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Dear VCU Faculty,

We are pleased to announce that VCU has begun the year-long transition to Instructure’s Canvas platform as our primary Learning Management System (LMS). Blackboard will be retired effective June 30, 2021.

Detailed information including the process for making the decision, the transition timeline, FAQs and training opportunities are available on the new VCU Canvas website. Also on the site is a list of members of the LMS Exploration Committee, which was comprised of 17 voting members including representatives from the Faculty Senate, Equity and Access Services, the Student Government Association, Online@VCU and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Two of the major factors that the committee considered in choosing Canvas were the user-friendly interface and the significant cost savings.

The transition process will take place in phases to minimize academic disruption and maintain data integrity. The Learning Systems department, within the Academic Technologies unit of Technology Services, will manage and support both systems (Blackboard and Canvas) during this transition. This summer, a limited number of undergraduate courses from a variety of programs will be taught using Canvas. Any new courses will now be created in Canvas and all other courses will be transitioned over the coming months. Beginning in fall 2021, all VCU courses will use Canvas.

Next Steps

  • If you, your school/college, or department would like the opportunity to learn and experiment with the Canvas platform in a test environment, please submit an early access request to VCU Learning Systems. Please consult your department chair and/or dean before making this request.

  • If you are interested in teaching using Canvas in fall 2020, please send an email to canvas@vcu.edu. Please indicate when your class begins, any experience you have with Canvas as either an instructor or a student, and if current content in Blackboard will be used for your course in Canvas. Department chair and/or dean approval is required.

The teams in Learning Systems, VCU AltLab, and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, who are working together to implement Canvas, will provide updates throughout the summer and fall. If you have questions, please email canvas@vcu.edu.

Regards,

Gail Hackett, Ph.D.
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

Alex Henson
Chief Information Officer
VCU Technology Services