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Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation

Based on the LMS Evaluation, Temple University will be transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas. Learn more about this transition.
Temple University's Canvas Website:


Temple has formed a Learning Management System (LMS) Selection committee to evaluate the need for a new learning management system.  

The LMS Selection Committee is comprised of 14 faculty, staff and students. This website contains resources and information regarding the evaluation process. 

The LMS being evaluated is Canvas by Instructure. Canvas is hosted through Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is being pilot tested by various schools, colleges and departments during the Spring 2017 semester.

LMS Selection Committee Members
Jeremy Schipper Co-chairperson College of Liberal Arts
Susan Hyer Co-chairperson Information Technology Services
Mark Haubrich Project Director Information Technology Services
Dan White Committee Member Office of Digital Education
Darin Kapanjie Committee Member Fox School of Business
Gina Calzaferri Committee Member Office of the Provost
Stephanie Fiore Committee Member Center for the Advancement of Teaching
Anne Frankel Committee Member College of Public Health
Marcus Bingenheimer Committee Member College of Liberal Arts
Shaym Nair Committee Member Beasley School of Law
Mohammed Hassan Committee Member Graduate Student/Teaching Assistant
Avari Inez Holden Committee Member Undergraduate Student
Kate Martin Committee Member Lewis Katz School of Medicine/Health Sciences Center
Nicole Westrick Committee Member University College


Why are we only evaluating one LMS solution?
We are evaluating Canvas as it is one of the top industry leading contenders for cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) alternatives. For the higher education market, Blackboard has roughly a 35% market share and Canvas has about 25%. In recent years, Canvas has had many more new installations. For more information regarding Canvas, refer to In Fall 2016, Blackboard (Bb) Ultra was also piloted. Findings concluded that Bb Ultra did not have all of the features necessary for the LMS Spring 2017 pilot. Therefore, the LMS Selection Committee decided to move forward with piloting Canvas only.

Why is the University performing this evaluation now?
The LMS is an enterprise application that should be evaluated on a regular basis. The VP/CIO along with the Provost agree now is time to evaluate our LMS for the following reasons:

  • It is a best practice to regularly review technology platforms to ensure the best solutions for the University. The LMS has not been evaluated for a number of years and a lot has changed in the higher education LMS market.
  • The University recently moved to a cloud-based solution for our existing Blackboard user interface which has reduced the amount of unplanned down-time and has created greater reliability (more than 99% up-time).
  • Information Technology Services' general objective is to move towards cloud-based solutions (for enterprise applications) when they are available and make sense for the University.  
  • Applications are increasingly changing.  In particular, there has been a growth of social media, increased use of easy audio and video, more intuitive interfaces, and the growth of mobile use. The University would like to leverage these capabilities to the fullest, which an LMS should begin to do. 
  • The University needs learning tools that meet students and faculty needs (e.g. mobile access, personalized choices, etc.)
  • There has been a significant change in the approach to LMS’s since the University last reviewed Blackboard.  The new approach focuses on integrating more external tools as modules for which can be “connected” or “disconnected” and not built into the system. 
  • Our current contract with Blackboard expires in Summer 2018, and therefore, the University is being proactive with evaluating the MS leaders in the higher education market.

What is the process?

  • The Selection Committee is comprised of faculty, students and staff and will provide valuable input into the LMS evaluation process. The committee will review all facets of information about Learning Management Systems.
  • A sample of faculty interested in teaching a course or courses in Canvas was selected. The pilot will includes a cross section of courses for most schools/colleges/campuses; course/student sizes and subjects. 
  • These courses are being taught in the Spring 2017 semester. There are routine, ongoing check-ins with all faculty participating in the pilot courses and there are surveys being distributed several times during the semester to faculty and students participating in the pilot. A Town Hall meeting was conducted (demonstrations and Q&A) for the University on January 25 and was open to all faculty, students and staff at Temple. 

  • Pilot criteria is continually being established. Once all information is compiled the committee will make a recommendation to University leadership in the Summer of 2017. 

Why is the University looking at Canvas?

  • Canvas is one of the leading industry LMS providers behind Blackboard (based on increasing market share). Canvas is recognized for its clean, intuitive user interface, which also features drag-and-drop functionality. Other LMS providers have considerably less market share. 
  • Canvas is approved by Internet 2, a higher education IT consortium of which Temple is a member and includes 252 US universities, among others. One of the benefits for Internet 2 members is special pricing and validating services, with a rigorous process (functional, technical, contractual, legal evaluations).

What are the goals of the LMS pilot?

Pilot goals are (1) to understand and to be able to articulate pilot faculty and student experiences using Canvas (2) document and share feedback from pilot faculty and students, and to the extent possible, the greater campus community, (3) identify any functionality and/or technical gaps between Canvas and our current Blackboard system and (4) make an informed recommendation to University leadership based on pilot information. 

Would switching the LMS require too much change given faculty workloads and other changes on campus?

  • It is true that there is a lot of change on campus, but there may never be a time when that will not be true. Change can be good!
  • If the decision is made to change the University LMS, a plan will be developed and communicated allowing faculty to become familiar with the chosen LMS with a lot of lead time. 
  • Canvas offers a range of do-it-yourself resources.
  • Information Technology Services, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) and others will provide extensive support and training for any migration, if that is the decision. 
  • This website will also have faculty pilot information. 

Are students represented on the LMS Selection Committee?

Students are represented on the selection committee from the undergraduate and graduate level. All students were invited to the town hall meeting so they could preview Canvas. 

How will the LMS pilot course features/criteria be determined?

The committee will gather data on LMS feature usage, usability, course size, faculty availability and other criteria to determine how they will be evaluated. 

How many people are participating in this pilot?

Roughly 1,000 students, 20 faculty and 24 courses are teaching/participating in the Canvas pilot during Spring 2017. There is a “sandbox” for faculty to use in case they cannot attend a town hall, are not part of the pilot or have a desire to know more. All Spring 2017 courses being taught in Blackboard were also setup in the Canvas sandbox so that all faculty have the opportunity to compare using their course in both the Bb and Canvas platforms.

High Level Project Plan

To view the LMS Evaluation High Level Project Plan, click here: Project Plan

Pilot Criteria

To view the LMS Evaluation Pilot Criteria, click here: Pilot Criteria

Pilot Participants

To view the LMS Evaluation Pilot Criteria, click here: Pilot Participants

Technical Support

Canvas Technical Support
24 hours per day, 7 days per week
Tier 1 Support Information: The chat link and toll free number until July 1, 2017 for any faculty participating in the Canvas pilot. Below is the phone number and live chat link. Please remember you can always call the TU help desk and they will forward you accordingly

Phone Number(844) 683-6439
Live Chat Link

Webinar training is unlimited and available for the Canvas pilot faculty users. Faculty pilot participants  were provided with step-by-step instructions on how to access the Canvas training portal. Users may contact the Information Technology Services Help Desk at 215-204-8000 as they normally would for support. If the Help Desk cannot answer the question, it will get routed to the Academic Computing group and/or Blackboard.

Helpful Links

Temple University's Canvas Site

Helpful Links
- Canvas Community:
- Self-paced Instructor Training:
- Take a Tour of Canvas as an Instructor:
- Take a Tour of Canvas as a Student:

Online Training Resources
​- Unlimited subscription to public training webinars for duration of the pilot at:
- Submit list of named users to your Customer Success Manager (CSM)
- Authorized users can attend any classes available on the public calendar
- Users can also consume unlimited trainings on their own schedule
- Registration requires campus email address

200 - Canvas Overview for Students from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.


Coming Soon....

Town Hall Meeting - Completed

January 25, 2017 in Kiva Auditorium (Ritter Annex, First Floor)

- Three sessions: 1.5 - 2 hours
- Sessions at 9AM, 12 PM and 3 PM
- Application review: 30-40 minutes
- Q/A at the end: 30-45 minutes

  • Sessions will be led by both an LMS Selection Committee person and Canvas representatives. 

To view the 1/25 Town Hall Meeting recording, click here: 

Canvas Town Hall Meeting

Training Sessions - Completed

Canvas Training for the LMS Pilot

- On site in December Friday, 12/16 - Two 3 hour sessions (Faculty)
- On site in January Friday, 1/13 - Two 3 hour sessions (Faculty)