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From Blackboard to Canvas at Penn

Canvas is a new learning management system (LMS) developed by Salt Lake City-based Instructure. It's already being used by Wharton and the Graduate School of Education here at Penn. The Libraries led a pilot of Canvas during the last academic year, and the majority of instructors involved found that Canvas met or exceeded their needs and offered better teaching tools than Blackboard. Based on the pilot, and the positive experience of faculty in Wharton and GSE, the Council of Deans and the Provost agreed that a campus-wide adoption would be beneficial for Penn faculty and students. The official announcement was made in the July 16 issue of the Almanac.


The transition to Canvas will be a year-long process. At the end of the process, Blackboard will no longer be available. Libraries and school-based support staff will be on hand to help you save and reuse your Blackboard course content.

  • Summer 2013: Canvas pilot concludes; transition begins.
  • Fall 2013: Canvas rolls out; Blackboard is still available. More than 1,200 courses for the Fall 2013 semester from the schools of Arts and Sciences, Communication, Dental Medicine, Design, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Nursing, Perelman School of Medicine, and Social Policy and Practice are using Canvas.
  • Spring 2014: More courses move to Canvas; Blackboard is no longer in use at some schools.
  • Summer 2014: Canvas is fully deployed at Penn. Blackboard is no longer available and user access was discontinued on May 30, 2014 at 5pm.


The Libraries, in conjunction with staff in individual schools, will offer workshops and a range of services including assistance with developing course sites in Canvas, migrating existing content from Blackboard, and learning all that Canvas has to offer. A schedule of workshops is available on the Libraries' website.

More Information

If you have not yet started with Canvas, we look forward to helping you get started as soon as possible. To learn more about Canvas, please see the following resources:

For additional information, you can email us at