UBC selects Canvas as replacement for Blackboard Learn (Connect)

June 08, 2017

We are pleased to announce that following extensive consultation and evaluation UBC has selected the Canvas platform (by Instructure) as the replacement for Blackboard Learn (badged locally as Connect). This announcement outlines timelines for access to and migration of courses into the new system, together with details of support resources and assistance for faculty, staff and students. 

Canvas is a system designed for mobile and will provide expanded capabilities as well as a more user-friendly interface for faculty, students and staff. (For further details and updates, visit here.) We are in the final stages of negotiation and we anticipate that the new system will be made available for development of courses at the start of July. Over the past two months, the project team has been working with Faculty leadership and local instructional support units to determine their preferred timeline for transition of courses and programs. First courses will be offered in Canvas this September, with all courses migrated to the new system by September 2018.  

We are committed to providing a range of support resources to help faculty, staff and students navigate this transition effectively. Canvas is widely used across world-leading research intensive universities, and the move to it represents a significant opportunity for UBC to further enhance the way digital tools can support and enhance student learning. To find out more about the platform’s capabilities, support resources and drop in consultation sessions that start next week, please visit UBC's Learning Technology Hub website: http://lthub.ubc.ca. Specific questions about the product, the timetable or the support available to you, should be directed to lt.hub@ubc.ca in the first instance.  On the advice of peer institutions consulted during the evaluation, UBC has contracted for 24/7/365 support for Canvas, for the period of the implementation, meaning that someone will be available to answer questions about Canvas at all times. Questions about integrations with Canvas, or UBC specific tools, will be referred to UBC staff for resolution during normal working hours.

The selection of Canvas follows a consultation process that began last Fall and was led by faculty and student secondees to the project; two systems were shortlisted at the end of the 2016W1 semester (Canvas by Instructure and Brightspace by D2L). Ten courses were then piloted (5 in each system) during the 2016W2 semester, across a range of Faculties and disciplines across both campuses. The user experiences of faculty, support staff and students in these courses contributed significantly to the overall evaluation of the two systems. The project evaluation committee, comprising faculty, staff and students, scored the systems as part of a formal procurement process and recommended that Canvas replace Blackboard Learn as the core of our Learning Technology Environment. 

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Simon Bates, Jennifer Burns and the entire project team for the way in which they have moved this project rapidly from initiation to implementation in less than 12 months, whilst at the same time ensuring that the voices and needs of faculty and students as primary users of these systems have been kept in clear focus at all times. 

Angela Redish
Provost pro tem, UBC Vancouver

Cynthia Matheson
Provost, UBC Okanagan

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