Why Canvas?

Last year (in 2021), NUSIT and CIT conducted a comprehensive review of available learning management systems and recommended the adoption of Instructure Canvas as a replacement for LumiNUS. The LMS landscape has changed considerably and LMS providers have greatly expanded and improved their products. In addition, Canvas integrates well with many third-party tools that you may want to use within your course.

Canvas is increasingly familiar to new faculty members joining NUS; this change of LMS is expected to allow for improvements in teaching, learning, and integration with other NUS systems.

Canvas is a cloud-based Learning Management System created by Instructure. It is widely used at multiple leading institutions around the world including Brown University, University of British Columbia, University of California Berkeley, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, MIT, Oxford University, Stanford University, Princeton University, and Yale University.

NUSIT and CIT conducted a comprehensive review of available learning management systems and recommended the adoption of Instructure Canvas as a replacement for LumiNUS. The review demonstrated that Canvas would allow faculty members to engage students more readily both inside and outside the classroom. Some tools that Canvas offers include:

  • User-friendly tools that will streamline communications between faculty and students, including mobile apps
  • Modules tool to structure course content by week, unit, topic, or outcome; and Pages tool that allow instructors to quickly create course content directly on the web. The pages include rich media like video and audio, and can link to other pages, assignments, discussions, and other course activities in Canvas and can be interactive and used for collaboration
  • A Canvas Studio tool that allows instructors and students to actively collaborate through video and audio
  • A calendar tool that makes course deadlines obvious and unambiguous for students, and which can easily be integrated with Outlook and Google Calendar
  • A scheduler tool that enables faculty to set up an office/consultation hours calendar in Canvas and allows students to book appointments within the course site
  • A grade center simplifies grading by allowing faculty to leave comments and feedback on students’ work. It can also be integrated with our other systems to establish a more straightforward process for faculty to report midterm and final course grades
  • Outcomes tool designed to help department’s to assess student’s mastery and can be used to align courses and student assessments to standards.
Training and Support

We will provide a range of options to help you learn Canvas and take advantage of its tools. This includes:

  • Ongoing training sessions (synchronous + asynchronous) will be conducted for all faculty throughout the semester starting special semester AY2022/2023 Sem 1
  • Individual consultations with an academic developer at CDTL
  • Walk-in office hours at CDTL / Zoom consultations
  • Small-group training sessions
  • Early adopters of Canvas will be available to provide consultations and mentoring within their departments/faculties
  • Online tutorials, help articles and FAQs

Our goal is to provide training and support tailored to the diverse technological needs and pedagogical strategies of the NUS teaching and learning community.

  • The Canvas Migration Team will help faculty members migrate your content from LumiNUS to Canvas, if requested
  • Faculty can also download a zip file of their old courses.
  • We will maintain an archive of LumiNUS courses to make sure no one loses content that they care about.
  • LumiNUS will be switched to a read-only status in January 2023 and will remain available for content retrieval upon completion of the move to Canvas.

The Canvas migration team will work with each faculty member to determine the migration solution that works best for them. Our project team consists of academic developers from CDTL and educational technologists from CIT who have the technical and pedagogical expertise to provide personalised support to all instructors. Our team also consists of trained student assistants who will provide dedicated support in migrating your content from LumiNUS to Canvas.

We can migrate your course using automated copying tools and rebuild the course in Canvas or show faculty members how to reconstruct their course in Canvas—our approach will be guided by each faculty member’s preference.

LumiNUS and Canvas
  • Modules are referred to as Courses in Canvas. Canvas has a Modules tool within your courses, and these are equivalent to Learning Flow in LumiNUS. Modules in Canvas are used to organise your course content, the flow of the course, which can be by weeks, units, or activity types (e.g., lectures, tutorials, labs). This terminology change is likely to cause confusion during early stages of using Canvas, and we hope you will gradually get used to this new terminology.
  • All official courses are pre-created for you in Canvas during the semesters that you are scheduled to teach.
  • Each course has a limited storage quota.

Only the following contents will be downloaded from LumiNUS: Module Details, Weblinks, Files/Folders (but does not include submission folders) and Quizzes.

Videos, Web lectures and Multimedia will be manually migrated to Panopto by the technical team and can be accessed directly from Canvas in your respective Course sites.


The Canvas migration team is working out a plan for you to migrate such courses that you do not teach in the next two semesters.

Yes, until the transition to Canvas is complete, students will have to access some courses on LumiNUS and some courses on Canvas.