WashU IT Leading the Transition from Blackboard to Canvas

The WashU IT Canvas team has been very busy this semester, and it doesn’t look like things will slow down anytime soon! The team has been actively engaged in planning and preparing our WashU community for the launch of Canvas, the university’s new, online Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas is being transitioned in, and will be used concurrently with Blackboard, during the fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters. Beginning summer 2019, Blackboard will no longer be available for classes and Canvas will be the university’s single LMS system. 

In preparation for the launch, the team’s two dedicated Instructional Support Specialists are offering faculty a variety of training opportunities, including system demos, drop-in labs, and office hours. Washington University also has 24/7 support for all faculty and students via chat, phone, and email through Instructure, the makers of Canvas. 

Communications were created in a variety of formats including email, postcards, digital signage, a painting in the underpass, and a chalk drawing at the DUC. The team also participated in WashU’s Activities Fair and First40 Tech Day, informing students about Canvas, the timeline for the transition, and hosting a raffle for WashU swag! 

 All of the time spent preparing and implementing the transition plan has certainly paid off. As of late September, there are 704 published courses, 726 active teachers, and 10,769 students using the new system. When team members spoke with students about the transition, feedback was overwhelmingly positive. They heard things like, “I love Canvas” and “It’s so easy to use.” 

Preparation continues as the team moves into phase 2 of project. Faculty training and communications will continue this semester and next to prepare for the final transition from Blackboard to Canvas. Three campus-wide open demos of Canvas are happening in October, two on Danforth campus and one on Medical Campus. To learn more about the project and training opportunities, visit the Hello Canvas website. For support questions, answers to common issues, and tools and resources, visit the My Canvas website.