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Webster U To Adopt New LMS To Serve Multiple Campuses, Online Courses

This summer Webster University will be transitioning to a new learning management system (LMS) for WorldClassRoom, its global education organization. Following a multi-phase evaluation process the St. Louis-based institution has chosen to replace its legacy Blackboard Vista installation with Instructure's Canvas. Canvas was selected over two other finalists, Blackboard Learn and Desire2Learn. Pilot courses and training will begin in the spring.

Webster is a private, nonprofit university with about 21,000 students. WorldClassRoom is the name it uses for its campus locations around the world, including in metropolitan areas, military bases, and corporate locations, and its online program; it also has traditional campuses in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The university conducted a survey and held a focus group with students, faculty, administrators, and support staff. Results showed that students and faculty valued ease of use, mobile access, and tools for communication and collaboration. Focus group participants, who were appointed by the Provost's Office, spent several weeks testing and evaluating products from the finalists. According to a statement, 88 percent of participants selected Canvas.

"Canvas acts more like a tool to build a teaching and learning experience than an LMS that you have to fit teaching and learning activities into," said Brian Merkel, a Webster technical manager. "Everything from the user interface to the open source ethic gives Canvas and Instructure its quiet strength."

Added Dan Viele, associate vice president for academic affairs and director of the Online Learning Center, "With campus locations on [multiple] continents, Webster University needed an LMS that would allow us to maintain our tradition of providing highly personal, student-centered education... After a thorough evaluation process, we feel confident that Canvas will do just that."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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