Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

Canvas Technical Implementation and On-Site Visit

EdTech, LMSRobyn Reese

During the second week of October, the Educational Technology Department hosted two members of the Canvas support team: our Customer Success Manager, Brianna, who will be responsible for managing our Canvas account throughout its life, and our Implementation Consultant, Greg, who will be assisting us in setting up the system for faculty and student use.

The purpose of the on-site visit was to share information and resources that would ensure that FSCJ’s IT team was progressing towards a successful implementation of Canvas here at FSCJ. We had three days of meetings scheduled, covering wide-ranging topics such as PeopleSoft integration, log-in authentication, faculty and student training, support portal setup and course migration.

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Much of the two-day visit was spent working on the two most technical (and most immediately important) parts of the implementation process: Authentication and PeopleSoft integration. If you are not a person with an interest in college IT processes, the terms “authentication” and “integration” probably don’t mean much to you, but they affect the work that you do in the LMS every day. Authentication refers to the way that users log in to all college systems, so that each system knows who you are, and allows you log you in with the same password, showing you the same information that uniquely identifies you. In order for this to happen, each college system needs to be connected to our Active Directory, the database that stores usernames, passwords, email addresses, and employee IDs. When systems are connected to Active Directory, then user passwords can be created and changed in one place, rather than needing to be managed in each system individually.

The setting up of PeopleSoft Integration involves creating a bridge between myFSCJ and Canvas that will allow the enrollment data that is created in myFSCJ to come over to Canvas fully and completely. Basically, all courses, users, and enrollments are created within myFSCJ through the encoding (courses), application (users) and course selection (enrollment) process. This data is stored in myFSCJ as our college’s system of record, but must be moved over to Canvas in order for students to take online courses. It is vital to ensure that a system is set up that moves the correct data over to Canvas at the right time with no interruptions. So, as you can imagine, getting these two processes right will have a massive impact on FSCJ students’ and faculty’s ability to use the Canvas LMS as it was meant to be used. Without authentication, users cannot log in to the system. Without integration, there are no users, courses, or enrollments!

Once we had a firm concept of how to complete these two processes and our IT teams began doing the work, we moved on to discussing other issues that are much more visible and immediately important to our faculty! We had extensive discussions about content migration and strategies for successfully moving courses from Blackboard to Canvas with Greg, Brianna and the Center for E-learning Team. Our goal was to identify the best process for moving courses efficiently from one system to another without losing or scrambling content. We gained valuable information about the best practices for moving courses, what types of content can be moved (and which cannot) and information about whether it would be best for users to just start fresh.

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After this we sat down with the Information Technology Service Desk Staff to discuss the best approach on how to support our students and faculty with Canvas. For the first year of our Canvas rollout, our staff and students will have dedicated support from the Canvas Help Desk, via phone, email, ticket, or SMS. Canvas support has a response time of under three minutes in most cases, and can resolve most issues within 24 hours. Support will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all faculty have a dedicated line so that they won’t be confused with the students when getting their issues handled.

We hope you're just as excited as we are for Canvas! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at edtech@fscj.edu.