A Blank Canvas: Library and Distance Learning Collaborations in a New LMS

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

While most library and LMS integrations happen after the system is in place, adopting a new client provides librarians and distance learning faculty a chance to collaborate on resources and services from the ground up. This session will detail our joint initiatives as we prepared for the adoption of Canvas.


As the Extended Campus and Distance Services Librarian, Lindsey Wharton is responsible for ensuring equitable access to library services and resources for all distance learning students as well as students and faculty at Florida State University’s remote instructional sites and international programs. Lindsey’s research interests include global library services, emerging technologies, virtual reference services, information ethics, and digital pedagogy.
Scott has extensive Customer Service experience, serving in both the IT and Higher Education sectors for over a decade. During the past year, Scott has taken a lead role in facilitating Florida State's transition from its 20-year-entrenched Blackboard learning management system (LMS) over to the newer Canvas LMS. Scott also oversees the Office of Distance Learning's Technical Support group which provides hands-on LMS assistance to over 1,800 faculty, 4,000 staff, and 41,000 students.

Extended Abstract

An institution's learning management system provides an unique opportunity for academic libraries to further connect with our learning communities. While most integrations happen after the system is in place, adopting a new campus-wide client provides librarians and distance learning offices a chance to design resources into the roll-out. This presentation will detail our joint LMS initiatives as we prepared for the switch to Canvas in 2017. These integrations included a faculty and student “course, ”utilization of the Springshare Automagic LTI to include subject specific resources, modules and videos in the Canvas Commons, promotion of Ask A Librarian chat support, a librarian role for embedding in courses, as well as library support for course development and design.  The combination of just-in-time support, learning objects, and real-time support offers faculty and students a menu of library support options.

As these resources were in place before the initial launch, library integrations were marketed during the highly attended Canvas transition events hosted by the Office of Distance Learning. Instructors engaged with library resources as they began to transition their courses from our old LMS and embedded information literacy learning objects into their newly designed courses. As the library was involved at every step of the transition, library materials, resources, and support were available at every step of the changeover. This presentation will also provide tips for higher education professionals who are interested in pioneering cross campus partnerships to foster collaboration and align goals for further supporting online students in the learning management system. Lessons learned will be addressed as well as tips for continued maintenance of these multifaceted resources. Higher education institutions are in a constant state of change. Distance learning faculty and librarians must be ready to artfully take advantage of these shifts to strengthen partnerships and ensure excellent service as online student growth continues to accelerate.