What users are saying about
202 Ratings
Top Rated
229 Ratings
202 Ratings
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Score 6.9 out of 100
Top Rated
229 Ratings
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Score 8.2 out of 100

Highlights

Blackboard Learn and Canvas are both learning management systems (LMS) designed primarily for colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions. Blackboard is the classic academic LMS for higher education, with a broad range of features designed to meet the requirements of many different institutions. Canvas is a cloud-based LMS that excels at providing core LMS features efficiently and effectively. Since both platforms are aimed at meeting the needs of sizable learning institutions, medium-to-large organizations make up the majority of the user base for each.

Features

Blackboard Learn and Canvas offer very similar feature sets, but they each stand out in different areas. 

Blackboard Learn offers a wide array of features designed to fit many different needs. For instance, it offers multiple communication paths for both students and educators, including an email portal, built-in live chat, and discussion forums. These tools help students collaborate without leaving the platform, which can be particularly valuable for fully-online classes. Recent additions to Blackboard Learn include read-only messaging options for one-way communication and improvements to the integrated content editor.

Canvas excels at delivering LMS fundamentals. Users find its document and assignment management features to be robust, and they also appreciate its numerous  content creation tools, including video editing tools. Reviewers also highlight Canvas’s gradebook capabilities, which includes features to help give students full visibility into their grades and gives educators options for additional feedback. Canvas continues to improve their UI options, with recent additions such as a navigation history bar to help users return to recent pages.

Limitations

Although both Blackboard Learn and Canvas are fully-featured LMS platforms, they also have limitations that are important to evaluate before choosing either.

Blackboard is often criticized for its UI. It’s notorious for being hard to use, especially for users with less technological savvy. Some users specifically call out Blackboard Learn’s in-system content editor for being buggy and unintuitive. The interface issues also extend to the mobile application. Additionally, its online grading capabilities are relatively limited and can be difficult to use for some educators. Some reviewers claim that Blackboard Learn is not cost-competitive with Canvas, but that information is not publicly available. 

Canvas, on the other hand, has a noticeably steep learning curve. It also lacks the depth of collaboration abilities that Blackboard Learn offers. Some users specifically wished for built-in video conferencing tools or better quiz proctoring options. Also, while Canvas’s content creation tools are generally well-regarded, some users find that creating and administering tests and assessments is more difficult than creating other content. 

Pricing

Pricing for both Blackboard Learn and Canvas is available via a quote from the respective vendors.

Feature Set Ratings

  • Canvas ranks higher in 1 feature set: Learning Management

Learning Management

6.9

Blackboard Learn

69%
8.2

Canvas

82%
Canvas ranks higher in 13/13 features

Course authoring

6.5
65%
23 Ratings
8.2
82%
41 Ratings

Course catalog or library

7.0
70%
23 Ratings
7.6
76%
38 Ratings

Player/Portal

7.8
78%
20 Ratings
8.0
80%
32 Ratings

Learning content

7.5
75%
27 Ratings
7.5
75%
33 Ratings

Mobile friendly

4.8
48%
29 Ratings
6.6
66%
40 Ratings

Progress tracking & certifications

7.9
79%
23 Ratings
8.3
83%
37 Ratings

Assignments

8.1
81%
29 Ratings
8.8
88%
41 Ratings

Compliance management

7.7
77%
16 Ratings
8.1
81%
32 Ratings

Learning administration

7.2
72%
24 Ratings
8.1
81%
36 Ratings

Learning reporting & analytics

6.9
69%
25 Ratings
7.7
77%
38 Ratings

Social learning

4.8
48%
21 Ratings
7.1
71%
33 Ratings

Gamification

N/A
0 Ratings
10.0
100%
1 Rating

Single Sign On (SSO) Enabled Learning

N/A
0 Ratings
10.0
100%
1 Rating

Attribute Ratings

  • Blackboard Learn is rated higher in 1 area: Implementation Rating
  • Canvas is rated higher in 4 areas: Likelihood to Recommend, Likelihood to Renew, Support Rating, Online Training
  • Blackboard Learn and Canvas are tied in 1 area: Usability

Likelihood to Recommend

5.8

Blackboard Learn

58%
57 Ratings
8.5

Canvas

85%
83 Ratings

Likelihood to Renew

4.6

Blackboard Learn

46%
11 Ratings
9.3

Canvas

93%
5 Ratings

Usability

10.0

Blackboard Learn

100%
5 Ratings
10.0

Canvas

100%
8 Ratings

Support Rating

7.9

Blackboard Learn

79%
27 Ratings
9.0

Canvas

90%
18 Ratings

In-Person Training

Blackboard Learn

N/A
0 Ratings
10.0

Canvas

100%
1 Rating

Online Training

7.0

Blackboard Learn

70%
1 Rating
8.0

Canvas

80%
1 Rating

Implementation Rating

10.0

Blackboard Learn

100%
2 Ratings
8.4

Canvas

84%
5 Ratings

Product Scalability

Blackboard Learn

N/A
0 Ratings
8.0

Canvas

80%
1 Rating

Likelihood to Recommend

Blackboard Learn

A school with a well-established technology imprint with their students (for example, ours is a BYOB school where every student has their own laptop and must bring it to school every day and where over 99% of our families have reliable broadband at home) is a reasonable scenario for using The arrogance and intransigence of the sales force is quite disconcerting… They are no longer the only game in town and don't yet realize it. Less well-off schools/families may find it a challenge if students must be on campus or at a public library in order to use the technology. Obviously, during the pandemic, this became problematic for some districts.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

It is really well suited for school situations like knowing what [assignments] need to be done when, getting feedback, getting points, finding the slides that the teacher used for explaining an [assignment] or theory. I think It would be less suited in business situations because it's [primarily] made to be a [one-way] communication tool for schools. Businesses need more control on individual levels I think[.]
William Hazevoets | TrustRadius Reviewer

Pros

Blackboard Learn

  • Blackboard Learn makes submitting assignments electronically simple and provides a variety of built-in Web-based tools like e-portfolios, wikis, and blogs that our students use to create their own content.
  • Blackboard Learn is intuitive and easy to navigate from a students perspective
  • Blackboard Learn has many integrations available for connecting this LMS to other tools we use at our institution.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

  • Creativity options for teachers to create a virtual space that still has fun graphics and accessibility options.
  • Canvas has versatility in viewing options for assignment due dates such as the calendar built in feature as well as the dashboard options to display upcoming and due assignments.
  • Allowing teachers to create community with each other and collaborate in each-other's space.
  • Discussion platforms within classrooms for students to communicate with each-other and with their teachers.
  • Easy messaging portal within each virtual classroom.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Cons

Blackboard Learn

  • Blackboard Learn has some limitations when it comes to submissions
  • It is not that user friendly, I had to spend some time to get a hang of it in the beginning
  • I have been struggling a bit with deletion of manually added courses
Meena B | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

  • Their integration with Big Blue Button was a bust for distance learning. Would be great to see them collaborate with Zoom or Google Meets.
  • Their "feature request" process is slow and cumbersome at times because it relies on user "up votes" to get ideas addressed by the developers.
  • They seem to have a lot of turn-over with their staff. We get a new Customer Success Manager far more frequently than with other vendors.
Patrick Woessner | TrustRadius Reviewer

Pricing Details

Blackboard Learn

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Starting Price

Canvas

General

Free Trial
Yes
Free/Freemium Version
Yes
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Starting Price

Likelihood to Renew

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn 4.6
Based on 11 answers
There are several aspects of Desire2Learn that outweigh the benefits of using Blackboard. I find that the Desire2Learn system is a bit more user friendly and looks more up-to-date. However, the decision to renew systems is not up to me because the entire University uses the same system. Regardless, I think I would choose Desire2Learn over Blackboard because of its improved user interface.
James Gurney | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas 9.3
Based on 5 answers
The other LMS tools have fallen behind. One reason is they are not able to update their systems, features, toolsets in a timely manner. While other LMS providers release bug fixes and new features several times a year, schools struggle to install and implement them in a timely manner. It is not uncommon for a school to take 6 months to a year to fully install and implement new releases on other LMS platforms. With Canvas, those features are released every 3 weeks, and there is nothing for a school to do other than choose to turn them on once released. This has allowed Instructure to innovate faster, and get new features and tools to customers quicker. Other factors include great pricing, customer support, and the innovative way in which LTI is implemented in the tool.
Kevin Reeve | TrustRadius Reviewer

Usability

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn 10.0
Based on 5 answers
It is very usable for both faculty and students. The interface is pretty intuitive and most students can use it without a lot of additional training. Faculty do need some training to effectively use the interface, but they usually get it pretty quickly. We have had to create some additional programming to give faculty a way to delve deeper into the content.
Inez Whipple | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas 10.0
Based on 8 answers
The functions in Canvas are well integrated and consistent across the application, and mostly intuitive. Overall navigation and setup is streamlined through integrated features and navigation. The feedback we've gotten from our program participants is that it is easy to learn to use. It also integrates well with third party software like Google Docs and Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing software
Jeanne Rewa | TrustRadius Reviewer

Support Rating

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn 7.9
Based on 27 answers
My Blackboard support comes from the university I work with. They are responsive--eventually... but it takes them sometimes a week to respond to a reported issue. For example, I reported 2 issues last week and one was resolved and I was contacted about one still open option today. That is too long for a tech issue. I have not contacted any support offered directly by Blackboard, which may be a completely different experience altogether.
Anissa Harris | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas 9.0
Based on 18 answers
I do not personally use Canvas support since we have a central office that helps us. However, our central office always has the answers we need and are always able to solve our issues - so I would assume that get great support from the Canvas team on their end. They also offer great training, which uses materials directly from Canvas
Ashley Milton | TrustRadius Reviewer

In-Person Training

Blackboard Learn

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Canvas

Canvas 10.0
Based on 1 answer
The training sessions were broken down into several days as well as different levels depending upon the knowledge of the user
Bethany Cleveland, PhD | TrustRadius Reviewer

Online Training

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn 7.0
Based on 1 answer
No answer on this topic is available.

Canvas

Canvas 8.0
Based on 1 answer
The online tutorials and videos are very clear and addressed the issues/questions that I had about using the system.
Bethany Cleveland, PhD | TrustRadius Reviewer

Implementation Rating

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn 10.0
Based on 2 answers
Blackboard's Managed Hosting was top-notch in getting us up and running quickly.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas 8.4
Based on 5 answers
Once you purchase and sign the contract there is nothing to install or hardware to buy. You can almost immediately start using it and have courses up and going within weeks. We signed in December and had pilot courses online ready to go for the start of school in January
Kevin Reeve | TrustRadius Reviewer

Alternatives Considered

Blackboard Learn

Coursera offers a variety of modules in which a team is able to work on then, but [Blackboard Learn] offers more options to understand how are the team members developing and which tasks have offered a harder challenger for them. [Blackboard Learn] also offers a variety of reports that can be generate by a team lead.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas is more secure, has a cleaner design, and has more features. For the features, they have in common canvas still stacks up against [Smart school] by going for the extra mile. Besidfor e that, [the] canvas looks a lot more [professional] than [Smart school]. I didn't make the decision myself to get canvas instead of [Smart school] but I'm happy they did.
Jarne Horemans | TrustRadius Reviewer

Return on Investment

Blackboard Learn

  • At one of the institutions that I worked for, the ROI was excellent for the number of users we were serving; however, I could not speak to other instances as I was not aware of the overall cost of the contract.
Rachel Hudish | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

  • Canvas has helped us provide a more robust online component to our courses.
  • Canvas has helped us better adapt to a rapidly changing educational landscape.
  • Canvas has reduced the time that we have to spend training faculty on how to use our learning management system.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

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