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Niihka no more, MU selects new learning system

By Kaelynn Knestrick, For The Miami Student

Miami's current learning management system, Niihka-Sakai, is in the process of being replaced by Canvas - an open source learning system managed by Instructure Inc.

Canvas' implementation on campus is currently in phase one. This means that there were a few online and hybrid courses that were available through Canvas this fall semester.

Phase two will occur during the winter and spring and will provide more online and hybrid classes available from all campuses. Canvas will be fully up and running by fall of 2015 for all online, hybrid and face-to-face classes.

Like Niihka, it will be the teacher's choice if they use Canvas. Niihka will still be available for the 2015-16 school year at the Oxford campus.

"Miami's IT Services will be providing technical support for the implementation of Canvas," Senior Director for IT Communications & Customer Advocacy Cathy McVey said. "IT Services will also be working with the project team."

One of the main reasons Niihka is being replaced is because it does not keep up with technological demands.

"Niihka is always freezing on me, especially when I am trying to turn something in," first year Brittany Hochstetler said. "It is also unreliable. It will say that I have submitted something but then my teacher will never receive it. I am hoping these issues will be fixed in the new system."

Part of the reason Canvas was chosen was because of its adaptive nature and its superiority in its usability for online and hybrid courses. Currently, more than 800 colleges, universities and school districts currently use Canvas.

Canvas also supports Miami's 2020 plan that calls for flexible pathways to degree completion.

"I think that Niihka is an easy way to see our grades. I also like that it allows you to turn in papers and other assignments," first year Eric Dann said. "It is very organized and very easy to use."