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The Study Hall

How Canvas is Making Change: Eastern Michigan University

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Eastern Michigan University had used a learning management system (LMS) for over a decade. Administrators began to look for something different. They knew a change would require transferring more than 5,000 courses to a new system, but they also wanted something that embraced the latest educational technologies. 

"We wanted to make sure we were on the front edge of the newer technologies that were coming out. We needed to make sure we had a system that worked for everyone. We found it in Canvas LMS, ” explained Bill Jones, the director of instructional technology and information management for Eastern Michigan.

In May of 2015, Eastern Michigan launched Canvas campus-wide for online and web-enhanced classes. With the addition of Canvas Data, a nightly release of all an institution’s data from the Canvas system, Eastern Michigan developers were able to create the CanvasDataViewer, an application which allows schools to automatically download Canvas Data files into an SQL server database and analyze the information. CanvasDataViewer automates the process so that teachers and program managers can analyze fresh data each day. EMU posted the application on the software development platform GitHub and introduced it to other institutions. This app reinforced the importance of having a system that fosters innovation, not just maintenance. 

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Find out the biggest factor that led Eastern Michigan to choose Canvas and the university's robust user training program at