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Mount St. Mary's Announces Technology Partnership with Canvas

Emmitsburg, MD – Mount St. Mary’s University has signed a five-and-a-half-year agreement with Canvas by Instructure, an online, open-source learning management system. The move is in response to a desire to fully leverage the online learning environment to be as responsive as possible to student needs, and to expand the number of online and hybrid offerings.

Canvas by Instructure logoAfter reviewing a number of learning management systems (LMS) over a six-month pilot period, the team leading the search chose Canvas for its ability to aid in course development and delivery, supporting both in-class and hybrid learning needs. Canvas is a comprehensive cloud software package that is newer and more nimble than some of the other systems on the market, and it will integrate well with systems already in place.

“With Canvas, our students will be able to complete internships and service projects in remote locations all year, our seminarians will get on-going pastoral training when beyond our walls, our career-minded adult learners will be able to fit courses into their busy schedules without compelling our faculty to sacrifice instructional quality, and our student-athletes will no longer have to miss classes when travelling,” said Interim President Timothy Trainor. 

“Canvas allows us to respect the content integrity of all disciplines by offering professors a rich spectrum of instructional tools,” said Barbara Marinak, associate professor of Education and chair of the Education department. “In addition, it’s easy to use, integrates with existing platforms, and affords us membership in a large, diverse community of users with whom we can collaborate and problem solve. It allows students to connect from their computers and mobile devices no matter where they are to access syllabi, assignments, lectures, discussion boards, synchronous video, grades and pathways to other instructional spaces.”

While many of Mount St. Mary’s students are digital natives, some professors and administrators are not. Regardless, Canvas has a broad appeal.

“As a philosophy professor, I was skeptical that any course management system would make a difference in teaching my courses,” said Richard Buck, associate professor and chair of the Philosophy department. “However, after teaching multiple sections during our Canvas pilot, I am convinced that not only can we enhance the in-classroom experience by using this system, it will also open up possibilities for effectively incorporating online components into philosophy courses.”

Simon Blackwell, vice president of transformation and associate provost of Continuing and Online Education, said, “Canvas is just one part of an integrated strategy for leveraging technology to advance Mount St. Mary’s. With our recently announced Workday contract we focused on improving business operations, with Canvas we focus on improving the educational experience of students both in class and remotely. Coming soon, we will have announcements about our support for co-curricular engagement and technology operations. In all cases we are choosing visionary technology partners that share our vision as well as an obsession with customer success and strong formal and informal relationships in the vendor ecosystem. We are assembling a stellar team of teams, and that drives success.”

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