4/14/2021 Message to Faculty & Instructors
April 14, 2021
Dear faculty and instructors,
First of all, thank you to the 30+ faculty members and ~900 UAF students who participated in the spring 2020 and fall 2020 pilot cohorts for using and testing Canvas as a learning management system (LMS), in place of UAFs current Blackboard Learn LMS.
I have received overwhelmingly favorable responses from those who tried out Canvas and I continue to receive requests from others for a trial license. 100% of faculty and more than 70% of the students who participated in the pilot cohorts indicated that they would prefer to continue using Canvas in subsequent semesters. The feedback I have received is that compared to Blackboard Learn:
- Canvas has a modern and simpler interface that is more intuitive to follow
- Canvas interface is more friendly for diverse learners
- Canvas has lower bandwidth requirements that make it more easily accessible for faculty and students living in low bandwidth areas
- Canvas has an easier adoption curve
- Many students are already familiar with the Canvas interface as it is used in several universities* and in K-12 schools.**
This positive feedback is very promising and, like several other faculty members, I am excited about welcoming Canvas to UAF. Many faculty members, some departments, and the entire School of Management have already made the switch from Blackboard Learn to Canvas. Starting in summer 2021, all SOM classes will be using Canvas as the LMS. I encourage you to do the same.
To ease the transition for all of you who are electing to move from Blackboard Learn to Canvas, I have worked with eCampus and a vendor/solution provider so that your course materials are already migrated from the old to the new LMS and the Canvas shell is ready for students with only some lightweight rearrangement required. Additionally, I am committed to supporting our faculty in this transition through workshops, seminars and training opportunities. The Canvas vendor will also provide 24/7 user support to our faculty, students and staff.
Recognizing that this has been an exhausting year, this transition is optional but highly encouraged. We will continue to monitor the transition and make adjustments as merited. For more information about welcoming Canvas to UAF, please visit this website. The website also has a place for you to ask questions or provide your feedback. Thank you for your efforts in modernizing the student experience at UAF.
— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor
* A consortium of leading state universities just selected Canvas as their foundational LMS in part "because of its commitment to open standards and pace of innovation in ways that matter to faculty and students." The California State Community College System has also chosen Canvas as its LMS of choice due to ease of use, and friendliness towards diverse learners.
** The State of Alaska Department of Early Education and Development also recently selected Canvas as the LMS of choice for Alaska’s K-12 schools. This affords critical connectivity opportunities for our dual enrollment students, as well as easing the transition to UAF for Alaska’s high school students.