Moving to a New Learning Management System

Learning management system of the future banner with rocket

 

The University of Alberta is investing in the infrastructure required to deliver a world-class educational experience - both within our classrooms and beyond. To shape a modern teaching and learning experience, the University of Alberta is moving to a new Learning Management System (LMS) of the future to support the changing needs of our institution. 

 

Get the latest updates at Ticket to Launch

 

 

Timeline 

CANVAS SELECTED AS THE UNIVERSITY oF ALBERTA'S NEXT LEARNING MANAGMENT SYSTEM

 

The next phase of shaping a modern teaching and learning experience is underway.

In Fall 2023, the Office of the Provost announced the Learning Management System (LMS) of the Future, a two-year, university-wide project to replace the Moodle (eClass) infrastructure that supports credit and non-credit courses by Fall 2025. Our current LMS, Moodle (eClass), is not aligned with industry standards and the University of Alberta will be moving to a new LMS to shape a modern teaching and learning experience while supporting the changing needs of our institution.

Following a broad consultation process, the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) is pleased to announce on February 26, 2024 that Canvas by Instructure has been selected as the next vendor for the U of A's Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas will replace Moodle (eClass) for all academic courses by Fall 2025. This decision included a thorough evaluation process with dozens of engagement sessions and input from students, faculty, instructors, staff, and committees from July through December 2023.

This is an important milestone for this initiative. With our new LMS vendor partnership now in place, our focus can shift to planning the onboarding experience and timing for people to start using the new LMS. This transition will happen in stages to minimize disruption to instructors and their students, and more details on timing will be shared in March 2024. No action is needed at this time, and no Spring and Summer 2024 courses will be impacted.

This new LMS will not only improve the student experience, but also offer faculty and staff a more user-friendly experience. As shared by our peer institution, University of Toronto, “[Canvas] offers a number of advantages for students and faculty. It boasts a more intuitive, user-friendly interface and an operating system that functions more like a smartphone. More importantly, it paves the way for more flexible and engaging approaches to teaching and learning.”

 

Our partnership with Canvas helps us lead with purpose

As outlined in the October 2023 Town Hall, we’ve heard from many students, Faculty and staff that the current LMS is no longer supporting our needs. The challenges have been far-reaching, from system outages to limited student mobile experience, limited access to data and analytics, lack of common templates, challenges with ease of use, and limited accessibility features. 

lms-of-the-future-venn-diagram

The move to Canvas enables us to deliver on our strategic imperative to renew the LMS as a priority goal of the Student Experience Action Plan under theme 03 - Enabling Academic Agency and Flexibility for students. It also supports a holistic focus on theme 04 - Fostering a Student-Centred Learning Environment to set instructors up for success in putting students at the heart of everything we do, through:

  • Innovative and flexible learning approaches
  • Wider range of learning credentials and paths
  • Data-driven insights into learning barriers and goals
  • Onboarding success plans for instructors and students

It focuses Operational Excellence effort on a people-first, student-centric experience with:

  • Leading-edge learning design features
  • Increased system reliability
  • Seamless software updates
  • On-campus help + extended 24/7 vendor support

 

How Canvas fits our reputation as a top-tier university

Since 2010, Canvas has been the fastest growing LMS in the marketplace worldwide. This award-winning software-as-a-service solution is used by some of the largest and most prestigious post-secondary institutions in Canada, North America, and around the globe including:

  • Top U15 institutions (University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Saskatchewan)
  • All Ivy League universities
  • Global #1 ranking universities (according to U.S. News & World Report) in the UK (Oxford University), the United States (Harvard University), Singapore (National University of Singapore), Australia (University of Melbourne), Netherlands (University of Amsterdam), Sweden (Karolinska Institutet), and Norway (University of Oslo)

 

Benefits to faculty and students

You wanted more from your LMS and we listened. Our partnership with Canvas positions us to meet the goals of this initiative outlined in our October 2023 town hall, for a learning management system that is more:

  • Accessible: with inclusive design standards that enable peoples of all abilities to fully engage in learning
  • Data-driven: with robust analytics that help faculty support their student’s success such as Mastery Paths and Mastery Gradebook, as well as SpeedGrader and Global Calendar
  • Easy to use: with intuitive, mobile-friendly technology for students and instructors that works across all devices
  • Engaging: with tools and resources that enable modern, personalized learning experiences such as Canvas Studio that turns passive viewing into active discussion
  • Integrated: with seamless interoperability between academic tools and systems
  • Supported by Partners: with continuous improvement, training, and partnership with the LMS provider including a globally engaged user community

Watch this short video to get a closer look at Canvas, coming soon to a screen near you:

 

What's next?

Transitioning to a new platform with a stronger user community and support for an expanded array of learning experiences will have a positive institutional and systemic impact on the teaching and learning environment at the University of Alberta.

Planning is underway through April 2024 for a phased rollout of Canvas in time for courses starting Fall 2024. More details will be released in March 2023 as we work with our university community and new LMS partner, Canvas, to design a smooth transition for students, faculty and instructors, and staff. This transition will be accomplished by:

  • Working with colleges, Faculties, and departments to identify ideal transition timelines
  • Automatically migrating relevant Moodle courses to Canvas to minimize manual work in the new LMS
  • Starting a task force early on requirements for courses integrated with Stack
  • Identifying student cohorts that can transition cohesively to limit accessing multiple systems
  • Hosting live demos plus access to test drive the new LMS before it goes live
  • Providing live onboarding sessions with on-demand, self-serve support resources 
  • Providing the same on-campus support that knows our community with enhanced 24/7 vendor support for instructors and students

 

STAY IN THE LOOP

Together, we are excited to kick-off this journey to create world-class learning experiences – within our classrooms and beyond.

University of Alberta members can stay in the loop by:

 

Project LeadershIP

Thank you to our project sponsors, project managers, and LMS of the Future Advisory Committee who were instrumental in providing input and selecting Canvas as our LMS partner.

 

Project Sponsors

Karsten Mündel, Vice Provost (Learning Initiatives)
Jessica Butts Scott, AVP (Online Learning & Continuing Education)
Shari Baraniuk, AVP and CIO (Information Services & Technology - Finance & Administration)
Marvin Washington, College Dean, College of Social Sciences & Humanities - Dean's Office

 

Project Managers

Robert Brennan, Senior Project Manager (Office of the Provost)
Chris Brunelle, Executive Director, Enrolment Systems & Service Innovation, RO Enrolment Systems and Service Innovation

 

LMS of the Future Advisory Committee

Ali Shiri - Vice Dean (Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies)
Angela Bayduza - Associate Dean (Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation)
Anita Parker - Lead Educational Developer (Centre for Teaching and Learning)
Anne McIntosh - Associate Dean, Teaching (Augustana Campus)
Avery Letendre - Indigenous Continuing Education & Online Project Manager (Faculty of Native Studies)
Chris Brunelle - Executive Director, Enrolment Systems & Service Innovation, RO Enrolment Systems and Service Innovation
Colleen Starchuk - Learning Consultant/Co-Director, Tech in Education (Faculty of Education)
Deanna Singhal - Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning (Faculty of Science)
Erik Berglund - E-Learning Professional Development Specialist (Faculty of Nursing)
Erin Wright - Professor (School of Public Health)
Heather Braid - Manager, Teaching and Learning (Alberta School of Business)
Hollis Lai - Associate Professor (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry)
Iain Muir - Associate Teaching Professor (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
Jeff Rawlings - Director, Digital Learning Environment (Information Services & Technology)
Ken Cor - Clinical Professor (Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences)
Kim Frail - Head, Teaching and Learning (Library and Museums)
Kristin Mulligan - Director, Online Learning (Online Learning & Continuing Education)
Lise Niyuhire - Senior Officer, Innovation & Technology (Campus Saint-Jean)
Pedro Almeida - Vice-President Academic (University of Alberta Students’ Union)
Rebecca Nagel - Associate Dean, Undergraduate (Faculty of Arts)
Rija Kamran - Vice-President Academic (Graduate Students’ Union)
Stanislav Karapetrovic - Professor (Faculty of Engineering)
Vincent Bouchard - Professor (Faculty of Science)

 

Revised April 3, 2024