Missouri Western gets new learning system in Summer 2018

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Missouri Western is switching from Moodle to the Canvas learning system in the summer of 2018.
The Board of Governors the approved a bid of $341,445 to license the Canvas learning management system from Instructure for five years on Oct. 26.
Dean and Director of the Western Institute Dr. Gordon Mapley believes that Canvas will perform much better than Moodle.
“It’s a far superior product,” Mapley said. “In my estimation and the estimation of other schools and certainly all my colleagues in the IMC believe it’s a far superior product than our current product . That’s is why we switched and I’m very pleased that we’re switching. It will be a great benefit to the students and the faculty.”
Instructional Design, Web and Applications Manager Jake Kelly agrees with Dr. Mapley that Canvas will be a major improvement over Moodle.
“The reason we’re moving to it [Canvas] is because it’s more intuitive,” Kelly said. “It will be easier for students and faculty to use. The students will like it a whole lot better. The support structure on the back end is a lot better.”
Mapley said that the Canvas system has a new interface that specializes in a mobile interface.
“Canvas has a very good mobile interface,” Dr. Mapley said. “In fact Canvas was designed around a mobile interface, as opposed to a desktop interface. So that it’s optimized for mobile users. I mean it certainly works very well on desktops, but it’s optimized for tablets and phones. More and more college students are using their phones and tablets not laptops or desktops. So having that optimization for phones and tablets is a very good feature.”
Mapley said that the main factor in Western’s decision to switch to Canvas was to help the faculty and staff.
“The decision to switch to Canvas was a decision based upon service to faculty and students,”Mapley said. “We don’t like it when our students and facility have problems using the learning management system. We’re trying to make faculty and students happier and function better by having fewer problems. We firmly believe, as is the case across the country and lots of other schools, Canvas is going to be a better product with fewer problems. So that’s the bottom line.”
Kelly said that Canvas has many new features that faculty, staff and students will appreciate.
“Students and teachers will be able to do everything that they can do online on the computer on their mobile devices,” Kelly said. “There’s built in video and audio capabilities. There’s also interactive things for test taking and for assignments that’ll make the online experience better.”
Mapley said that students can expect a few online classes to use Canvas instead of Moodle next semester.
“The RFP that we put out that vendors could respond to and Canvas was the winning bid for,” Dr. Mapley said. “The bid was built so they had to give us a price for allowing us to basically pilot it in the spring. So we asked for enough service to allow us to service 500 full-time equivalent students. This means 500 students taking 15 credit hours. So basically we have enough so we can run 2500 enrollments on Canvas in the spring.”