Adam Kuntz

Virginia's Community Colleges Canvas Adoption and Engagement

Blog Post created by Adam Kuntz Employee on Apr 16, 2019

Canvas Adoption and Engagement

When implementing any new initiative, it's important to spend time planning for how to successfully move your users through change. At Instructure, we built our Canvas Success Model to give you a process and set of tools for leading the people side of your change to Canvas. Made up of four revolving stages, Vision, Plan, Execute, and Assess, our model is proven to help increase adoption and successful change to using Canvas. By starting with your vision, you can find ways to connect Canvas to your beliefs about students, learning, and teaching. Once you've tied Canvas to your vision, planning for communication, training, and engagement will help ensure your users experience a seamless transition.


Virginia's Community Colleges (VCCS) transition to Canvas

The VCCS is made up of 23 community colleges across the state of Virginia. In the Spring of 2018, Canvas was selected to replace Blackboard as the primary Learning Management System for the system. This began a one year transition period to prepare over 8,000 faculty and over 100,000 students for this change. When a change of this size is implemented, a lot of things need to be carefully planned for. In addition to an exceptional project team at the system level and leaders at each individual college, the VCCS also had the Canvas Services Team to help guide the way. 


To prepare for this transition, leaders at all 23 colleges have created outstanding resources to help their faculty and students through this transition. These resources helped communicate, train, and engage their faculty and students. To help incentivize this practice, the VCCS started a resource creation contest for the colleges to showcase their efforts to communicate, train, and engage their faculty and staff.  Winners of the contest are announced below.


Contest Details

Colleges submitted their resources to an adoption playbook course in Canvas.  This course was created by the Learning and Strategy Consulting Team as part of their Canvas Change Strategy Consulting service.  Leaders across the system followed specific categories and judging criteria. 



  • Information about transition to Canvas: Website, Print, Video
  • Promotional Video: Under 5 minutes, 5 minutes or more
  • How-to Guides: Website, Print, Video
  • Instructional Training Materials:  For teaching face-to-face, for teaching using webinar
  • Quick Reference Guides: Website, Print, Video
  • Social Media
  • Student Created Materials



The VCCS was able to find volunteers from other community college systems across the country. In addition, Instructure was asked to provide judges for the contest. The judges used the following criteria to score the entries.

  • Content is well chosen and is effectively adapted to the medium (video, website, print, training module, etc)
  • Web based submissions should strive to meet accessibility across all browsers and mobile devices, and W3C standards
  • Design and layout is appealing, consistent, and functional
  • The submission meets the needs of the target audience
  • The length or duration of the submission is appropriate to the content



1st Place - Leveling the Playing Field - Accessibility in Canvas

Northern Virginia Community College

Preston Davis, Ed. D. - Director of Instructional Services

Shaoyu Chi, Ed.D. - Instructional Designer, NOVA Online

Maureen Madden, M.Ed. - Instructional Designer & Accessibility Liaison, NOVA Online

Rong Zhu, M.Ed. - Instructional Designer, NOVA Online

2nd Place - Canvas GIF Social Media Campaign 

Wytheville Community College

Dave Dick, Coordinator of Online Learning and Instructional Technology


3rd Place - VCCS Canvas Student Orientation

Tidewater Community College

John Morea, Associate Vice President for Distance Learning

Iris Wang, Distance Learning


Honorable Mention 

NOVA Online - Online Orientation

Caryn Sever, M.S. - Instructional Designer, NOVA Online

Kim Grewe, PhD - Instructional Designer, NOVA Online

Dedra Wright, M.Ed. - Instructional Designer, NOVA Online

Virginia Western Community College - Canvas Quick Start Guide

Erin Leftwich, LMS Administrator