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A Canvas Case Study: Higher Education

Mohawk College: Advancing Growth With Canvas

Hamilton, Ontario

30,000 Students

Started 2019

"Learning by doing" is the hallmark of an education at Mohawk College, a blended learning institution with interactive programs ranging from web-enhanced courses to fully online cohorts. Mohawk College, a fairly mature online learning organization, used D2L along with other learning platforms for over ten years before choosing Canvas as its comprehensive LMS. Keep reading to see how partnering with Canvas has given Mohawk College an edge by improving the student experience and allowing educators to prepare for the next era of education.

The Challenge

Mohawk has a long history of using different learning management systems—often simultaneously. At one point, it was using up to six separate systems at once before transitioning to a single LMS. Building on that experience, leaders at Mohawk began the search for one integrated LMS, a platform that would provide a quality mobile experience, allow students to learn from anywhere, and easily integrate with third-party tools and apps to enhance online courses in every program. 

The Solution

Before beginning a thorough RFP process, key stakeholders at Mohawk formed an LMS committee, composed of students, faculty, and staff, to test several learning management systems. Upon the committee’s recommendation, Mohawk decided to switch from D2L to Canvas.

As Mohawk College made plans for a phased Canvas rollout, the Mohawk College team was assigned an Implementation Specialist to assist the institution with training, support, and adoption. The college’s smooth implementation process left Paulette Sloat, Project Manager at Mohawk, saying, “I’d do it all over again!”

“I can’t say enough about the support Canvas provides. Before Canvas, it could be a week or so before we got a response. Now we always hear back within 24 hours.” 
-Leslie Marshall | Associate Dean, Centre for Teaching and Learning

The combination of one-on-one support and interactive onsite training sessions to guide educators in their Canvas usage was only the beginning of Mohawk College’s dynamic partnership with Canvas.

“That is part of the success of this relationship—the level of skill of the person we were working with. We weren’t paired with someone who was learning at the same time as us.”
-Paulette Sloat | Project Manager, Mohawk College

Since making the switch, educators at Mohawk believe they now deliver a world-class student experience: one that provides an equitable foundation for 30,000 full-time, part-time, apprenticeship, and international students alike. 

It’s not just students who have benefited from the switch to Canvas—educators at Mohawk have been more collaborative than ever, using Canvas Commons to share resources. Leslie Marshall, Associate Dean at the college’s Centre for Teaching and Learning, considers the use of Blueprint Courses and modules “essential” in creating consistency across all courses and programs at the college. 

As a leading college in Canada for applied research, it was also important for the college to have the ability to connect learning objectives with external organizations that are considered partners to course programs. Using Canvas Catalog, educators could streamline student access and simplify pre-registration testing when it was required. 

In particular, Mohawk educators are big fans of Canvas mobile apps that enable on-the-go learning, the Calendar that has improved communication between students and instructors, and the wide variety of LTI integrations they can use to enhance courses and student life.

“We can easily add in features from other providers that are experts in specific subject areas. That’s something that is a real strength of the system.”
-Leslie Marshall | Associate Dean, Centre for Teaching and Learning

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The Results

After fully adopting Canvas in 2019, leaders at Mohawk College see Canvas as a platform they can grow into as they continue to expand course offerings and programs. The Mohawk team plans to leverage APIs and LTI integrations in Canvas to facilitate a connected learning experience with all digitally enhanced programs and courses.

As the institution looks toward the future, they plan to use Canvas to support more interactivity in its course offerings. Mohawk recently partnered with EON Reality to create the EON Virtual Reality Innovation Academy on campus. This new facility offers applied learning in the Augmented and Virtual Reality field, and is the first of its kind in Canada.

“Canvas will always give us the opportunity to plan ahead two to three years from now.”
-Leslie Marshall | Associate Dean, Centre for Teaching and Learning

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Key Insights

  1. Before making the switch from D2L to Canvas, leaders at Mohawk involved the student association in the decision-making process, including asking students to test the Canvas mobile app and provide feedback. 

  2. Mohawk College uses Catalog to manage and simplify student access and streamline pre-registration testing.

  3. Educators at Mohawk use Canvas LTI integrations to facilitate a connected learning experience by keeping all of their favorite tools in one, centralized location.

Products Used

About the Institution

Located in Ontario, Mohawk College is a renowned institution in Canada for applied research and best known for being a leader in experiential learning. With a focus on creating sustainability leaders and lifelong learners, the institution is dedicated to equipping students with relevant experiences for the rapidly expanding digital world.

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