Positives, potential drawbacks in ISU's transition to Canvas

After nearly a decade of ReggieNet, Illinois State University plans to switch over to Canvas as its new learning management system next semester. Canvas is a notably modern system with several highly requested features that ReggieNet cannot access.

After nearly a decade of ReggieNet, Illinois State University plans to switch over to Canvas as its new learning management system next semester.

ReggieNet was built upon Sakai, a system that has seen diminishing use across universities in recent years. Compared to Sakai, Canvas is a notably modern system with several highly requested features that ReggieNet cannot access.

“As a campus, our needs have developed and changed before and after the pandemic. So, what we want our technologies to be able to do and the experience that both students and faculty want in our classes have changed,” Rosie Hauck, director of the Office of Advanced Technology Support for Faculty, said.

Hauck further noted some of the features that made Canvas a desirable choice, including a simpler design, a mobile app, built-in accessibility and the ability to integrate external learning tools.

“This streamlined design in Canvas allows for a standard look and feel across all courses, making it easier for students to use and find materials across their Canvas courses quickly and easily — another request we have heard from our students over the years,” Hauck said.

A Canvas Open House was held Tuesday for instructors to familiarize themselves with the platform. A similar event will be held for students at the start of the upcoming semester.

To help choose which system to switch to, teams of students, faculty and staff had been selected to evaluate the different learning management system offerings.

Canvas turned out to be the most popular choice since many of them were already familiar with the system.

“Our experience with students in our spring pilot courses … is that they found Canvas to be more intuitive, easier to learn and more consistent across courses than ReggieNet,” said Anthony Piña, co-leader of the transition.

To assist students with the transition, the Technology Support Center has been working with the Canvas implementation team to create resources and availability for users.

More information on the transition to Canvas can be found online.

TYLER KASZUBA is a News and Features Reporter. Kaszuba can be reached at tkkaszu@ilstu.edu. Follow Kaszuba on Twitter at @tylerkaszuba.


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