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.
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.
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.
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.
Provided by the TrustRadius Research Team
Published on July 16, 2020
Likelihood to Recommend
- 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
Feature Rating Comparison
Course catalog or library
Progress tracking & certifications
Learning reporting & analytics
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Likelihood to Renew
Return on Investment
- 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.
- 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.