After careful consideration and evaluation by Duke Learning Innovation (DLI) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT), Duke University and Duke Kunshan University are moving from Sakai to the Canvas platform. We are optimistic about the opportunities this transition represents for the Duke community, and are eager to see how Canvas will transform the teaching experience at Duke.


Where are we now?

All Duke University and Duke Kunshan University using a classroom LMS are now on Canvas. This Summer, the project team is focused on:

  • Providing support to the Duke community as Canvas is widely implemented, including migrating content from Sakai to Canvas and creating Collaboration Sites (the alternative to Project Sites in Sakai).
  • Delivering training to instructors and staff who will use Canvas for the first time in Summer and Fall 2024.

*Instructors at the School of Medicine and Fuqua should continue using their respective instances of Canvas for courses based out of those schools. 

See the Full Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions About the Transition

Sakai has served Duke well for over a decade. However, the large number of universities that have already migrated off Sakai—a community-supported LMS—has left the sustainability of the platform precarious given the small number of remaining clients. 

Additionally, in order to connect Sakai to external applications (for example Gradescope and Zoom), the developers of those applications need to build an “integration” (piece of software code) that connects their application to Sakai to transfer information seamlessly between the two. As the number of Sakai universities has decreased, it means that often the Sakai integrations we might want for external applications used commonly at Duke do not exist. 

Finally, the amount of effort needed to keep up with the current leading LMSs, build new features and evolve with Duke’s educational needs can no longer be met by the Sakai Community, Longsight (our Sakai hosting vendor), or Duke.

In Summer 2022, Duke Learning Innovation (DLI) and Office of Information Technology (OIT) leadership determined that Duke University needs a more robust learning platform to achieve its goals over the coming decade. A project team of representatives from DLI and OIT was selected to investigate and propose a platform by December 2022. Observing that many universities had already moved to the Canvas platform, the team began its evaluation by focusing on whether or not Canvas would meet Duke’s needs. The evaluation process included independent research, consultations with peers at other universities who have switched from Sakai to Canvas, meetings with representatives at Instructure (the company that owns and operates Canvas), and inviting input from various campus stakeholders, including our Functional Stakeholder group of volunteer faculty, staff and students.

The project team focused on the following criteria during the evaluation process:

  1. Accessibility
  2. Analytics and insights
  3. Customization
  4. Mobile Options
  5. Security and Privacy
  6. User and Account Support 
  7. Sustainability
  8. Teaching and Learning 
  9. Third Party Integrations
  10. User Experience

Canvas is the largest LMS provider in higher education, and has already been successfully adopted by programs at the Fuqua School of Business and School of Medicine, as well as many of Duke’s peer institutions. Features and functions of Canvas that the evaluation team found especially valuable include – but are certainly not limited to: 

As of Summer 2024, all courses taught at Duke University and Duke Kunshan University that use a classroom LMS will use Canvas. Sakai is now in "reference-only" mode, meaning users can continue to access old Sakai courses and instructors can request to have course content migrated from Sakai into Canvas, but no new content can be created in Sakai.

Yes - please review the content on the migration page for more information about the migration process.

You will be able to access your previously created content in Sakai until May 31, 2025. User access to Sakai will be disabled on June 1, 2025.

The equivalent to project sites in Canvas are Collaboration Sites. Learn more and request a Collaboration Site here.

As of May 2024, no new project sites may be created in Sakai. Project sites in Sakai may continue to be used until Summer 2025, when access to Sakai will be disabled. If you have a project site in Sakai, we recommend you request a collaboration site in Canvas as soon as possible. 

Prior to this university-wide transition, the Duke University School of Medicine and Duke's Fuqua School of Business had already established their own instances of Canvas. If you are attempting to access a course for either of those schools, you can access their instances of Canvas below:

    DKU is transitioning from Sakai to Canvas with Duke University. Canvas is accessible similarly to Sakai. DKU's Center for Teaching and Learning are leading the training and adoption efforts for instructors at DKU. Visit DKU's Canvas site for more specific information and resources.

    Kits won’t go away as it provides value outside the LMS and outside the course context for those working on projects and collaborations. We are evaluating the relationship between Kits and Canvas to better balance the functionality Kits provides with the complexity that comes with it. The integration between Kits and Canvas may be different than what currently exists between Kits and Sakai.

    Who Is Bringing Canvas to Duke?


    • Tracy Futhey, Vice President & Chief Information Officer
    • Yakut Gazi, Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Digital Education
    • Evan Levine, Senior Director of IT Services & Support

    Project Team

    • Project Lead – Michael Greene, DLI 
    • Project Manager – Logan Roger, OIT
    • LMS Service Lead – Marty Soupcoff, DLI
    • Communications – Blythe Tyrone, DLI; Camille Jackson, OIT
    • Evaluation – Grey Reavis, DLI
    • Technical implementation – Liz Wendlend, OIT
    • Third-Party Integrations –  Chris Lorch and Ashley Walker, DLI
    • Faculty support –  Brenda Knox, Pratt, and Seth Anderson and Heather Hans, DLI
    • DKU – Haiyan Zhou, CTL

    Functional Stakeholders

    The Functional Stakeholder group is composed of volunteers from the Duke community to represent the members of their respective schools or units and provide input to the project team and sponsors.

    • Alex Glass, Senior Lecturer, Nicholas
    • Brenda Knox, Instructional Designer, Pratt
    • Dave Johnston, Associate Dean of Learning Innovation, Nicholas
    • Ed Gomes, Dean of IT, Trinity
    • Hugh Crumley, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Graduate School
    • Jennie De Gagne, Professor, Health Systems & Analytics Division, Nursing
    • Jacqui McMillian-Bohler, Assistant Clinical Professor, Nursing
    • Jax Nalley, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Duke Student Government
    • Jiaxin Wu, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, DKU
    • John Campbell, Senior Director, Student Information Systems, DKU
    • Julia Conrad Fisher, Educational Technology Specialist, School of Medicine
    • Karen Newberry, Head, Library Systems and Integration Support Department, Libraries
    • Karin Breiwitz, Instructional Technology Analyst, Divinity
    • Ken Rogerson, Professor of the Practice, Sanford
    • Linda Daniel, Reference and Digital Services Librarian, Libraries
    • Luisa Li, Educational Technology Specialist, DKU
    • Mark Hart, Associate Dean, Sanford
    • Meagan Dunphy-Daly, Lecturer, Nicholas
    • Preston Nibley, Undergraduate Student
    • Rachel Porter, Senior Education Strategist, Physician Assistant Program
    • Sharon Kaiser, Manager, Information Systems, School of Medicine
    • Tina Johnson, Manager, Educational Technology, Nursing
    • Zoe Tishaev, Undergraduate Student