/New technology system to replace Blackboard

New technology system to replace Blackboard

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Abby Taylor

Staff Writer

Troy University will be transitioning from the current technology system, Blackboard, to a new system, Canvas.

The change will take place throughout the summer, starting on May 30. During Summer Term 5, Blackboard and Canvas will be running concurrently, and by the fall semester of 2017, Troy will be using Canvas exclusively.

Glynn Cavin, associate vice chancellor of eTroy, is helping coordinate the transition from Blackboard to Canvas.

“We’ve been with Blackboard for 16 years, and it was time to look at the new technology,” Cavin said. “Blackboard’s technology has not kept up with the competitors.”

Cavin said that he wanted a system that would help students be engaged.

“It was driven primarily for the need to keep our technology current and up to date and appealing to the students,” Cavin said. “We wanted a platform that would help us enhance engagement.”

Kimberly Shaver, the director of educational technology services, has helped coordinate a committee to guide the change from Blackboard to Canvas.

“Blackboard was changing; they are moving to a new platform, Blackboard Ultra,” Shaver said. “Change was inevitable.”

Students will be sent information prior to their summer classes so they will know if a class will be in Blackboard or Canvas.

“We’ll give them (students) a lot of information and make sure they understand what courses are in Blackboard and what courses are in Canvas,” Shaver said.

Shaver said that Canvas comes with a to-do list on the main page and a calendar for students to keep up with classwork.

“When you log in, there’s a to-do list,” Shaver said. “When you have a quiz due or any kind of assignment, you can click on it and it (Canvas) takes you directly to that course.”

Sandra Thomas, a professor of information systems, said that she has experience with Canvas and that she believes Canvas is better compared to Blackboard.

“I found it (Canvas) to be easy to use, very adaptable and cleaner,” Thomas said.

Thomas said that she enjoys the calendar feature on Canvas.

“This LMS (learning management system) will be better because we can do so many more things with it compared to Blackboard,” Thomas said. “One of the best features is the calendar that syncs with all of our calendars.”

Shaver said that Canvas uses colors to highlight work for different courses.

“On your calendar, each one of your courses is a different color,” Shaver said. “Once you have completed an assignment or it’s past the due date, it (Canvas) will just mark it out.”

Shaver said that there is a “what if” feature for students to calculate their grades.

“If you’re at the very end of your term or semester and you’ve got a 70, you can see what you have to make on your final to make sure you pass that class,” Shaver said.

Troy contracted with Canvas for 24/7 support for students who have questions about the new system.

Shelley Davis, a professor of management and marketing, said that she has previously used Canvas.

“I do have some previous experience with Canvas and very much liked using it primarily for its ease of use and adaptability,” Davis said.

Davis said that she is excited that Troy is switching to Canvas.

“My students found it easy to use too,” Davis said. “I am very excited about Troy’s switch to Canvas and have no doubt our faculty and staff will really enjoy it.”

Sophia Hernandez, a junior psychology major from Miami, said that she is looking forward to the change.

“I’m pretty excited for the switch,” Hernandez said. “Though I don’t know much about the new system, I think that the change will be welcome in our campus.”

Shaver said that it was time for a change.

“We’re moving to a proven system that has been in place for 7 years,” Shaver said. “Blackboard is working really hard to get there, but it was going to be a lot of growing pains with Blackboard if we decided to stay with them.”

For more information about the switch, visit http://trojan.troy.edu/online/canvas/.