California Budget Plans for Canvas as LMS Across All Three Statewide SystemsAuthor Phil Hill /3 Comments/by Phil Hill
Alabama: Our community college system has plans for a systemwide LMS.
California: Hold my beer.
One of the trends over the past year in the academic LMS market, particularly in the US, has been an increase in centralization. In the K-12 LMS market we have seen an increase in LMS purchasing at the state level (e.g. Texas contract to pay for any district adopting Schoology), and in the Higher Ed market we have signs of increased systemwide planning. One case covered recently was the Alabama Community College System, which subsequently voided the RFP results, but we are seeing other efforts. With the pandemic, and often with CARES Act funding, centralization is growing.
In California, the Community College System moved en masse to Canvas as its systemwide LMS starting in 2015 through the Online Education Initiative (OEI). 1Disclosure: OEI is a client of MindWires, and I facilitated the LMS selection process. CSU is a past client of MindWires. Instructure, Blackboard, D2L, Schoology, and Moodle are all current or recent subscribers to our EdTech Market Analysis service. With this year’s budget, the governor has allocated funding to start moving from systemwide to statewide LMS usage, at least for online courses.
It should be noted that California has a case of budget whiplash. One year ago there was a projected budget surplus of $18 billion, but by late spring the forecast was for a $54 billion deficit due to the pandemic. Now there is a projected surplus again for next year. The budget process starts with the January governor’s budget, followed by a negotiated May revise, with final budgets set by July. So treat the following as plans that must survive the full process.
In the governor’s budget request that was just released, there are two coordinated line items to create an “common intersegmental learning management platform” that is based off of the success of the Community College System. From the University of California section of the Higher Ed plans:
Learning Management Platform (Canvas)—An increase of $1 million ongoing General Fund for UC to adopt a common learning management platform for online courses at each campus that aligns with the platform used by the CCC system (Canvas), by the 2023-24 academic year.
There is an identical line item in the California State University section, although that one is for $2 million.
This funding does not pay for the full costs of statewide adoption as it has been for the Community College System. I believe this is a funding initiative to encourage the remaining campuses not using Canvas to migrate, and the language and initial target specifies “for online courses”. At this point, more than half of the 10 UC campuses and 23 CSU campuses are already using Canvas. Also note that most universities use the same LMS for face-to-face, hybrid, and online offerings.
This is new information, and I do not know several important details yet: how the money would be allocated, whether this is an opt-in program, and how the initiative would handle state procurement rules around competition.
Update 1/13: Fixed typo on overall state budget deficit and surplus – billions, not million. Mea culpa.
Disclosure: OEI is a client of MindWires, and I facilitated the LMS selection process in 2015. CSU is a past client of MindWires. Instructure, Blackboard, D2L, Schoology, and Moodle are all current or recent subscribers to our EdTech Market Analysis service.
The statewide budget figures should be in the $billions, not $millions. It puts the whiplash in better context, especially the relative cost for a statewide LMS in the $millions.
Goodness, what a typo (fixed now). Thanks, Greg.
I am really sorry to hear this. My experience lately with Canvas is that they have grown too big to adequately support the clients they have. They are basically headed down the same path as Blackboard. I would love to see how they plan to expand support before they take on more customers.