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UW to begin Campus-Wide Rollout of Canvas LMS

Recently, faculty across all three campuses of the University of Washington piloted the new Canvas LMS as part of the Teaching & Learning in the 21st Century Initiative. Part of the desire to initiate this pilot involves addressing the myriad of different online tools used at the three campuses and individual departments. Currently, the tools in use at UW vary greatly from the Catalyst Web Tools that are available to all instructors to Blackboard on the Bothell and Tacoma campus and the Foster Business School as well as Moodle which is used by some departments on the Seattle campus. It is hoped that the introduction of the Canvas LMS will help simplify the number of tools in use while providing the same functionality and more advanced features.

Overall the responses to the Canvas pilot has been positive with 79% of faculty and students saying tat they would recommend Canvas to others and 73% of faculty agreeing that Canvas made teaching more efficient. Both faculty and students also indicated that they favored using Canvas over other LMS’s they had used before such as Blackboard and Moodle. More data is available on the announcement page.

While it is expected that some departments will be migrating to Canvas as soon as Autumn Quarter 2012, we will still offer Blackboard on the Bothell campus for a little while longer in addition to Canvas. Learning Technologies is also working on developing tutorials for faculty and students on using Canvas which will be available on our website once they are finished. To learn more about UW Canvas, see the UW Canvas Portal.

 

Blackboard 9.1 Close Up: Plagiarism Prevention using SafeAssign

There will be new online tools available for use once the campus moves to Blackboard 9.1 for spring quarter, 2012. One of those new tools will be SafeAssign which helps instructors prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. How it works is that an instructor sets up a SafeAssign assignment turn in area, and as students submit papers, they are automatically checked against the following databases:

  •  Internet – comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the Internet
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database – over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from ’90s to present time, updated weekly
  • Institutional document archives – consists of all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions
  • Global Reference Database – containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.

Once papers are turned in, instructors will get a report back within a couple of days on each paper. You can view a sample report to get an idea of what you can expect if you use SafeAssign. You can also view other anti-plagiarism resources on Learning Technologies’ plagiarism web page.

As a reminder, all Blackboard courses with all of their content except for 2007-08 academic courses will be moved to Blackboard 9.1 starting Tuesday, March 20 at 6 PM. The 2007-08 courses will be archived (not deleted). You’ll have access to a test version of Blackboard 9.1 starting February 16. Learning Technologies has created a video that highlights the changes. There are also UW Bothell web tutorials available, and Learning Technologies will provide training sessions later in the quarter.

LMS Trends & Predictions

In a recent article in Campus Technology, a panel of educators, technologists, and vendors were interviewed to discuss what they thought of the recent upheaval to the LMS market and the future of learning management systems in education. Blackboard, once the dominant LMS in higher education, now holds only 57% of the market compared to 71% in 2006. Alternative learning management systems such as Moodle, Sakai, Desire2Learn as well as the new start-up Canvas now control over 30% of the market.

In addition to the numbers, learning management systems are also facing several new factors that are changing the way they operate. Social networking, mobile devices, and a shift of preference to open source systems are some of the things that face LMS developers today.

Read more about these changes and the Q&A session that was conducted at Campus Technology.