Transition to New Learning Management System

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will begin transitioning from our current learning management system, Blackboard Learn, to Instructure Canvas. OIT will be rolling out Canvas beginning fall semester 2016.

Blackboard Learn will remain active and fully supported until May 31, 2017. The decision comes after a yearlong evaluation of LMS options, a series of open product demonstrations, and a formal competitive bid process as required by the state. A committee composed of faculty, staff, and students evaluated the teaching and learning and technical proposals on their merit. The committee agreed that Canvas was best positioned to help us achieve our goals.

Over the last five years, faculty and students have expressed a desire for a more updated and robust “next generation” learning management system. The evaluation committee was most impressed with Canvas and thought it best met the needs of our faculty and students going forward. Canvas provides an updated user interface, ePortfolios, easy media and content management via drag and drop, an enhanced mobile experience, attendance tracking, and robust learning analytics to support instructors and students. These are just of a few of the exciting features and functions that Canvas provides.

We are committed to making this a smooth transition. We will be developing and communicating plans for the transition from Blackboard to Canvas over the next several weeks. For the transition to be successful, instructors must be confident that they can use Canvas to manage and deliver course content in an effective and engaging manner. The transition plan will describe opportunities for instructors to learn how to use Canvas, both through small-group training sessions and through individual consultations. Instructors will be able to move existing courses from Blackboard to Canvas when they are ready to start using the new LMS. Please watch your e-mail for more information about the transition; we are early in the process, and there is much to do.