UVACanvas Transition FAQs
Why did we move from UVACollab to a new Learning Management System (LMS)?
Prior to the transition, multiple LMS platforms were utilized across the University as UVACollab system did not adequately meet the needs of all of our schools. As a result, undergraduate students navigated up to three different learning management systems during a given semester.
Further, the Sakai platform (which UVACollab is based upon) has a dwindling user base, with fewer peer institutions contributing to platform enhancements and improvements. Most of our peers have transitioned to new, easy-to-use platforms with powerful features that are continually enhanced through ongoing vendor support and development. Among our research university peers, only one other institution continues to utilize the Sakai platform with no active LMS transition plan.
How was the new LMS selected?
A 24-member project steering committee was formed with faculty, staff, subject matter experts and undergraduate students. Each school had representation on the committee. With broad input from stakeholders, we spent nearly six months comprehensively evaluating LMS platforms. The evaluation process included surveys, numerous focus groups, multi-day vendor demonstrations, and UVA-dedicated hands-on environments for faculty, staff, and students for navigation, exploration, and usability testing with both migrated courses and manually created courses.
Based on what we learned through this process, Canvas was chosen as the new LMS. This selection was announced to school deans on March 21, 2022.
How were faculty, staff, and students involved in the LMS evaluation and selection process?
The voices of our faculty, students, and staff were central in the successful selection of a new LMS platform.
- Surveys were distributed to 2,350 faculty members with 641 respondents.
- As part of a survey on student use of educational technology, feedback was received from 510 students.
- Likewise, 225 collaboration (non-course) site owners were surveyed for feedback on how they currently use UVACollab for committee, project, and other collaboration purposes.
- 12 focus groups were held across a wide range of topics.
- A total of 124 faculty, staff, and students attended.
The feedback from these activities was leveraged to create requirements submitted to the vendors through a Request for Information process. The vendor responses were reviewed and provided to the steering committee as input to their recommendation.
Custom Demonstrations & Evaluations
Based on the feedback gathered in previous stages, the vendors were presented with over 50 scenarios across a range of topics including and asked to demonstrate the corresponding functionality to University faculty, staff, and students. Each vendor finalist demonstrated the features and functionality of their platform during a 2-day session. Attendees completed assessments of both products.
Finally, faculty, staff, and students were invited to participate in a hands-on environment for each platform, specifically configured for UVA. 141 faculty, staff, and students received logins and had the opportunity to review functionality over several weeks, as an additional evaluation of the two LMS products.
The steering committee weighed this feedback seriously in considering their final recommendations to the Provost. The project team and the steering committee are grateful for the thoughtfulness, time and effort all participants contributed to this effort.
Will all schools use the new LMS?
All schools, except for Darden and Law, transitioned to the new, central LMS (Canvas). The School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences and the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BIMS) has transitioned to Canvas.
The School of Education and Human Development and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies transitioned from their local instances of Canvas to the new, central UVACanvas system.
When will I transition to Canvas?
UVACanvas is here! We made the transition to Canvas over multiple semesters, from Fall 2022 through Fall 2023.
- A preliminary pilot of nine courses was selected by the LMS Project steering committee and will begin using the system in Fall 2022.
- Approximately 40% of faculty in participating schools used Canvas in the Spring 2023 semester, including:
- College & Graduate School of Arts & Sciences: Art, Chemistry, Economics, Engagements, French, Mathematics, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Statistics.
- School of Data Science
- School of Education & Human Development
- School of Continuing & Professional Studies
- Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy.
- Canvas was the LMS for all Summer 2023 courses offered by participating schools (except those offered at the College at Wise).
- Canvas is the LMS for all Fall 2023 courses offered by participating schools.
For additional information, please refer to the School-Based Transition Plan.
What course content was migrated to UVACanvas?
The primary purpose of UVACanvas is to provide corresponding sites for courses included in UVA’s official academic catalog and listed in the Student Information System (SIS). Accordingly, the content migration process will be restricted to content included in sites linked with SIS rosters.
These migrated course content sites serve as a repository of course materials—they do not include any information about students in the course or student-submitted content. Each migrated course site appears with the title “[PRIOR LMS] – [name of course].” You may choose to edit and reuse the migrated content by importing it into one of your new course sites.
Multiple options were available to transfer existing course content into UVACanvas:
- When participating schools transitioned to UVACanvas, course sites created between the 2022 Spring semester and the time of their transition were automatically migrated from their existing systems to UVACanvas. (Course sites created during the 2022-2023 academic year will not be migrated until the semester with which they are associated has ended.)
- Additionally, instructors had the opportunity to select up to 5 course sites from previous terms for migration.
- UVACollab will remain available until at least December 2025 to allow instructors to access, review, and export content from specific tools, such as Assignments, Gradebook, Resources, and Tests & Quizzes. In addition, your original course sites in UVACollab will also remain in place and accessible until at least December 2025; any readings, handouts, and other course material such as grades and student information stored on those sites will remain available for viewing or download in accordance with record retention requirements.
Where does my migrated course content appear in UVACanvas?
Your migrated course sites will be added to your UVACanvas account as unpublished courses, and will be listed in both the Dashboard and the Courses tools in UVACanvas. Select a course site from the list in either tool to access its migrated content.
Course sites for upcoming courses will be automatically created in UVACanvas as the courses are added to SIS. The Course Import tool will allow you to import content from a migrated course site into a new course site. You can import the complete contents of a migrated course site into a new course site, or select specific items. You can also adjust due dates and other key dates.
How will my course content be impacted by the migration process?
While most course content can be migrated seamlessly from UVACollab to UVACanvas, certain items may be impacted by the technical differences between the two systems. Detailed descriptions of the most notable differences, and any implications for your content, will be available prior to the completion of the first portion of the migration process in early November. Once migrated content is available for review, it is recommended that everyone:
- Review the Migration Exception Log that will be included in every migrated course site to see if there were any items that could not be migrated.
- Review quiz and survey questions in the Quizzes tool. Some question types may have been matched to the closest equivalent or imported as Essay questions to retain the question content.
- Review the categories of gradebook items and the category weights in the Assignments tool.
There will be some variation between how course content appeared in your previous LMS and how it appears in UVACanvas. These checklists will help identify potential differences as you review your materials and will walk you through editing and reusing content should you choose to do so:
For assistance with reviewing and reconciling your migrated content in UVACanvas, contact your instructional design partner or the Learning Technology Services (LTS) team.
Can I continue to use integrated tools such as Gradescope, Piazza, and Zoom in my course sites?
Many instructors link their course sites in UVACollab or other systems with additional learning technologies licensed by UVA, such as Gradescope, Hypothesis, Kaltura, Panopto, Piazza, Poll Everywhere, Zoom, and more. The foundation for these connections is a technical standard known as Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI).
UVACanvas is fully compatible with the latest version of LTI, and so any linked tools should operate as they did in your previous course sites, with little or no discernible difference. In fact, because many learning technology companies prioritize Canvas when developing new integrations and options, you may have access to more features and capabilities.
What about sites not linked with courses and SIS rosters?
In addition to sites associated with courses included in UVA’s official academic catalog and linked with SIS rosters, UVACollab and other systems include numerous sites dedicated to formal and informal programs, professional development, community engagement, committees, research, and other individual and collaborative work. A separate dedicated project has been initiated to partner with the LMS Project team and site owners and administrators in identifying the best options to support their needs.
More information and updates will be shared as this joint effort progresses; in the meantime, UVACollab will remain available until at least December 2025 as we work together to achieve long-term solutions for these important use cases. To assist schools using systems other than UVACollab, the project team is working to finalize extended access to those systems as well.
How can I get more information about the LMS Project?
For additional information about the project, please email the LMS Project team at: [email protected].