Penn State to transition from ANGEL to Canvas

October 09, 2015

At its Sept. 18 meeting, the Penn State Board of Trustees approved the recommendation to transition from ANGEL to Canvas, a learning management system (LMS) that offers students and faculty new ways to manage, navigate and access their courses online.

The recommendation was approved following a multiyear effort involving students, faculty and staff to explore available LMS options, conduct University-wide pilots and gather feedback and support.

“Making the switch to Canvas aligns with the University’s goal of advancing teaching and learning by keeping current with the most modern technologies that also best align with the needs and expectations of Penn State students, faculty and staff,” said Nick Jones, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost.

Penn State joins universities such as Colorado State University and the University of Michigan in using Canvas through their memberships with Unizin, which was formed in 2014 as a way to enable universities to reach their goals with digital learning.

“Our partnership in Unizin will be further leveraged with our acquisition of Canvas," said Jennifer Sparrow, senior director of Teaching and Learning with Technology. "The Unizin institutions are committed to student success through the use of a shared, interconnected learning environment, including Canvas, that will enable students and faculty to have improved access to content and the ability to more readily collaborate with other universities.”

The LMS offers enhanced mobile features, grading capabilities, customizable email and text message notifications, and integration with such third-party learning applications as Turnitin and VoiceThread.

“Over the last few years, we have conducted numerous pilot tests of the most popular learning management systems,” said Craig Weidemann, vice president for Outreach and vice provost for Online Education. “Canvas was extremely well received by faculty, students and our learning design community. Most importantly, Canvas will improve the student experience, whether learning on a campus or at a distance.”

The first full semester of using Canvas (spring 2016) will be a ramp-up period designed to transition Penn State from fall 2015’s limited pilot to full University-wide adoption. This period will allow for the implementation of migration services, training resources and initial integration of third-party learning tools.

Early adopters of Canvas for the spring semester will have opportunities for training starting in October. Additionally, a short course is available on at Penn State, which is free to all Penn State students, faculty and staff.

For more information about Canvas, the ramp-up period, training sessions and best practices for those who want to use the LMS early, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 12, 2015