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Introducing Canvas as Mason’s New Learning Management System

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Dear Colleagues: 

After a multi-layered and comprehensive process, we are happy to announce the selection of Canvas by Instructure as George Mason University’s new Learning Management System (LMS).  

Throughout the Request for Proposal process, the engagement from groups across the university was invaluable in making this selection, and we are immensely grateful for everyone’s participation and patience during the negotiation of the contract. Feedback from the vendor demonstrations this spring showed that the Mason community overwhelmingly preferred the functionality, ease of use, and integrated tools offered by Canvas over the other solutions.  

Additionally, many in the Mason community are already familiar with Canvas: 

  • 63% of faculty who responded to the LMS survey indicated they have previously used Canvas 
  • 72% of students surveyed indicated they have previously used Canvas 
  • 70% of R1 institutions use Canvas; In Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area, Canvas schools include American University, Georgetown, James Madison University, Marymount University, Northern Virginia Community College, Old Dominion University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech 

An implementation team of diverse members of the Mason community has been established to ensure a smooth transition. Because this shift in LMS providers is a major change for the entire university, a phased approach will be utilized to aid with the rollout and adoption of the new platform. The implementation phase is scheduled to officially kick off in January 2024. 

While additional details will be shared with the community in the coming weeks, a high-level timeline for the implementation process includes: 

·         Spring 2024: System setup, configuration, and testing 

·         Summer 2024: Limited pilot 

·         Fall 2024: First wave of courses migrated to Canvas 

·         Spring 2025: Remaining courses migrated to Canvas 

·         Fall 2025: Final move to Canvas; Blackboard no longer available 

Throughout the transition, comprehensive training, various resources, and hands-on assistance will be available to aid the Mason community. For up-to-date information about the project, including governance committees, timelines, FAQs, and information on how you can participate visit lms.gmu.edu

Thank you again for the input and support in making this decision for the university. Email questions to the implementation team at lms@gmu.edu

Ken Walsh, PhD                                                                       Jackie Ferree 
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President                        Senior Vice President, Operations and Business Services

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