Canvas for eCollege/LearningStudio Faculty

Dear eCollege/Pearson LearningStudio Faculty,

As you may have heard, Pearson recently notified all institutions using eCollege/Pearson LearningStudio (PLS) that the company is leaving the learning management system (LMS) market. For eCollege/PLS faculty teaching courses outside Rutgers Online (the so-called “Managed Program”), there is no need to take immediate action since Rutgers will have access to eCollege/PLS for three more years, through 2019. And when you finally migrate your course to a different platform, you are free to use any LMS provided by the university. However, before making a final decision on this, we urge you to take a good look on the platform we have chosen for fully online degree programs offered through Rutgers Online.

The Center for Online and Hybrid Learning and Instructional Technologies (COHLIT) spent the better part of 2015 investigating the leading Learning Management Systems on the market and evaluating their benefits in specially created testing environments.  After comparing the options, we have chosen Canvas as best in class and the ideal LMS for our fully online degrees. Outside Rutgers Online, Canvas will be available to all faculty teaching online or hybrid courses at Rutgers, be they for-credit or non-credit.

Canvas has been taking the national LMS market by storm. It is embraced by faculty, students, and instructional designers alike for its ease of use and attractive user interface. In fact, many of our partners in the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC) have converted to Canvas, as has Harvard University, and much closer to home, Rider University and Montclair State University--to name just a few examples. Click here for more information on things you can do with Canvas.

Key Features of Canvas include:

  • Customizable robust course notifications via emails, text message, and Twitter
  • Assignment feedback including audio and video messages
  • Built using modern web standards with a rapid development and feature release cycle
  • Integrations for the tools you use: Google Apps, Skype, publisher content, Twitter, and Kaltura, to name a few
  • Full-featured mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • ePortfolios
  • Customizable course settings including access dates and course navigation
  • Active user community allows responsive feature development and enhancements (click here for more information on user community)

24/7/365 Support Services for Faculty and Students

Pearson has been very supportive of our decision to move to Canvas, which offers the equivalent 24/7/365 support services we have come to appreciate with eCollege/PLS. Moreover, you will be able to continue using the same integrated Pearson and third-party technologies available in eCollege.

 

When will we offer our first courses on Canvas?

Rutgers Online degrees will start offering courses on Canvas this coming Fall 2016 semester.

Does the Canvas Upgrade affect the current semester in any way?

No.

Are the upcoming Summer 2016 courses offered on Canvas?

No. Summer courses, where available, will still be on eCollege/Pearson LearningStudio. Canvas goes live in Fall.

Do I have to do anything at this point, and how does the migration work?

You don’t have to do anything at this time. You have until 2019 to switch to a different LMS. If you choose Canvas as your next platform, COHLIT will assist you, if need be. For the most part, courses are migrated from PLS to Canvas electronically. As part of our agreement with Canvas, the company uses a special conversion technology to migrate PLS courses to their platform. The tool converts the vast majority of PLS data properly, but some manual touch-ups on your Canvas courses will still need to be performed by COHLIT course designers. This is a process that requires your personal input. No converted courses will go live without your approval.

 

Canvas Training Opportunities

Canvas is arguably the most thoroughly documented LMS on the market. Training materials and tutorials created by Instructure (the parent company) are extremely well made. COHLIT has compiled a list of recommended resources covering a broad range of skill levels, from “What is Canvas,” to advanced tools and techniques. Click here for more information on Canvas Guides.

In addition, COHLIT is offering Canvas training in various different formats, both face-to-face and online, and a range of additional resources:

 

If I migrate to Canvas, when can I expect to teach my first course on this LMS?

Due to limited staff resources and a very tight timeline, we are implementing a phased migration that prioritizes all Rutgers Online Degrees in the immediate future:

Phase 1: Starting May 2, all Rutgers Online courses will be tackled first because these programs need to be offered on Canvas this coming fall.

Phase 2: The second stage will begin in early September and include all eCollege faculty who wish to upgrade their fully online courses (singletons) to Canvas for a Spring '17 launch. Canvas is not a must for them since they can choose to migrate to any Rutgers platform of their choice by 2019.

Phase 3: Next in order of priority will be hybrid courses on eCollege that need to be upgraded to Canvas.

Phase 4: Non-credit courses.

This schedule assumes COHLIT's deep and active involvement with the "white-gloving" of the courses, i.e., the process of correcting errors and making other needed adjustments to the electronically converted eCollege/PLS courses.  

 

But I really want to get into Canvas NOW!

Faculty outside Rutgers Online who wish to teach on Canvas this coming fall or would like to get access to Canvas ahead of the conversion schedule may do so. However, due to our limited number of staff, we cannot commit any resources beyond faculty training at this time. In other words, we can provide Canvas access but won’t be able to assist in finalizing your course design until Fall ‘16.

We are very excited to move to Canvas. Once you have had the opportunity to experience its many benefits, we hope that you will share our enthusiasm for this exciting new Learning Management System!

With all best wishes,

Antonius Bittmann, Ph.D., D.M.A.
Associate Vice President, Online Programs
Division of Continuing Studies
Rutgers University
55 Commercial Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1340
Ph: (848) 932-4702
E-mail: onlinelearning@docs.rutgers.edu