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The Opt-In LMS Feasibility Workgroup at FSU

The Opt-In LMS Feasibility Workgroup has provided a unanimous recommendation to Dr. Sally McRorie, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs to adopt Canvas by Instructure as the primary learning management system (LMS) for Florida State University.

This recommendation was made with thoughtful deliberation. The LMS workgroup carefully considered the advantages and disadvantages of a system transition in terms of usability, features, third-party product support, faculty adoption time and effort, training challenges, cost, and support. The group participated in product demonstrations from both Canvas and Blackboard, surveyed faculty for feedback and concerns, and carefully reviewed the budgetary impact. ODL technical staff performed an independent review of Canvas and certified that our procedures for course creation, enrollment, and grade submission are all compatible with the system. Ultimately, the LMS workgroup agreed that the functionality and ease of use offered by Canvas would best serve our faculty and students.

Faculty Feedback and Concerns

More than half the faculty who responded to the LMS survey expressed a degree of concern regarding a change in systems. Detailed responses cited concerns over the time it would take to migrate course content, options for training and support, system features that may not be available, and costs associated with redeveloping course materials.

The LMS workgroup believes many of these concerns can be addressed through careful planning, effective communication, and a strong training and support network.

Projected Timeline for Transition to Canvas

  • November 2016
Finalize Canvas Contract
  • November/December 2016 
Prepare training materials and sessions
Setup Canvas "Sandbox" for instructors
  • January 2017

Develop custom tools for Canvas (Automatic Enrollments, Cohorting, Grade Transfer Tool, Library Tools, Collaborate, etc.)
Continue to setup up and configure system and tools
Setup Canvas "Sandbox" for instructors
Begin initial training and course migration for distance faculty and early adopters

  • Spring Term 2017

Begin migration & provide online training materials & training sessions
Provide campus-wide in person training sessions in a variety of locations
Provide in person departmental training as needed
Provide one-on-one consultations

  • Summer Term 2017

Canvas Pilot for select courses and instructors
Continue migration and provide online training materials and training sessions
Continue to:

  • provide campus-wide in person training sessions in a variety of locations
  • provide in person departmental training as needed
  • provide one-on-one consultations


  • Fall Term 2017

Expand Canvas Pilot to instructors who are ready
Continue migration of course content from Bb to Canvas
Continue training opportunities

  • Spring Term 2018

All courses (except CoM year-long courses) transitioned to Canvas

  • July 1, 2018

FSU Blackboard instance closed