EOU LMS Review
What is an LMS?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that has several major roles, including:
- Provides instructors with an online repository for course materials,
- Includes tools instructors may use to organize, manage, and deliver a course in either an online or hybrid class environment, and
- Facilitates student-to-student, and student-to-instructor collaboration and communication.
Blackboard is currently the LMS used by Eastern Oregon University.
Why should we move from Blackboard?
Student and Faculty access and success is a core theme for Eastern Oregon University. Blackboard has become increasingly unreliable over the last 3 years. With continued student dissatisfaction due to constant outages and maintenance, major features that are nonfunctional, the lack of a useful mobile application, ongoing browser compatibility issues, and a laundry-list of other bugs, Blackboard no longer meets the expectation set in that core theme.
How/why was Canvas chosen?
A LMS team comprised of EOU Faculty and EOU IT staff was organized in the summer of 2013 to consider the effectiveness of Blackboard, discuss whether it still serves the best interests of EOU, and to suggest possible alternatives. The team considered the following:
- Remaining with Blackboard
- Hosting Blackboard in the cloud
- Moving to an alternate LMS
It was agreed upon that remaining with Blackboard was a mistake, and transitioning Blackboard to a cloud-based service proved to be well outside the scope of our budget.
The team reviewed a few potential alternatives and Canvas by Instructure was singled out as a likely candidate. Early pilot courses in Canvas began at EOU in the Fall of 2013 with a largely positive response by the EOU students involved, and that feedback only became more positive through the extended pilot of Winter 2014. At that time, the review team agreed that Canvas was the most viable alternative largely due to its reliability and positive student feedback. In addition to piloting their own live courses in Canvas and discussing its strengths and weaknesses, the review team also considered several LMS review findings published by other institutions, most of which chose Canvas over the other major competitors.