Northern Arizona University Selects Canvas LMS to Deliver a Student-Centered Experience to its Nearly 30,000 Students


Instructure, the maker of Canvas, recently announced that Northern Arizona University (NAU) has selected Canvas as its new learning management system, to empower student success through reliable, open and inclusive educational technology. Canvas LMS is part of the Instructure Learning Platform and is the market-share leader in higher education. Through the Canvas implementation, NAU and Instructure will collaborate to support the institution’s focus on student learning and success and to ensure a smooth transition for students and teachers as they migrate away from the previous LMS provider. 

NAU conducted a thorough 10-month evaluation of Canvas along with other LMS providers. Additional information about NAU’s LMS transition process can be found on their site, including how they arrived at their decision. Some of the steps involved included conducting town hall meetings with over 25 stakeholder groups to gather LMS selection criteria. The university and academic units involved conducted a thorough technical and functional integration discovery and evaluation process. After vendor presentations to NAU leadership, the team issued a final assessment survey to all students, faculty, and staff. After gathering responses from more than 500 stakeholders, Canvas emerged as the clear frontrunner.

“After a rigorous review process, it was clear that Canvas was the best choice with which to deliver innovative instruction, foster learning and realize student success,” said Steven Burrell, CIO of Northern Arizona University. “Our faculty and students were unanimous in their recommendations to the Provost that Canvas be implemented. With hundreds of responses from stakeholders, Canvas clearly emerged as the overall highest-rated platform as well as the leading LMS across all selection criteria.”

Over the next several months, technical staff will begin the work of integrating Canvas with NAU systems, and the team will begin designing training courses for faculty and students. Content will be migrated to Canvas with the goal of teaching for-credit courses in Canvas starting in the summer of 2023.

“Northern Arizona University plays such an important role in the economic development of Arizona and the western United States by creating postsecondary value for workforce-ready graduates and throughout their expansive network of over 20 campus locations,” said Melissa Loble, chief customer experience officer at Instructure. “Platform flexibility and reliability were key considerations for NAU and we are honored to be able to provide a consistent, intuitive experience for their community of educators and students.”

Northern Arizona University is a high-research institution providing exceptional educational opportunities in Arizona and beyond. NAU delivers a student-centered experience to its nearly 30,000 students in Flagstaff, statewide and online through rigorous academic programs in a supportive, inclusive and diverse environment. Dedicated, world-renowned faculty help ensure students achieve academic excellence, experience personal growth, have meaningful research opportunities and are positioned for personal and professional success.

Canvas is a fully SaaS learning environment that streamlines interaction and builds strong relationships between teachers and students, whether in the physical, blended or fully online classroom. Traditionally, technology designed to support blended and online learning was inflexible and failed to drive a more engaging online experience. Canvas was created to simplify teaching so faculty can spend more time engaging students in ways that elevate learning.

The Instructure Learning Platform is an open, reliable and extensible learning ecosystem enabling a digital learning environment for educators, students and institutions. The platform is made up of several key pillars—such as assessment, professional development and analytics—that work together to enrich, support and connect every aspect of teaching and learning. The Canvas family of tools makes up the learning management pillar of the Instructure Learning Platform.