Blackboard vs. Canvas LMS: Compare Core LMS Capabilities and More

Blackboard and Canvas LMS are two learning management systems (LMS) that target the K-12 and higher education market. Both solutions share social learning features and provide native mobile apps for learning on the go. In this post, we’ll compare Blackboard and Canvas LMS on a few factors.

What is the Main Difference Between Blackboard and Canvas LMS?

  • Despite having robust analytics functionality, students can measure their progress in Blackboard Learn, while Canvas LMS doesn’t offer this feature.
  • Blackboard Learn has a 30-day free trial, while Canvas LMS has a free plan for teachers with basic features.
  • Both Blackboard and Canvas LMS have similar customer support, but Canvas LMS offers optional, premium support.

Product Overviews

Here are excerpts from the Blackboard and Canvas LMS reviews that summarize each solution:


Blackboard Learn is a web-based LMS that’s used in both the academic and business environments to help students and employees improve their learning experience. It’s easily customized to an organization’s needs and integrates with Microsoft OneDrive, school information systems and Dropbox.

Blackboard Learn is tailored to four different markets: K-12, higher education, businesses and government. All four markets share Blackboard Learn’s main features, such as testing/assessments, discussions and a dedicated user learning profile.

Canvas LMS

Instructure is a software provider focusing on dynamic learning management systems (LMSs) that streamline teaching tasks for various settings. One of those systems is Canvas, which was created for educational institutions. Developed in 2011, Canvas can help teachers to better engage their students in the learning process. It includes many features, such as mobile learning, content delivery, unlimited file size, SpeedGrader (adding grades to a gradebook), and audio, video and chat collaboration tools.

While Canvas is intended for schools, Instructure offers the Canvas for Corporate Education tool for organizations that want to develop employee training programs.

Features Comparison

Virtual Learning


Blackboard Learn integrates with Blackboard Collaborate, a videoconferencing solution. Blackboard Collaborate includes many features, such as a whiteboard, chatting, breakout rooms, notifications and on-demand polls. Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate both streamline workflows, including automated class attendance and available recordings of the virtual session. If an organization prefers to use Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Learn can integrate with those solutions.

Canvas LMS

With the Canvas Conferences feature that integrates with BigBlueButton, teachers can host virtual classes, have office hours for students, allow students to practice their presentations or connect with other teachers for professional development. They can also record classes so students can view them later. Note that Canvas LMS recommends up to 100 participants per meeting. While teachers can create and host conferences within BigBlueButton, Canvas LMS can also integrate with other web conferencing solutions via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)I, such as Blackboard Collaborate, Google Meet, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Bottom Line

Both solutions have similar virtual learning features and can also integrate with the same third-party videoconferencing provider.



The Blackboard Analytics feature lets administrators and learners measure their performance of a specific class or program. Learners can access their student-facing dashboard to track their activity in comparison with their peers. Administrators can filter and drill down into their data on specific metrics like students at-risk of earning a failing grade or tools that are most used or least used in a course.

In addition to Blackboard Analytics, there are two solutions that help higher education institutions measure track enrollment, financial aid, accreditation and other metrics: Blackboard Intelligence (a business intelligence solution) and Blackboard Assessment and Accreditation.

Canvas LMS

Canvas LMS has released a new feature via LTI called New Analytics, where teachers can track course grades, weekly participation rates and attendance using chart graphs or data tables.

For more advanced features, Instructure’s Elevate K-12 Analytics (formerly called Videri) software solution combines real-time data from School Information Systems (SIS), learning management systems, attendance records and other sources in one place, so schools can monitor trends within a classroom, school or district. Some of its features include predefined reports, built-in report and visualization templates, multi-year analytics and role-based security.

Bottom Line

Although both vendors provide similar analytics features, Blackboard Learn allows students to measure their course performance while Canvas LMS does not.

Mobile Learning


The Blackboard Learn App empowers learners to access their courses while on the go. They can participate in real-time virtual classes and discussions, take assessments and get assignments, notes and reminders with the notification-based system. The app is available on Apple and Android devices. There’s also a separate app dedicated to parents, called Blackboard Reach, that lets them communicate with their child’s teacher.

Canvas LMS

Canvas LMS has a dedicated mobile app for Android and iPhone/iOS users. Teachers can manage courses, edit content, grade submissions or send messages, while students can see their grades, check out any announcements and send messages to their teacher. There’s also a Canvas Parent app where parents can see their child’s assignments.

Bottom Line

Both solutions have similar mobile features, but Blackboard Learn’s app has the ability to allow virtual classes, while Canvas LMS’s app does not.



The price of Blackboard isn’t disclosed. We’ve attempted to estimate these costs by gathering all available information online, but in order to know how much Blackboard will cost, prospects must reach out to Blackboard for a quote based on their industry and number of learners.

Canvas LMS

Teachers can use Canvas LMS for free with the Free-for-Teachers plan, even if the school isn’t a Canvas LMS customer. The Free-for-Teachers plan provides educators with features such as content creation, personalized learning, grading, the Canvas mobile app and integration with third-party software solutions. It also provides access to parents, students and administrators.

There are some features that are only available via Canvas LMS paid plans, such as course templates, the ability to upload Student Information Systems (SiS) data, multiple grading periods and a customer support ticketing system. Instructure doesn’t publicly release its pricing information, so prospects will need to contact the vendor directly for a quote.

Bottom Line

Both vendors require that prospects contact them for a custom price quote. Also, Blackboard Learn doesn’t have a free plan (although there’s a 30-day free trial), while Canvas LMS has one for teachers.

Customer Support


Blackboard Learn users can access the dedicated help site for answers to troubleshooting and other commonly-asked questions. Blackboard also offers tutorials on its YouTube channel and a community forum for connecting with other users.

For system administrators and developers, there is a dedicated site called Behind the Blackboard for support resources, software update downloads and reference materials. System administrators can also call Client Support if they aren’t able to get their questions answered from the help site.

Canvas LMS

Users can click on the Help button through their Canvas LMS Dashboard, which leads them to a Community portal that includes troubleshooting guides, a product roadmap and a Question Forum for asking and answering questions from the community.

Canvas LMS provides additional standard support to IT administrators with paid subscriptions, such as a ticketing system and phone support during regular business hours. Its initial response time is within two business days. Note that teachers or students that experience technical issues should contact their school’s IT administrator for support.

The vendor offers three optional support plans for an additional fee:

  • 24/7 support – This plan adds on 24/7 phone, email and live chat support to administrators and an initial response time of within 12 hours. Up to three administrators per school can contact support.
  • 24/7 + Faculty Tier 1 support –  In this plan, Canvas LMS provides Tier 1 support directly to faculty and staff. Faculty and staff members can contact support via phone, email or live chat. Canvas LMS has a targeted one-hour initial response time to web/email tickets and a five-minute response time for phone calls and chats.
  • 24/7 + Tier 1 support – Canvas LMS provides Tier 1 support to all users, including students. Users can contact support directly by phone, email or live chat. The initial response time is the same time frame as in the previous plan.

Bottom Line

Both Blackboard and Canvas LMS offer similar customer support, including phone support to administrators. But Blackboard doesn’t offer optional premium support, while Canvas LMS does.

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