Queen’s University Case Study

Queen’s University

Queen's University

Belfast, Ireland

18,935 Users

Commenced April 2018


The Challenge

Queen’s University Belfast - which is in the top one percent of institutions worldwide as part of the Russell Group University - had set out for themselves an ambitious strategic plan to deliver a Digital Learning pathway.

As part of this ambition, their aim was to offer an online learning element in all of its programmes by 2020.

Key Findings

Lecturers consider Canvas Gradebook and Course Analytics as complete gamechangers for the way they teach

Canvas has the potential to fundamentally change how they deliver teaching and learning.

The decision to choose Canvas as their partner was primarily based on reputation for innovation, openness and scalability.

Students believe they are more connected and feel more engaged with their instructors

The Decision

In March 2018, Queen’s University Belfast chose Canvas as their VLE to help them on their journey.

The decision to choose Canvas was based primarily on its reputation for innovation, openness and scalability

As Olivia Roberts, Head of Student Services and Systems at Queen’s University Belfast, said, “It is not an exaggeration to say that Canvas has the potential to fundamentally change how we deliver teaching and learning. We will improve how our students access materials, the kinds of assessments available, the types of lesson materials and multimedia we use and really give our students ownership in the process. And, of course, this is instrumental in helping deliver on our greater strategic goals as an institution.”

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The Results

Following rollout to a limited number of modules in the 2018/19 academic year, Canvas has now been fully deployed since September 2019, and to considerable success.

Since implementation there has been over 3.5m log-ins to Canvas, and Queen’s University Belfast can now boast over 2000 live modules, with another 150 currently in development.

Canvas has also been well-received from staff and students alike. Olivia continued to say, “The collaborative relationship offered by Instructure has shown the team to be a true partner through this journey. We also opted to invest in Canvas tier 1 support, which means that all of our students and staff can get round the clock help, training and support, leaving our lecturers to put their energy into creating and delivering great classes supported by the VLE.”

Early adopters of Canvas have praised the numerous communication features such as Discussion Boards and Appointments, with lecturers specifically singling out the Gradebook and Course Analytics as complete game changers for them and the way they teach.

Dr Stephen Kelly, from the School of Arts, English and Languages noted that, “Canvas is fast, stable, and welldesigned. It is also brilliantly flexible in terms of what it allows me to do for students. It has transformed how I communicate with them”, whilst Dr Eva Sweeney, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences declared, “I am constantly discovering new features that impress me, currently, I am loving how easy it is to integrate Turnitin with assignments in Canvas. It is so much simpler and intuitive than the previous method, The staff-student and inter-student communication features are also very useful, for example: discussion boards, group “skype” type tools, collaborative documents/PowerPoints for student group-work, a module chat box and a very versatile announcement tool. Feedback from students indicates that this makes them feel more connected and engaged with their instructors”.

Above all though, Canvas has been noted for it’s userfriendliness, as Dr Sharon Eddie Parkinson, from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences has said, “Canvas is incredibly user friendly. If you can type a Word document – you can set up a Canvas page. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but either way it is easy for both students and instructors to use”.

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