June 2, 2017: Learning Management System Transition Update

Dear Colleagues,

As you may know, the University of Minnesota will soon face the necessity of replacing its learning management system. Following two years of pilots, evaluation, and cross-campus consultation with students, faculty, and academic and information technology staff, the evaluation of the Moodle and Canvas options is complete. We are writing to announce that the University of Minnesota will adopt Canvas as our single, centrally supported learning management system.

What You Need to Know:

  • No action is needed for fall 2017 courses. Moodle 3.2 will continue to be the preferred, centrally supported system for fall 2017 and will be available and supported for the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Your college will, with the assistance of OIT, develop a Canvas transition plan and will communicate further information about timing, support, and learning resources.
  • The University’s transition to Canvas will take approximately 24 months to complete.
  • You can explore Canvas before transitioning by requesting a sandbox.

Selecting a system to support the future teaching and learning needs of our institution was not a simple task. The University has been well-served by Moodle for several years, and the decision to move to a new system was not made lightly. We do understand the community effort needed to undertake this transition, but, given the options available and the experiences we’ve reviewed—from our campus and others—Canvas is the best choice.

In connection with the adoption of Canvas, the University will also renew its membership in the Unizin consortium. The tools, services, and opportunities for peer collaboration our membership enables should contribute in significant ways to the enhancement of our teaching environment.

What’s Next

Support, assistance, and resources will be provided by the Canvas transition team, composed of college, campus, and central staff. This summer, the Canvas transition team will consult with college and system campus academic technology staff to coordinate the timing and type of assistance each unit will require. Your campus or college will follow up with you about what to expect.  

Moodle will be fully supported for the duration of the transition, which, again, is estimated to be approximately 24 months. Those who have already taught University courses using Canvas can continue to use those course sites now and in the future.

If you have courses in Moodle, you should contact your college or campus academic technology support to learn about your transition options. If you would like to begin exploring Canvas, request a sandbox course site.

More Information

More information—including transition news, resources, and events—is available on the Canvas transition website.

We know that anticipation of this transition has been anxiety-producing for some faculty, and that is regrettable. We acknowledge that there will be some effort involved in the transition. But many of you have participated in this lengthy process of evaluation, shared valuable insights and experience, and thus positioned the institution well to effect the transition as smoothly and as painlessly as possible. Thanks to all of you who have helped to shape the process and the decision.

Karen Hanson
Executive Vice President and Provost

Bernard Gulachek
Interim Vice President of Information Technology and CIO

Email sent June 2, 2017 to all faculty and staff system-wide.