Keene State College Learning Management System Transition Project

Migrating from Blackboard to Canvas
(see updates for weekly information)


Canvas Logo Throughout the past two years, Keene State College has been engaged in a discussion about the College’s learning management system (LMS).  The process included a successful multi-semester pilot of Canvas, the learning management system from Instructure.


Keene State’s review of learning management systems considered issues in these three major themes:

  • Connecting student success with overall institutional improvement
  • Supporting faculty
  • Fostering student engagement with their curricular and co-curricular experiences

After a thorough evaluation of Blackboard, Keene State’s current LMS, and Canvas, it has been determined that the College will adopt Canvas as it best meets KSC’s current and future needs. While this transition may result in some disruption, it will be outweighed by benefits for the College community. Canvas is an open-source Learning Management System, built on a modern web framework and offered as a fully supported cloud-based application. Canvas offers the following advantages:

  • The Canvas system is built on modern technology.
  • Canvas design and functionality is grounded in good pedagogy.
  • Canvas offers paths for integration with other products, including more effortless integration with audio and video.
  • Canvas provides efficient grading tools.
  • Canvas includes accessibility features that meet the needs of people with disabilities.
  • The Canvas interface is easy to use.

Transition Plan

The goal is to have Canvas fully implemented campus-wide by Summer 2015 semester; at the same time Blackboard will be phased out with an end of use date of June 1, 2015.

During the implementation period staff and faculty members will have many opportunities to learn about its features and how to use Canvas through both individualized and small group sessions. In addition, assistance will be offered to students in conjunction with the IT Group.

Those whose work will be migrated during a specific semester will receive invitations in advance of their migration window to provide as much time as possible to prepare for the transition. In addition, opportunities to learn more about Canvas, its features, and how to modify courses and practices to make the most of the new LMS will continue.

Transition Project Team

Members: Jenny Darrow, Judy Brophy, Mike Nieckoski, Linda Farina, IT Group representative

Consulting Project Manager: Lisa Sieverts. This is a continuation of her previous role as the consulting project manager on the initial Canvas implementation project team.

Transition Support: Laura Seraichick, Sue Castriotta

Staffing plans

  • Repurpose available Academic Technologist position to Canvas Application Administrator and conduct search as soon as possible.
  • Use part-time staff to serve as members of migration team through June 2014. A decision as to how to proceed for AY15-16 will be made once finances are known.
  • Student worker(s) to be made available in public lab space(s) in the Mason Library to provide assistance for students.

Timeline for roll-out/milestones

The plan is for all faculty teaching a 100-level course and/or a 600-level course during the Fall 2014 semester to have all their courses delivered through Canvas. In addition, all department chairs and all faculty who have already used Canvas (through the KSC pilots or having used the free version of Canvas) will also migrate in the Fall. All these faculty members’ courses will be delivered through Canvas from the Fall 2014 semester onward. All other faculty will have all their courses delivered through Blackboard for the Fall 2014 semester.

In the Spring 2015 semester, all faculty teaching that semester who have not already migrated to Canvas will do so at that time, regardless of the courses being taught. That means that all Keene State College courses offered during Spring 2015 and from that time forward will be using the Canvas learning management system.

The College will continue to make Blackboard available through June 2015. This should provide sufficient opportunity for faculty using Blackboard to export course content for storage on his/her computer which s/he can import into Canvas, if desired.


The transition project team will create a process for keeping you informed of what to expect and how the migration is progressing. A website will be established where you can review plans and check for updates. You will have multiple options for getting help, asking questions and providing input.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation and please look for future communications about this transition.
The transition project team’s messages will include, yet are not limited to:

  • Monthly project updates
  • Targeted announcements via website and email
  • News articles in various College publications
  • Training and documentation notifications