Transitioning from ISUComm Courses → Canvas: An Explanation
Iowa State University Administration has determined that all departments currently using an independent learning management system (LMS) must transition to Canvas. This mandate includes the English department’s Moodle-based LMS, ISUComm Courses. Over the next couple years, we will need to transition as a department to using Canvas only. The Online Learning Team (OLT) will assist the department with this transition.
Why is this happening now?
The transition from Blackboard to Canvas during the 2017–2018 academic year provided administrators with an opportunity to consider how LMSes are used around campus. University administration has determined that using one LMS for the entire university will be easier to manage and support.
What does this mean for me?
If you are currently using ISUComm Courses, you may continue to do so for a few semesters. However, you should plan on transitioning to Canvas by Summer 2019, when we will no longer fulfill new course requests for ISUComm Courses.
What if I use a template?
We will soon be creating templates for English 150 and 250 in Canvas, to be piloted during Summer 2018 and used during Fall 2018 (see the timeline below). Starting Fall 2018, we will not create an English 150 template in ISUComm Courses, but we will create an English 250 template in ISUComm Courses. Starting Spring 2019, we will no longer create new English 150 or 250 templates in ISUComm Courses. You may continue to have us duplicate your prior course sites during Spring 2019.
What if I teach a course other than ENGL 150/250?
All courses on ISUComm Courses will need to be transitioned over to Canvas by Summer 2019. The most straightforward way to do so is to request a Canvas course site once you are ready to transition. The OLT is happy to assist any instructors who have specific concerns about downloading materials from ISUComm Courses and uploading them to Canvas.
What about open-source, independent development?
The OLT will continue developing, maintaining, and providing support for using our several WordPress platforms, including ISUComm ePortfolios, ISUComm eProjects, ISUComm eProfiles, DRAW, and ISUComm Support. We encourage instructors interested in continuing to develop customized content in open-source environments to consult with us in trying out one of these platforms and integrating them more fully into your pedagogy.
So, the OLT will still be around? What support will you continue to provide?
The OLT is here to stay. We are here to help you with this transition from Moodle to Canvas, and are happy to consult with you during our office hours in Ross 306 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. After the transition, we will continue holding regular office hours in Ross 306 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue developing templates for English 150 and 250, just in Canvas instead of ISUComm Courses. We will still be happy to consult with anyone in the department regarding incorporating technology into the classroom and how to work effectively with Canvas and our WordPress platforms.
Can I import my course sites into Canvas?
Yes, but the result is often messy. We recommend starting a course site from scratch in Canvas; it tends to save time to rebuild your course site from the ground up rather than juggling files after the import process. We are happy to consult with you on effective practices for transitioning your course materials.
How long will I have access to my old course sites?
A final date for shutting down the Moodle server has not been determined. We will have access to your old course sites at least until Summer 2020.
Is there a way I can keep my old course sites after this transition?
Installing a Moodle platform on your own computer is surprisingly easy and straightforward. If you want to keep your course sites on your own machine, a member of the OLT would be happy to assist you.
Okay, so when is what happening?
The timeline below provides an overview of the transition. Please let us know if you have specific questions about the process.
- The OLT will prepare templates in Canvas for English 150 and English 250. All instructors willing to try out the new templates are encouraged to do so.
- All newly recruited TAs and lecturers teaching English 150 or 250 starting at ISU during Fall 2018 will be required to use templates on Canvas. An English 250 template will be available on ISUComm Courses for returning instructors.
- All instructors are encouraged to try using Canvas during this semester, though ISUComm Courses will still be available.
- The OLT will not create templates for English 150 or English 250 on ISUComm Courses; templates will only be created on Canvas.
- All courses can still be requested and duplicated on ISUComm Courses, though transitioning away from ISUComm Courses is encouraged.
- The OLT will no longer fulfill new course requests on ISUComm Courses, and support for using old course sites on ISUComm Courses will be limited.
Summer 2020 or later
- The Moodle Server that hosts ISUComm Courses will eventually be shut down.
Questions or Concerns?
Please email the OLT at email@example.com with any questions or concerns you may have about this transition from ISUComm Courses to Canvas.