Since 1999 Temple University has used Blackboard as its online course management system. After 18 years, Blackboard’s contract with Temple University will come to an end in the summer of 2017. With this contract ending, Temple has the option of either choosing to continue the partnership with Blackboard, or turn to a new system. One option Temple is looking into is another course management system, Canvas.
Canvas includes many features such as chatting with professors, viewing assignments, and more. In order to get opinions from faculty and staff of Temple University, Temple’s Computer Services has created a pilot of Canvas. This pilot is currently being used by 25 courses across Temple, including in courses abroad in London and Japan. This pilot gives faculty and students a chance to compare Canvas to Blackboard. With the pilot, students and faculty will take multiple surveys and meet with committee members in order for Computer Services to be given proper feedback.
Since Canvas is a different system, Temple Computer Services is offering a number of help outlets. This includes a 24-hour, 7 days a week, phone hotline, (844) 683-6439, where students can get help if they are having trouble with the system. There is also a live chat for technical support at https://cases.canvaslms.com/apex/liveagentchat. For classes taking part in the Canvas pilot, instructors are able to come in and explain the system.
There is also an option for people not participating in the pilot to be given a chance to try Canvas. This “Sandbox” gives other Temple students and faculty a chance to play around with the new system.
Even though Computer Services is looking into Canvas, it wants to make it clear that this does not mean Temple is definitely switching to Canvas when the contract with Blackboard runs out. Computer Service says it is simply looking into Canvas in an attempt to create a report to pitch Canvas to both the Provost and Vice President of Computer Services this summer. And if a decision is made to switch from Canvas to Blackboard, the process would not be automatic. There would be a migration period of at least two years.
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