After collected extensive feedback from faculty, the Distance Learning committee recommended adoption of Canvas in Spring 2016. This worked its way through the Curriculum & Instruction Council and reached Academic Senate toward the end of Spring 2016, at which point the recommendation was read and then voted upon and approved.
Beginning in Spring 2015, research has been collected to help inform the decision about the LMS being used at Mt. SAC. Changing learning management systems is a big undertaking that requires work on the part of many entities on campus, but relies most heavily on the work of faculty who use the LMS and must migrate their course materials, learn new tools, and deal with any unforeseen problems that changes can create in functionality, available features, or other differences in service. This is why we take the process of making a recommendation very seriously. We want to make a selection that first and foremost works for faculty and contributes to student success as well as representing technology that meets the education standards of higher education today and into the future.
Completed Canvas Research
The following research has been completed:
- Faculty focus groups were completed in November 2015 to assess faculty needs and questions related to LMS use.
- Faculty Technology Survey was gathered online. Nearly 200 faculty completed a survey asking about LMS needs, questions, and opinions of Moodlerooms and Canvas.
- Student experience research included opportunities for students to complete a set of exercises in Canvas that required them to locate and use various commonly used LMS tools, and then complete a survey on their user experience.
- Based on the results of faculty feedback, "Explore Canvas" information sessions were held in Winter 2016 during eLearning week so those wanting to learn about Canvas had opportunities to do so.
- Additional opportunities to Explore Canvas have been created and listed on our web page, which has been advertised to faculty
through varied communication channels to try to reach any interested faculty.
Canvas Research Findings
Faculty Focus Group - November 2015, 12 participants, in 2 groups
- Biggest complaint in Focus Groups: Moodlerooms is overly complicated, with too many settings. It requires too much work/training to achieve competency.
- Consensus in Focus Groups: Focus groups supported a change to Canvas as long as two
conditions were met:
- Enough time/support given to smooth the transition
- Canvas offers similar learning management system (LMS) features with lower complexity
Faculty Technology Survey - November 2015, 193 faculty members responded to this online survey.
In Favor of Canvas: 65.5% Opposed to Canvas: 34.5% 70 respondents wanted Mt. SAC to benefit from savings 35 respondents don’t want to learn new system 69 respondents wanted after-hours tech support included with Canvas 24 respondents expressed skepticism about ongoing savings 66 respondents wanted students to use the LMS adopted in California colleges 5 respondents opposed OEI participation
In addition, the large number of respondents who were leaning toward favoring Canvas (53%) or toward opposing Canvas (24%) expressed some level of uncertainty. To address this concern, the OLSC developed several opportunities to allow faculty to explore Canvas in order to develop a more informed opinion about the decision.
Student Research on Canvas, November 2015, 20 students
Twenty students with varied levels of previous LMS experience participated in a Canvas Experience Survey. This research was designed to give students a thorough overview of Canvas functionality. Each student completed a checklist of common course activities that asked them to navigate through the LMS in order to find information, submit assignments, communicate with a professor, or check grades. Our sample of students liked Canvas:
- Eighty percent said Canvas was "very easy to use."
- Sixteen of the 17 students who had used Moodlerooms thought Canvas was “somewhat better” or “much better.”
- Fifteen out of the 20 students sampled said they would recommend courses in Canvas to other students.