Canvas transition almost complete

Jeffrey Wardon, Jr., Biz & Tech Editor

In the 2018 fall semester, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students and instructors will see changes to online academic programs used for learning and teaching.  

The change comes in the form of a transition of software from Desire2Learn (D2L) to Canvas.

“Canvas is the market-leading learning management system (LMS) in the United States,” said Senior Manager of Market Development for Instructure Adam Anderson.

An LMS is a method instructors can use to manage how their students receive and turn in coursework using a computer software application. An LMS is essentially a middleman between instructors and their students.


D2L will not be fully phased out for another year or so. A full transition will occur during the summer of 2019 within the entire UW System except for UW-Madison.

There is some good news for instructors, though. Faculty member will still be able to access the D2L archives until June of 2020. This fall, instructors will also be able to continue using D2L for the remainder of this academic year if they  choose.

Students should be prepared to use both learning systems this year.

UW System officials chose Canvas because the contract with D2L is coming to an end. State university officials sent out a request for a proposal, and a few companies were considered in the process. UW System officials had a consensus that Canvas was the best system to implement.

Some students at UW-W feel the change in learning systems could bring new challenges.  

“I just don’t want to have to search around for 15 minutes to find that night’s assignment,” Junior Rachel Hegreberg said.

Experts within the Learning Technology Center (LTC) and Instructional, Communication and Information Technology (ICIT) department on campus say students and faculty have said Canvas was more intuitive to use.

In addition, Canvas has a 24-hour support system, something D2L lacked. The support system can be accessed through text message, email or by telephone.

LTC provides a crash course on how to use Canvas. For more information, visit