platform supports Clark’s improvement for an LMS on all of the major themes:

  • Strongly teaching and learning centered
  • User-friendly; includes modern aesthetics, organized interface, customizable experience, predictable to navigate, accessible, mobile friendly
  • Flexible; easy for those who want the basics, but sophisticated for those with specific needs, and scalable for Clark’s future growth
  • Strong support network for community members
  • Cloud-hosted; secure and reliable; easy integration with existing tools

The adoption of Canvas will allow our LMS to support institutional initiatives including:

  • more innovative teaching and learning for academic excellence; easier for faculty to include engaging and collaborative technology
  • enhanced technology-based campus experience for both curricular and non-curricular use
  • higher standards of accessibility
  • better support for students with minimal resources; Canvas is very mobile friendly
  • the ability to support increased institutional momentum towards growth and outward engagement including grants, community-based outreach, online graduate programs, etc.

Click here to learn more about the evaluation process.

ITS will be working hard over the next 6 months to communicate with faculty, staff and students about all the new features and benefits that Canvas can offer Clark. Click here to see more about Canvas Support.

In the meantime, many of our community found it useful to watch Canvas’s demonstrations. Click below to see what made our participants so excited about Canvas.

The timeline outlined above was chosen based on consultation with ITS, campus groups, and external advisors. By switching over to a new LMS in Spring we can offer faculty, staff and student training and support in the months prior to the switch, when many community members are engaged with campus. Additionally, by moving all courses (excepting the pilot courses) to Canvas in a single semester, we reduce the cognitive load on students who otherwise may need take courses in two different LMS in a given semester.

ITS worked throughout the academic year to invite all community members to be a part of the evaluation and selection process. This was via surveys, general and departmental focus groups, and one-on-one conversations promoted via the ITS newsletter, Moodle announcements, digital signage, and targeted outreach by ITS staff, and other stakeholders.

Additionally ITS convened an advisory group – the LMS Evaluation Committee, and invited the Academic Technology Committee to help advise and guide the process.

Steering Committee

The following faculty, staff and students have been generous enough to serve as the LMS Evaluation Steering Committee through the end of Spring 2022.

  • Kat Andler: Associate Teaching Professor, Becker School of Design and Technology at Clark
  • Krithika Arunthuthiyar: Co-President Graduate Student Council
  • Lisa DeMings: Director of Enterprise Applications
  • Michael Krikonis: Academic Technologist
  • Siu Ming Luie: Associate Dean, School of Professional Studies
  • Jen Plante: Associate Dean of Academic Services
  • Teresa Quinn: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Manager, School of Management
  • Laurie Ross: Associate Dean & Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
  • Sam Spearing: Treasurer of SPOC

Academic Technology Committee (AY21/22)

  • Philip Bergmann: Chair & Associate Professor, Biology
  • Joe Kalinowski: CIO and VP for Technology
  • Hugh Manon: Associate Professor/Director, Screen Studies
  • Ezra Cove: Professor of Practice, Becker School of Design and Technology
  • Mark Davidson: Professor, Geography
  • Betsy Huang: Associate Provost, and Dean of the College
  • Laura Robinson: University Librarian
  • Joanne Dolan: Director of Academic Technology and Client Support Services

 

Faculty Questions

All Spring 2023 courses will only be available in Canvas.

This timeline was chosen based on consultation with ITS, faculty groups, and external advisors. By switching over to a new LMS in Spring we can offer faculty, staff and student training and support in the months prior to the switch, when many community members are engaged with campus. Additionally, by moving all courses (excepting the pilot courses) to Canvas in a single semester, we reduce the cognitive load on students who otherwise may need take courses in two different LMS in a given semester.

ITS will be working hard over the next 6 months to communicate with faculty, staff and students about all the new features and benefits that Canvas can offer Clark. Click here to see more about Canvas Support.

In the meantime, many of our community found it useful to watch Canvas’s demonstrations. Click below to see what made our participants so excited about Canvas.

In Fall 2022 a number of courses will be offered in Canvas as part of a pilot. This pilot will allow us to confirm integrations with internal and external technologies, refine visual design and software settings, and identify opportunities for training. The pilot courses will be chosen from a list of volunteer departments and/or faculty and we will strive for a balance in course offerings – undergraduate and graduate, face-to-face and online/hybrid, multiple departments, etc.

Click here to register your interest in being a part of the pilot. We will accept applications until June 27.

Beginning in the Spring 2023 semester, all courses will only be offered in Canvas.

ATS is working with Canvas to transfer all courses from Moodle to Canvas. Most courses will be available in Canvas by October 15th, 2022. The process of transferring courses between LMSs is not a perfect science and courses may require some work to reflect your vision. ATS will review each transferred course for issues, and communicate with faculty members to determine the best modifications to make.

From Spring 2023, all courses will only be offered in Canvas. Moodle will be accessible to review previous course content through the Spring 2023 semester and community access to Moodle will be removed from July 1st, 2023.

ITS will maintain our current policy of releasing Spring course shells to faculty one week after registration opens for students. We will advertise this date when registration dates are available.

If you would like to get hands-on experience with Canvas prior to that date, a “sandbox” course will be available for faculty in early Fall. Please look for more information on this in late-Summer.

Training will be offered for faculty and students participating in the pilot in July, August, and September 2022. Training for the rest of the campus – faculty, staff and students – will take place regularly – online and in person – throughout Fall 2022, Spring 2023, and into the future. Additionally, Canvas offers wonderful documentation that ATS will curate and make available.

Look for our training schedule on the Canvas Support page in early July.

When evaluating candidate LMSs we focused on ensuring that as many activities, actions, and tools as possible that are currently available in Moodle would be available to our community in Canvas. External tools such as Panopto, Turnitin, and Zoom will be available in addition to the standard selection of LMS tools such as assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, etc.

As with all software, nomenclature/names in Canvas may be different to those used in Moodle. If you can’t find a tool that you need in Canvas, don’t hesitate to reach out to your ATS liaison to identify the equivalent.

Other Questions

ATS is working with Canvas to transfer all courses from Moodle to Canvas. Non-standard/non-curricular courses will be available in Canvas by February 15th, 2023. However, we know that some courses may need to be transferred earlier to prepare for the Spring semester. If that is the case, please contact your ATS liaison or the Help Desk, and we can discuss prioritizing your migration.

The process of transferring courses between LMSs is not a perfect science and courses may require some work to reflect your vision. ATS will review each transferred course for issues, and communicate with course owners to determine the best modifications to make.

Canvas will be linked in ClarkYou, on the Clark website, and will be available directly via a URL.

You will login to Canvas in a similar way to Moodle and other Clark resources. You will use your usual Clark Account username and password.

For any questions, please contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@clarku.edu or 508 793 7745.