Canvas is the centrally-provided and supported learning management system at Penn. Because of Canvas’s ability to integrate third-party tools, it is important for the campus community to help evolve the learning platform in ways that best meet the needs of Penn students and faculty now and into the future. To achieve this goal, there are two governing bodies that provide oversight for Courseware and help guide the Penn Libraries’ Courseware team: the Courseware Steering Committee and the Courseware Advisory (see membership below).

Courseware Governance Structure at the University of Pennsylvania

Key Responsibilities

Sponsors: University strategy guided the implementation of a single, centrally supported learning management system. The aim was to provide a consistent, professional learning experience for all students at Penn. In so doing, not only did a community of practice emerge among support staff, faculty, and students, but also innovations continue to emerge and spread across campus.

Penn Libraries: The Penn Libraries’ Courseware Services Team supports Canvas centrally and works with staff across Penn schools and centers to help faculty, staff, and students use Canvas meaningfully in their academic work. The Libraries’ key roles include managing the campus-wide administration of Canvas and its integration with other Penn systems (such as the Student Registration System and Penn Community); managing system-wide communications about Canvas; coordinating Courseware Advisory activities and Courseware Steering Committee priorities and decisions; and managing the relationship with the vendor, Instructure.

Courseware Steering Committee: The Courseware Steering Committee members provide guidance, decisions, and direction based on recommendations from the Courseware Advisory. For example, the Advisory group may recommend a policy revision, or a pilot of a new third-party application. The Steering Committee reviews and approves changes that can affect and improve the learning environment for all of us at Penn. This group meets at least once per semester.

Courseware Advisory:  The success of Penn’s Canvas implementation is dependent upon the excellent distributed support provided by our colleagues in schools and centers (see image below). The Courseware Advisory is comprised of Penn academic and IT support staff who help faculty and students use Canvas on-site in their schools and centers. They serve as local Canvas experts who offer hands-on training and seek to resolve issues as they arise. They provide valuable input to the Libraries about support needs, policies, software problems, and success stories. The key roles for this group include routinely communicating Canvas news to their school or center communities; identifying, testing, and recommending Canvas enhancements; and soliciting community feedback about Canvas and our collective support of it so that we can continually improve. This group meets at least three times per semester. New members are welcome. Contact to join

Distributed Courseware Support Model

Distributed Courseware Support model at Penn with participating units represented: Courseware Advisory, Courseware Steering Committee, Schools and Centers, and Penn Libraries

Campus Committees: There are many standing committees at Penn and we welcome the opportunity to present updates, share information about pilots, and gather feedback from committee members. While we will continue to reach out to groups annually, we also invite them to reach out to us if we can be of service. Such committees may include: Undergraduate Assembly, GAPSA, Council of Undergraduate Deans, Faculty Senate, Faculty Department Meetings, Interest Groups, Student Groups, etc.

Courseware Steering Committee (CSC)

This group consists of IT and academic leadership at Penn. It is the decision-making body for Courseware.

School/Center Representative(s)
Annenberg Richard Cardona
Arts & Sciences John MacDermott
Dental Melissa Miller
Design Cathy DiBonaventura
Engineering Chip Buchholtz
Graduate School of Education Kim Eke
ISC Jim Choate, Donna Milici
Law Kay McDonnell
Nursing Tejash Patel
Online Learning Initiative Rebecca Stein
Pereleman School of Medicine Anna Delaney
Provost Rob Nelson
Registrar Adam Sherr, Margaret Kip
Social Policy & Practice Emily McCully
Wharton Dave Siedell
Courseware Advisory Liaison Rob Ditto

Courseware Advisory (CA)

This group includes representatives from all the schools at Penn and coordinates user support, documentation, and training for Courseware.

School/Center Primary Representative Additional Representative(s)
Annenberg Min Zhong
Arts & Sciences Elizabeth Scheyder
Arts & Sciences Online Learning Angelina Conti Clayton Colman, Joe Schaffner
Center for Teaching & Learning Jessica Morris  Cathy Turner
Dental Chia-Wei Wu
Design Ezra Lee
Engineering Chris Niemeyer
English Language Program Ula Cutten Betsy Jane Kells
Graduate School of Education Zach Nachsin SoBae Park
Law Christine Droesser
Nursing  Erin Marshall
Perelman School of Medicine Nadir Shah Laura Hart, Sara Shaffer, Adam Zolkover
Registrar Meghan Mahony
Social Policy & Practice Nicole Auge  Emily McCully
Wharton Rob Ditto Linda Lee