Canvas to Replace WebCT

October 25, 2012

After a year of consultations, surveys and focus groups to select a new learning management system (LMS), SFU has chosen Canvas—a clear winner with the students and instructors who tested it.

The open-source online technology platform provides all the standard LMS features such as grading tools, discussion groups and content management.

But Canvas also integrates with students’ preferred social-media platforms to bring instant notification about course updates and news. And it’s easy to use on mobile devices such as iPads and smartphones.

Linda Williams, a learning technologist and manager with SFU’s Teaching and Learning Centre, says students also like the system’s simple user interface. “If students can figure out how to use Facebook, they can figure out how to use Canvas,” she says.

“And instead of logging into a course and hunting for new materials, they can instantly see course notifications and updates.”

Williams says instructors liked the ability to attach files and build content directly, without using html.

Martin Laba, associate professor of communication, led the consultation process (see related story page x). He says Canvas is “all about openness, flexibility and engagement in a platform that anticipates the pace, the scope and the quality of change in the educational environment.”

Faculty members can contact learntech@ to explore getting involved in LMS prior to its full implementation in spring 2014.

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