CourseWork, the learning management system (LMS) that has served teachers and learners at Stanford since 2005, is based on an “open source” platform called Sakai. Stanford, along with 4 other universities, founded Sakai in 2004. Stanford has continually contributed to the platform, adding many features that have been requested by Stanford instructors.
Software platforms, such as Sakai, require frequent updating in order to stay current with emerging technologies and the increasing expectations of users. Occasionally, a major rewrite is required in order to ensure a platform’s continued supportability and extensibility. Although there was an effort by the open source community to develop a successor to Sakai, the project did not result in a platform that could meet the basic needs of users upgrading from Sakai.
Stanford was the last of the 5 founding universities to use Sakai. While the platform continues to provide benefit to many institutions worldwide, it is no longer viable for Stanford to maintain and enhance the platform to meet the growing needs of teaching and learning on campus.
During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning hosted an open pilot of Canvas, a new cloud-based LMS. After a successful pilot, Canvas was adopted as Stanford’s primary LMS and as a replacement for CourseWork.
The transition from CourseWork to Canvas took place during Fall 2016. CourseWork was officially retired on January 3, 2017.
A course website is created automatically for every Stanford course on Canvas. Instructors simply need to log in to Canvas to start adding content to their course websites.