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Graphic by Debbie Jeffers September 20, 2017
UD to retire Sakai and support only the Canvas Learning Management System
The University of Delaware has selected Canvas to be the Learning Management System (LMS) for faculty and students to use in the future.
UD currently supports both the Sakai and Canvas systems, but has launched the Transition to Canvas (T2C) initiative to move University faculty and students to one system, Canvas.
“Canvas works well with most web browsers and has a fully functional mobile app,” said Paul Rickards, director of IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS) and UD deputy chief information officer (CIO). “Students and faculty have both expressed frustration with how the version of Sakai we run integrates with today’s mobile environment, and they report that Canvas works smoothly on most devices.”
According to Rickards, compatibility with today’s devices is just one of the reasons the University is moving to Canvas. “Sakai and Canvas both have tools that can improve student learning, but Canvas offers a richer toolset, provides better accessibility features, and is better-supported.”
By the end of the fall 2018 semester, the University plans to move all Sakai courses to Canvas and all Sakai projects to Canvas or other platforms.
“The T2C initiative began with training we made available to faculty this summer,” Rickards said.
IT-ATS has developed a comprehensive T2C website to help faculty and staff during the transition. The website includes instructions for moving content from Sakai to Canvas and self-service resources for learning how to use Canvas.
The T2C website also includes information about hands-on training sessions for faculty and staff. In addition, faculty can request one-on-one assistance or departments can request workshops for their faculty using the T2C consultation request form.
Campus reaction to the Canvas LMS has been very positive.
“We first made Canvas available to the campus in 2013,” said Nancy O’Laughlin, manager of LMS support in IT-ATS. “Over 900 of our faculty members and over 19,000 students now use Canvas in their classes. Students like the interface and tools and love the Canvas mobile app.”
She added that faculty have found the Canvas SpeedGrader (™) tool makes it easier to provide effective feedback on student coursework.
“Faculty report that whether they’re teaching an online course or an on campus course, Canvas tools help them manage their student’s work and engage students with each other and with course material,” O’Laughlin said.
“We've been incorporating Canvas into our course design workshops since January 2017,” said Kathleen Pusecker, director, UD Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL). “Canvas tools are very easy to use. We advocate designing courses using Canvas because it makes it easier to develop learning modules that build upon each other, and to connect learning outcomes with UD's General Education objectives.”
Faculty and staff currently using Sakai will receive a questionnaire about migrating their courses and projects to Canvas or other platforms.
“We want faculty and staff to provide input to help us design training and to gauge interest in an automated course migration tool,” said Rickards.
For more information, UD faculty and staff can visit the T2C website.
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