Canvas available for use by all ND instructors

Teaching in Spring 2022?

Today is a great time to begin your transition to Canvas for the Spring 2022 semester. The LMS Transition team is ready to help you move content for your spring course(s) from Sakai.


Fall 2021 – Faculty begin moving courses to Canvas

The select group of faculty moving from Sakai to Canvas this fall have started their transition process. Those moving to Canvas in Spring 2022 will be notified during the fall semester.  Information on how to prepare for the move, as well as training opportunities, will be available at that time. 


Transition from Sakai to Canvas

Adopted in 2011, the Sakai LMS is a core component of the learning and teaching ecosystem at Notre Dame.  Although Sakai has served the University well, a review of current and potential future campus requirements has identified the need to move away from Sakai. At the recommendation of the University-wide Faculty LMS Succession Committee, Instructure Canvas has been selected as the next campus LMS.

Why the Move Away from Sakai?

The OIT Teaching & Learning Technologies Team (TLT) and the Learning Management Guidance Council (LMGC), with the guidance of ND Learning, have conducted a landscape scan of the LMS marketplace, including a detailed capabilities analysis and peer benchmarking along with faculty and student experience surveys and focus groups here at Notre Dame.

The Sakai platform has diminished significantly in the past five years, now retaining only 1% market share in US higher education. This means that fewer developers, publishers, and third-party tool vendors are attending to Sakai, a downward trend that is likely to continue. At the same time, new easy-to-use platforms with powerful features are flourishing at our peer institutions and throughout higher education. As such, the Provost’s Office has accepted the recommendation that we move to replace Sakai, beginning in Spring 2021.

Canvas is the Future of ND LMS.

The Faculty LMS Succession Committee recommended to the Provost’s Office that Canvas should be the successor of choice to replace the current campus LMS, Sakai. In arriving at a recommendation, the Committee considered the following criteria, all with an eye toward ensuring that we select the LMS with the most potential to enhance teaching and learning at Notre Dame. 

  • Ease of use for both instructors and students
  • Academic and pedagogical factors, e.g. content management; tests, quizzes, and assignments, communication and collaboration
  • Functional capability, e.g. course migration and backup, interface personalization, accessibility, vendor support
  • Technical matters, e.g. mobile functionality, integration of 3rd party tools
  • Expandability, e.g. use of LMS in advising, use by the library

After a thorough review of the multitude of qualitative and quantitative data collected over the pilot period, overwhelmingly, students, faculty, and members of the Committee all agree that Canvas is the superior product and thus recommend that it be selected as Notre Dame’s next LMS.

How was the decision to go with Canvas made?

To ensure that the voice of the faculty is paramount in the selection of the next platform, we have empaneled a University-wide Faculty LMS Succession Committee with representatives from the Colleges and Schools and from elected governance bodies. The list of committee members can be found HERE.

The Faculty LMS Succession Committee and the OIT Teaching & Learning Technologies Team (TLT) designed a process by which all campus constituents – faculty, students, and staff – had a voice in selecting the next LMS. There were a series of listening sessions, which solicited LMS needs and preferences from campus, and a pilot of the two potential LMS held throughout the Spring 2021 semester. The information gathered at the listening sessions, as well as data gathered during the pilot project, was used to build a requirements list by which the two potential LMS were evaluated against.