EOU LMS Migration
Frequently Asked Questions
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Q – How long do I have to transition my courses from Blackboard to Canvas?
A – EOU will continue to license Blackboard Learn until the end of Summer 2015, so faculty can use Blackboard until Fall 2015. However, we are encouraging all faculty to make the transition sooner rather than later for the sake of providing our students with a more unified classroom experience.
Q – What sort of supports are in place to help faculty make this transition?
A – Our Faculty training schedule and descriptions of the workshops we provide can be found here.
Q – How soon may I begin using Canvas to teach my courses?
A – The official EOU Canvas teaching environment is not currently available to faculty but we are hoping that it will be before June, 2014. We will keep you posted via Email as the situation develops.
Q – My students are telling me that they are already taking classes in Canvas. How can that be if we’re not able to use Canvas yet?
A – There are a handful of EOU faculty who are involved in piloting a stripped down, free-to-teach version of Canvas in their courses. They are not using the official EOU Canvas environment, though, and as such, they are required to maintain their own course enrollments and provide some level of student support due to the fact that the students must sign up for a login to that environment. If you want to use this free-to-teach environment you are welcome to do so, but you may be on your own in terms of support due to the fact that the EOU helpdesk will not be prepared to provide assistance until May at the earliest.
Q – Can I get early access to Canvas to begin developing courses before Summer 2014?
A – Yes, but not yet. Our plan is to have the official EOU Canvas environment available for faculty access in mid-May. We will provide further details as soon as we are able to nail them down. You can also sign up for a free-to-teach account with Canvas to begin developing coursework and then export it from that system and import it into the official environment once it becomes available. As mentioned in the previous Q/A, support for this free-to-teach environment will be limited for the time being due to our support team gearing up with our own training materials.
Q – Will we still have access to our Blackboard course material/records after Summer 2015?
A – Yes. Data from the EOU Blackboard server will remain available for archival purposes beyond Summer 2015, so if you still do need to access course material, grades, discussion board posts, etcetera, we will be able to retrieve it for you. We simply will not be teaching courses with Blackboard Learn after Summer 2015.
Q – Can I import my existing Blackboard course into a Canvas shell?
A – Yes. Canvas does have an import utility that will allow you to take a course shell exported from Blackboard and import it into Canvas. However, certain course structures import more effectively than others and in some cases it may be better to rebuild the course to better align it with Canvas’ more systematic paradigm. Some things transition better than other things. For instance, test banks, exams, grade columns, and course files all transition with no difficulty, however advanced adaptive release rules do not.
Q – Does it make more sense to rebuild my Canvas course from scratch or import it from Blackboard?
A – This depends entirely upon the way you originally structured your course in Blackboard. We have put together this survey that should help you to get a better idea of whether you’ll be better suited to import your course from Blackboard or simply start over in Canvas.
Q – How are Canvas and Blackboard different?
A – The primary differences between Canvas and Blackboard come down to their respective ages. Canvas is the new kid on the block and because of that, it has a definite advantage: it’s been built upon a technological foundation that takes into consideration the last 10 years’ worth of advancement of programming, web services, cloud-based hosting, mobile computing, multimedia, and online instruction/pedagogy. Blackboard was originally conceived in the 90′s as a Java-based application and it has not had a serious overhaul since then. As a result, Blackboard’s approach to new feature roll-out seems to take more of a bolt-on approach rather than a foundational one.
From a pedagogical standpoint, Canvas and Blackboard have entirely different paradigms. Blackboard’s approach to online instruction is to provide a thousand tools of varying levels of stability and usefulness. It provides an amalgamous space for courses to take on hierarchical structure akin to an Operating System with its directories (content areas) and subdirectories (nested content areas).
Canvas provides only a handful of tools, but they are all reliable and useful. Its streamlined interface may be less flexible than Blackboard but it is also far less breakable. Canvas courses are generally laid out in a modular, step-by-step approach that guides students from one item to the next. Canvas also includes a virtual classroom experience similar to Eluminate/Bb Collaborate for instructors and a robust, free-for-students mobile application that works on both IOS and Android-based devices.
It’s probably important to say that Blackboard Learn also provides a modular course delivery system, but for whatever reason it was only ever employed by a minority of EOU faculty and it certainly has an add-on feel to it.
Q – Will the third-party application/system/solution I use in Blackboard also work in Canvas (i.e. Respondus, McGraw-Hill Connect, WileyPlus, etc.)
A – Of the three examples provided, yes. We will have to take these particular kinds of 3rd party systems on a case-by-case basis, though and we cannot guarantee every Blackboard plug-in will work in Canvas. For instance, one plug-in that will definitely not work is Safe-assign.