A Canvas Case Study: Higher Education

Ivey Business School, Western University

Creating an Intuitive Environment for Students and Faculty With Canvas

Ivey Business School

Ontario, California

1,800 Students

Started 2016



Students at Western University’s Ivey Business School of Canada wanted an LMS that was easier to use and mobile-friendly. The elite business school chose Canvas to create an intuitive environment for students and faculty. The school’s tech team built a full API integration from scratch to push the boundaries. Student feedback has been positive as the school continues its efforts to provide a “white-glove” service to students.

Products Used


The Challenge

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)

Key Insights

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 has four global campuses, including one in Hong Kong.

The Solution

Ivey’s adoption of Canvas began in the summer of 2016 with a small group 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 expected 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.”

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.”

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The Results

Ivey’s tech team built a full API integration from scratch and started to push the boundaries of Canvas. This allowed administrators to finish their initial tasks and position them 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 to provide a “white-glove,” concierge-like service to its students. Ivey competes with the top institutions in Canada and those programs that advance learning and provide thought leadership around the world. Administrators look forward to leveraging Canvas analytics 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 its 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.

“We’ve learned a lot. Every time you are in Canvas, you find something new.”
-Chris Austin, Chief Technology Officer, Ivey Business School (Canada)

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