General QuestionsWhat is the timeline for moving to Canvas?
The project committees are working on finalizing the timeline. Tentatively, we expect:
- Spring 2024: System setup
- Summer 2024: Limited Pilot
- Fall 2024: Instructor Choice, Some Courses on Canvas
- Spring 2025: Instructor Choice, Most Courses on Canvas
- Summer/Fall 2025: All Courses on Canvas
- End of 2025: Blackboard no longer available
View a more detailed timeline, including training and course conversions. Your department or school may provide instructors with specific guidance on when to move to Canvas.
Various feedback and requirement-gathering activities were available in the 22-23 academic year. The resulting Request for Proposal (RFP) led to vendor presentations, which were available to the Mason community – in person, online, and recorded. Attendees completed a survey. Finally, the community was offered sandbox sites to test the vendor finalist’s LMSs and provide feedback. The selection committee took all information into account and chose Canvas by Instructure. Detailed information and summary reports are available.
The selection committee gathered information from faculty, staff, and student feedback and chose Canvas by Instructure. Some of the reasons Canvas was chosen include:
- Greatly improved student experience with features students have asked for, such as improved calendar and to-do lists, common course structure, and an excellent mobile app
- Much easier to share content among instructors, course copy, and blueprint courses
- Widely used among higher education – many Mason students and faculty already have Canvas experience from other institutions
- Canvas is more intuitive to use, with less start-up time for new instructors and students
Canvas has similar tools to Blackboard and other learning management systems. Nearly all existing third-party tools integrated in Blackboard, such as Zoom, Harmonize, VoiceThreads, Qwickly Attendance, Kaltura, publishers, etc. will be available in Canvas. We have licensed several related Canvas tools, including Canvas Credentials (for digital badging) and Canvas Catalog (for offering courses outside of Mason). More information will be communicated as the project progresses.
Canvas is the leading learning management system in higher education. Canvas is used by over 70% of R1 institutions. In Virginia and the Washington DC area, Canvas schools include UVA, VCU, ODU, JMU, Virginia Tech, Northern Virginia Community College, Marymount, Georgetown, American, University of Maryland, and others.
You can direct comments or questions to a representative member of the LMS Advisory Committee.
Feedback will be shared with the project committees.
Student QuestionsHow will you support students during the transition?
Training, documentation, and support will be available for students, including 24/7 support.
Blackboard is expected to be available through 2025. Course availability is up to each instructor. Students would need to download any content before Blackboard access ends. More information will be communicated as the project progresses.
Faculty/Staff QuestionsWhat support will you provide instructors for the transition to Canvas?
The project has heavily invested in resources to support faculty during the transition.
- Automated course conversions will move many existing Blackboard courses to Canvas.
- Extensive training and support options will be available in multiple modes and formats, including 24/7 support.
More information will be communicated as the project progresses.
George Mason is partnering with a company that specializes in moving course content between LMS systems. The project will move recent Blackboard courses into Canvas automatically, although the exact methodology to choose which courses to migrate is still being determined. We also expect to allow instructors some choice in moving additional courses, such as sandbox and development courses. Some clean up by instructors will likely be necessary before the course is ready to use in Canvas. More information will be communicated as the project progresses.
Blackboard is expected to be available until the end of 2025. For courses that are not moved to Canvas or to access student content in courses (which will not be moved to Canvas), an archive of Blackboard courses will be maintained for several years past 2025. More information will be communicated as the project progresses.
We anticipate creating sandbox/practice courses for all faculty in late spring/early summer.
Organizations and non-course-related content will be addressed once appropriate alternatives are identified. More information will be communicated as the project progresses.
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What will happen to my Blackboard courses?
stuff will happen