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The following was sent from Ron Danielson to SCU faculty and staff on May 30th:
Dear Faculty and Staff,
I’m writing to announce that the ANGEL learning management system that underlays Camino is reaching end of life. ANGEL was purchased by BlackBoard in the Spring of 2009, and while Blackboard has continued to support ANGEL, there have been few updates, limited improvements, and almost no new functionality added to the product as Blackboard has concentrated on implementing their new LMS platform - Learn. Blackboard will eventually end-of-life ANGEL .
We started a year ago evaluating systems to identify an application that would better support faculty trying to integrate best practices in their design of face-to-face, hybrid/blended, and online courses. After exploring a number of open source options, such as Moodle and Sakai, we started testing three learning management systems in the fall of 2012, piloting three systems – Canvas, Desire 2 Learn, and Blackboard – with 10 faculty and 400 undergraduate and graduate students. The faculty participating were Olin Bjork, English; Steve Johnson, Education; Katie Heintz, Communication; Pedro Hernandez-Ramos, Education; Harold Hoyle, Education; Michael Lasley, English; Robert Michalski, English; Sharon Merritt, English; Larry Nelson, Philosophy; and Damian Park, Economics.
The overwhelming preference from the faculty and students was for Canvas, based on ease of use, functionality (e.g., speed grader), and the level of tech support received during the pilot. All faculty using Canvas said they would recommend Canvas to their colleagues, all but one strongly recommending.
These few comments from different faculty sum up the feedback:
“Canvas was easy to learn and use – the students loved it. It did the important things an LMS does well…the ease of use, social utility, and grading functions are superb.”
“It is an excellent LMS, by far the best experience I’ve had with an LMS before (I’ve worked with Camino and with Blackboard in the past). I used it for every aspect of my course – from syllabus to schedule of classes (a great feature on Canvas) to posting essays. And students submitted all of their work onto Canvas.”
“Students loved the interface, and I found it really ease to use.”
“I piloted both Canvas and Blackboard. I strongly prefer Canvas for its ease of use and great customer service.”
Student feedback was similarly supportive of Canvas. On learning to use Canvas with very little difficulty, 91% of students who used that system agreed (44% strongly agreed). Compared to Camino, 70% of the Canvas students found it easier to use and thought it was better. Canvas students had an overall satisfaction rating of 85%. These few comments from different students sum up the feedback:
“Advantage is there in “upcoming assignments due” on the right side that disappear when you have turned them in. It acts as a check list. Easy to see assignments and easy to see grades. Teacher can also comment easily on turned in assignments. First class that has been all online, no hard copies ever, and because of Canvas has not been a hassel.”
“I like the modules being set up and easy to access. The discussion is helpful with the number of posts in the thread as well as the number you have not read. That helps me know when I need to check if someone’s added to the discussion and specifically which posts are new.”
“Having been a person who used Blackboard previously, Canvas was a BIG step forward. The user interface was easy to use.”
“Best feature was group collaboration tools it offered. It took our learning and collaboration to a different level.”
“I liked how we could view all of our assignments and it told us which assignments were due the soonest. It was fairly easy to view files and it was nice that the teacher and students could comment on our assignments directly and we could share our thoughts that way.”
Please watch for the announcement of a variety of support opportunities launching early this summer for migrating your courses from ANGEL to Canvas. If you would like further information, please contact Nancy Cutler (firstname.lastname@example.org, 408-554-4915).
I would be happy to talk to anyone about this decision (email@example.com, 408-554-6813).