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University of Minnesota begins transition from Moodle to Canvas

September 13, 2017
Canvas Transition

A small group of early adopters are kicking off the University of Minnesota’s two-year journey towards the adoption of Canvas and replacement of Moodle as the centrally-supported learning management system.

Across the University system, staff and faculty have been working together to make the early stages of the transition a success. This fall, approximately 300 faculty are using Canvas in their courses, many for the first time.

To make this possible, a Canvas launch team, made up of staff from academic units, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), and Academic Support Resources (ASR), was at work over the summer guiding the initial rollout of Canvas. “Canvas has already been running for the past two years during our pilot phase,” said Donalee Attardo, Senior Director of Academic Technology. “But we needed to prepare it for this semester so it could provide a solid foundation for the ways colleges and campuses will want to use it. The launch team and technical staff did a great job in a short amount of time to get Canvas ready”. Attardo said there are now processes in place for automatic course site creation, integration with PeopleSoft systems, and roles and permissions that will allow colleges and campuses to administer and support many of the needs of their instructors and students.

Collaboration at Work

One highlight of the collaborative work happening is the first UMN-customized Canvas integration for Library Course Reserves and Suggested Resources that was created by UMN Libraries in partnership with OIT. The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) also assisted by piloting the new integration before it was enabled for all Twin Cities Canvas courses. With this integration, instructors can submit requests for resources directly to the library that supports their course and students can use their course site to access reserves lists.

Canvas Decision Making

To continue advancing the direction of Canvas development and processes, an LMS Transition Advisory Committee, sponsored and led by the Office of the Provost in partnership with OIT, will pick up where the Canvas launch team left off.  This committee will work with academic colleges and system campuses to gather input, assist in prioritization of work, and oversee technical and teaching/learning topics. The outcomes from this committee will further customize and improve Canvas for the growing number of faculty and instructors expected to move to Canvas for the spring semester.

Teaching with Canvas

Faculty and instructors considering teaching in Canvas for Spring 2018 should reach out to their transition contacts as a first step. These contacts can provide information about campus- and school- specific transition plans and support options.  

Those who want to try Canvas are encouraged to request a development course site. Development course sites can easily be copied to sites ready for active instruction without losing any of the functionality.

Supporting those who are new to Canvas remains a focus for the Canvas transition team. Help resources are available on the transition website that include a self-paced, self-directed Canvas learning center, a collection of Canvas guides, and instructions on how to transfer Moodle sites. In addition to the "Discover Canvas" events that were held throughout the summer, trainings and workshops will be posted and promoted on the events page as they are developed. Sign-up to be notified about the latest Canvas news and information.

As a final reminder, the last academic term courses can be delivered from Moodle will be Summer 2019. Until then, Moodle will remain fully supported and available throughout the duration of the transition.

For more information, please visit the Canvas transition website.