Cornell to switch from Blackboard to Canvas

In spring 2019, Cornell will begin to transition from Blackboard to Canvas as its academic learning management system (LMS).

The decision to move to Canvas came after a yearlong review of Cornell’s LMS needs. Students who piloted Canvas appreciated its navigation system and the functions that allow them to work in groups and communicate with classmates. Administrators say Canvas is easier than Blackboard to use and understand, it will improve student-centered learning, and it better prepares Cornell for future class needs.

A faculty member also found the transition to Canvas seamless. “The LMS was easy to learn and even easier to use,” said Marianella Casasola, associate professor of human development. “There were a number of features that I really appreciated.”

“I absolutely love the calendar function that tells you when your assignments are due and crosses them out when you’ve finished,” said one student during the pilot.

Julia Thom-Levy, vice provost for academic innovation, said: “The transition from Blackboard to Canvas can be a challenge for faculty and students, but I think that the ease of use will pay off very soon. Longer-term advantages include opportunities for better course design and use of innovative tools in our classrooms.”

Canvas will provide:

  • Automated course enrollment;
  • Use of existing tools, such as TurnItIn, iClicker and Panopto;
  • Access to libraries of teaching resources, such as Kaltura videos; and
  • Clean integration with Library Reserves (Ares).

The migration from Blackboard to Canvas will be phased in:

  • Spring 2019: First-semester courses can be taught in Canvas; Blackboard will still be available. Faculty interested in using Canvas for the spring 2019 semester can sign up now to use Canvas.
  • Fall 2019: All courses can be taught in Canvas; Blackboard will still be available.
  • Spring 2020: All courses using an LMS must use Canvas.

Faculty and students will be supported throughout the transition process through curated online resources; onsite trainings, workshops and demonstrations; and consultations with a team of experienced instructional designers.

Learn more by attending one of the four 50-minute information sessions offered Sept. 19-20 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., both days in Room G10, Biotechnology Building or by Zoom.

For more information, email; visit Blackboard to Canvas Migration website; and follow on Twitter using the hashtag #canvasatcornell.

Danica Fisher is an IT communications specialist for Cornell Information Technologies.

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Gillian Smith