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Canvas FAQs

What is the Online Education Initiative?

The Online Education Initiative (OEI) is a collaborative effort among California Community Colleges (CCCs) to ensure that significantly more students are able to complete their educational goals by increasing both access to and success in high-quality online courses.

The OEI is sponsored by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, in partnership with the Butte-Glenn Community College District and its CCC Technology Center at Butte College as recipients of a $56.9 million five-year grant disbursed by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO). The Online Education Initiative represents a comprehensive and collaborative program that leverages best practices and technology to significantly increase the opportunity for higher education degree attainment in California.

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Why adopt Canvas?

As a result of considerable research by the OEI, California Community Colleges now have the opportunity to adopt Instructure’s Canvas as their Common Course Management System (CCMS). Canvas represents the common platform for the integration of many OEI resources including the OEI Course Design Rubric, QUEST online learner readiness, and a variety of professional development options.

The selection of  Instructure’s Canvas as the CCMS was nearly unanimous among the OEI CCMS Committee charged with selecting a CCMS, including overwhelming support from student participants. “Both the students and faculty members involved believed that students would be most successful using the Canvas system,” said OEI Statewide Program Director Steve Klein. “The student success element was a consistent focus throughout.” The choice was based on the OEI philosophy of doing what is best for the students of California.

As of Septmember, 2016, 92 of the 113 California Community Colleges have committed to adopting Canvas as their course management system.  This means that students throughout the California Community College system will be able to select from online courses throughout the system without having to learn a new CMS whenever they change colleges.

“We have laid the groundwork for an amazing implementation that will profoundly enhance not only online classes but every course taught in the California Community Colleges,” exclaimed Joe Perret, CCMS Committee Chair and Pierce College faculty member.

One July 18, 2016, the PCCD Distance Education Committee recommended that Peralta begin a transition from Moodle to Canvas as Peralta’s Learning Management System.  This recommendation was based on the committee’s belief that switching to Canvas will: a) allow PCCD to take advantage of valuable resources set up by the California State Chancellor’s Office through OEI for community colleges that use Canvas, b) foster an environment of increased innovation and accountability in Peralta’s online classes, c) provide a more user friendly LMS to students with better options for student support resources, and therefore, d) allow Peralta to improve the overall quality of online education.

Furthermore, the selection of Canvas by the California Community College Online Education Initiative (OEI) as its CMS for use by colleges at no cost meant that we had an affordable alternative to Moodle that was not available in the past. Based on the lengthy and extensive review by the OEI’s Common Course Management System Committee, Canvas can be considered as a high quality alternative to Moodle.

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How can I participate in the decision to switch, or not?

Discussion about the possible switch to Canvas at Peralta is ongoing.  You can participate by attending your local faculty senate meeting, or other meetings about the switch that are convened at your campus. Get involved! The more knowledgeable faculty that participate in this decision, the stronger we will be going forward.

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What’s the proposed timeline for switching?


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How do Moodle and Canvas compare?

Here is a chart that compares Moodle to Canvas and also shows some extra features that Canvas would bring.

Moodle to Canvas Comparison of Tools

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What kind of training is required to use Canvas and where will Peralta faculty get that training?

We are currently in the process of talking about and planning training. At this point we know we will have the following:

  • Train the trainers (we will need trainers at each campus)
  • Online and face to face training sessions
  • Summer Institutes
  • Moodle Migration Clinics
  • Instructional Design support
  • Accessibility Support
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Can my Moodle classes be migrated to Canvas?

Yes, all of the content that is on Moodle can be migrated to Canvas.  However, once the migration of content is complete, some changes and updates to content are necessary because Moodle and Canvas do not have the exact same structure.

If you would like to see the process in detail, take a look at this document:

Migrating from Moodle to Canvas

Put succinctly

  • When you begin your course conversion, plan to spend some time importing and also copying and pasting content. Canvas provides a tool to help with this process
  • Although assignments and pages that you have created in Moodle may not transfer, they can still appear in some format in your Canvas course after migration
  • There is no “Book” tool in Canvas, so if you are have created your Moodle content in Books, once again you will have to copy and paste, using the Page tool combined with the module tool, in Canvas
  • Typically all question banks will be exported in the correct format from Moodle
  • Canvas gives you the choice to pick and edit your homepage, a nice change from the long screen scroll we have now in Moodle
  • Canvas has a fully integrated Syllabus tool that is also connected to the course calendar
  • Canvas offers a fully integrated SpeedGrader tool that lets you easily grade and provide feedback to students
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  • Distance Education

    Thursday 19 July 2018
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  • Since 1964, the Peralta Community College District - comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College - has served the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont by providing 25,000 students each semester with a range of educational programs and life-long learning opportunities.