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Arizona Community Colleges To Expand LMS Deployment

A consortium of community colleges in Arizona has decided to expand deployment of a new learning management system (LMS) to eight more of its schools in the fall semester, following the implementation at one of its colleges.

Mesa Community College, part of Maricopa Community Colleges, based in Tempe, AZ, began using open-source LMS Canvas by Instructure in the spring 2012 semester. It previously used Blackboard.

Features of Canvas include:

  • A rich content editor, which allows professors to embed photos, audio, and video from across the Web;
  • Rubrics, and SpeedGrader, for assignment grading;
  • Choice of delivering notifications via SMS message, email, or Facebook;
  • Exam creation choices, including development from scratch, or using a question bank;
  • Video and live chat, built into the LMS;
  • Online groups for extracurricular groups such as teams and clubs; and
  • Reporting and analytics of student progress in real time.

"We've been very happy with our progress in rolling out Canvas at Mesa Community College and expanding its use at other colleges," said George Kahkedjian, vice chancellor for information technologies. "Improving our learning management system will help make our students more successful."

Maricopa Community Colleges plans to gradually deploy Canvas by Instructure at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, GateWay Community College, Glendale Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College, and South Mountain Community College, and have it completed by summer 2013.

In the meantime, both Canvas and Blackboard will be available, and faculty will receive training during the fall and spring semesters on the new learning management system.

The Maricopa County Community College District consists of 10 accredited colleges, including the nine mentioned above plus Rio Salado College. The district also includes two skill centers, several satellite campuses, and business/industry, technical, and training institutes. It has enrollment of approximately 200,000 annually and 8,000 faculty and staff.

For more information about Maricopa County Community College District, visit Go to to learn more about Instructure.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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