ESPM and Canvas LMS: A journey towards evolution

ESPM and Canvas LMS: A journey towards evolution

By migrating to the Canvas LMS, ESPM achieved 100% adoption of its learning environment, offering students and teachers better usability, flexibility and scalability.

Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM), located in Brazil, is considered a national reference in higher education and a leading institution in Digital Transformation.

It is no surprise that when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020, ESPM was more than ready to face the greatest education challenge.

The institution had totally migrated to the Canvas LMS Learning Environment, making this challenging moment an opportunity to accelerate the evolution of its educational technology.

Being at the forefront has always been part of its DNA. Unlike traditional institutions, ESPM was the first higher education school created because of market demand.

In 1951, advertisers dissatisfied with the quality of Brazilian advertising, including the legendary Assis Chateaubriand, founded ESPM.

Today, the institution is considered one of the most important in the country, with more than 13,000 students, 700 teachers, campuses in four capitals and undergraduate, graduate, master and doctoral courses in on-site, hybrid and online modes.

Like its founders, in 2018, the ESPM digital technology leaders were also dissatisfied with the platform they were using. Daily feedback indicated that usability was the main challenge, causing low platform adoption.

Users had difficulties navigating on the computer and mobile devices. After intense evaluation, the team identified that the previous platform was unstable, had poor communication tools, lacked student progress monitoring, reports management and innovation and had limited options for Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) integration.

The solution

After evaluating six new suppliers, ESPM chose Canvas LMS, which scored 20% higher than the competition in all criteria: Communication and collaboration, testing and evaluation, content management, customization and usability.

“I consider there to have been a great evolution. As a teacher, I can highlight the main benefits: All emails sent through the platform are available at all times. In addition, when sending messages to students, we can easily incorporate videos or audio, facilitating dialogue with the student and making the process more dynamic. The usability of the environment is undoubtedly much better,” said a Professor and Coordinator of the ESPM MBA.

In 2019, ESPM began the implementation of Canvas LMS with the theme: ‘Next Destination: Canvas.’ The official launch occurred two months before the pandemic, and the global need for distance education implementation brought fear and uncertainty.

Daniele Kretli, Learning and Teaching Technology Coordinator, ESPM, said: “Everything turned out fine. Canvas saved the day because it has a very cool usability.”

Even with the pandemic, routines continued normally: Tests, content storage, evaluation and grades.

The choice of the platform was more than a technological evolution.

“Seeing the result of our teamwork as a facilitator during such a critical scenario brought me immeasurable learning. It was a moment of awakening of my professional purpose: To use technology to help people make their world a better place,” said Kretli.

The result

By migrating to the Canvas LMS, ESPM achieved 100% adoption of the platform by the academic community.

“Today, all teachers at some point, at least to post the final grade, need to use Canvas,” explained Kretli.

The distance learning (EAD in Portuguese) courses take place 100% on the Canvas LMS and Zoom. In face-to-face teaching, the LMS functions as support and dissemination of grades, which are informed more quickly with the evaluation tool Rubricas. It is the favorite functionality of the teachers. Meanwhile, students are fans of the mobile application, and with Canvas, they began to access more – even taking exams on their mobile.

Canvas brought more agility, scalability and flexibility to the technology team. With the previous platform, it was necessary to manage the servers and, sometimes, to be unavailable for two days to make an update.

Another crucial factor was access to a broader repository of LTI integrations, bringing more flexibility for the team to continue evolving its educational technology.

“I took other courses in distance mode, and the experiences left something to be desired. At ESPM, my concept of EAD changed. Canvas is an intuitive, practical and easily accessible platform on any device,” said a student of the MBA in Strategic Management in UX Design.

The evolution continues…

The team uses the platform resources on projects inside and outside the classroom. Currently, there is a data collection, respecting the digital security of the students, to analyze the performance in each course, each exam and each question.

The objective is to perfect the format of the exams. The Edtech team will continue to offer support to users to maintain engagement.

Kretli explained that the high adoption rate was also a consequence of the over 40 training, an online self-instructional course, videos, FAQs and tutorials that helped with the transition. Today, a support team for teachers helps to create pedagogical projects and activities in the classroom.

More highlights:

  • 100% of the EAD courses operate on the Canvas LMS
  • 100% of the final grades for online and in-person teaching are reported by the Canvas LMS
  • Canvas LMS has increased daily accesses through the mobile device
  • Cloud-based operation brought scalability and eliminated downtime windows
  • ESPM’s Edtech team uses Canvas LMS data to improve exams
  • Rubricas is the preferred tool for its efficiency in scaling correction and fair grading
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