Contract with Blackboard extended through December


The University’s contract with Blackboard has been extended through December to further help ease the migration to Canvas.

Adam Hobaugh, Pitt IT’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, told the Senate Computer Information and Technology Committee on April 17 that the decision was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Pitt IT is still urging faculty to migrate to Canvas, Pitt IT decided that an extension was necessary to accommodate faculty who may have faced increased hardships, Hobaugh said. The goal is still to get the Pitt community to the point where they’re using just one tool instead of bouncing between Canvas and Blackboard.

“We did not want to put undue burden on faculty to go ahead and transition their courses into Canvas,” Hobaugh said. “That was just something we thought was the right thing to do for faculty.”

Chief Information Officer Mark Henderson later added that the pandemic was a “curveball” that has strained the University Center for Teaching and Learning. 

Cynthia Golden, executive director of the center, and her office have had their hands full with helping faculty with the recent transition to remote teaching, he said.

“Cynthia Golden's team has been stretched eight ways to Sunday just trying to help faculty members make the pivot from in-class to remote (teaching),” Henderson said. “Yes, I want to continue converting faculty members to Canvas, but the realities are it's probably unlikely that we will get there, especially since we are moving to be completely online still throughout the totality of the summer sessions.” 

In a separate announcement, the Center for Teaching and Learning said: “As students have made it clear that they prefer a single LMS for all courses, instructors are encouraged to make every effort to transition their courses to Canvas.”

Faculty can opt-in into the extension through PeopleSoft to designate specific courses as being run in Blackboard, Hobaugh said.

Correction: An earlier version of the story referred to Adam Hobaugh as the technical coordinator for the School of Computing and Information. It has been updated to reflect that he is the Pitt IT Deputy CIO.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905. 

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