Canvas and Blackboard are two of the most popular LMS software used in businesses and schools today.

Although Canvas was made exclusively for educational institutions and Blackboard was built for both academic and corporate sectors, these LMS software products are often compared to each other ever since some well-known universities switched from Blackboard to Canvas when Canvas was first released.

We compare the features, functions, and capabilities of Canvas and Blackboard in this article. Before we talk more about these LMS software products, though, let’s just establish that Blackboard will have more features than Canvas since Blackboard accommodates both businesses and schools.

Want to speed up the search for the best learning management system for your company? Fill out our Product Selection Tool for our Technology Advisors to give you a short list of vendors who’ll meet your feature requirements. Read on for our comparison of Canvas and Blackboard.

Canvas vs. Blackboard: Where it all began

Canvas was founded in 2008 by Brigham Young University graduates Brian Whitmer and Devlin Daley. In 2010, the Utah Education Network switched from using Blackboard to Canvas. In 2011, Canvas was made available as an open source software.

Blackboard was founded by Michael Chasen, Daniel Cane, Matthew Pittinsky, and Stephen Gilfus in 1997. Initially, Blackboard catered only to academic institutions. By 2006, around 40% of schools in the United States used Blackboard. It was around this time that Blackboard became an official Learning Management System and opened its doors for corporate use.

Today, Blackboard LMS is known as Blackboard Learn.

Comparison of features and capabilities for Canvas vs. Blackboard


The Quizzes feature of Canvas lets teachers create online assessments and surveys. Teachers can use various types of questions in the assessments they create. They can also grade the exams through Canvas. Relevant details about assessments like date of availability, length of exam time, and the number of allowable attempts per student can also be modified by teachers using this feature.

Just like Canvas, Blackboard gives teachers or instructors the opportunity to create, administer, and grade tests. Instructors get to tailor the tests by choosing the type of questions they want to use. Questions on past quizzes may be reused and reordered with this feature from Blackboard. Teachers can also build timed tests with this LMS software.

Virtual learning 

Virtual classroom discussions are possible with Canvas. Students can schedule online sessions with their teachers and collaborate with other users in real time. Students may share their insights within the group. Two or more users can team up and work on a single document and share files with other group members within the LMS.

Blackboard has a Digital Classroom feature that allows online teaching as well as web conferencing. Learners can interact with the instructor as well as other learners in real time with this feature. Materials can also be shared within the group. This feature may also be used by businesses for online professional development training.

Read also: The Best Learning Management Systems of 2019

Mobile accessibility 

Through the Canvas mobile app, students can submit assignments and annotate documents. Teachers can also access the assignments submitted by students and make annotations using the mobile app.

This feature also lets users access the Canvas dashboard, calendar, to-do list, and vital information about subjects, such as discussions.

Blackboard app is the mobile application for Blackboard. This feature helps learners take assessments and participate in virtual classes on-the-go. Users get notified about upcoming due dates for assignments and quizzes through the Blackboard app.

Blackboard’s additional capabilities for corporate clients

Blackboard has additional capabilities for their business clients. These capabilities include tracking progress for all the training completed by users, sending mass notifications to users during critical situations, and even training to boost sales.

Integrations for Canvas vs. Blackboard

There are numerous integrations for Canvas, such as school information systems, anti-plagiarism engines, Google Apps, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, video conferencing software, and many others.

At present, Blackboard integrates with a number of pre-selected apps and software. Possible integrations for Blackboard include school information systems, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Moodle LMS, Pearson LearningStudio, BrainHoney, itsLearning, Sakai Collaborative and Learning Environment, Epsilen, and Desire2Learn.

Which LMS software to choose

Due to the impressive list of capabilities of both Canvas and Blackboard, there’s no question they can add a significant improvement to the learning systems of your organization.

If you’re currently looking for a dependable LMS for your business, there’s no question that between Canvas and Blackboard, Blackboard isn’t just the better choice — it’s the only choice that can meet the needs of businesses and corporations.

However, if you are in search of a reliable LMS for the school, college, or university you own, we recommend reviewing the differences in approach and features of Canvas and Blackboard.

For example, Blackboard has a built-in video conferencing feature for its mobile application that Canvas doesn’t have. Canvas has an extensive list of possible integrations that can be added into the mobile app through a web conferencing integration.

Ultimately, you can also request a demo of both LMS software solutions to determine which option you should choose. If you want more HR software options, use our HR Software Buyers Guide.