October 21, 2017  

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Southern Miss Transitions to Canvas for Online Learning

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The University of Southern Mississippi is making the transition to the Canvas learning management system for online courses. For the Fall 2017 semester and moving forward, all online classes will be taught using Instructure’s Canvas Learning Management System.

The change moves the University from the old system, Blackboard, to the new system, Canvas. With change comes challenges. To help with the transition, the Office of Online Learning at Southern Miss is offering numerous training workshops to help faculty and staff with any challenges they might face.

Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Director of the Office of Online Learning, says that over 500 faculty have already been trained. “New workshops are constantly being added that cover different features and technologies,” said Hutchinson. “In addition to face to face training sessions, we offer videos and online training that faculty can complete in the comfort of their own home.”

Hutchinson says the response from faculty and staff has been very positive. “Many faculty have said they like the change. Canvas is user-friendly and offers numerous options for our online classes, including communication tools that allow faculty multiple ways to interact with their online students.”

The University has created a website devoted to helping faculty and students during this transition. “We know people have questions, so we put all the information in one place,” said Hutchinson. “This website, https://www.usm.edu/canvas, helps them with their questions and offers support and quick guides in a single location.”  

Hutchinson says Canvas furthers the University’s online learning mission by supporting quality, retention, and growth. “Southern Miss has dedicated time and effort to offering rigorous online programs and courses,” he said. “Canvas supports that mission and allows us to enhance programs and services to faculty and online students.”

The University of Southern Mississippi offers nine undergraduate degrees and twenty-one graduate programs fully online. To learn more about the online programs at Southern Miss, visit https://online.usm.edu/