Students at East Central College will be working under a new learning management system (LMS) soon.
The current system, Moodle, will not be supported by MORENet, the college’s server provider, by summer 2020.
The board of trustees voted Monday, Nov. 4, to install Instructure – Canvas for $49,688.36 the first year, $42,940.80 in 2021 and $44,229,02 in 2022.
Three bid proposals were submitted for review from Instructure – Canvas, D2L Desire2Learn and Advanced Tec Solutions LLC.
The college used Moodle for 13-14 years, Chad Baldwin, director of online learning, said. Baldwin and Elizabeth Flotte, biology instructor, gave the bid presentation.
Baldwin noted the LMS houses the college’s courses and resources such as syllabi, quizzes, online testing and discussion boards.
“On the Moodle system, it’s difficult to see student progress (because) you have to go to five different screens,” said Baldwin. “It’s not all in one place.”
He included that several colleges in the state have already implemented Canvas, including the UM system, St. Charles Community College, Ozarks Technical College, State Fair, Moberly Area Community College, Lindenwood University, Washington University and more.
A graph presented showed Canvas becoming more popular among colleges while Moodle’s services declined between spring 2016 and spring 2019.
Canvas isn’t just for classes, Baldwin added.
“Even if you aren’t (involved in) an online course, you’re going to use this system,” he said, noting purposes such as seminars, advising, counseling, registration, online tutoring. “It’s like a home base for everyone in that sense.”
The online learning committee has been looking for a new LMS for a year. The committee conducted surveys with faculty to see which LMS they were interested in learning more about.
“Even then Canvas was the one that was most cited,” said Flotte.
Flotte noted the gradebook on Canvas would be easier to read for students and easier to use for instructors.
“We feel this is going to help us in increasing retention, especially in online classes,” she said. “When all of that flows more smoothly I think that really helps retain students and creates less barriers.”
In addition, Canvas provides app support for instructors and students.
The LMS will be paid through the student technology fees. Currently, the college spends about $12,500-$13,000 a year on Moodle.
The price for Canvas will include basic training, Baldwin said. The basic training does not include any on-site visits from Canvas representatives, but Baldwin said he wasn’t worried.
“A lot of our faculty are already somewhat familiar with this product,” he said.
The installation is scheduled to take 12 weeks to set up, but Baldwin doesn’t think it will take that long.
Baldwin said he hopes to be using the new system by the spring semester.