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Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Canvas transition process. We are still in the early stages of planning the transition and will add additional information as the project progresses. If you don’t see an answer to your question, please visit the contact form to submit specific questions, comments, and/or concerns.

Why is Pitt moving to a new Learning Management System (LMS)?

Pitt is moving to a new learning management system for several reasons.

The Teaching Center and Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) embarked on a systematic look at the LMS marketplace in 2018. A significant part of that due diligence was to identify options that best suited Pitt’s strategic plans and needs. A large-scale change to Pitt’s LMS was imminent whether we stayed with our existing service (Blackboard) or moved to a new service (like Canvas). Blackboard was forecasting a major revision to its system in the imminent future that would require significant faculty investment.

Additionally, over the past few years Canvas had emerged as the dominant LMS among schools in the Association of American Universities (AAU). Thus, there are several reasons why Pitt is moving to a new learning management system.   

How did we conduct an LMS assessment and what was the outcome?

In 2018, an assessment committee comprised of faculty, a graduate student, and staff from the Teaching Center and CSSD gathered community input through the following sources:

  • Eleven open house forums on four campuses and one virtual conference. The sessions were advertised through multiple mediums and open to all faculty and staff.
  • An online survey.
  • Conversations with and feedback from faculty, staff, and students.,
  • Our peer institutions that have undergone an LMS transition.

As a result of this input, Pitt developed system requirements and issued a Request for Information. After a series of vendor presentations, Pitt issues a Request for Proposals and responses were received and rated by the committee members.

The end result of this process was a unanimous recommendation to pursue Canvas due to its emphasis on ease-of-use, community-driven feature development, accessibility, and compatibility with other software that supports active learning. Moving to Canvas will allow faculty to devote more time to innovative teaching and less time to mundane administrative tasks.

When will the change happen?

Prior to full implementation, Pitt will conduct an impact assessment through a targeted and limited release, with the goal of developing a detailed transition strategy for the full university.  This limited release will give us hands-on experience working with faculty and students in active classes. We anticipate a limited release with live classes in the 2019-2020 academic year starting with fall term, and a full launch for Summer 2020.  This timeline may be adjusted as we gain more experience with the product.

What sort of support and training will be provided for transition?

The Teaching Center and CSSD will work closely with Canvas to provide as many resources and training opportunities as possible to ensure a smooth transition for the entire University community. Access to Canvas will be provided well in advance of the full transition and support resources will increase once the implementation phase begins.

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