Aug. 22, 2017

Dear faculty and staff,

Last week, I told you about the exciting ways UNT is seeking to leverage the innovative use of technology to enhance student learning. This is key to moving our university into the future and becoming a leader in educational innovation while maintaining our status as a Tier One research university.

To ensure we have the right tools in place, we've recently been evaluating our operations and technologies to look for new ways to provide faculty and students with the best experience for teaching and learning. And after much discussion across our campus with countless faculty members, the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR) and professional peers in higher education, UNT will implement a new Learning Management System (LMS) and transition from Blackboard to Canvas over the next year-and-a-half.

Encouraged by the successful implementations of the Canvas LMS at the UNT Health Science Center and the UNT Dallas College of Law, a group of UNT faculty members participated in a Canvas pilot in Spring 2017. Faculty and student feedback from the pilot was overwhelmingly positive so we are proceeding with the transition to Canvas as our university-wide LMS.

We understand the challenges that come with new systems and want to ensure this transition will be as smooth as possible for our students, faculty and staff. That is why our leaders at CLEAR will roll out Canvas in a series of phases. CLEAR staff also will provide online and face-to-face training options beginning this fall and continuing throughout the full migration period.

The phased migration of courses from Blackboard to Canvas is scheduled as follows:

  • Fall 2017: Begin migrating courses from Blackboard to Canvas in consultation with academic departments. All courses still will be offered to students through Blackboard with very few exceptions.
  • Spring 2018: Continue migrating courses and begin offering courses in Canvas with the majority of courses still being available in Blackboard.
  • Summer/Fall 2018: Continue migrating and offering courses in both Canvas and Blackboard.
  • Spring 2019: All courses will be offered exclusively in Canvas.

More information about Canvas and the course migration process is available online.

Transitioning to Canvas will provide enhanced analytic capabilities supporting the university's larger plan for data integration, a more user-friendly interface for both faculty and students and better integration with third-party tools like our ePortfolio platform that supports Career Connect.

I'm excited about the types of learning capabilities we'll be able to have once we are fully in Canvas. With your cooperation and start-to-finish assistance from CLEAR, I am sure we'll execute this transition as seamlessly as possible and provide our faculty and students with greater opportunities for success for years to come.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk