- Has a selection been made?
Yes. We have officially selected the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) by Instructure as the tool that will replace Scholar as the university’s primary platform for course management. The highly-rated Canvas LMS offers a host of improvements over the current Scholar LMS that make it more intuitive, more portable, more efficient, and more deeply connected to the learning experience.
Canvas offers easy media integration, full mobile compatibility, flexibility for large and small courses, and robust learning analytics to support instructors and students. See our full Investigation and Selection Report for more detail.
- Was Open EdX considered? What about Google Classroom?
Yes, both of these options were evaluated, but neither one has all of the features and functionality we needed. Neither one can be considered a fully-realized learning management system at this time.
- How can we avoid having to make these kinds of software shifts in the future?
While we would like to be able to keep the next selection for the next 10+ years (or forever!), there really is no way to guarantee that. The needs of faculty and students evolve, available technologies evolve, and the companies that develop software and plug-ins continually evolve.
- Who made this decision?
This decision was made by Virginia Tech’s Chief Information Officer and VP of Information Technology, Scott Midkiff, and the Executive Director and Associate Provost of Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies, Dale Pike. To make this decision, they engaged the university community through meetings and Town Halls, consulted with numerous information technology professionals in varying roles within and outside the university, and met with stakeholders across the university.
- Can I request a meeting with a project leader?
Let us know if you’d like to set up a discussion at
- Where can I view the town hall videos or audio?
View the town hall video from the March 19 session here.
View the town hall video from the March 25 session here.
- How will data ownership be handled within Canvas, which is a third-party system?
This was an essential consideration for the next generation system. Canvas allows us to maintain full control over our content and data, with no limitations.
- How can I begin exploring Canvas?
If you are Faculty or Staff, and wish to log in to your Canvas Account, click on the Ramp Up link for Faculty and Staff, and follow the instructions. If you wish to learn about the look, feel, and functionality of Canvas, but aren’t ready to start developing courses yet, you can check out the CanvasLMS YouTube channel for a variety of short videos that highlight the features of Canvas.
Student access will not be enabled until August 1: students, please visit the Student Ramp Up link for details.
- Will I be using Canvas for my courses in the fall of 2015?
Possibly, but only if you want to be an early adopter. Some faculty may choose to transition their course over the summer and teach in the new LMS in fall of 2015, but this will mean that the full complement of tools, support services, and learning opportunities may not yet be available. Faculty interested in migrating their course(s) right away should be aware that they may not have enough time over the summer to complete the transition, and that support will be limited until Spring 2016. However, Canvas is pretty user friendly, and instructors who want to dive right in are welcome to do so.
- When can I start migrating my courses over to the new LMS?
Now, if you’d like. Content migration tools are now available. Course migrations will ramp up over the fall semester, but the vast majority of courses will be migrated in spring of 2016 or later. Faculty may choose to teach in the new LMS in fall of 2015 but may not have a lot of time to prepare over the summer, and support will be limited until Spring 2016.
- When will a course be offered for faculty to learn how to use Canvas?
A series of NLI training courses on Canvas will be offered to faculty in the fall of 2015. Until that time, a variety of self-guided tutorials will be available. Fall will mark the beginning of the official effort to offer training in the new LMS. There will be orientation sessions over the summer of 2015 for the small number of faculty who will be building courses during the early migration phase.
- Can I convert a course to Canvas now?
Yes! We realize that many faculty are in the process or on the verge of course design/redesign projects. All faculty and staff can now access Canvas (see Ramp Up link for details). Over the summer and into the fall semester, support, training materials and events, and course design assistance will be increasingly available, as well as assistance with moving content to Canvas.
- Can Canvas scale to lots of concurrent users?
Scalability is a high priority for any LMS we choose. The LMS selected will have a demonstrated ability to effectively manage high numbers of concurrent users.
- When will I be able to access tools to automatically move my course from Scholar to Canvas? When can I start using these tools?
This can begin now. A suite of conversion tools that streamlines some of the work required to move content from Scholar to Canvas is in production. Instructors should keep in mind that these tools aren’t likely to be perfect, but they should go a long way towards making the migration easier. The Content Migration Tool in Canvas will allow an instructor (using same PID in both Scholar and Canvas) to copy content directly from any number of Scholar courses into the same number of Canvas courses. The table below shows the tools that will have a direct migration path.
Scholar Tool Canvas tool
Tests & Quizzes Quizzes
Migration of other content will need to occur manually (cut/paste or upload of files). It is expected that any content moved over via the conversion tools will need a thorough review and likely some minor updates. Using conversion tools is NOT REQUIRED, but they will make the conversion process easier.