We’re thrilled to announce that Canvas is now available at UNC!
Canvas by Instructure is used by more institutions of higher education than any other learning management system (LMS), including other UNC System schools and UNC-CH’s peer institutions. In addition to being a more intuitive system for designing courses, here are several benefits of Canvas:
- 24/7 phone and chat support provided by Instructure
- A more modern, straightforward, and easier-to-use interface
- A more accessible experience for all users
- Mobile apps for instructors and students
- Robust app and email notifications
- Improved calendar services
- Templates that can be created by schools and automatically populated into all of their courses
- Cloud architecture requires little to no downtime for feature upgrades and system maintenance
- A continually updated training portal for instructors to access live and recorded training sessions
- Canvas is popular with K-12 school systems and across higher ed, so many first-year and transfer students will arrive already familiar with Canvas
What does this mean for Sakai?
While Sakai has worked well for the University, the number of educational institutions comprising the Sakai community has significantly decreased over the years and fewer improvements are being made from version to version. Our faculty members continue to experiment with external technology tools they can use in tandem with the campus learning management system. Unfortunately, many vendors are not developing their products to integrate with Sakai. As a result, the Sakai LMS is not a viable long-term option.
Based on the diminished development support for Sakai and results of the UNC Canvas pilot held from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022, the University is moving forward with a gradual rollout of the Canvas LMS to eventually replace Sakai at UNC. Sakai will continue to be supported and available for use through at least the end of Fall 2023. The end date for Sakai has not been determined, and the system will remain available for a limited period of time as an archive once the end date has been set.
What does this mean for Instructors?
When should I move to Canvas?
The choice is yours. Instructors can choose to teach in Canvas or Sakai through at least Fall 2023. It is up to each academic unit and individual instructor to decide when is the best time for them to move forward until it is no longer feasible for us to support Sakai (TBD).
Fall 2022 courses are already available in case you wish to explore teaching in Canvas this fall. Here is a quick 5-step checklist on building your Canvas course!
What about my course content in Sakai?
We are working with a vendor to migrate courses from Sakai to Canvas, which means the content in your Sakai courses would automatically be transferred to a similar structure in Canvas. Our first opportunity to migrate Sakai courses will be for courses to be taught in Spring 2023 (SP22 courses to be copied). Course migrations will be available for Spring 2023, Summer 2023, and Fall 2023. More information will be shared when available.
- If you wish to teach in Canvas this fall, you must build your course from scratch as course migrations will not be available until later. If you are a new instructor, we recommend starting in Canvas.
- If you prefer to wait until your Sakai courses are copied into Canvas, you’re welcome to start teaching in Canvas in 2023.
- We do not recommend waiting until 2024 to move to Canvas as the current migration schedule does not include Sakai content created in Spring 2023 and later. Your copied content in Canvas would be of your older (versions of) courses.
How can I learn about Canvas?
We have made available recorded trainings and crosswalks between Sakai and Canvas to assist UNC instructors in making the switch. Please see Moving from Sakai to Canvas. If you prefer live training, join us at one of our upcoming workshops over Zoom:
- Tuesday, July 12 | 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
- Wednesday, July 27 | 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
- Friday, August 12 | 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm — last option before FA22 classes begin!
How do I get help?
For help using Canvas, log into Canvas and access the Help icon in the left navigation menu. Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat and phone. Also check out the Canvas instructor guides and videos.
If you have questions specific to UNC (e.g., issues with course rosters, renaming a Canvas site, etc.), contact us at help.unc.edu.
What about Project Sites?
Canvas provides an online space for University Registrar courses and may also be used for approved non-credit training and instructional sites. Collaborative projects that are not for instructional or training purposes will remain in Sakai but will eventually need to be moved out of the system (TBD, no earlier than January 2024). We will provide more options later and recommend exploring University-approved platforms such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, or WordPress. See more on Canvas site requests.