Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

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At the recommendation of the Faculty Senate and the Academic Technology Committee, our Learning Management System selection is currently being reviewed to ensure that the continued use of Blackboard is in the best interest of our institution. At this time, a survey of the Canvas LMS is being undertaken to evaluate its potential as a replacement for Blackboard. In order to ensure that faculty and staff are aware of how this decision will affect their way of work, Educational Technology is attempting to provide an abundance of information in advance of the final decision. To this end, a Canvas sandbox environment has been created for testing and evaluation purposes. If you would like to obtain access to the Canvas sandbox, please send an email with your first and last name, email address, and role requested (Instructor, Student, Instructional Designer) to

This page will be updated as we progress through a final decision, potential implementation and planning periods. 

Why evaluate Canvas as an alternative to Blackboard for FSCJ's Learning Management System?

Our current contract with Blackboard will expire in May 2020. The college often evaluates the available systems prior to the expiration of a contract, keeping in mind an implementation period of several years if the decision is made to change systems.

The State of Florida has selected Canvas as the LMS mandated for universities and recommended for the rest of the state-funded colleges. This means that if our students transfer to another college or take classes with us at the same time that they are enrolled at another state-funded college, they will likely be using Canvas as their LMS at the other institutions. As of this Fall, 28 out of 40 state-funded colleges use Canvas already, including UNF. 

If the decision is made to continue using Blackboard as our LMS, the College would move to their new environment, Blackboard Ultra. Either way, there will be a change in the LMS experience of our faculty, staff, and students. 

What are the next steps?

Since October 30th, FSCJ faculty and staff have had access to a virtual space in which users could experiment with the interface and securely test its functionality. If you would like to obtain access to the Canvas sandbox, please send an email with your first and last name, email address, and role requested (Instructor, Student, Instructional Designer) to A sandbox environment is not a full Canvas implementation, but rather is intended to mimic the full system, without being integrated with FSCJ’s other systems, such as PeopleSoft or Kaltura. Therefore, you may not be able to fully test publisher integrations and other tools, but can experiment with course building and maintenance. Users will receive an email to complete their registration by creating a password of their choosing to use in the system. It does not need to match your FSCJ credentials. 

Once registered to access the sandbox, please bookmark the URL to the Canvas sandbox, which is  

Tentative Timeline if there is a move to Canvas: 

(this is funding dependent and subject to Cabinet approval - as of May1, not yet confirmed)

November 2017: Sandbox access available to all

February 2018: Canvas Q&A Workshops

March 2018: LMS final decision determined 

Summer 2018: Initial Technical Implementation of Canvas LMS (no impact on Faculty, Staff, or Students)

Fall 2018: Faculty and Staff Canvas Training, begin Content Migration from Blackboard

Spring 2019: Begin Publicizing move to Canvas, Student Canvas Training

Summer 2019: All online courses offered on the Canvas LMS, Blackboard available for incomplete and final clean-up

Spring 2020: Blackboard contract ends, service and content no longer available


What is Canvas and How does it Work?

Many general questions about Canvas can be answered by viewing the Canvas Demo Day webinar that was held on Friday, February 16. It reviews many of the major features of Canvas and also includes a chat transcript that provides insight into back channel conversations and questions that were asked as the webinar was happening.

What are the minimum operating system standards for Canvas? 

Screen Size

Canvas is best viewed at a minimum resolution of 800x600. If you want to view Canvas on a device with a smaller screen, we recommend using the Canvas mobile app.

Operating Systems

  • Windows 7 and newer (users on Windows 10 need to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to submit Canvas assignments)
  • Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
  • Linux - chromeOS

Mobile Operating System Native App Support

  • iOS 7 and newer (versions vary by device)
  • Android 4.2 and newer

Computer Speed and Processor

  • Use a computer 5 years old or newer when possible
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 2GHz processor

Internet Speed

  • Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.
  • Minimum of 512kbps

Is there anything specific faculty should be reviewing when evaluating the Canvas sandbox?
Faculty can view this guideline of what to try within the sandbox for a more structured experience.

What will be done to ensure a smooth transition if a transition to Canvas is decided upon?
Although there is no such thing as a perfect transition of this size, we have already began the planning process whether a decision to move is made, so that there is enough time and resources available to ensure the move occurs with the best results possible. There will continue to be collaboration between IT, Education Technology, Faculty Senate, Academic Technology Committee, Professional Development, and Administration to get feedback, input, testing, training and communication throughout the process.

Additionally, the Educational Technology team will put together a Canvas Transition Team consisting of someone from each area to be available when assistance is needed throughout the migration. 

Where can I find more information and additional resources on Canvas?
Here is a link to Canvas Guides, which provides role-specific information for admins, instructors, students, and observers. 

I need to create assessments that will measure students' understanding of concepts requiring scientific notation or other exponential measures. How does this work in Canvas? 

Canvas has an integrated tool for math and science formulas based on LaTeX, the industry standard for academic publication. The LaTeX Math Editor is built into the Rich Content Editor and can be used for writing, content, assessments, announcements and other items. 

Within quizzes and assessments, support  for scientific notation is on the roadmap, but is not currently supported. They are currently targeting completion by the end of the year, so it should be available by the time we have fully migrated to Canvas.  As planned, both numeric response and formula-based question types will be updated to support the following use cases: 

·  As a teacher, I can enter a number using scientific notation

·  As a teacher, I can set an option to require a response in scientific notation

·  As a teacher, I can set an option to allow an answer in scientific notation with or without precision, margin of error, or an answer range

·  As a student, I can provide a response using scientific notation per the parameters set by my instructor

I need to enter HTML or other programming languages into Canvas for instructional purposes. What options are available? 

Canvas utilizes a Rich Text Editor that should accommodate most light programming without changing the formatting. For more advanced projects,  Canvas integrates, via LTI, with, a social development environment, and Vocareum, a cloud platform for coding classes. Codepen is a free service, while Vocareum requires a subscription.

What accessibility tools are available within Canvas? 

Information about Canvas' accessibility features can be found here:

Where can I report issues, questions, comments or evaluation concerns? 
The Academic Technology Committee has an online document outlining faculty concerns, comments and items to consider while evaluating Canvas. Please feel free to contribute to the document here. You may also share any concerns you have with your Faculty Senator. 

What third party integrations are available in the Canvas Sandbox?

We are currently working alongside our vendors and Canvas to make many of the tools available for testing. We have confirmed that Turnitin, Kaltura, Respondus, and many other tools that are used within Blackboard, are also available within Canvas. A comparison of features is also being worked on and will be provided at a later date.

Update: The following apps have been integrated in the Canvas Sandbox for evaluation: Kaltura MediaSpace, Turnitin, Blackboard Collaborate, Pearson, WileyPlus, Box, and Microsoft Office 365.  

  Apps currently installed on the Canvas Sandbox

Apps currently installed on the Canvas Sandbox


The video below provides a walkthrough of the suite of Kaltura MediaSpace apps that are currently available in Canvas. 







As resources for a successful evaluation and potential are provide from LMS representatives, FSCJ faculty, and other schools who have experience, we will list them here.

Import a Blackboard Course into the Canvas Sandbox

First, you will need a .zip file of the course you would like to export. For instructions on that process, follow this Knowledge Base article

1. Everyone who has received an invite to the Canvas sandbox should have a course named by their "last name". Once the course is opened, you should see the following screen:

Step 1.png

2. Click on  Add Existing Content

3. Click on drop down menu to choose Blackboard export, then choose your Bb export file

Step 2.png

4. Click on Choose All Content and then import

Step 3.png

5. Stay on page until import is complete. (If there are any issues with the size of the course importing, please email and the quota can be adjusted to allow the import. 


Additionally, here is the Canvas Guide for the Course Import Tool.