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We’re Moving to Canvas!

UNT will be transitioning all new and existing course sites from our current Learning Management System (LMS), Blackboard Learn, to our new centrally-supported LMS, Canvas. Moving to Canvas is a step forward in our ongoing mission to ensure quality online education, and we’re excited about the host of new, easy-to-use Canvas features that will benefit both faculty and students for an overall upgraded online learning experience.

Migrating to Canvas presents an opportunity for instructors to reimagine their course materials through the use of a new and improved online learning platform that is dedicated to providing tools that encourage pedagogical and technological innovation.

Transitioning & Timing

The phased migration of courses from Blackboard to Canvas is currently scheduled as follows:

Fall 2017 Begin migrating courses from Blackboard to Canvas in consultation with academic departments. All courses still will be offered to students through Blackboard with very few exceptions.
Spring 2018 Continue migrating courses and begin offering courses in Canvas with the majority of courses still being available in Blackboard.
Summer/Fall 2018 Continue migrating and offering courses in both Canvas and Blackboard.
Spring 2019 All courses will be offered exclusively in Canvas.

Detailed development of transition plans with individual instructors, departments, and programs is ongoing. At this time, we are working to identify courses that will be migrated for Spring 2018 delivery in Canvas, and you can expect to hear by mid-September if your program or course has been identified to move to Canvas for the Spring 2018 delivery.

If you would like to request that your existing Blackboard Learn course(s) be migrated to Canvas for upcoming semesters, including Spring 2018, please complete an online request form. CLEAR will promptly evaluate requests to migrate courses, programs, and non-academic course sites, and will make every effort to accommodate all requests. However, if capacity to migrate courses for an upcoming term has been reached, requests will be added to a waiting list which will be assessed frequently and prioritized based on degree impact and available resources.

Sandboxes can be created for the development of a specific course or for generic testing and experimentation with the Canvas environment. Every UNT instructor may have access to a sandbox shell upon request. To request a sandbox, please fill out the following request form.

Please continue to refer back to this site for regular updates and the latest migration information. If you have specific questions, please feel free to email Lynette.OKeefe@unt.edu.

Training

CLEAR will ensure that instructors, TAs/TFs, and staff will have multiple resources and formats available for training in Canvas. While immediate resources (see below) are available to begin learning Canvas basics, stay tuned for upcoming training opportunities in multiple formats: face-to-face sessions with an instructional consultant, group training classes, video-based training, and text-based documentation. Chairs and program coordinators may request a departmental training session by sending an email to.

Technical Support

As with our current LMS, CLEAR will provide faculty with ongoing technical support for Canvas through our faculty help desk. Full-time help desk support will be available for both Blackboard and Canvas starting with the Spring 2018 semester.

Student Experience

During the Canvas transition process, courses will be available in both Blackboard and Canvas. While the migration plan is being designed to minimize inconvenience, some students will have to use both platforms until the Spring 2019 deadline. Full-time help desk support for students will be available for both Blackboard and Canvas starting with the Spring 2018 semester.

Top 10 Canvas Features for Faculty

  1. Syllabus — The Syllabus in Canvas makes it easy to communicate to your students exactly what will be required of them throughout the course in chronological order. The Syllabus is automatically generated based on Assignments and Events within a course.
  2. Speedgrader — View, score and provide audio, video or written feedback on submissions, all in a single window.
  3. Conversations/Inbox — Conversations is the messaging tool in Canvas, and conversations can be routed to your personal email. You can communicate through your personal email and the messages and replies will be saved in the Canvas Inbox.
  4. Notifications — Faculty and students can choose whether to receive notifications by text or email, as well as set preferences for the frequency and style of communications.
  5. Calendar — The Canvas Calendar allows users to view and create course activities as well as events and personal reminders for personal and student use. Instructors can also quickly create assignments from the calendar view and adjust assignment and assessment dates by dragging and dropping. The new calendar dates are synced everywhere in the course automatically.
  6. Scheduler — Scheduler is a Calendar tool that creates appointment groups within a course or group. Students can sign up for a time slot within the appointment group. Instructors can choose whether students sign up at a time or as groups.
  7. Record audio and video — All you need is a computer or mobile device with a microphone and camera and Canvas does the rest. Multimedia can be attached to personal messages, assignments, and
  8. Assignments — Canvas Assignments allow for full integration with TurnItIn without creating a separate assignment, and instructors can choose to allow students to peer review each others’ assignments.
  9. Peer Review — Peer review is an option for assignments and discussion boards for student-to-student interaction. Instructors can manually or automatically assign peer review groups.
  10. Analytics — Easy-to-digest student analytics. Instructors can view at-a-glance data on how students are using the system, identify at-risk students, and focus on learning outcomes and teaching effectiveness.

Top Canvas Features for Students

  1. Grades What-If — Students can view their grades based on What-If scores so that they know how grades will be affected by upcoming or resubmitted assignments. Students can use this feature for an assignment that already includes a score, or an assignment that has yet to be graded.
  2. Mobile App — Canvas is designed with mobile in mind, and is continually working to provide the full range of features to students in the mobile app.
  3. Canvas Maintenance — Canvas is a cloud based application and does not have regular maintenance downtime. Canvas upgrades are rolled out incrementally with no noticeable issues in functionality – meaning that students have no Canvas downtime to schedule around.
  4. Global Activity Stream — The Global Activity Stream shows you important recent activities from all of your courses including announcements, discussions, assignments, and conversations. This stream is similar to the Course Activity Stream for an individual course.
  5. Notifications — Faculty and Students can select how to receive notifications – text, email etc as well as the frequency and style of communications.

Canvas Training

CLEAR will have Canvas training sessions available beginning the week of September 15, 2017. Sign-up information will be distributed via email and available on this page soon, and will cover the following topics:

  • Canvas Bootcamp
  • Canvas Grade Book
  • Discussions & Wikis
  • Online Course Design Workshop #1
  • Online Course Design Workshop #2
  • Respondus, Respondus LockDown Browser & Monitor
  • Turnitin

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about Canvas, here are a few helpful links.