Announcing Canvas as the next LMS

Monday, February 3, 2020


Dear faculty, students, and staff,


I’m excited to share with you an important update about the university’s search for a new learning management system (LMS).

Following nearly a yearlong search for Northeastern’s next LMS, the university will transition to Canvas from Blackboard. This move will be thoughtfully and deliberately managed over the course of the next calendar year, and dedicated training and support resources will be made available to assist faculty and students in the transition. A phased adoption of Canvas will take place through spring 2021, after which time Blackboard will be retired to archive-only mode.

The selection of Canvas was informed through the efforts and exceedingly positive feedback of faculty, students, and staff. With the collaboration of the Faculty Senate’s IT Policy Committee, pilots of Canvas took place in fall 2019, and included 49 instructors and 1,666 students across 54 courses. Pilots are continuing in spring 2020, and have expanded to include 108 instructors and 3,768 students across 170 courses. The university’s Learning Management Environment Steering Committee, as well as the review and sharing of peer institution experiences, also provided important insights.

Learning is at the heart of Northeastern. It is a continuous, collaborative process that is built upon immersive experiences that span across the university’s ever-expanding global university system. Canvas, a leading product in the LMS industry, is expected to deliver a modern LMS that is mobile-first, reliable, accessible, and that can evolve with the ever-changing needs of Northeastern’s learners from diverse backgrounds.

Regular updates on the timeline, phased rollout, support, and more, will be shared throughout the transition, and at Additionally, members of the Canvas transition team will be engaging colleges and departments directly as the transition progresses.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or to Spencer Pruitt, associate vice president of research computing and academic technologies, with any questions or to discuss this initiative. During this move to Canvas and Northeastern’s ongoing transformation into a modern, digital-first university, we appreciate your support, insights, and engagement.




Cole Camplese

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Prepare for Canvas

There are a number of options for faculty and students to get to know Canvas.

Whether through expert consultation or training, participate in a Canvas support session, in-person or online.