UVA Selects New Software System to Support Classroom Instruction, Collaboration

May 18, 2022
A UVA student wearing a backpack works on a laptop while seated on the steps of the Rotunda

Undergraduate students currently navigate two or three learning management system platforms. UVA this fall will begin the first phase of a transition to just one, Canvas. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

After a six-month evaluation process, the University of Virginia has landed on a new “learning management system” that will soon be phased in across all of UVA’s undergraduate programs.

A learning management system, or LMS, is software that facilitates and supports instruction in any kind of setting. It provides tools, for example, for a faculty member to share materials and communicate with students online to support in-person classes, hybrid classes that have in-person and online components, and completely virtual courses.

The UVA Office of the Provost announced that it has selected Canvas, a major provider of learning management system software to colleges and universities, for the unified platform here. Canvas has been adopted by 98 of the 131 institutions classified, like UVA, as “Research I” doctoral universities that conduct the highest level of research activities.

“A significant factor in our selection is the overall usability of the Canvas system,” Brie Gertler, vice provost for academic affairs, said. “In surveys and focus groups, faculty made clear that they want an LMS that is easy to learn and easy to use. Canvas is very user-friendly, and our technical assessment and consultations with peers give us confidence that the transition to Canvas will be smooth.”

Currently, many UVA students navigate two or three LMS platforms, including UVACollab, during a single academic term. Gertler said adopting a central, shared system across undergraduate schools provides a more organized, streamlined learning experience for students, most of whom take courses in multiple schools. The Canvas mobile app also provides a convenient way to quickly view grades and course announcements and send messages.

The selection of Canvas is the culmination of a six-month collaborative evaluation process with input from faculty, staff, subject-matter experts and undergraduate students. Contributors in the selection process participated in focus groups, surveys and vendor demonstrations.

The transition to Canvas will occur in phases beginning with a pilot in the fall. Faculty will have the opportunity to transition their spring 2023 courses to Canvas. All remaining undergraduate courses will make the switch by the fall 2023 semester.

For information, visit the project website or contact the learning management system project team at lms-project@virginia.edu.

Media Contact

Alexandra Rebhorn

Office of the Provost