North Texas Daily

UNT on track for Canvas migration next semester

UNT on track for Canvas migration next semester

UNT on track for Canvas migration next semester
September 12
17:05 2018

UNT is continuing to make more classes available on Canvas before the full switch happens next semester, with 2,150 current courses actively using the platform this semester.

Canvas launched in 2011 and is used by more than 3,000 school districts, universities and institutions around the world, according to the Canvas website.

About 1,600 classes have migrated from Blackboard, and about 500 are new courses or have been redeveloped specifically for Canvas. Director for Learning Enhancement Lynette O’Keefe said before Canvas, UNT offered about 2,800 courses on Blackboard.

“Back when we were piloting systems, we knew what functionality we needed, [and] we knew where Blackboard was lacking,” O’Keefe said. “We’d been watching the learning management systems for what [and] who was gaining users, and we narrowed down the pilot [to Canvas].”

O’Keefe said UNT looked at Canvas as well as Blackboard Learn Ultra, an upgrade from the current Blackboard. However, O’Keefe said Blackboard Learn Ultra was not yet ready to pilot by the time UNT wanted to pilot a new learning system.

“We had months of meetings with Canvas and Blackboard explaining our needs and the needs of our students and really doing a cost-benefit analysis,” O’Keefe said.

The pilot began last year, and UNT has been adding more and more classes each semester until the full migration next semester. O’Keefe said the response to Canvas was “overwhelmingly positive” when they first ran the pilot with 400 students.

While some students were not familiar with the interface before UNT started making the switch, others came in from high school or community colleges that used Canvas.

Music education freshman Amrutha Murthy said her high school teachers offered a course to teach them the ins and outs of Canvas. This is her first time using Blackboard.

“[Blackboard is] interesting,” Murthy said. “I haven’t gotten to know it much, but it’s harder to find things.”

Murthy said she prefers Canvas because it is more organized.

“[I prefer] the categories [on Canvas] because it splits up grades and assignments,” Murthy said.

Communications senior Jessica Oquist said learning to navigate through Canvas was easy when she first used it in the summer.

“I like it better because you can do more,” Oquist said. “But it’s annoying to have [classes] on both [Blackboard and Canvas].”

This is the first semester integrative studies senior Adonys Wright has classes on Canvas. One of the things he said he prefers about Canvas is how it lets him know when assignments are due.

“[Canvas is] a little more interactive,” Wright said. “It’s easier to upload media with assignments. Not that I dislike Blackboard, but I’d pick Canvas.”

Students do not know if any of their classes will be on Canvas until the classes show up on Blackboard. From there, an announcement in the course on Blackboard tells students the class is on Canvas.

UNT first announced the plan to move to Canvas from Blackboard on Aug. 22, 2017, with a plan to make the full transition by spring 2019. The university signed a five-year contract with Canvas beginning Sept. 1, 2017.

The university has been using Blackboard and its previous products since 1998. UNT’s contract with Blackboard ends on Aug. 31, 2020.

Featured Image: Accessing a modules tab in one of his courses, student Adonys Wright is given the option to select tabs to learn more about Canvas, power points, class activities and several more regarding the course. Both students and faculty are currently navigating Blackboard and Canvas to access their courses. Ashley Gallegos 

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

Senior News Writer

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