Academic IT projects

The Education IT Programme includes several Academic IT projects and initiatives related to teaching and learning. The input received from departments and faculties as part of the Digital Education Strategy consultation was fed into the Education IT Board, and will help to set priorities for future Academic IT projects. These projects are being timed to complement the rollout of Canvas, the new virtual learning environment (VLE).

All completed Academic IT projects are available from the completed projects page.

You may also like to refer to the latest Education IT Programme Update for Academic IT projects completed recently.  

Expand All


In March 2018 Canvas was chosen as the new virtual learning environment (VLE) for Oxford. The decision to use Canvas, provided by Instructure, is the result of a process that began with the 2016 Digital Education Strategy implementation consultation, which identified the need for a more intuitive and user-friendly VLE. Following a rigorous selection process, Canvas was identified as the solution which would provide the best quality of user experience to support teaching and learning at Oxford. 

You can find more information on the process that led to the selection of Canvas on the  VLE Review page.   


As of June 2018 the project has moved to the early adopter phase, which will involve several departments and faculties moving their courses to Canvas.  


Early adopters will attend a number of design and training workshops, and will be closely supported by Learning Technologists and implementation coordinators throughout the duration of the phase. Students on early adopter courses (first year undergraduate and graduate students on courses starting in Michaelmas term 2018) will be contacted by the project before they begin their course of study at Oxford and will be supplied with any support materials needed. The early adopter phase will undergo a rigorous evaluation which will be used to inform the wider rollout, expected to take place from summer 2019.


A series of roadshows are being run during the lifetime of the project, with the dates being widely communicated across the University each term. The first set of roadshows took place during Trinity term and were attended by nearly 200 people in total.


You can find more information about Canvas on the Digital Education website  


Following an earlier pilot with the Bodleian Social Sciences Library in the use of online reading lists,  the project will be moving to the next stage by delivering a much improved solution which will integrate fully with the Library's Management System as well as the new Virtual Learning Environment and will enable students to access their reading lists – linked through to full-text resources and catalogue availability data - in an accessible, digital environment.

The new solution will be used in the first instance by early adopters, drawn from four departments. The Project Team will work closely with the early adopters to rigorously test the solution. The early adoption phase will be followed by an evaluation period, at the end of which any feedback received will be actioned as appropriate. The service is expected to be  transitioned into ‘business as usual’ from end March 2019 after the formal closure of the project.

More details can be found on the Online Reading Lists web page.



During the 2017/18 academic year, we will trial timed, invigilated examinations in which students type, rather than handwrite, their scripts.

The Digital Education Strategy consultation identified increasing interest in trialling the use of technology for examinations. Initially, these will be exclusively formative examinations, that is, those that do not determine students’ progression in their programme of study. 

The project will investigate the potential of typed, invigilated examinations by funding and running a trial during the start of Trinity term 2018. This will be carried out by working in conjunction with Education Policy Support, Examinations and Assessments, the Medical Sciences Division, and three interested departments in the other academic divisions.

More information can be found on the e-exams page.

Work is under way to research, develop and pilot a framework to assist academic course teams in optimising the use of digital technologies as they design new programmes or revise existing ones. The work, which is closely aligned with the Digital Education Strategy, is based on the principles of Learning Design: guidance, sharing and representation. The project team is currently reviewing previous research in this field at Oxford and elsewhere, and is visiting other universities in the UK where Learning Design approaches have been implemented successfully.
The outputs of the work will be a supportive framework appropriate to Oxford, together with associated professional development workshops and resources for academics wishing to engage with technology enhanced learning. The work, to be completed in July 2018, will lay the foundation for a service provided collaboratively by Academic IT and the Oxford Learning Institute.

List of site pages