LMS Evaluation Committee

March 17, 2016

UNC Charlotte Transitioning from Moodle to Canvas

Beginning last September, 2015, the 35 faculty, staff, and student members of the Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation Committee engaged in a number of investigative and exploratory tasks to determine whether our current Moodle LMS was serving the diverse instructional needs of our campus or if we should consider alternatives.

In supporting the instructional mission of the university, our learning management system plays a vital role.  Approximately 87% of our faculty use the LMS to support their face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses, and nearly 100% of our students use it in at least one course.  Therefore, our campus requires a system that is reliable, easy to use, and able to accommodate our growing and changing needs.  Because learning management systems are continuously evolving, the rapid progression of this technology means that universities typically make significant changes about every four to seven years.  Likewise, since 2002, UNC Charlotte has gone through WebCT followed by Blackboard Vista and then Moodle.

These considerations are what led to an evaluation of our current learning management system, Moodle, and all viable alternatives, to make sure we have the correct enterprise level academic technology in place.  The Canvas LMS was one of several options considered and was chosen for a pilot test in December. The pilot was launched at the beginning of the spring term, with over 100 courses in more than 30 disciplines and over 3000 students.  After evaluating the results of the pilot this semester, we are now recommending a switch from Moodle to the Canvas LMS for various reasons.

The committee’s deliberations have indicated that the Canvas LMS potentially offers significant improvements over Moodle, as recognized by faculty, students, and staff.  These advantages include increased reliability, greater ease of use, user-friendliness for mobile devices, reduced support problems, plus the flexibility and adaptability in meeting the growing needs of faculty and students.  Given these considerations, the LMS Evaluation Committee recommends that we adopt Canvas as the campus LMS beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year and that our Center for Teaching and Learning immediately begin assisting faculty with this migration.  The committee also recommends that we continue to run Moodle for a one-year overlap period, until May 2017, to give faculty ample time to transition to the new system.

Please see the full report [PDF] of the LMS Evaluation Committee regarding this change.

Key Points:

  • Unanimous committee recommendation: switch to Canvas as campus LMS

  • Ideally, Canvas will be available to campus by early April for course development for Fall term (and for Summer courses, if desired)

  • Moodle will still be available for one year, until May 15, 2017

  • Migration of course content will have multiple supported pathways

  • 24/7 toll-free phone help and online chat available

  • Webinars, workshops, consultations for faculty will be aligned with April rollout of Canvas

More information about workshops and other support will be announced soon and made available at the Center for Teaching and Learning website.  You may also wish to attend one of the faculty meetings below to hear more about the switch to Canvas:

  • Faculty Council, 3/17, 12:30pm, CARC 101

  • COED Faculty Meeting, 3/18, 9:30am, COED 010

  • CLAS Faculty Meeting, 3/18, 12:00pm, BRNRD 244

  • COB Faculty Meeting, 3/18, 2:00pm, FRIDY 137

  • CLAS Administrative Council, 4/1, 9:00am, CONE 210

  • CCI Faculty Meeting, 4/5, 12:30pm, WOODW 130

  • COE Faculty Meeting, 4/14, 12:30pm, EPIC G287

  • CHHS Faculty Meeting, 5/4, 2:00pm, CHHS 376

  • COAA Faculty Meeting, tbd

Thank you,

The Learning Management System Evaluation Committee

November 24, 2015

During the Fall 2015 semester, the LMS Evaluation Committee examined four learning management systems: Moodle, Blackboard, Brightspace, and Canvas.  After receiving product demonstrations and exporing each LMS, the committee decided to pursue a deeper pilot test Canvas during the Spring 2016 semester.  This decision was based on the following criteria:

  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Feature Set
  • Extensibility
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Customer Service
  • Technical Capability/Integrations With Other Systems
  • Ability to Scale for Large University Enrollments

No recommendation has yet been made on whether our campus will adopt Canvas as the future LMS for UNC Charlotte.  The goal of the pilot is to determine whether Canvas would meet the teaching and learning needs that our faculty and students require.   This includes the extensive LMS usage in fully online and hybrid courses and also the increasingly important role the LMS plays in face-to-face courses, as well.  Pilot faculty will use Canvas to teach at least one of their Spring 2016 courses and provide ongoing feedback to the LMS Evaluation Committee.  Meanwhile, the committee will continue to research more deeply how different campuses have approached evaluating learning management systems and what their experiences have been like.  Ideally, the committee would have enough feedback to make a recommendation by the end of March.

If you have additional questions or concerns about this process, I would urge you to contact your college representative(s) who are serving on the committee to get updates from them, or you can reach out to me personally.  I very much welcome the opportunity to speak with you about the LMS Evaluation Committee's work.   

J. Garvey Pyke, Ed.D.
Director | Center for Teaching and Learning
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

September 28, 2015

The Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation Committee is comprised of over 35 faculty, staff, and students who will examine whether Moodle continues to serve the diverse instructional needs of our campus or if we should explore alternatives.   We invite all interested parties to participate in this process in a variety of ways. 

We very much appreciate your participation, and we will operate from a position of complete openness throughout this process.  

J. Garvey Pyke, Ed.D.
Director | Center for Teaching and Learning
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte