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Canvas Evaluation AY 2020-2021

Update Spring 2022: Academic Senate has...

CSUSM is currently considering future options for a campus Learning Management System (LMS).  The Academic Senate’s Technology Policy & Advisory Committee (TPAC), in collaboration with its Student Affairs Committee (SAC), has been tasked with evaluating our continued commitment to Moodle versus alternative platforms, as well as the possibility of reverting to the Moodle “theme” in place prior to Fall 2019.  While TPAC does not hold the authority to make any final decisions, we do want to see a a transparent and informed decision-making process that takes into account faculty and student feedback, as well as cost and labor considerations.  If CSUSM does migrate to a new LMS, we anticipate a Fall 2022 launch date.

Given its use across the community college system at most CSUs, as well as its support by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Canvas is currently the leading contender as an alternative to Moodle, which CSUSM began using in 2009. 

Faculty will have the opportunity to explore Canvas during the month of March.  Opportunities will include a Zoom session with a Canvas rep on March 4th from 2-3 pm, help sessions with IITS staff, the chance to explore several CSUSM courses showcased in Canvas, and even the chance to explore a bit in a Canvas “sandbox.”  We will be seeking your input in the form of survey, and faculty are also welcome to contact their TPAC representatives directly to share any thoughts or questions.

TPAC will also be posting cost estimates and other materials relevant to our deliberations as we have them.

March 6 update

Faculty have been added to Canvas and can now import one of their Moodle courses into the Canvas demo container.

March 15 update

One difference between Moodle and Canvas relates to direct annual costs.  While Moodle is an open-access platform that CSUSM hosts on its own servers and that requires substantial maintenance from our IITS operations team, Canvas is a fee-based platform made available and hosted by Instructure, a privately held company.  Shifting to Canvas would mean having CSUSM’s online courses hosted on Instructure servers.

Basic overview of anticipated costs

Canvas Support Packages & Canvas Implementation Packages (PDF)

  • one-time onboarding fee of $25,000
  • annual subscription fees based on FTES (both EL and stateside numbers need to be included), with an automatic increase of 3% for each year of a 3-year contract.  Based on the current rate of $12.68/FTES) and CSUSM’s FTES* (13,741), the Year 1 fee would run $174,236.  For planning purposes, Instructure assumes FTES figures hold steady during the entirety of any three-year contract period.
  • Supplemental contracts are available for support services.  The most minimal support level would provide 24/7 assistance to those with admin access (IITS staff), priced at 20% of the FTES-based subscription price.  Higher-priced tiers of 24/7 support for faculty and even for faculty + students are also available.
  • add-ins such as Turnitin are available at additional costs (as is already true in Moodle).
  • separate contracts would be needed for non-credit extension programs (Osher Institute, etc.)

*Calculation based on IPED guidelines.


View Recorded Zoom Session

To view, you will need to get a password from:

  1. An email sent by the Academic Senate Monday, March 8 at 10:01 a.m.; or
  2. By contacting Staci Beavers directly at 

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