What users are saying about
Top Rated
173 Ratings
161 Ratings
Top Rated
173 Ratings
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Score 7.1 out of 100
161 Ratings
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Score 9 out of 100

Highlights

Blackboard Learn and Canvas are both learning management systems focused on higher education institutions. They are both used across all sizes of colleges and universities, but they serve slightly distinct needs.

Blackboard is the legacy academic LMS for higher education. It has prioritized offering a very wide range of features in order to serve the broader set of needs of higher education institutions. Canvas is a cloud-based LMS that excels at providing the core learning management functions efficiently and effectively. Many reviewers have transitioned from Blackboard over to Canvas. 

Features

Blackboard Learn and Canvas have unique approaches to features they offer that differentiate them. 

Blackboard Learn has expanded the range of features it offers to meet broader needs. For instance, it offers students and educators multiple methods of communication, from an email portal to in-platform chat and discussion forums. These tools enable more student collaboration in-platform. This collaboration is particularly valuable in an all-online context. 

Canvas excels at delivering the fundamentals of a modern learning management system. Its document and assignment management features are very robust. Canvas also offers various content creation tools, including video creation. Reviewers also highlight Canvas’s gradebook capabilities, both in terms of grading in the system and giving students visibility into grades and feedback from educators. The user interface is also relatively easy to use and is more customizable.

Limitations

There are also limitations to Blackboard Learn and Canvas work keeping in mind. 

Blackboard has been criticized for its user interface. It is not known for being easy to use, especially for users that aren’t tech savvy. This leads to noticeable learning curves for many users. The interface issues also extend to the mobile application as well. Additionally, online grading is relatively limited and difficult for educators to use. Some reviewers have also claimed that it is not cost-competitive with Canvas, but that information is not publicly available. 

On the other hand, Canvas also has a noticeably steep learning curve. It also lacks the depth of collaboration abilities that Blackboard Learn offers. While content creation in general is a strength, assessment creation and administration is more difficult than other document creation and management. 

Pricing

Blackboard Learn is priced uniquely for each institution and is available by quote from the vendor. 

Canvas is priced by quote from the vendor. There is a one-time implementation fee and then an annual subscription cost. 

Likelihood to Recommend

Blackboard Learn

I've used Blackboard for many, many years. With each version I remain hopeful that the formatting tools will improve. Battling simple text formatting considerations have looong been a struggle, with the most recent "upgrade" leaving me in total and complete exasperation. No, that's not an exaggeration. Yes, I do understand that importing text, and the process of copying and pasting can often include residual coding which can sometimes create havoc. Sadly however, I'm referring to the direct keystroke entry of content, directly within the Blackboard pane. Plain and simple, it's an absolute buggy nightmare.Even the limited formatting tools that I found here on TrustRadius are:
  • Fabulous by comparison to Blackboard
  • Easy to use
  • Intuitive for the first time user
  • Don't result in a wonky, embarrassing presentation
  • All of the above
Wow, look, even the bullet points and indents worked!Honestly Blackboard, this is getting really, really old. Two words of advise, beta testing.
Craig Smallish | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas is well suited for large institutions managing a lot of different courses. As a staff member, I'm currently starting to use the Organization feature as a way to engage current students. We will enroll all students in the Organization and share important information and resources with them during this time of remote learning. This is the best way for us to reach all of our students in a platform we know they have to be accessing (instead of social media or just emailing them). This has made the idea of "engagement" much easier in these difficult quarantine/social distancing times.In a way that's less appropriate, Canvas is not built to just be a file sharing platform. We thought a lot about whether using the Organization function would be best for one of our Student Organizations as we try to transition from DropBox. We keep all historic data from past members, bylaws, meeting notes, etc. We were waned by our central Online Distance Learning Office that Canvas might not be the best fit for that. However, we ultimately decided it's functionality to reach students outweighed our need to store historic documents.
Ashley Milton | TrustRadius Reviewer

Feature Rating Comparison

Learning Management

Blackboard Learn
7.2
Canvas
8.7
Course authoring
Blackboard Learn
7.3
Canvas
8.7
Course catalog or library
Blackboard Learn
6.8
Canvas
8.2
Player/Portal
Blackboard Learn
7.1
Canvas
8.7
Learning content
Blackboard Learn
7.9
Canvas
8.6
Mobile friendly
Blackboard Learn
6.1
Canvas
8.3
Progress tracking & certifications
Blackboard Learn
7.6
Canvas
8.9
Assignments
Blackboard Learn
8.3
Canvas
9.4
Compliance management
Blackboard Learn
6.2
Canvas
8.5
Learning administration
Blackboard Learn
8.1
Canvas
8.5
Learning reporting & analytics
Blackboard Learn
6.9
Canvas
9.3
Social learning
Blackboard Learn
6.6
Canvas
8.4

Pros

Blackboard Learn

  • Provides HTML quality course content that is easily retrievable and viewable.
  • Provides multiple methods of communication: email, threaded discussions, real-time "live" online discussions, as well as grade portal.
  • Allows facilitators multiple methods of grading or providing feedback: threaded discussions, rubric scoring, personal comments, inline viewer, or download/upload attachments.
Anissa Harris | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

  • LTI integration. This is particularly useful for teachers creating digital lessons and activities so that can embed other digital tools within their canvas materials.
  • Collaborative in nature. Easy to navigate and engage in discussion with students and teachers.
  • The Calendar view. Teachers are use to utilizing agendas and Google Calendar for daily routine like a planner. This give you an overview of your course highlighting various assignments, quizzes, tests, etc.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Cons

Blackboard Learn

  • Although the current graphic user interface is easy to use, it can be improved with larger fonts, dynamic menus, and attractive graphics.
  • The system does not include a module to pay the school fee.
  • The roster tab lacks detailed information about students.
Timothy Sawah | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

  • The notification feature could be improved upon as the professor has to put the due date as "midnight" otherwise the assignment will be automatically erased from the platform.
  • The audio recording feature has its technical issues. I have never been able to use it correctly.
Victoria L. | TrustRadius Reviewer

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 9.0
Based on 7 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 8.0
Based on 15 answers
Itʻs a good platform for certain things such as tests. Blackboard may not be the most user friendly but there is always room for improvement in any website, business, etc. When used with other platforms such as Google Classroom, Blackboard can be more effective, but when used by itself I feel it is not as impactful from a student perspective.
Quincy Tamaribuchi | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas 8.8
Based on 12 answers
Customer support is provided 24/7 all around the world. Support resources are easy to find for users. Getting a real technician on the line is easy rather than speaking to a bot for minutes. Support representatives are quick to reply back when a ticket is raised. System upgrade notifications are provided well beforehand.
Shay Kotian | 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 1 answer
Blackboard's Managed Hosting was top-notch in getting us up and running quickly.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas 8.3
Based on 3 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

I have used Schoology before, and I think Blackboard Learn has many more features, and is easier to navigate. It is well organized, and easy to customize for each user. Schoology might be better suited for a mobile device, but when the mobile version of Blackboard is not up to par, I have been able to get on a mobile browser on my phone instead.
Lori Riegel | TrustRadius Reviewer

Canvas

Canvas was the very first cloud-based Learning Management System. This was one of the key factors in our selection of Canvas. Canvas’s open platform and out-of-the-box ability to integrate with 3rd party vendors was also critical to its success on our campus.
Jason Hill | 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

  • Positive-our institution has benefited by using Canvas by moving from a paper test base mode to an e-Canvas test service to assess student course outcomes. There significant $avings that were curtailed in the use of paper, and in the time it took to check papers.
  • I don't think Canvas has impacted us Negatively on our objectives.
Jerry Sifuentes | TrustRadius Reviewer

Pricing Details

Blackboard Learn

General

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

Canvas

General

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

Rating Summary

Likelihood to Recommend

Blackboard Learn
7.0
Canvas
9.1

Likelihood to Renew

Blackboard Learn
4.6
Canvas
9.3

Usability

Blackboard Learn
10.0
Canvas
9.0

Support Rating

Blackboard Learn
8.0
Canvas
8.8

In-Person Training

Blackboard Learn
Canvas
10.0

Online Training

Blackboard Learn
7.0
Canvas
8.0

Implementation Rating

Blackboard Learn
10.0
Canvas
8.3

Scalability

Blackboard Learn
Canvas
8.0

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