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Case Study

Proudly Characterised by a Tradition of Innovation

University of Birmingham


Birmingham, UK

Started Using Canvas


Number of Users



With its e-learning platform due to be phased out, the University of Birmingham conducted an extensive review of its VLE.

Faced with intense competition for students from rival institutions and the growing importance of blended learning models, it was imperative for the University to find a way to innovate, differentiate itself, and stay ahead of the curve.

Assistant Director of Learning Environments

The University wanted a system that wouldn’t periodically go down, worked across different browsers, would easily incorporate multimedia content, and work with mobile phones and tablets.



The University undertook a rigorous review and selection process to evaluate different platforms with feedback from staff and students. The result was unanimous, and Canvas was the clear winner. Once Canvas was chosen and implementation began, it only took five days for the platform to be customised and configured. The Canvas VLE is designed with a modern user interface and is intuitive to navigate, enabling teachers to create collaborative courses that incorporate multimedia content. Crucially, the entire platform is also hosted in the cloud.



The University has already seen overwhelmingly positive staff and student feedback, a marked reduction in basic support calls, and a significant increase in student use of the VLE. Canvas has now become an interactive hub facilitating unprecedented collaboration among students and staff, with peer-to-peer video, staff training, student quizzes, multimedia assignment feedback, virtual workspace groups, content sharing among teachers, and on- and off-campus interaction between staff and students. The University of Birmingham is achieving 99.9% uptime and has eliminated many of the previous headaches faced by the support teams.




Key Findings

  • The switch to Canvas was seamless, with many academics who previously wouldn’t use the old VLE diving in headfirst
  • In three months, Canvas rolled out 4,600 courses, more than had ever been available with the previous VLE
  • Within the first six months, more than one-third of the University’s 27,000 students had used Canvas via a mobile device or tablet