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Duke to switch from Sakai to Canvas as learning management system

Whether you love or hate Sakai, you’ll only have to use it for one more year — Canvas is the new platform in town.

Duke and Duke Kunshan University will transition from Sakai, the current learning management system, to Canvas during the 2023-2024 academic year, according to an email from the Learning Management System Transition Team. Currently, no action is needed from students and instructors and no spring 2023 courses will be affected. 

Duke LMS Transition’s FAQ page states that the sustainability of Sakai is “precarious” due to the small number of remaining clients.

“This is something that we really do need to do. We've been on this system for a long time. Ten years,” said Edward Gomes, senior associate dean for Trinity College’s Office of Technology Services at Thursday’s Arts and Science Council meeting. “We are one of the last of our peers to move off of Sakai onto some other platform.” 

In summer 2022, Duke Learning Innovation and Office of Information Technology leadership determined that Duke needed a more robust learning platform to achieve its goals over the coming decade. 

Canvas was chosen because it is the largest LMS provider in higher education, and has already been successfully adopted by programs at Fuqua School of Business and School of Medicine, and by many of Duke’s peer institutions. The evaluation team found features like Speedgrader, Mastery Paths, Mastery Grading and New Analytics “especially valuable.”

According to the timeline on the LMS Transition site, instructors who opt to be early adopters will begin using Canvas in summer 2023. In fall 2023, up to a quarter of Duke courses can opt-in to be hosted on Canvas. In spring 2024, up to three-quarters of Duke courses can voluntarily opt-in to be hosted on Canvas. 

Full adoption of Canvas for all courses is expected by summer 2024. Instructors will be able to access previously created content in Sakai at least one year after the full transition to Canvas.


Katie Tan | Managing Editor

Katie Tan is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

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