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Learning Management System - Future

Canvas Overview

The Online Education Initiative (OEI) selected Canvas as the California Community College's Common Course Management System (CCMS) after a rigorous evaluation process. It is being offered for free to all California Community Colleges through the OEI at least through the 2018-2019 school year.

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What is Canvas, and what can it do?

Canvas is a relatively new course management system (CMS) similar to Blackboard. Canvas is known for its user-friendly online environment and ability to easily connect instructors and students both in and out of the classroom. Canvas includes basic CMS functionality for managing enrollments, sharing documents, submitting assignments, and assigning grades, as well as personalized features for individual students.

Blackboard/Canvas Comparison

What sets Canvas Apart?
  • A clean, user-friendly interface.
  • A dashboard page that quickly summarizes assignments, announcements and other relevant information across course sites.
  • Customizable notifications – students can get alerts via email, text message or social media at the frequency they desire.
  • Support for media content without having to use YouTube or another media server.
  • The power of the cloud - easily expands to handle peak demand.
  • Consistent navigation across courses makes it easier for students to learn course content rather than learning how to use the course.
  • Canvas support by phone, chat, or email is available 24/7/365 for general questions about getting started in Canvas, how to use its features, and for troubleshooting assistance for all students and faculty.

"I feel like Canvas is to our previous CMS as the iPhone is to an old rotary phone."
Brenda Frieden, Pittsburg State University


Create a free Canvas account by going to and click the Build It link.

Once your test account is set up, you will access Canvas at

Why Should We Consider an Upgrade to Canvas?

The benefits to deciding to opt-in to the state-wide common course management (CCMS) system are many. Some of the immediate ones are:

  • Your college will be part of a community of educators designing the future of the CCMS as it goes forward.
  • The CCMS will be integrated among the services available across the system-wide initiatives including resources being piloted now (Online Tutoring and Student Readiness Modules) in the OEI.
  • Professional development opportunities for using Canvas will be provided through the initiative at no cost to your college.
  • Course migration support will be provided.
  • Upgrades will be completed on a system-wide basis, so no matter where you teach, Canvas will be on the same version.
  • Additional resources will be integrated over time.
  • Significant cost reduction of the cost of the CMS as it will be subsidized by initiative funds.
  • The RFP/Procurement process has been thoroughly conducted thus saving your college time in the adoption process.

“Canvas really makes my life better; it allows me to do the things I have always wanted to do but never had the tools and the time savings to do them.”
Ted Coopman, San José State University

More Information
Last Updated: 10/28/2015
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District