Ball State University is in the midst of a 3-year pilot test to evaluate Canvas, a possible replacement of Blackboard. This testing process is part of Ball State’s commitment to keeping up with emerging technologies that are the most effective for our students.

Canvas logoCanvas is a cloud-based learning management system used by more than 2,000 universities and K-12 schools around the world. Canvas can be accessed on desktops and laptops, as well as via mobile apps for Apple and Android devices.



Canvas Pilot Details

  • Summer 2015—Fall 2016: The technical setup for Canvas took place and trainers were trained. Training is being led and conducted by iLearn staff.
  • Fall 2016: 10 courses taught by 10 instructors, 407 students impacted
  • Spring 2017: 52 courses taught by 26 instructors, 1,396 students impacted
  • Fall 2017 and Spring 2018: All faculty members who are interested will have the opportunity to test Canvas.
  • Spring and Summer 2018: Pilot testing ends and a decision on whether to make Canvas the new university-supported LMS will be announced.

Through pilot testing, the university is gathering data from faculty and students regarding the following key features that are considered crucial:

  • Has a user experience that provides ease of use, a clean design, and a low learning curve for faculty and students.
  • Works with common web-based standards that make it adaptable, flexible, and functional within a wide variety of commonly used web browsers and mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets.
  • Uses the open standard known as Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) that makes the LMS work well with other third-party learning tools such as Mediasite, YouTube, and many more. This ability to easily integrate makes an LMS more robust and quickly adaptable for future needs.
  • Has Application Program Interface (API) availability which would allow Ball State to more easily add a customizable interface and provide additional functionality needed or requested for our faculty and staff.
  • Adheres to Americans with Disability (ADA) standards.
  • Provides a stable environment with uninterrupted service and very few downtimes.

As part of the pilot testing, iLearn is working closely with faculty and students to gather feedback regarding their experiences with Canvas as they taught main-campus, online, distance, and blended-learning courses. 

Early Results

Fall 2016

Based on the data from the small group of faculty and students in fall 2016:

  • Faculty reported a higher overall usefulness and utility of the LMS for teaching with Canvas over Blackboard.
  • Students reported no statistical difference on the impact of their learning experiences with Canvas and Blackboard.

Download the full report regarding the fall 2016 pilot. 

Spring 2017

Data from spring 2017 will be available this summer and posted here. 

Faculty Participants

The following faculty have been involved in early pilot tests.

Fall 2016

Faculty Member

Department

College

Liz Bell

Modern Languages and Classics

Sciences and Humanities

Sally Brocksen

Social Work

Sciences and Humanities

John Horowitz

Economics

Miller College of Business

Courtney Jarrett

Women and Gender Studies

Sciences and Humanities

Steve Jones

CICS

Communication, Information, and Media

Angela Nickoli

Criminal Justice

Sciences and Humanities

Debra Pearson

Mathematical Sciences

Sciences and Humanities

Doug Read

ISOM

Miller College of Business

Robin Rufatto

Mathematical Sciences   Sciences and Humanities

 

Spring 2017

Faculty Member

Department

College

Lydia Ballenger

Family and Consumer Sciences

Applied Sciences and Technology

Liz Bell

Modern Languages

Sciences and Humanities

 
Ann Blakely

Biology

Sciences and Humanities

Brooke Bonnell

Sociology

Sciences and Humanities

Sally Brocksen

Social Work

Sciences and Humanities

Michael Brown

Criminal Justice and Criminology

Sciences and Humanities

Jennifer Christman

Criminal Justice and Criminology

Sciences and Humanities

Jennifer Cullen

Special Education

Teachers College

Sheron Fraser-Burgess

Educational Studies

Teachers College

Benjamin Gibbs

Criminal Justice and Criminology

Sciences and Humanities

Julie Griffith

Speech Pathology and Audiology

Health

Miao Guo

Telecommunications

Communication, Information, and Media

Silas Hansen

English

Sciences and Humanities

John Horowitz

Economics

Miller College of Business

Kimberly Hurley

Kinesiology

Health

Courtney Jarrett

Women and Gender Studies

Sciences and Humanities

Dave Largent

Computer Science

Sciences and Humanities

Melinda Messineo

Sociology

Sciences and Humanities

Leann Neel-Romine

Mathematical Sciences

Sciences and Humanities

Angela Nickoli

Criminal Justice and Criminology

Sciences and Humanities

Sue Paul

Nutrition and Health Science

Health

Debra Pearson

Mathematical Sciences

Sciences and Humanities

Robin Rufatto

Mathematical Sciences

Sciences and Humanities

Elizabeth Schreiber-Byers

Modern Languages and Classics

Sciences and Humanities

Ryan Sparrow

Journalism

Communication, Information, and Media

Vinayak Tanksale

Computer Science

Sciences and Humanities




The following tools have already been integrated into Ball State’s test environment for Canvas:

  • ALEKS
  • Banner
  • Box
  • Grade posting is integrated with the Ball State Registrar’s Office
  • iClickers
  • McGraw Hill
  • Mediasite
  • Pearson
  • SmartProctoring
  • Technology HelpDesk Support

Canvas Testing Open to All Faculty

Any full- or part-time faculty member may participate in the fall 2017 pilot testing of Canvas for any main-campus, online, or blended-learning course.

To be a volunteer participant, you will need to:

  • Attend a summer training session that will take about two hours.
  • Provide feedback about the experience and provide a means for your students to provide feedback.
  • Work with an instructional designer in iLearn to develop or adapt your fall 2017 course or courses to the Canvas learning environment.

May 31 is the deadline to register to participate in the pilot. You may choose to opt out at any point in the process. Registrations will be taken at a later date for spring 2018 testing.
Register to participate

Watch an Information Session

To learn more about Canvas and what is involved in participating, watch this recent recording of a live information session..

Questions?

  • For questions about participating in the pilot test, contact Angela Nickoli, instructional technologist for iLearn.
  • For general questions about Canvas or the pilot test process, contact Wayne Mock, senior developer.