New learning platform, Canvas, will be available on an opt-in basis
Florida students may soon be better poised for a seamless transition as they transfer courses between public colleges and universities in the state after the State University System entered into an agreement with Canvas, an online learning platform.
The agreement is the latest step in implementing the State University System’s 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education, which is designed to enhance quality, access, and affordability of online courses and programs in state universities.
The decision to pursue a common learning management system came after 65 percent of students in a survey said they had used multiple platforms in the past three years. Almost half of those students said it had created obstacles to learning.
To improve the students’ experience in learning, as well as to provide faculty the resources they need, the State University System selected Canvas after faculty, students, and staff from all of the universities and several colleges tested and scored several options.
Canvas, which will be available to universities and colleges on an opt-in basis, received the average highest score from testers in every category, ranging from the ease of “customizing curriculum” to “managing student grades” and “tracking student progress.”
“Florida is committed to being a national leader and raising the bar on academic quality for students,” said Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board’s Innovations and Online Committee. “This new learning platform will invest directly in student success and ensure that we continue to be a leader in online education.”
“The whole purpose of Canvas is to make the learning process better and more efficient for teachers and students alike,” said Mitch Benson, vice president of K-12 and higher education at Instructure. “We’re thrilled to bring our software to the highly regarded State University System of Florida to ensure students across the state are able to receive a high level experience that will maximize their learning potential.”
The concept of a common learning management system was first proposed by the Task Force for Postsecondary Online Education, a group that included representatives from throughout the university and college systems. Florida State University administratively managed the competitive procurement process on behalf of the System.
“Part of our role at the State University System is to look for opportunities to create a better, more streamlined educational experience for students,” said Marshall Criser III, State University System chancellor. “This step will ensure a smoother transition for students who take courses from more than one institution, minimizing interruptions in their learning.”