Canvas Launches for the Summer 2022 Term

As the Summer 2022 term begins, JHU is ready to begin the transition to Canvas as the primary learning management system. Using the lessons and feedback from the Spring 2022 early adopters, more than 800 courses and 13,000 enrollments have been configured in Canvas for the Summer.  

Canvas Courses and Project Timeline 

Not all Summer 2022 courses will run on Canvas – depending on your division, you may still have a Summer 2022 course on Blackboard. The best way to check where your course will be offered is by logging on to SIS. Then students should check “My Class Schedule,” and faculty should view their “Dashboard.” You will be able to see whether each of your courses is taught on Canvas or Blackboard and click the link to log in. As a reminder, all Fall 2022 courses will use Canvas (except for those in the School of Public Health, which will continue to use CoursePlus). 

Early Adopter Feedback and Insights 

The Canvas early adopters took three surveys during the Spring 2022 semester, and the feedback has been very positive overall. Faculty and students cite Canvas’ design as being easier to use and more intuitive than Blackboard. The mobile app experience is highly rated and a welcome update. Students encouraged faculty to promote mobile-friendly course site design and to use Canvas’ logical layout of tools to make course navigation easy. Early adopter faculty had a few key pieces of advice for their peers when starting to use Canvas:  

  • Not every Blackboard feature has an analog – give yourself time to become familiar with the Canvas tools so you can fully benefit from them 
  • Utilize the help functions built into the Canvas global menu 
  • Make sure to test your course from the student perspective using Student View 

Updates to Canvas.jhu.edu 

In preparation for the Summer 2022 term and increased Canvas use, we have made significant enhancements to the documentation on canvas.jhu.edu.  

In addition to adding documentation on the Canvas site, each division has unique training plans in place that are tailored to their faculty and student needs. Reach out to your division for more information.  

Thank You to Everyone Who Supported This Launch 

The Summer 2022 semester represents a significant milestone in the Canvas project at JHU. We would like to thank the early adopters for their patience and feedback. We also want to acknowledge the dedication of the divisional teaching and learning centers, IT@JH, and staff across the university for their work over the past year and a half to make this launch a success.  

Spring Early Adopter Feedback and Preparing for Summer

This spring we launched an early adopters’ initiative on Canvas including approximately 40 sections and 700 students. This group has been working hard to explore Canvas, provide feedback, and pave the way for more courses launching in the summer term. We are gathering their feedback in multiple ways: 

  • Early Adopter Faculty Office Hours every other week; 
  • Feedback surveys sent to all faculty and students at key points during the term;  
  • An online collaboration area for early adopters to share feedback and questions; and 
  • A feedback form on Canvas for students and faculty to submit their thoughts at any point in the term.  

Initial Feedback Results  

The initial feedback results from our survey of faculty were overwhelmingly positive.  After trying it, 96% of faculty were more enthusiastic about teaching in Canvas as compared to past terms using Blackboard. We asked, “what would you want other faculty to know as they are beginning to use Canvas?” We heard overwhelmingly that it was “so much easier” than Blackboard. One faculty member wrote:  

“At the beginning, as in any change, it is normal to have a bit of discomfort in using the new platform, but after a very few days everything remains very easy and with excellent results. It is user-friendly and it has many interesting and useful functions for our courses. Its layout is more modern than Blackboard’s.” 

Student feedback echoed these sentiments:  

  • “[Canvas] feels like a much more modern and streamlined platform.”  
  • “Canvas is so much better than Blackboard…It’s also so much easier to tell what assignments I have and when they’re due. The submission portal is also much nicer.” 
  • “Much more readable interface and more user-friendly compared to Blackboard.”  

Based on the feedback, we expect that faculty and students will ultimately find it easier to use Canvas after the initial transition. 

A Better Mobile Experience 

100% of faculty and 92% of students were somewhat satisfied or satisfied with the Canvas mobile experience. This feedback aligns with the evaluation data we collected during the selection process. Blackboard’s mobile experience was rated quite low, and one of the key stand-out features was Canvas’s Student App and Teacher App. A student described the mobile experience by saying, “Easy to use, modern design, quick navigation.” Overall, we expect that faculty and students alike will enjoy the apps and be able to easily connect with their course content on any device.  

Growing with Canvas  

As with any new system, there are elements that can be improved. Faculty and students provided targeted feedback on features and tools in Canvas that help us refine the system before the summer launch. Their feedback has already assisted us in resolving an early notification issue for all future terms, customizing the way to organize courses, and tailoring summer training plans for divisions. We will continue to gather feedback throughout the early adopter initiative to make additional improvements. 

Spring 2022 Canvas Update

We have several exciting updates relating to the JHU Canvas project to share with you.  

Spring 2022 Early Adopter Launch 

About 40 academic course sections applied and were approved to participate in the Spring 2022 Early Adoption. (As a note, all other courses will still be run on Blackboard.) All early adopters including instructors, students, and support staff from teaching and learning centers are enrolled and can access Canvas. Courses will open on the course start date for students. We will be coordinating a robust evaluation process to learn how Canvas is working for these courses and improve it for our summer and fall 2022 launch. 

Updated Login Page for Early Adopters 

All Early Adopters can log in using their JHED and password through canvas.jhu.edu. If others log into Canvas at this point, they will not see any courses and receive a message that their courses are still running in Blackboard. 

Shared JHU Canvas Documentation Libraries 

We now have the documentation libraries up on canvas.jhu.edu. Explore the Faculty Resources and Students Resources on the navigation menu. These resources include information on mobile access, setting up your course, division support, getting started on Canvas, 3rd party tools, and how to get content out of Blackboard. The pages are customized by role – so students and faculty have different information. The documentation library will expand based on pilot feedback and become even more robust for future terms.  

Updated Help Resources for Canvas 

All faculty and students have access to divisional help information on Canvas through the Help button on the Canvas menu. We also have a form to gather feedback on the spring term and report problems to IT@JH if needed.