The Canvas transition project is nearing completion, but the Learning Management System itself will continue to undergo changes, improvements and additions. Tony Anderson, who served as the Canvas project manager, will now lead that work for Penn State as manager of Learning Tools and the Learning Management System.
“I think one of the great things about the Canvas project is that we were able to collaborate across all of the campuses and colleges for a successful project. We finished spring with 80 percent of courses using the LMS in Canvas,” said Anderson, who started in his new role on July 1. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the team we have in place.”
Anderson will be in charge of managing the LMS service and all of the third-party learning tools that are or will be part of Canvas. He will review documentation and communications for the LMS; work with the day-to-day operations of the system; and interact with developers, support desk, training, faculty, staff, and students in the deployment and improvement of the LMS at Penn State.
Another core responsibility of his role is to collaboratively work with Instructure, the LMS vendor, and Unizin, the consortium of universities that use Canvas. Anderson said he will be working with Instructure to help drive their roadmap, which will identify short- and long-term goals of Canvas and solutions to help meet those goals.
For his first year, Anderson said he has plenty of goals, including helping to alleviate challenges in large-enrollment courses, which could have up to and over a thousand students. He will work to find solutions, many of which are proposed by faculty and learning designers, and encourage Instructure to adopt and implement them.
Anderson would also like to help increase adoption of the LMS, especially among instructors who traditionally have not used an LMS. He wants to make sure all instructors know the benefits of using an LMS, from helping them keep better track of student progress to having better gradebook management.
Prior to coming to Penn State in November 2015, Anderson was in charge of two conversions from Blackboard to Canvas: one at Nevada State College and one at The University of Texas at Austin. During his time in higher education, he has taken on many roles, including that of teacher, trainer, instructional designer, and administrator.
“Tony has both administrative experience with an LMS and the faculty perspective,” said Brian Young, manager of Learning Tools and Service Management. “When it comes to learning tool integrations, he can look at them with a critical eye and determine if they are needed and are the right solution for faculty, staff, and students.”
Anderson and his wife, Soon-am, live in State College. Their daughter is in nursing school in Pittsburgh, and their son is a student at Penn State.