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Canvas vs Blackboard: Which LMS is Right for Your Institution?

In this blog post, we made an in-depth comparison of Canvas vs Blackboard to help you make the right decision for your LMS.

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Are you looking for ways to keep your students engaged in their education, even when they are more interested in scrolling through social media or napping? Luckily, the field of education has discovered a method to integrate engaging content into essential educational material.

Learning management systems (LMS) are potent tools educators and employees can use to teach, improve efficiency, and develop new skills.

In this article, we have selected two of the best LMS systems, Canvas vs Blackboard Learn, which also offer all the necessary features to create a practical and stimulating learning experience. However, you might still wonder which one to choose – Canvas or Blackboard.

Keep reading for an in-depth review explaining how we came to this conclusion and why Blackboard might still be a good option. Finding the right LMS system can be the most challenging aspect of the entire process.

This article provides a comprehensive analysis of how Canvas and Blackboard compare in terms of features and benefits offered by each vendor. After evaluating both systems, we will reveal the winner of this challenge and help you decide which software best fits your organization.

Canvas vs Blackboard: Platforms overview

canvas vs blackboard
Source: Canvas

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) used by many educational institutions and organizations to manage online courses and resources. It is a cloud-based platform allowing instructors to create and manage course content, assessments, and student communication. 

canvas vs blackboard
Source: Blackboard

Blackboard is also a widely-used learning management system (LMS) that enables educational institutions and organizations to deliver and manage their online courses and resources. With its cloud-based platform, Blackboard provides a comprehensive suite of tools for instructors to create and manage course content, assessments, and student communication.

Canvas vs Blackboard: Features comparison

Canvas and Blackboard hold 34% and 21% of the LMS market share in the US and Canada, respectively. Now, let's delve into the features of Canvas and Blackboard, highlighting their similarities, differences, and benefits each vendor offers to administrators.

1. Content editor

One of the most critical aspects of learning management software is content editing. Creating personalized and relevant content for learners is challenging, so this feature is crucial for effective teaching.

Canvas offers content creation tools that include uploading links, images, tables, equations, and documents, keyboard shortcuts, content area, toolbar, and personalizing announcements, quizzes, assignments, and discussions

.Similarly, Blackboard Learn provides editing and content creation tools, such as tests, online lectures, and links to social media. The WIRIS tool also allows users to incorporate mathematical formulas, and users can add text, tables, multimedia, and attachments to their material.

After thorough analysis, we conclude that Canvas is the winner in this category. Although both platforms offer advanced and comparable content editing capabilities, our analysts give the edge to Canvas due to its keyboard navigation option, which sets it slightly above Blackboard. Nevertheless, the competition was close.

2. Real-time collaboration

Effective remote learning requires engaged learners, suitable technology, and effective teachers, according to the World Bank. Collaboration is crucial for understanding, making real-time collaboration features in LMS systems essential when selecting software.

Canvas also has concise collaboration tools, including collaborative documents supported by Google Docs as the default tool and integrations with Google Apps and Microsoft 365.

Blackboard Learn has more extensive collaboration options and real-time assignment collaboration, such as, discussion boards, direct emails, and scheduling Google Meets or Microsoft Teams meetings.

Our analysts chose Blackboard Learn for this category due to its additional communication capabilities within the platform.

3. Assignment grading

LMS systems streamline assignment grading for educators. Canvas allows for quick grading with side-by-side rubrics, enabling multiple users to grade. Blackboard Learn permits similar actions. Moreover, Canvas wins for its document annotation feature.

4. Reusing content

LMS systems' content reuse feature saves educators time and resources. Canvas allows importing and selecting course content and adjusting due dates from previous terms. Blackboard Learn creates ZIP files that exclude confidential data. Canvas wins because of its customizable upload options.

5. Gamification

According to projections, the gamification market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.4% from 2019-2025. A gamification is a practical approach to maintaining students' engagement with learning material. Gamification also transforms dull lessons into interactive and challenging experiences for learners.

Canvas provides educators with tools to personalize quizzes and design scenarios in which students can earn rewards or face setbacks for incorrect answers. Moreover, gamification can be used as a reward after completing assignments or quizzes. Multiple students can participate in group games set up by the teacher.

Blackboard's game application enables teachers to create web links for the class to access the game. Graphs and leaderboards track students' progress in points, fostering healthy peer competition.

In this round, Canvas is on top again due to its customizable quiz engine, allowing educators to create quizzes easily.

6. Originality detection

LMS is useful but challenging due to its online interface, making plagiarism detection crucial. Canvas lacks integrated plagiarism detection but can use Turnitin. Blackboard combines SafeAssign, comparing assignments to a database and highlighting repeated text. Winner: Blackboard.

7. Web conferencing

Web conferencing allows for more personal communication in remote learning. Canvas lets teachers share videos, add quiz questions, and give feedback. Blackboard also offers a virtual whiteboard and video, audio, and recording abilities. Consequently, Canvas has integrated web conferencing, while Blackboard requires an additional module.

8. Self-assessments

Self-assessment allows students to provide feedback for themselves and their peers. Instructors create criteria as questions, allowing for improvement. Canvas lacks self-assessment, while Blackboard offers anonymous evaluation. Winner: Blackboard wins as Canvas lacks availability.

9. Offline content

Online learning requires the internet, but offline content allows access from anywhere. Canvas allows exporting files for offline access or downloading as an ePub file. Blackboard has an app for offline access, and instructors can grade offline. Moreover, Canvas wins for not needing a mobile app and offering downloadable ePub files.

10. Analytics of Canvas vs Blackboard

LMS analytics are essential to assess learners' and instructors' performance. Blackboard displays assignment participation and grades, while Canvas analyzes interactions and predicts student engagement. Blackboard and Canvas also offer user and learner dashboards. Unlike Blackboard, which charges extra, Canvas is the winner for including analytics in its free account.

Canvas vs Blackboard: Conclusion

In the Canvas vs Blackboard comparison, Canvas offers more comprehensive features, although Blackboard is still a strong contender. Blackboard has similar capabilities but often as additional services or with less functionality. The capacity of Blackboard to identify plagiarism and facilitate self-evaluations are advantageous functionalities for an LMS platform.

Looking for something else? Want to make a white-label LMS for your course?

Teachfloor is an LMS designed for cohort-based courses that emphasize the hybrid cohort-based course format, allowing users to combine synchronous and asynchronous learning in less than an hour. This format has become increasingly popular among content and course creators and can be applied to corporate training to ensure learners' best possible learning experience.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface with an intuitive design
  • Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises
  • Innovative features planned for future releases
  • Course templates are available
  • Excellent customer support
  • Integrates with your favorite apps

Cons:

  • Analytics functionality needs improvement
  • Lacks eCommerce features

Teachfloor has no hidden charges and offers non-profit discounts and a free 14-day trial. It has 3 pricing options: Pro ($59/year), Business ($299/year), and Enterprise (customized).

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