New Canvas LMS Partnership Accelerates Our Vision for HBCUs in the 21st Century

Key to any HBCU’s success in the 21st century is using technology that effectively supports teaching and learning. The learning management system is an essential component. Ideally it is a facilitator of effective interaction between students and faculty, making the learning experience simpler, more engaging and more effective.

After evaluating a variety of LMS alternatives to support Wiley College’s success with distance learning programs in the future, today we announced a new partnership with LMS provider Instructure to use Canvas as our learning management system (LMS).


In the end it came down to three major drivers: 1) Ease of use. The learning curve for using Canvas effectively is far easier for students and faculty. Having a system people can use is half the battle. 2) Mobile friendliness. Mobile learning is a reality many HBCUs haven’t faced up to yet, but it’s here, and it’s time to embrace it. 3) Integration options. Canvas readily connects to many other campus systems as well as learning tools available through its partner network. That is essential for the heterogeneous technology environments we operate in today.

Actually there is a fourth driver: Willing partnership. Instructure has made a particular effort to work with us and our unique needs as an HBCU. That goes far towards establishing a productive partnership that will benefit the CEDL, Wiley College and our students.

Read more about the partnership in the full announcement here.


The First-ever HBCU-created MOOC: A Product of Our Collaboration

Today we are thrilled to announce, together with Canvas Network and Lumen Learning, the first-ever massively open online course (MOOC) created by an HBCU. Dr. Keith Augustus Burton of CEDL member institution Oakwood University will teach a course entitled, “World Religions: An Occupational Approach.” Anyone in the world may enroll and participate in the course for free. Registration is now open at Canvas Network, and instruction will begin on October 27, 2014.

Most HBCUs have struggled to keep pace with progress and innovation in online education, as evidenced by the fact that only now in 2014 is the first HBCU-created MOOC being offered. Despite the ongoing challenges these institutions face, this MOOC is a representative milestone of what is and can be possible for this important segment of the higher education community.

The mission of the CEDL is to provide an affordable, collaborative path towards building strong, innovative online education courses and programs at HBCUs, with the ultimate goal of equipping member HBCUs to thrive in the 21st century.  In just one year, we have grown from one to five member institutions, and we now offer support for 40 high-enrollment online courses.

CEDL participation is jump-starting and expediting the success of online education programs for each of our members. You can read more about Dr. Burton’s MOOC and the collaboration that brought it together in the full press release, available at this link.

And if what we’re doing strikes a chord with you, let us know. Any HBCU is cordially invited to join.