students in the Lewis Library

University will introduce new online teaching and learning system

Oct. 10, 2019 11 a.m.

Princeton undergraduates Gabriella Carter (left) and Laura Molina sit and study in the Lewis Library Treehouse. The University will gradually introduce a new online learning management system called Canvas@Princeton over the next semesters. Canvas will replace Blackboard as the tool for faculty to share course information and for students to submit work and check grades, among other features. 

Starting with a small group of faculty in spring 2020, Princeton University will introduce Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) that will gradually replace Blackboard. The adoption of Canvas marks an exciting new chapter for teaching and learning at Princeton. 

“I’m convinced that Canvas will enhance pedagogy on our campus,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan. “We see this change as an opportunity not only to move to a more intuitive and robust learning management system, but also to engage the campus community in valuable conversations about how an LMS can support faculty’s teaching goals, expand learning activities and improve assessment strategies.”

Canvas is a flexible and interactive web platform where faculty can post the syllabus, announcements, course actives and assignments. Students can use the tool to collaborate, submit work, check grades, schedule meetings with instructors and more.

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning will oversee the University’s transition to Canvas. Faculty and academic staff will continue to use Blackboard until their department is moved to Canvas. More information and frequently asked questions are available on the Canvas@Princeton website.

Canvas was selected by the University after an extensive evaluation process. The advice from faculty, staff, and students during this process proved instrumental in the determination that Canvas is the best choice for Princeton’s future. 

Canvas includes many attractive features, such as: 

  • User-friendly tools that will streamline communications between faculty and students, including a mobile app.
  • A scheduler tool that allows faculty to set up an office hours calendar in Canvas and allows students to request appointments.
  • A calendar tool that highlights course deadlines for students, and which can easily be integrated with platforms such as a Google Calendar and Outlook.
  • A grade center that facilitates assessment by allowing faculty to leave comments and feedback on students’ work and to enter grades in one place. It can also be integrated with the University’s other systems to establish a more straightforward process for faculty to report midterm and final course grades.

The transition from Blackboard to Canvas will start in spring 2020 with a small pilot group of faculty. Through spring 2022, about 300 faculty will move from Blackboard to Canvas each semester. A schedule for when departments will move to Canvas will be announced next semester. 

The Canvas Implementation Team, led by the McGraw Center with technical and administrative support from the Office of Information Technology, will help faculty transfer their content from Blackboard to Canvas. The University will also archive Blackboard courses to ensure that no content is lost. 

As the University transitions to Canvas, the McGraw Center will offer personalized support, training sessions, online tutorials, one-on-one consultations and other learning opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. More information and a project timeline are available on the Canvas@Princeton website.