canvas logoCanvas Research

  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.

    •   What is Canvas?
      Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) similar to Moodlerooms, Blackboard, Etudes, or Desire 2 Learn. You can learn more here about Canvas:
    • Why is Mt. SAC switching to Canvas?

      Mt. SAC decided to switch to Canvas because it was selected by the Online Education Initiative (OEI) ( as the "common course management system (CCMS) for the California Community College (CCCs) system. The OEI is a collaborative effort of the CCCs, sponsored by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, in partnership with the Butte-Glenn Community College District and its CCC Technology Center at Butte College, and is funded through a  $56.9 million, five-year grant disbursed by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO). Switching to Canvas allows our college to benefit from the funding that subsidizes the LMS cost to zero until the end of Spring 2019, with subsidization to free or near-free levels anticipated but subject to future funding decisions of the state. It also enables Mt. SAC to consider participation in the forthcoming OEI Course Exchange, a program in which we are currently a pilot college. Additional resources are also available through the OEI for the CCC system for our use with Canvas or independent of Canvas, including workshops, student online readiness tutorials, and adjunct technology such as online tutoring. 

    •  OEI, Canvas, & Mt. SAC
      Learn about the information about Mt. SAC and the OEI, including the information our campus has already collected from Mt. SAC faculty related to OEI, Canvas, and Moodlerooms.  You can learn all about the OEI on their website.
    • When are we moving to Canvas?

       When, you ask? The answer is: now! We will be undergoing a transition to Canvas over the 2016/17 academic year. Canvas will first become available for use by faculty in Winter 2017 intersession. During Winter and Spring semester 2017, our campus will run Moodlerooms and Canvas in parallel. Professors who have completed the training requirements for LMS access will maintain this status, and will have the option to choose either Moodlerooms or Canvas on a course-by-course basis. Choose carefully! Professors are expected to stick with their initial choice. In June 2017, all materials must be removed from Moodlerooms and our campus will be exclusively on Campus starting in Summer 2017.

    • How was the move to Canvas decided?

      research iconEXECUTIVE SUMMARY of research for the Canvas LMS decision.

      research iconFull report of research conducted for the Canvas LMS decision.

      • AS of June 2, 2016, the recommendation to adopt Canvas was voted and approved at Academic Senate.  The Academic Senate also awarded the DLC a 10+1 award in Academic and Professional Matters for "creating a thorough and inclusive process to vet and recommend the Canvas LMS to campus." The next step is approval through the President's Advisory Council (PAC).
      • As of May 19, 2016, the recommendation to adopt Canvas was presented as a discussion item at Academic Senate. It is scheduled as an action item at the Academic Senate June 2 meeting.
      • As of May 12, 2016, the Executive Committee reviewed the Canvas recommendation. The recommendation was passed along to Academic Senate, who added Canvas to the discussion items for May 19.
      • As of May 10 2016, the Curriculum & Instruction committee has approved the Canvas recommendation. Curriculum and Instruction now forwards the recommendation to the Executive Committee and Academic Senate.
      • As of May 2016, the Distance Learning Committee prepared a recommendation advising the college to move from Moodlerooms to Canvas. This recommendation is expected to be sent on to the Curriculum and Instruction Council in their first May meeting. The next stage will involve review by Curriculum and Instruction. Updates will continue to be posted here. 
      • As of April 2016, the Distance Learning Committee completed deliberations and reviewed research collected from faculty and students at Mt. SAC. The determination based on this research and the research on the Canvas system and its compatibility with other Mt. SAC technology resulted in a decision to recommend the transition from Moodlerooms to Canvas. 
research iconCompleted 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.