Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Canvas Project

On this page you find frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about the transition project at Maastricht University.

If you are working with Canvas already, you probably have questions about specific tools Canvas or how to make use of these in your course. Please refer to the general Canvas FAQ for answers.

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What is Canvas?

Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS) that supports UM’s teaching and learning activities.

Canvas allows instructors to upload course content and to facilitate instruction through a variety of tools that encourage student-to-student, student-to-instructor, and student-to-content interactions.

Students can use Canvas to access all materials, articles, assignments and messages for the courses they are taking. Canvas also makes it easier for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate with one another in a course-specific context.

Canvas is known for its user-friendly online environment and ability to easily connect instructors and students both in and out of the classroom

Why Canvas?

A university-wide tender was done to examine the various learning management systems and determine the feasibility of moving to a new system. The Learning Management System (LMS) panel made the selection for Canvas after careful consideration. The committee was led by the University Library, and consisted of faculty, support staff, and student representatives from across the university. The panel also conducted a thorough review of best practices and evaluated the systems in use at peer institutions. Based on all the findings, the recommendation was made to select Canvas as the single solution for Maastricht University.

Both teaching staff and students involved in the testing phase thought Canvas was the most intuitive LMS, but there are more reasons to choose Canvas:

  • Canvas meets basic needs of faculties (i.e. attendance tracking, grading workflows, portfolio management, blended learning and collaboration, peer feedback scenarios);
  • Canvas offers integration in the UM infrastructure (i.e. connection to Student Information System, Student Portal, Syllabus+);
  • Canvas links seamlessly with 3rd party systems, such as plagiarism detection tool and (peer) feedback tooling, as well as the Mediasite video platform.
What are the most exciting features about Canvas?
  • Streamlined grading workflow
  • More efficient attendance tracking
  • supportive to a wide variety of didactic scenarios
  • User-friendly and intuitive
  • Easy integration with 3rd party apps
  • Well-designed mobile apps
  • Fully integrated virtual classroom
What is the planning of the transition?
  • In September 2019 the transition project has been launched by staffing the project team. In this team delegates from all faculties are involved (teaching staff, educationalists, support staff and students), as well as representatives from EDLAB and the EDview team. They will take care of the transition during the upcoming year and will make sure that Canvas is set up in a way that it fits the educational practice of the UM and its faculties.
  • The first pilot started in October 2019, the last pilot will take place in course period 5 of this academic year.
  • The project team, together with the faculty EleUM coordinators, set up a training programme for teaching staff in each faculty, starting from 27 April.
  • 4 August 2020 is the date we will actually be starting to make use of Canvas. Students will then access the new LMS for their courses (with the possibility to access the Blackboard courses for archive purposes). Of course staff will have access before that date to create course content.

In the monthly updates, we take you along all choices and activities in the light of the transition.

Will I still have access to my course in Blackboard?

4 August 2020 is the date we will actually start making use of Canvas. Students will then access the new LMS for their courses. Until 15 September Blackboard will be available with all functionality. After this date it will only be accessible for archive purposes, like accessing old courses. Users will not be able to add or change content on Blackboard courses after this date.

Where can I find out more about Canvas and how it operates?

Every staff member connected to a course in EleUM can also login to Canvas (make use of your UM credentials). If you do so, you get a first impression of the Canvas features or ‘play around’ in a so-called sandbox course.

We also created several videos to take you along some Canvas features. These will be added soon to the Going Canvas portal

Can I follow a Canvas training?

If you are responsible for one or more courses starting in September 2020, you either can register for an online Canvas Transition Workshop or you can also make use of a ‘Transition Service’.

The latter means that a Canvas Transition Support student will – after a 1-hour online intake interview – design the course in Canvas based on the old Blackboard course and the instructor’s directions. Find out how to apply for this service.

Where can I go to within my faculty for support/information?

For any questions and concerns related to the transition to Canvas, please contact: or your local EleUM key-user.

What does the UM course template look like?

Maastricht University faculties agreed to use the same Canvas course template for all bachelor and master courses. If you teach a bachelor or master course, you will be working with it. Find out what the UM course template looks like.

How to use Canvas for online education?

Canvas offers several tools to facilitate online meetings with your students.

What tips do you have to ensure that my Canvas course is as digital accessible as possible?

Did you know that ten percent of our students have a disability, which creates an obstacle to studying and following education? Read the news item for easy-to-apply recommendations regarding digital accessibility when creating your course in Canvas.

What tools does Canvas offer for using video?

The collaboration between Canvas and MediaSite enhances the option to use video in education. Video will be offered in a more attractive way: by embedding the video directly in the course instead of placing a link to an outside source. More information on embedding content in Canvas is presented in this video:


Can I offer assignments to my students in Canvas?

Of course you can! Canvas Assignments include Quizzes, graded Discussions, and the possibility to have students submit their work online. You can also invite students to perform peer review on each other’s work.

Does Canvas offer a plagiarism detection tool?

As part of the transition to Canvas, a new tool for plagiarism detection had to be selected. With 95,000 student papers submitted annually, the selection of a new tool was an important milestone.

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