OSU is adopting a new Learning Management System. This site is your resource to learn:
• why we are replacing Blackboard with a new system
• when the transition will occur, and
• how it will affect the OSU community.

Following a three year period of inquiry, assessment, and collaboration among faculty, students, and administrators to understand the needs of our teaching and learning community, OSU has chosen to replace the current Blackboard learning management system (LMS) with a hosted platform called Canvas. This is a university-wide LMS migration that impacts all modalities of courses taught at Oregon State, including traditional face-to-face, hybrid, and Ecampus online courses.

Canvas is a next-generation LMS that will provide the OSU community with a greater level of stability, functionality, and collaboration. The migration:

  • Aligns with OSU strategic goals for growth in online enrollments, learning innovations, and outreach.
  • Provides OSU the opportunity to retool online learning to meet new teaching and learning expectations
  • Provides a robust platform for continued growth and integration with a full set of learning tools
  • Offers a foundation for improved mobile experience
Blackboard transition to Canvas by Instructure

An Unprecedented Product Evaluation

Following an internal team review of a number of learning management systems, a decision was made to evaluate two finalist systems - Blackboard 14 and Canvas by Instructure - more closely.

The evaluations we conducted during the Spring 2014 term were unprecendented in OSU's history, for we chose to conduct two parallel evaluations that would solicit feedback from the entire OSU teaching and learning community.

  • An Open Evaluation allowed all members of the OSU community to login to "sandbox" environments of the two finalist systems.
  • Sixteen instructors were selected to teach Spring 2014 courses in a Live Course environment. Eight courses were taught in Blackboard 14 and eight were taught in Canvas. Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC) and Ecampus provided support to instructors throughout the term.

Hundreds of OSU faculty, staff and students responded to surveys to garner the most objective feedback possible. This feedback, along with assessments of product cost and their marketplace positioning, was crucial in selecting the final product.

A First Step Toward Learn@OSU

The transition to the Canvas LMS is a first step in a broader initiative, Learn@OSU. Learn@OSU will be a complete learning ecosystem that will allow the OSU community to manage a broad array of teaching and learning resources in one succinct space. We will be rolling out this initiative in the coming months as well.

Why Canvas? Results from Live Course Testing

During the Spring 2014 term, OSU embarked on an unprecedented product evaluation whereby the entire OSU teaching and learning community was invited to access online learning environments and provide feedback on the products' performance.

The following results were from surveys conducted by Live Course testers following a full term of use.

Canvas better meets the University's learning expectations

In 2012, the Teaching & Learning Expectations Task Force developed nine functional expectations for the process of teaching and learning. Following the live course evaluation, instructors rated Canvas higher than Blackboard 14 for all statistically significant results.


Canvas outperformed Blackboard 14 in student testing

Of the six testing measures rated by students as being the most important for their online learning experience, Canvas outperformed Blackboard 14 on five of the six measures.


Instructor Ratings - Creating & Organizing Content

Instructors rated Canvas considerably higher than Blackboard 14 on all measures for creating and organizing content


Instructor Ratings - Grading & Tracking Student Performance

Here, Canvas and Blackboard 14 each showed strengths and weaknesses.


Instructor Ratings - Communication & Collaboration

Instructors rated Canvas higher than Blackboard 14 on most functions involving communication and collaboration.