JANUARY 11, 2023 — UTSA will host all courses on the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) in fall 2023, ensuring students have access to a dynamic digital experience when interacting with faculty’s high-quality curricula.
An LMS is a primary location where students access course materials, view course resources, access syllabi, and even take exams and turn in assignments.
“With Canvas, UTSA now has a learning management system that matches the needs of our students as well as our broader goals to be a model for student success,” said Melissa Vito, UTSA vice provost for academic innovation. “With the power of Canvas, faculty and students will be able to better customize their learning tools, use the platform with ease and have even greater transformative experiences that help them succeed academically and thrive in their future careers.”
While Canvas will be new to UTSA, many current and incoming students already have experience with the LMS. When evaluating the satisfaction and performance of its LMS, UTSA found that many local school districts and community colleges currently use Canvas for their learning needs. At the same time, about 40% of UTSA’s undergraduate population includes transfer students from another higher education institution.
The Canvas LMS will provide new features to students’ digital learning experience through upgrades that have become standard across the tech industry. By comparison, the university’s legacy LMS has remained largely unchanged since it launched in 2012.
Canvas provides an efficient mobile experience, allowing students to access and sync their courses and calendars across their devices. They will be able to utilize modern web-like navigation, including a history tab that allows them to visit pages they recently viewed.
At the same time, the Canvas LMS integrates seamlessly with tools that students frequently use throughout their academic activities. Adobe Express, Microsoft 365 tools, Zoom and additional programs can be accessed through the platform.
One of the most powerful tools in Canvas is the auto-generated to-do list and calendar that connects with their courses. Faculty will be able to use course templates to sync their course assignments to the calendars and lists so that students have a more concise overview of all their upcoming assignments.
With the help of K16 Solutions, UTSA Academic Innovation will migrate all Spring 2021 through Spring 2023 courses from the Blackboard LMS to Canvas, including those in Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE). Academic Innovation will apply a phased training approach. First, users will find basic features in Canvas so they can become familiar with the fundamental concepts of the platform. Academic Innovation will provide tailored training as each of these enhancements are phased in. Once launched in Fall 2023, the platform will have the full complement of integrations.
During Spring Break in 2020, UTSA faculty worked tirelessly to recreate the UTSA Course Catalogue in a digital learning environment. The faculty’s heroic work over two short weeks ensured students could continue to learn despite being homebound during emergency remote instruction in the early days of the pandemic.
The experience that the Canvas LMS provides will be very different.
“We understand that the idea of moving all courses to a new system may feel daunting for faculty, but our division is committed to doing the heavy lifting with the initial migration,” said Marcela Ramirez, associate vice provost of Teaching, Learning & Digital Transformation, an office within UTSA Academic Innovation. “The Canvas LMS will help faculty more easily connect with students, manage their assignments and grading more efficiently and ensure the courses they design are not hindered by a legacy learning management platform.”
A working group has been established to help guide the migration and ensure faculty’s needs are communicated and met throughout this process. This working group not only includes faculty representation from each college but also student support staff, student government and graduate student representatives.
Academic Innovation will directly support faculty via email, phone and in-person walk-in hours. As part of a Canvas+Academic Innovation partnership, 24/7 phone, email and chat support will be available later this semester in addition to our in-person support hours and hybrid workshops offered each week.
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