To:             Executive Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Vice Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors and Heads of Schools, Divisions, Departments and Offices

From:         Steve Beaudoin, Professor of Chemical Engineering
                  Academic Director, Teaching and Learning Technologies

                  Julie Kercher-Updike, AVP for Teaching and Learning Technologies
                       & ITaP Customer Relations

Date:          August 18, 2015

Subject:     Canvas pilot updates and recommendation


Please extend our appreciation to instructors from your area who provided feedback during Purdue’s 2014-15 pilot of the Canvas learning management system. As a result of broad faculty participation across the Purdue system, the Canvas Pilot Steering Committee was able to examine the system from myriad vantage points and make a well-informed recommendation on which course of action will best serve students and instructors at Purdue.

The following three options were considered:

1)      Continue using Blackboard Learn and renew the Blackboard Learn license when it expires in September 2017.

2)      Move to Canvas as Purdue University’s enterprise-wide LMS when the current license for Blackboard Learn expires in September 2017.

3)      Extend the Blackboard Learn contract an additional two years to 2019, giving both vendors time to deliver on concerns identified throughout the pilot. In fall 2016, conduct a review of the progress the systems have made toward their roadmaps.

After reviewing survey and anecdotal feedback from more than 1,000 students and 50 instructors, the steering committee recommended option No. 3, to extend the Blackboard Learn contract an additional two years to 2019, and the Office of the Provost has accepted the committee’s recommendation.

Although some faculty had a slight preference for some Canvas features, the pilot did not produce compelling reasons to change at present. Still, the pilot did highlight several areas for improvement in Blackboard Learn and Canvas. Purdue will conduct a review in the fall of 2016 to determine the progress both vendors have made in addressing the concerns listed in the final report, which is available here:

If you or other individuals from your area have questions about the outcome of the pilot, please let us know. Again, thank you for your contribution to this important initiative and collaborative effort.