Your Top Carmen (Canvas) Questions ANSWERED

Students, faculty and staff alike made it through the first week of a new semester. We know it was a bit rocky with our IT systems working hard to keep up with the needs of new Buckeyes, as well as the brand new interface at We've learned a lot from the start of this semester and already have plans in place to make future semesters much smoother. In the meantime, we know students are a little confused about Carmen (Canvas), so we wanted to take the time to answer your most-asked questions:

Is it Carmen or is it Canvas?

Ohio State's online learning management system is called Carmen, and you can access this system at Our friendship is firm with that name, so to Buckeyes, it's always Carmen.

Canvas is the name of the software platform running behind the Carmen service, and this platform is owned by a company called Instructure. If you would like to access your Carmen courses on the go, you should download Instructure's app called Canvas for iOS or Android.

Why are there two different platforms behind Carmen this autumn semester?

Instructors can choose to teach their Carmen courses using the Canvas LMS or Desire2Learn (D2L). Our pilot program showed that instructors favored Canvas, and 70% of courses are already being taught using Canvas. However, we wanted to give instructors ample time to get used to the system before getting rid of D2L (which will happen this spring semester).

We understand it's inconvenient for the students, which is why we've been encouraging early adoption of Canvas. We've also created virtual tours of the Canvas interface so everyone can get familiar with the new system.

Why do things have to change?

Faculty and instructional staff at Ohio State are growing and finding new, innovative ways to provide an excellent education for their students. We needed a learning management system that could grow with them.

Intro to Psychology Program Director Melissa Beers explains it best: "I've been using Carmen for 10 years [and] my teaching has really grown within the bounds of that system. And so, [D2L] is almost like a mold. And when you take that mold off, then things are very different. There's a lot more opportunity there in Canvas."

D2L just wasn't keeping up with what instructors and students expected from an elearning system. Think of it this way: the D2L season has passed, and the years will roll forward with Carmen (Canvas).

What's with the panda on the unicycle?

Many of you have stumbled across a delightful panda riding a unicycle while files and pages are loading. This is entirely normal within the Canvas LMS! If you choose to use the Canvas app, you will likely see the panda sporting a superhero suit. And this summer, faculty and staff spotted the panda floating in the middle of a lake in Colorado.

Why all the pandas, you might ask? Rumor has it, Instructure staffed their receptionist desk with a giant stuffed panda at some point in the past, and now the designers are simply having too much fun with their unofficial mascot. Enjoy the #pandamonium!

Download the Canvas app for iOS or Android

Take a virtual tour of the Canvas interface:

Hear testimonials from instructors:

Enjoy the #pandamonium!