Pilot Participant Expectations

Happy girl surrounded by bubblesIf you are an early adopter of new technologies, tools, and techniques who can “go with the flow” and embrace ambiguity, then you are the perfect candidate to participate in Canvas pilots.

Why pilot new technologies?

Like all aspects of our lives, technology profoundly affects what we do and how we do it. At Penn, we are seeing instructional innovations emerging from all corners of the campus. Thoughtfully and intentionally exploring new tools to evaluate their pedagogical impact is an adventure in which we all learn. In addition, pilot participants will enjoy:

  • Direct experience with an emerging technology, in many cases, one that is used by peer higher education institutions.
  • An opportunity to influence the future direction of academic technologies on Penn’s campus.
  • Continued support and access to the application through the evaluation period.


Participant feedback is essential to a successful evaluation. With each pilot, we will look to the following groups to contribute to assessments:

  • Local Support Providers in schools and centers – to share their experiences supporting faculty and students
  • Faculty, Staff & Students – to tell us how valuable the technology was to their learning goals and experiences
  • Canvas Administrators – to evaluate issues related to long-term support and maintenance, security and privacy, cost, vendor responsiveness, and ease of implementationand management.


Each pilot will have an assessment plan. Pilot participants are expected to contribute to assessments. Methods may include one or more of the following:

  • Online surveys
  • Classroom observations
  • Canvas site/tool analysis
  • Interviews

Data will be collected during and/or toward the end of the semester, aggregated, summarized and posted to the pilot blog page.

General Expectations

  1. Interested participants will contact their local support provider to get started.
  2. Participants will use the technology for academic purposes, and when appropriate, will inform students of the tool and available training resources, the rationale for using it in the course, and the expectation that students will provide feedback for the final assessment.
  3. Participants will become familiar with the pilot technology by attending an initial workshop session (if needed), reviewing online videos and documentation, and logging into a test site intended for participants to explore, break, and try the technology safely.
  4. Participants will be added to a low-volume pilot listserv to receive updates about the pilot, the tool, and what colleagues are finding/doing.
  5. Participants will use a tiered escalation process:
    1. Review online help and documentation
    2. Contact the local LSP for on-site assistance
    3. LSP will contact Courseware team if needed
    4. Courseware team will contact vendor if needed
  6. Participants will consider sharing their experiences in a future workshop or event like the annual Engaging Students through Technology Symposium.
  7. Everyone involved will have some fun and surprises along the way!