Case Study

Canvas allows elite business school to “turn off the old system” and design their future

Ivey Business School, Western University

Location

London, Ontario, Canada

Started Using Canvas

2016

Number of Users

1,800

Western University’s Ivey Business School of Canada is known worldwide and consistently ranks among the best international MBA programs. Ivey prides itself on providing an education that focuses on students’ experience and includes solving real-world problems.

Feedback led Ivey administrators to rethink their learning management system (LMS). Student surveys revealed a desire for an LMS that was easier to use and mobile-friendly. The School saw the need for functionality enhancements and a modern interface to replace the system that students and faculty had used for 15 years.

Our goal is to create an intuitive environment for students and faculty that connects them to all the tools they need to excel.

Chris Austin

Chief Technology Officer, Ivey Business School (Canada)

The Transformation

Ivey’s adoption of Canvas began in the summer of 2016 with a small group that was responsible for implementing the program into the School. With help from Instructure’s support team, online training materials, and lessons learned from attending InstructureCon—the annual Canvas user conference—the group did a full integration for their SIS (Student Information System) that allowed for standardized course design, including custom templates where faculty members insert content.

Ivey wanted to continue leveraging the tools their students and teachers valued and had grown to depend on. At InstructureCon LTI and API sessions, Ivey’s developers learned how to make applications look like they were a natural part of Canvas. They built three initial LTI apps and expect to reach a dozen integrations over the first year. Ivey’s design team wants these integrations to make sense for students and “play well with others.”

Student feedback has been positive. “We achieved our results goal: to provide a consistent, easy-to-use experience to find course materials and to provide mobile features,” said Ivey’s Senior Business Analyst Lynda Cunningham.

Chris Austin, the chief technology officer for Ivey Business School, said, “We wanted to ‘turn off’ the old system, and Canvas allows that to happen. We feel that the School is adding value to the LMS instead of just maintaining the LMS.”

The Future

Ivey’s highly capable tech team was able to build a full API integration from scratch and start to push the boundaries of Canvas. This allowed administrators to finish their initial tasks and position the School to achieve their future goals. Designers also built custom JavaScript to add to their Canvas instance.

Ivey is taking a distinct approach to business education with a goal to provide a “white glove,” concierge-like service to their students. Ivey competes with not just the top institutions in Canada, but those programs that advance learning and provide thought leadership around the world. Administrators look forward to leveraging analytics in Canvas to track outcomes and student progress. They also feel that creating a better experience for students and faculty will enable deeper adoption of Canvas.

Increasing adoption will come in clearly-defined stages. Training started with 60 people. In 2017, thousands more will train through Ivey’s undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs. This growth also creates significant cost savings for Ivey Business School and their users. But as much as Ivey leaders have accomplished in the short time since they adopted Canvas, the best is yet to come. That’s exciting for a place with the reputation, achievements, and high standards of Ivey. As Austin said, “We’ve learned a lot. Every time you are in Canvas, you find something new.”

Key Findings

  • Ivey Business School’s favorite things about Canvas: ease of use, the mobile app, the ability to sync the calendar to users’ phones.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Ivey the #1 business school outside the U.S. in 2014 and 2015.
  • Ivey produces more business case studies than anyone in the world other than Harvard University.
  • Ivey has four global campuses, including one in Hong Kong.

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