Migration from Moodle to Canvas

May 11, 2023

Over a decade ago, Southeastern adopted Moodle as its official Learning Management System (LMS). Moodle was selected because it was believed to be the best open-source platform available at the time, and an open-source product represented the most cost-effective solution.

LMS products have continued to evolve since that time as has the complexity and depth with which technology has become ingrained in teaching and learning, infusing many of our interactions with students and employees.

In recent years there have been multiple instances where it has become apparent Moodle is not serving the University as well as we would like. The recent network incident is a good example, as access to and operability of Moodle was significantly impacted.

Canvas is a cloud-hosted commercial LMS developed, marketed, and supported by Instructure, an education technology company. As a cloud-hosted platform, Canvas would be highly resilient in the face of potential outages from natural disasters and cyber-attacks. One of the other salient features of Canvas is the 24/7 technical support that is provided.

Several higher education institutions in Louisiana currently use Canvas, including one of our sister institutions in the UL System. Anecdotally, information from users at these institutions is generally very positive regarding Canvas. In addition, some members of our University have had the opportunity to interact with representatives from Instructure regarding the features of Canvas and related support services.

The UL System has secured financial support for member institutions that choose to convert to Canvas, essentially offsetting one of its negative features – a higher cost in comparison with open-source products such as Moodle.

Given all these considerations, Southeastern’s Instructional Technology Committee was asked to conduct a comparison of Moodle and Canvas. As a standing Committee reporting to the Provost, the Instructional Technology Committee includes faculty representatives from each college as well as representatives from the Center for Faculty Excellence.

Following a thorough evaluation, the Committee concluded that Canvas is a superior platform. Accordingly, Southeastern will migrate to Canvas for its LMS, effective no sooner than the beginning of the 2024 Spring Semester. This timeline will provide ample opportunity for education, professional development, and assistance for conversion of existing course material from Moodle to Canvas.

More details regarding the transition to Canvas will be forthcoming in the near future.

John L. Crain