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Carmen class software officially replaced with Canvas

The ominous warning notifying students that Carmen is leaving is now a reality as Ohio State introduced a new student homepage on Monday.

For the past 10 years, OSU’s learning-management system — the suite of online tools used for courses —  has been powered by the Carmen software through the company Desire2Learn. As of Sunday, the Canvas platform has fully replaced it.

Although the learning-management system has changed, the Carmen name remains, and classes can still be accessed through the Carmen web address. However, the mobile app is listed as Canvas.

Jeff Vernon, strategic initiatives manager with the Office of Distance Education and eLearning, said that the university began evaluating all available options for learning-management systems during the 2015-16 academic school year to see what would add significant value to OSU students’ online learning experiences over D2L.

An evaluation committee comprised of students, faculty and staff members took a look at D2L, Canvas and Blackboard, another similar system that is used by many colleges. Of the three, the committee thought Canvas had the most to offer and asked to pilot the system.

The Canvas pilot was conducted during the 2015-16 school year with over 4,000 participants. Vernon said the results were positive with students, staff and faculty.

“We really view this change as a partnership with faculty, students and staff in providing the best possible educational resources that we can,” said Vernon. “We will continue to approach this as a partnership.”

The feedback resulted in Canvas and D2L running simultaneously at OSU this past school year.

Liv Gjestvang, associate vice president of learning technology for ODEE, said running both programs was a balance between trying to get students to use just one system and giving staff and faculty enough time to feel comfortable moving content over.

“We have made one of the fastest transitions in the country,” said Gjestvang. “We have done that in ways that have allowed us to save money and support that single environment for students and faculty.”

Despite the enthusiasm from ODEE and the positive feedback from the evaluation committee about Canvas, not all students were pleased with the transition.

Kevin Vasquez, a graduated fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, said he prefers the old version of Carmen for a number of reasons. He said he has problems with Canvas crashing, with having to login several times and with a discussion board layout he sees as less efficient.

“It’s much harder to navigate now,” said Vasquez.

Courses created on the old software system will no longer be available for students to look back on, as was previously available this past school year.