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Introducing Canvas – A New Tool for Critical Care Education at Pitt

Mon, 03/21/2016

The Department of Critical Care Medicine recently adopted a new learning management system (LMS), known as Canvas, which greatly enhances our ability to employ our extensive array of instructional resources as we provide world-class critical care education. The choice of Canvas followed an extensive needs assessment and involvement of our faculty and fellows. This adoption demonstrates our department’s commitment to leveraging contemporary educational methods, in an effort to continuously improve the learning experience that we provide.

Our department has a long history of providing a rich array of online resources to support our Multidisciplinary Critical Care Training Program (MCCTP). We began to integrate technologies for teaching and learning into our educational program about ten years ago, when we began creating podcasts from our daily lecture series. The approximately 150 lectures recorded annually since then constitute one of the most extensive array of online resources supporting a fellowship program. Moreover, around two years ago, we adopted a flipped classroom pedagogical approach, which improved the educational experience in several aspects: 1) as a contemporary educational strategy, it was better suited to fellows’ expectations and learning styles; 2) it enabled us to leverage our existing online material; and 3) it allowed for better assessment of the fellows’ learning experiences. 

In an effort to continue employing cutting-edge technological resources, nearly a year ago we began to conduct an extensive search for an online learning management system that would better suit our expanding educational needs. As a team approach, this process engaged all stakeholders, including faculty members who were frequent contributors to our curriculum, developers and other support staff, as well as the fellows themselves. The local development team includes Jason Moore, James Rieker, Max Glider, Linda Stevanus, Nicole Barthel, and Ethan Lennox. This search led us to Canvas, which we discovered would enable us to continue providing high quality, learner-centered, and sustainable instruction in critical care, while also enhancing our current capabilities using Canvas’ extensive collection of tools and resources. We are confident that with Canvas, we will continue to provide exceptional educational programs that make us a leader in critical care medicine.