Saint Rose Migrates to Canvas Digital Learning Environment

Following a year-long study and with the recommendation of faculty and staff, The College of Saint Rose is adopting modern, functional, and intuitive teaching tools – the Canvas digital learning environment! This exciting change further positions Saint Rose for a bright future by supporting our Strategic Plan – particularly in the areas of Student Success and Innovation & Creativity.

Project Timeline

Project timeline. System planning in spring 2018, faculty training in summer 2018 and fall 2018, courses taught in Canvas in fall 2018 and spring 2018, Blackboard sundown in summer 2019.

During the system planning phase, Online Learning Services will work closely with Instructure (the company that provides the Canvas digital learning environment), ITS, faculty, and other constituents to establish all the necessary system integrations and account settings. These steps include:
  • Banner integration for course and user data automation
  • User login system setup (authentication)
  • Migration of existing Blackboard course content
  • Third-party provider integrations
    • Publishers' sites/content
    • Chalk & Wire
    • VoiceThread
    • Zoom
    • WebAssign
    • ...and more!


Let OLS know what third-party integrations you use. This includes any tools or content that is not natively built into the core Blackboard product but are connected/integrated with Blackboard. If you are unsure about anything you rely on within Blackboard, please ask so we can help ensure all of your needs are met.
The move to Canvas will occur in two waves to ensure adequate time and attention is given to each member of the community. Online Learning Services is working directly with each academic department on planning, system training, and course cleaning/restructuring once moved to the Canvas environment. Consult with your department chair for training dates.
Wave 1 departments will receive training during the summer of 2018 and will teach their fall 2018 courses using Canvas. These departments are:
  • Lally School of Education:
    • Teacher Education
    • Educational & School Psychology
    • Counseling, CSSA, Ed Leadership (online program Wave 2)
    • Literacy & Special Education
  • School of Arts & Humanities:
    • Communications
    • English (full time, two exceptions)
    • Philosophy & Religious Studies
    • World Languages
  • School of Mathematics & Sciences:
    • Computer Science (full time, one exception)
    • Criminal Justice
    • Physical Education
    • Social Work
Wave 2 departments will receive training during the fall 2018 term and will teach their spring 2019 courses using Canvas. These departments are:
  • Huether School of Business (All, with some summer training)
  • Lally School of Education:
    • Communication Sciences & Disorders
    • Ed Leadership (Online program uses Canvas S19)
  • School of Arts & Humanities:
    • Art
    • English (part time; two full time)
    • History & Political Science
    • Music
  • School of Mathematics & Sciences:
    • Computer Science (part time and one full time)
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology (with some summer training)
    • Science
    • Sociology
In addition, a web-based training subscription is available for all faculty throughout the transitional year. Faculty can browse the Canvas Training topics, register for a training account, and sign up for live training sessions.

In early June 2019, Blackboard will be taken offline and decommissioned. Online Learning Services will continue to hold archived records of Blackboard courses according to pre-existing protocol.


June 2018:


  • Several departments have completed, or are in the midst of, their Canvas Camp (training) and we are excited to see how quickly participants are becoming comfortable with the new digital environment!
  • For a list of departments using Canvas for fall courses, see section “Faculty Training,” above.
  • If you are in Wave 1 but are unsure when your training will take place, ask your department chair.
  • If you are in Wave 1 and need alternative options for training, ask Online Learning Services.


Some instructors are not able to attend their scheduled departmental training sessions so we have planned the following additional options:

  • Canvas Crash Course (abbreviated initial training) for Adjuncts: Learn the essentials if you missed your “day 1” initial training date(s). This is the beginners’ class for instructors who have not attended an initial training session.
    RSVP for August 13, 14, 15, or 16 at 5-7pm. Dates with no RSVPs will be cancelled.
  • Open Lab Hours (prerequisite: initial training): After receive initial training, come prepared to work in your own course material, with staff on hand to assist. This is equivalent to your department’s “day 2” training session.
    Walk-in between 1-3pm on August 21, 22, 23, 24. OLS lab in Neil Hellman Library. Additional open lab hours will be scheduled for after the start of the semester.
  • Canvas’ webinar trainings: As a reminder, Canvas is providing webinar-style training to anyone with a email address. Check out the offerings (scroll down to see them all) and register to attend (after registering as a new user).


Many students will find themselves using both Canvas and Blackboard for different classes they are taking and will need clear directions from their course instructors as to which LMS will be used for each course. As always, course shells had been created in Blackboard for every course section. If you are using Canvas, you are encouraged to either leave your Blackboard sections unavailable (so that students do not see the course listed there) OR to make it available and place a clear message on the Blackboard course landing page reminding your students that the course is using Canvas. For help with this, contact Abi Johnson in Online Learning Services.

May 2018:

  • SafeAssign (plagiarism detection) is a proprietary tool only available inside of the Blackboard LMS. The Academic Technology Committee has voted to recommend Turnitin as the College’s next originality scanning tool. Turnitin is currently the only viable option on the market and will serve our collective needs better than alternatives. Canvas and Turnitin have partnered to provide a seamless experience for faculty and students but documentation on this is not yet available. Refrain from exploring Turnitin’s “Feedback Studio” as this is not what Saint Rose will have.
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Please contact Online Learning Services with questions about this project or to discuss customizations/third-party tools that you use in Blackboard. Early discussion will allow for adequate planning.