Fresh Canvas

5 June 2019

Around 100 subjects from several faculties will trial a new Learning Management System (LMS) from Semester 2 this year.

The Blackboard LMS, which is currently used by students and staff, will be replaced with a new system offered by Canvas, a company which provides a cloud- based system to connect staff and students online.

The trial is led by the University’s Learning Environments department and Infrastructure Service as part of the ‘Project Evolve’ program. Through the program, the University expects all subjects to complete their migration from Blackboard to Canvas in 2020, with the exact timetable decided based on the feedback from the 100 pilot subjects.

The University said the decision was made due to concerns of the LMS being dated in use and function, as well as non-cohesive and difficult to navigate.

“The complaints and concerns about the LMS from the student body were growing,” said Gregor Kennedy, Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Patrick Stoddart and Deborah Jones of Learning Environments, in a joint response to Farrago.

“[Students can expect] a modern web experience and mobile app experience … clear navigation through subjects, alerts and notifications and to-do lists of pending activities.”
The new system will also highlight University support services available to students, which may currently be difficult to find and access.

Kennedy, Stoddart and Jones said the decision was made after consultations with student unions, and it met the needs of academic and professional staff.

Last year, over 8,500 staff and students participated in an LMS-focused survey. Its result showed that more ease of use, cohesion of information and updated technology would greatly benefit accessibility of content and learning.

Farrago has approached the University of Melbourne Student Union’s Education (Academic) department for comments.

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