By Lori Dresner, Managing Editor, News Editor


After a semester of deliberation over the learning management system (LMS) of the University of Missouri – St. Louis, the decision was made to adopt Instructure Canvas as the new LMS. The UMSL community was notified of the university’s decision in a campus-wide email from Chris Spilling, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, on December 20.

Spilling said, “More details about the transition to Canvas are coming soon. The Faculty Resource Center and [the]Center for Teaching and Learning will offer opportunities for faculty and staff to manage the transition during the 2017 calendar year. Opportunities to help students make the transition are being developed as well.”

He stated that UMSL faculty, staff, and students would have access to Canvas beginning January 1. However, most courses will migrate to Canvas in summer and fall of 2017. The full migration process will be complete around Spring of 2018. UMSL’s current LMS is Blackboard, also known as MyGateway. The university’s contract with Blackboard ended in December.

During the fall semester, the campus community was invited to attend vendor demonstrations of both Blackboard and Canvas. Surveys and open forum discussions were also available to gather input from students, faculty, and staff.

According to Spilling, committees from the Faculty Senate, University Assembly, Student Government Association, the Provost’s Council and staff from Information Technology Services, and the Center for Teaching and Learning used the input gathered to offer assessments of each product and recommendations for the best LMS for the campus.

Some of Canvas’ features include compatibility with all browsers, a mobile app for Androids and iPhones, and the ability to open all documents in-line so users do not have to download files.