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"I have experience with Canvas and Blackboard from a student and faculty perspective. I find Canvas to be extremely intuitive. The dashboard (for both students and faculty) allows access to many of the important features of Canvas – Inbox, course sites, grades, calendar, and account settings. I enjoy the Inbox feature as well. With Canvas, I can send an email to an individual, a group, or the entire class and refer back to that message, if needed. Additionally, I can read an entire email thread from one email. This is different from Blackboard in that when an email is sent through it, the email goes to your school email as opposed to an inbox within Blackboard as it does in Canvas. I love how customizable the platform is. I can update how I receive notifications and when, the look and feel of the dashboard, and my student/faculty profile on which I can have a biography and links to important pages such as LinkedIn and a Prezi introduction I created to introduce myself to my students. As a faculty member, Canvas allows for “speed grading” whereby I can toggle through all assignments/tests/homework submissions at once. I can add comments or update grades as needed. I can also view course analytics – how much time each student is spending on the site itself or on particular pages. At a single glance, I can see activity by date (participation or simply page views), communications between the student and me, assignment submissions, and grades (with how the individual student measured up to the rest of the class). Setting up Canvas class sites is a breeze. I’ve built both hybrid and online classes in Canvas from the ground up and I love how it lets you organize your virtual classroom through modules (Class Sessions in Blackboard). From a student perspective, I love that I can look at the class modules and see everything that is in each module at a glance as opposed to having to click to get to individual screens. Navigation within each class site is definitely seamless with Canvas. I could continue with more accolades, but I’ll refrain. Canvas is by far a superior product to Blackboard and I’m excited for our students and faculty when the switch is made. They will not be disappointed!" - Rachel Kynhoff, Academic Advisor, Southern Indiana 

"I use Canvas for my classes at IUPUI and I love it!" - Denise G. Beck, Writing Instructor, Central Indiana

"One of the greatest strengths of Canvas is that it is very intuitive and easy to use.  Importing course content from a previous semester is simple and fast.  As well, the formatting of Announcements is uniform, making for a more visually pleasing appearance than Blackboard.  Another attractive feature is that YouTube links appear as an embedded video link--as opposed to just the address—and this feature can be toggled on or off. Grading in Canvas is very easy—the Speed Grader function in the Gradebook allows the user to begin grading assignments immediately. Instructors may also check out the Canvas Community site for guides/answers to frequently asked questions." - Kent Kaster, new Ivy Tech faculty teaching World Civilization.  Kent has used Canvas at two other institutions.

"Canvas is a true twenty-first century CMS built with a clear user interface and strong functionality. It allows students to use their favorite devices and platforms natively and intuitively to actively participate in their studies. Finally we have a tool that works for our students where they are, instead of forcing them to adopt, and adapt to, a platform that is counterintuitive and cumbersome to navigate." - Christopher Moore, Program Chair in Visual Communications, Wabash Valley

“From the wealth of accessibility features to the comprehensive communications tools (messages, emails, SMS, audio and video notes, etc.), Canvas really stands out.  Scoring rubrics that are also linked to course learning outcomes will really enhance our assessment capabilities and allow us to continually enhance and improve our courses and our curriculum in a data-driven fashion.  The ability to enrich all aspects of our courses (both content and assessments) with rich media without regard to file size will provide new and exciting ways for our students to learn and our faculty to express themselves.  Collaboration tools, drop-n-drag course editing, integration with Office-365—the list goes on and on.  As  Canvas is widely used in the K-12 system in Indiana as well as with several of our 4-year partners, it will make for a nearly seamless educational experience for new students fresh from high school as well as our students transferring to continue their education elsewhere.  Aside from the fresh look and the relatively intuitive workflows, etc., etc. , etc. …Canvas just feels right.” - Ben Markham, Department Chair for Math and Physics/Associate Professor of Mathematics, Bloomington

“As a faculty member, a previous course developer, and current course mentor, I am very excited about Ivy Tech’s selection of Canvas as our new learning management system. I was immediately impressed with how beautiful and easy to use this product appeared to be. Canvas has a very clean look and is very intuitive to navigate. Because Canvas is cloud-based, updates can be made regularly without downtime. This way, changes to the system will be made in small increments instead of large, disruptive overhauls. In addition to its stunning visual design and lack of downtime, Canvas comes with some really useful and fun features for both students and faculty.

  • Students can enter hypothetical grades to test “what if” scenarios in their grade books.
  • The grading tool for faculty goes above and beyond what we have been using, adding the ability to drag-and-drop and including more sophisticated rubrics than what we currently have with Blackboard.
  • The course calendar, which is linked with the course syllabus, allows for both drag-and-drop and a variety of different viewing options. In addition, changes made in the calendar will automatically update dates in other areas of the course.
  • The “Conversations” feature can be used for group or individual communications. It is contained within the LMS itself, but allows for responses to be made via email, which will in turn update the conversation in Canvas. Also, conversations are automatically generated when assignment feedback is left. I believe this feature alone will allow students and faculty to communicate in a way that is not currently possible, and will go a long way to help eliminate the problem of students saying “I never got that email”. - Patty Kokesh, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Northwest Region

“I feel good about the Canvas decision because I believe it is a good, stable product, that will provide us room to grow. The School of Computing and Informatics has been using the platform for the last two years through the Cisco Academy curriculum that we use in several of our courses.  I have developed courses in it and it will maintain many of the features we enjoy today with Blackboard, but in a more up-to-date environment. We will be able to maintain our online learning course template, but also will be able to make improvements to it for ease of use. The “course messages” feature allows you to see all of your student messages in one place, instead of having to go into each class to see messages. Instructure (the company that created Canvas) is a mature company, and should be able to support our institution. They have been proven by large institutions and school corporations over the last few years. Indiana University just picked them as their LMS provider; moving from an open-source platform. In theory, there should be no down-time like we have now with Blackboard because of the way the platform was designed. That should make our support staff very happy! There are many third party (free and paid) tools that can be easily integrated within Canvas that we don’t have access to easily with our current environment. It will work nicely in a mobile environment, with apps for instructors.  Overall, I am very positive about this transition and look forward to working in the new environment in the spring as I start porting over the courses that I currently mentor.” - Pam Schmelz, Department Chair, Columbus

“So many times as an instructor it feels like the LMS is getting in your way and you have to figure out how to do what you want to do within the platform’s restrictive rules. With Canvas, it’s like all the walls have been knocked down and the LMS is working with you to create the best possible learning experience for students. I love that compatible uploaded files are integrated inline, meaning no more downloading or corrupted files issues for students. For me, inline grading will be a huge time-saver and being able to attach audio or video files to anything is an invaluable feature.  Also, being able to set-up automatic email reminders for students who haven’t uploaded assignments is huge!” - Tom Ghering, General Studies/Student Success Program Chair, Kokomo Region

“Canvas will be a good choice for Ivy Tech for two reasons. It is much easier to navigate the course and it is easier to setup content. Navigating the course is easier and I don’t have to bounce back and forth between sessions to see all the content. Everything is on one page and you can easily move content from session to session. Need to move a reading assignment? Just drag and drop. Assignments are easier to setup and Canvas has a better system for sharing videos and other types of media. Exams are easier to manage and you can setup exams by student which is nice for those students that need extra time for exams. I have been using Blackboard since 2004 but I will have no problem moving to Canvas as the teaching platform for Ivy Tech.” - Jason E. Johnson, Assistant Professor/Academic Advisor, School of Computing and Informatics - Richmond
“In speaking with one of my dual credit schools (Richmond High School) They are now using Canvas and was able to take my labs quizzes and tests from Blackboard and put it right into Canvas. The tests and quizzes self-grade right into their grade book without them having to do any extra work. That seems very beneficial to me. So many times when there is a change in systems everything needs to be redone. “ - Robert M. Frantz, Assistant Professor/Program Chair, Automotive Technology

“Canvas was the best LMS option because it seemed to have all of the functions we currently have--but more streamlined and intuitive for all users. The interface is cleaner and clearer which simplifies the look of the course, allowing the content to shine. Plus, there won't be any downtime for system updates!”  - Erin Lehman, Department Chair English & Education, Columbus region

“I supported the move to Canvas for many reasons.  While no LMS system is perfect, Canvas gave us, in my opinion, the best opportunity to enhance the teaching and learning experience.  In evaluating the LMS proposals, I looked at the frustrations I usually have with our current system and how the proposals would address those frustrations.  Some of the factors that impressed me: In Canvas we can now send one announcement to several course sections; Canvas seemed to be the one LMS that would be the easiest to learn and teach to fellow faculty members (and course copying seemed easy to do); and Canvas had great reliability due to being cloud-based.   Lastly, Canvas had a strong set of course analytics which could be utilized by instructors.   In sum, I believe Canvas is the best choice to support our growth and our student success goals in the coming years.” - James Boldman, Program Chair, Communications & Foreign Languages, Columbus / Southeast Regions

“I am so excited to know that canvas is in the top spot!  On my review I actually put that I thought we could not afford this one with a sad face!  In my comments in the student section (which 90% of the criteria for ranking received a 3 value (better that what we have), I also made comments that for “Math this was great” and “I realize how outdated BB is now”. On the Faculty section, all of the criteria received 3s!  My comments included my love of the calendar, the scheduler, gradebook options, how easy it is for faculty to add announcements and who did not love the drag and drop for managing content! On the developer side I love that if the Master is changed, it can be pushed out to the content in that semester classes.  I just went into every CINS 101 online class and made some changes and it took me a half a day to do them individually.  Being able to push it out from the Master to all classes would have save me so much time. Administration I will leave up to you but I do hope to be able to participate in the training for all faculty.  Not only did you make my day by letting us know the Instructure/canvas is a possibility, it would be the best Christmas present for Ivy Tech.” - Micki Nickla: Gary/Crown Point Department Chair; Ivy Tech Developer/Mentor

Staff Testimonials

“Why Canvas? Hands down their presentation was the most impressive, professional, direct, and more importantly, thorough. Every committee question or concern was addressed skillfully.  After listening to the four presentations, the integrity of Canvas was evident, and the confidence in their LMS was simply refreshing. Faculty should love the SpeedGrader, which can cut grading time by 50%, while students will appreciate the ease of navigation when moving throughout their course, preventing them from getting lost. There isn’t a perfect LMS; one which offers every single tool we desire.  But the insignificant down-time, boasting a stability rate of 99.98%, coupled with the Canvas can-do attitude, made me a firm believer Canvas plus Ivy Tech Community College are a perfect match.” - Susie Hamner, Online Technology Coordinator, Southeast Region

“In a nutshell, Canvas has all of the tools we enjoy now plus many additional tools that will allow us to do things we’ve previously been unable to do. Canvas is clean, organized, and accessible. Barriers we’ve been struggling against will disappear and we’ll be able to move forward with better support, more reliability, increased data, and most importantly, a vastly improved student experience.” - Lena Harper, Online Technologies Coordinator, Kokomo / Lafayette Regions

“I believe Canvas is the best LMS choice for many of the features they have to offer but mostly because it’s easy to navigate and the ease of communicating and collaborating, which I think will go a long way with retention. I also think that many features Canvas offers now we would have to wait for with our current system. I think this system has a lot to offer all users: students, faculty, admins, developers, etc. and I’m excited!” - Eurika Bennett, Bi-Regional Online Technology Coordinator (OTC), East Central/Richmond Regions

“At Ivy Tech, we work with people of all different technology comfort-levels: students and faculty.  Many are new to online learning every semester.  Hence, training new users is a constant in our environment, and Canvas, by far, seemed the easiest to learn, use, and navigate.  Reports from users indicate the same, and their customer service is ranked very high.  Lastly, I work alongside IU staff and faculty who have recently moved to Canvas and have heard NO complaints during the transition and afterwards.” - Julia Stumpff, Director of Instructional Technology, Columbus

“I am very excited about using Canvas as our new LMS. I think students will find it easy to navigate and like the activity stream. I think instructors will like the SpeedGrader as well as the easy creation and upload of rich content. I like that it is cloud based, there is no downtime for upgrades, and everyone is one the same version. In reading the Canvas user guides, I find them to be thorough and helpful. I am looking forward to working with a company that is responsive to their customer’s needs.” - Deb Ponsot, Online Technologies Coordinator, Region 3