Geneseo is piloting a new Learning Management System to replace Angel—the site that powers myCourses—called Canvas this semester. Thirty-two faculty members will use Canvas to teach a total of 46 classes this fall. This project began in late April 2016 and was the first major revamp of the Geneseo website since 2008. There was a training session allotted for the faculty who volunteered to pilot Canvas in early August. Nine hundred and seventy nine students enrolled in these 46 classes—approximately a quarter of the student population.
According to Assistant Director and Manager for Educational Technology and the leader of the Canvas Implementation Team Laurie Fox, the decision to explore options to replace Angel—Geneseo’s LMS since 2007—was made two years ago. Fox and her team put out a request for a proposal in January 2016.
The transition was influenced by Blackboard’s acquisition of Angel and Blackboard’s subsequent decision to discontinue the development of the Angel software.
“We had four companies come in and give demonstrations for faculty, staff and students and [we] allowed people to evaluate which system they liked the best,” Fox said.
Fox said that students also enjoyed specific features that Canvas offers.
“One of the features that students really loved about it was the mobile app,” she said. “With your phone, you can do everything that you would be able to do on the desktop.”
According to assistant professor in the school of education Kelly Keegan—who is one of the professors piloting Canvas—the technologically-upgraded Canvas will make life much easier for students and faculty alike.
“The grade book on Canvas is much more accessible to not only faculty, but students, and it’s quicker as well,” Keegan said. “Through Canvas, on the speed grader, I can now make comments and corrections on the submission instead of having to put it into a word document and track changes.”
With the growing desire for a mobile friendly LMS that can interface with smartphones and tablets at Geneseo, there is a continued increase in popularity among students and faculty for this software. This software—and the fact that it allows for mobile usage, unlike Angel software—was the type Fox and her group were looking for and found in Canvas.
This move to a more tech-savvy LMS comes on the heels of a project by the College Communications Department and Computing and Information Technology that focused on boosting the efficiency of Geneseo’s home website by making it more mobile friendly.
“With everybody having a phone they can use to access the Internet wherever they go, or even people converting to tablets, it is going to be much easier to access,” Keegan said.