I Wonder: Frequently Asked Questions
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?
Beginning October 30th, FSCJ will have access to a virtual space in which users can 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 EdTech@fscj.edu. 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 https://flstatecollegejacksonville.instructure.com. This site will be available for evaluation until at least the end of January 2018.
Timeline if there is a move to Canvas:
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 will be done to ensure a smooth transition if a transition to Canvas is decided upon?
Where can I find more information and additional resources on Canvas?
Will third-party integrations be integrated within the sandbox?
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.
Here is a link to Canvas Guides, which provides role-specific information for admins, instructors, students, and observers.
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: