By MARTY LEVINE
The transition from Blackboard to Canvas as Pitt’s online classroom software is proceeding without a major hitch, Pitt officials and early adopters told the Senate Computing and Information Technology Committee on Sept. 16.
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Adam Hobaugh, director of support services in Computing Services and Systems Development, said 80 faculty members were using Canvas in 119 courses involving 3,500 students, spanning most colleges on the Pittsburgh campus as well as all the regional campuses. Twenty of these courses are using Canvas integrated with other classroom teaching software.
“Overall initial feedback has been really positive,” Hobaugh said. “We haven’t heard anything negative.”
Indeed, two of the early users — School of Computing and Information faculty members Dmitriy Babichenko and Alex Labrinidis, both also members of the computer committee —confirmed that Canvas is performing well, with only minor glitches.
Babichenko called it a “much better experience than Blackboard,” adding: “The best part is that students are not yelling and screaming. So far, I haven’t heard a single complaint. It’s very impressive. It’s the smoothest transition I’ve seen ... knock on wood.”
Committee chair Michael Spring, also a computer school faculty member, noted that the University, at this early stage of Canvas use, is offering “white glove service” — individual problem-solving — for early adopters, particularly for those who need to adapt complex course materials to the new learning management system.
Hobaugh also reported that LastPass — Pitt’s password management software — has thus far only 75 active users, but that his office was starting a new marketing campaign to publicize its availability. Pitt will be offering departmental training and consultations to individuals or groups upon request.
While no problems have been reported by users of LastPass for personal passwords, users employing it to track University passwords have had some difficulties using the software properly, Hobaugh reported.
Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-758-4859.
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