Canvas Transition Information

The diagram below provides a brief overview of what to expect as we transition to Canvas.

Graphic of transition to Canvas timing

 

Any time there is a transition there are many questions, which is very normal, and we want to answer all of your questions that we can. Following are some questions you might have about how we decided to change our LMS. If you have a question that isn't answered here send it to canvas@moody.edu. We will get the answer and post it here on the website.

 

General FAQs

Why are we leaving Blackboard?

Leadership in Education and ITS agreed that it was time to move away from Blackboard, which is the only LMS Moody has ever used. We have always operated Blackboard from our own servers (self-hosted), and Blackboard is phasing out their support of this very common solution for colleges and universities. But, self-hosting brings its own problems—mainly when we need to install an update to access new features or fixes to existing problems. Though we spend significant staff time and resources to test these updates on our test server, it is not uncommon for the update to break something else in Blackboard and cause unexpected downtime. This is a problem for all faculty and students, but it is especially burdensome for those teaching or taking online courses. Unexpected downtime for them is like locking the classroom door on their students.

This was not acceptable. Leadership knew a change would take time and effort for everyone, but given the cost of these disruptions and mounting frustrations with Blackboard, along with the potential benefits of a modern and easy-to-use, cloud-based LMS the choice to move to away from Blackboard was clear. So, the leadership team in Education put together a steering committee of faculty to work alongside ITS (John Sauceda, Mike Janchenko, and Debbie Ellis) to look for an LMS product to replace Blackboard. Members of the steering committee were

  • Kevin Mahaffy
  • Doug Murphy
  • David Woodall
  • Brian Tucker
  • Alin Vrancila
  • Emanuel Padilla

After considering all of the leading higher education LMS products, Canvas was chosen because it met the greatest number of the committee’s requirements. By all measures, Canvas is the best fit for Moody students and faculty.

We know that change is hard, and the transition to Canvas from an LMS that you are familiar with is no exception. Throughout this transition, rest assured that various methods of support will be available.

What is the implementation timeline for Canvas?

Canvas is on track to begin implementation July 1. The first part of the implementation process will be to connect to Moody systems like login authorizations and the student information system (Campus Solutions). After that, we will set up our Moody-specific preferences within the system. When all of this is done we will put all faculty in sandbox accounts so that everyone can experiment with Canvas and be ready, eventually, to create real Canvas courses for their classes.

During the first 8 weeks of the Fall 2019 semester just Blackboard will be used to host courses, and during the second half of the semester select faculty will use Canvas for their courses (with limited training and support). These early adopters will provide valuable feedback. For Spring 2020, Moody campus-based courses will go live.

Moody's online courses will go live in Summer 2020. The content in these courses require a year to  be redeveloped to work optimally in Canvas.

Moody’s contract with Blackboard ends June 30, 2020, so after that date only Canvas will be available for hosting courses.

What factors led to the choice of Canvas?

Canvas is a user-friendly LMS that is up to speed with a user interface that is much easier to navigate. Canvas courses can be delivered via a Windows computer, a Mac computer, an iOS device, or an Android device; faculty and students can access all of the content and tools regardless of which platform is used. In addition, Canvas has a flexible design that gives instructors the ability to put a more personal touch to their courses.

Most importantly, Canvas simplifies workflows, saving faculty and students time to get back to what matters most—learning. With Canvas, instructors can spend less time configuring the LMS and more time teaching. Likewise, students will have much less to click through to get to their content.

What benefits does Canvas offer?

Canvas offers many benefits to both faculty and students:

  • A clean, intuitive design with fewer “clicks” to get to common tasks
  • Functional mobile apps for students (Canvas Student) and instructors (Canvas Teacher)
  • Course modules to make it easy to organize content and assignments
  • SpeedGrader for quick entry of feedback and grades
  • Continuous updates to keep all Canvas institutions at parity
  • Dedicated 24/7 Canvas support
  • Course analytics providing a graphical overview of course activity

How are Canvas and Blackboard different?

This document explains differences in terminology between Canvas and Blackboard.

Faculty FAQs

How do instructors get access to and log in to Canvas?

Moody's Canvas web address is https://moody.instructure.com/login/saml.

You will use your Moody username (username@moody.edu) and password to log in.

I don’t have a Canvas account; what should I do?

Every Moody instructor should be set up with an account in Canvas; however, if for some reason you do not have a Canvas account please send an email to canvas@moody.edu.

What is a “sandbox” course, and why do I have one?

A sandbox is a course with no enrollment and no expiration date (unless you enter dates on the course settings Course Details page, which will cause you to lose editing access to the course). Sandboxes allow you the creative freedom to learn how Canvas works, to try out different tools and features, and to create template courses or work on course design when you have time instead of waiting for the course shells to become available for the semester. It is simple to move some or all materials that you create in a sandbox to another course. If you have more questions, please email them to canvas@moody.edu.

How do I request a sandbox course?

If you need additional sandbox space or have not yet been given a sandbox course, you can request one by emailing canvas@moody.edu.

How long do I have to transition my courses from Blackboard to Canvas?

Moody’s contract with Blackboard ends on June 30, 2020, so faculty can use Blackboard Learn until then. However, we encourage all faculty to have their courses developed in the Canvas sandbox well before this deadline so that an effective transition can take place from Blackboard to Canvas. You will be able to teach better using Canvas if you have thought out how you will use it rather than “cramming” in your learning and development at the last minute.

Will we still have access to our Blackboard course material/records after June 30, 2020?

No, once our Blackboard contract ends, we will no longer have access to the Blackboard course environment. That means that we can no longer give faculty access to content from recent courses or course archives. If there is a course you have taught in the past that you know is now archived (any course that isn’t currently available to you in Blackboard), please contact ITS so that the course can be added back to Blackboard.

You should go to each of your courses as soon as possible to gather any content that you will need to create your courses in Canvas. If you only need to download course documents, you can do so by going to the Content Collection area of your course. From there, choose the items you want to get and use the “Download Package” functionality to download a ZIP package—this can easily be loaded into Canvas.

If you need to collect announcements, assignments, quizzes and question banks, or discussion forums use the “Export” functionality in Blackboard to create an export package. The export package can be uploaded to Canvas.

If you need to download student assignment submissions, use the “Assignment File Download” function. This is accessed from the column drop-down menu, and a ZIP file will be created when the download is complete.

Also, download the Grade Center and anything else you might need from each of your courses in case you need to resolve a grade dispute.

If you need assistance in doing any of these things, contact the ITS Support Center at its@moody.edu.

Can I import my existing Blackboard course into a Canvas shell?

Yes, Blackboard “export packages” can be imported into a Canvas course shell. However, not all content from Blackboard imports well into Canvas and so—depending on your content—it might be better to rebuild your course from scratch than to import an export package into Canvas. Also, if you have used Blackboard for quite some time and have copied course content from an old course into a new course shell over many semesters, lots of “junk” will have copied over; therefore, you might be better off to make a clean start with Canvas.

Does it make more sense to rebuild my Canvas course from scratch or to import it from Blackboard?

It depends on your circumstances. If you haven’t taught the same course in Blackboard for a number of years and done lots of course copies, it could make sense for you to import content from Blackboard to Canvas. Keep in mind that the mechanics of building out courses in Canvas is different than doing so in Blackboard—it’s not that you can’t import content from Blackboard but more that you may not want to do so. You may find that the content in this handout to be a helpful tool as you make your decision.

What content migrates well from Blackboard to Canvas?

Content that migrates well:

  • Announcements
  • Assignments created using the Assignment tool in Blackboard, if they are put in one folder in your course (also must migrate Gradebook items and settings)
  • Quizzes and question banks (Quizzes will still need to be published, and there are a few question types that do not exist in Canvas)
  • Discussion forums (without threads, forums only)
  • Course Files (when exported from the Files page in Blackboard)
  • Note: Migrating these content items will still require some work, such as inputting the desired settings and linking any multimedia files used in quizzes to the related quiz questions.

Content that does not migrate well, or might not migrate at all:

  • Blogs, journals, and wikis created with the corresponding Blackboard tools
  • Groups
  • Manually-created columns in the Grade Center
  • Grade weighting in the Grade Center
  • Blackboard menu and content areas

What are my options for building content in my course?

Several options can be used to build content in your Canvas course.

  • Rebuild your course in Canvas by copying and pasting content between the two course shells and uploading files as needed.
  • If you only want to import files, we recommend that you upload them using the “Files” feature in Canvas.
  • Migrate just the content and activities that migrate well from Blackboard to Canvas and rebuild the elements that were not migrated; then edit the migrated content as necessary.
  • Migrate all course content if it is easier for you to do extensive clean-up of your Canvas course vs. creating a lot of content and activities in your course shell.

Will third-party applications and I use in Blackboard work in Canvas (e.g., Panopto, Respondus, Foliotek)?

Yes, vendors for the third-party applications we currently use tell us that their products tend to work better with Canvas than with Blackboard.

How long will it take me to set up my Canvas course site once the content is migrated?

It depends on how complex your course is in Blackboard and how you choose to proceed in Canvas. Very simple course sites that only contain documents and basic gradebook columns can typically be migrated within a couple of hours. If your site is more complex—for instance it may have groups, discussion boards, question banks, rubrics, and embedded media—the process will take longer. Some types of content migrate easily with few problems, while other content might need to be adjusted or recreated.

What support structures are in place to help faculty make this transition?

Elsewhere on the ITS website are links to various Canvas self-help materials and videos, along with other Moody-created resources. There is also a training course that will help you get familiar and comfortable with Canvas.

Where can I get information on Canvas training?

When Canvas training has been scheduled, you will receive an email that lists training topics and times.

How do I contact Canvas?

The number for Canvas Support is +1 (312) 481-8979, There is also a chat function for faculty and students to communicate with Canvas in real time.

To access these and other help resources, click "Help" at the bottom of the left-side menu.

What if Canvas can't answer my question?

Canvas Support should be able to answer every technical question and any how-to question that isn’t related to a Moody procedure. For questions about Moody procedures in using Canvas, email canvas@moody.edu.

How do I get my course into Canvas?

Just as with Blackboard, when your courses are entered into Campus Solutions, a blank course shell well be created for each of them. Once that happens, you can set up each course with content and get them ready for student use.

How soon may I begin using Canvas to teach my courses?

If you are part of the pilot group of faculty, you will be able to teach at least one course using Canvas in the second 8-week session of Fall 2019. If not, you can learn how to use Canvas by being in your sandbox course. All campus-based courses will be in Canvas beginning with the Spring 2020 semester.

Moody's online programs will be in Canvas beginning in Summer 2020. The content in these courses require a year to be redeveloped to work optimally in Canvas.

When will students be able to access my course(s)?

Unless you are teaching an online course, you have full control as to when your course becomes visible to students.

  • By default, students will have access to your course beginning on the first day of class if you have published your course.
  • If you want students to see course content before the start of the classes, or if you want students to see the course for longer than the stated time that students will lose access, you can edit the start and end dates for your course.

Student FAQs

What do I need to know about the transition from Blackboard to Canvas?

The transition from Blackboard to Canvas will begin over the summer (2019), and a select group of faculty will begin using Canvas for their courses in the second 8-week session of Fall 2019. During this short time it is very possible that you will have some of your classes in Canvas and some in Blackboard. Beginning in Spring 2020, all campus-based courses will be hosted in Canvas.

Moody's online programs will be in Canvas beginning Summer 2020. The contents in these courses require a year to be redeveloped to work optimally in Canvas.

Beginning July 1, 2020, all instructors will begin using Canvas because Blackboard will be gone.

You will lose access to all of your coursework in Blackboard on July 1, 2020. Before you lose access, we encourage you to retrieve any course syllabi and/or submitted work that you think you might need from current courses. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, we recommend that you save as much Blackboard coursework to your own computer as you can because you may need this information later. (Note: In your Blackboard courses, you can access your submitted work via My Grades.)

We think that you will love using Canvas! Canvas is more user-friendly than Blackboard and much easier to navigate. We will make it as simple as possible to go back and forth between Blackboard and Canvas during this transition period.

Be sure to set your notification preferences in Canvas. Otherwise, you may miss important course announcements.

During the transition, how will I know if any of my courses are in Canvas?

It is the responsibility of the professor to let students know if Canvas is being used. Even if you login to Canvas, you won’t know that you have a course there unless the professor has made it available to you. If you can’t see your course in Canvas—or in Blackboard during the transition time—you should ask your professor(s) at your first class session.

Online students won’t have courses in Canvas until the Summer 2020 semester. Generally speaking, even in Blackboard, students in online courses aren't given access until the weekend before the class is scheduled to start.

How do I navigate to Canvas?

Moody's Canvas website address is https://moody.instructure.com/login/saml.

You will use your Moody username (username@moody.edu) and password to log in.

How soon before the semester begins will I see my courses in Canvas?

If you are taking a campus-based course, the instructor must “publish” the course in Canvas in order for students to see it. All courses in Canvas begin in an “unpublished” state so that your instructor has an opportunity to set up all of the content before the course is seen by you.

Online courses will be in Canvas beginning Summer 2020. As with Blackboard, online students are not enrolled in their courses until the weekend before courses begin.

What Canvas training is available for students?

Elsewhere on the ITS website are links to various Canvas self-help materials and videos, along with other Moody-created resources.

How do I contact Canvas?

The number for Canvas Support is +1 (312) 481-8979, There is also a chat function for faculty and students to communicate with Canvas in real time.

To access these and other help resources, click "Help" at the bottom of the left-side menu.

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