Canvas reviews mixed

Problems resulted from last summer`s conversion from Blackboard to Canvas, according to Information Technology Training Specialist Jennifer Goolsby,

“There were a lot of problems not being resolved with students getting locked out of tests and support issues” Goolsby said. “The main reason Midland College updated its online system from Blackboard to Canvas was because the version of Blackboard that the college was using wasn’t going to be supported anymore.”

She said the upgrade of  Blackboard would have been very expensive and resource intensive.

With Canvas, the server is hosted by offsite servers, not just the ones on campus. “Canvas is easier to learn and use. it is designed for online courses,” Goolsby said. “I thinks Canvas is better because it`s more transparent and the students and teachers can actually see what`s in their class. With blackboard most instructor where not aware of everything that was in their class.”

Although people`s opinions vary about whether Blackboard or Canvas is better, Goolsby says these are just opinions. “As long as people take the time to learn how to use the system, they have found it to be a success, but I have found out the more that’s put in to learning something the easier it becomes.”

As Goolsby looked in to it a little deeper, she said she discovered sometimes problem was with how the instructor had it set up. She asked a couple of students last semester what they thought,  and the few who didn`t like it couldn`t find what their instructors asked them to find.

Goolsby said there are a lot of factors to be taken into account when people have difficulties. Some were resistant, some found Canvas harder to use, but overall Canvas gives instructors flexibility to do more than they could with Blackboard.”

Although she has only worked with Canvas, MC student Patricia Martinez said Canvas is wonderful for some, but confusing for most. Martinez said the way some instructors set up their class pages makes it a lot harder to function and do what she has to do.

“I like how Canvas keeps good track of all my grades,” Martinez said. “All I have to do is click on the tab that reads ‘grades’ and it shows me my averages of my classes.”

Canvas was released in the Fall of 2013 for student and teacher use. Many people took time to get used to Canvas. MC student Taylor Daniels said, “ I was used to Blackboard, so the change confused me, but as I got used to Canvas and the minor problems were fixed I began to like Canvas.”

Biology Professor Ethel Matthews said that Blackboard was easier than Canvas. “It seems like it was fewer steps to get information from my computer to Blackboard. Part of it is a lack of familiarity,” she said. “After people work with something for a while, they become more comfortable with the needs of what it takes to work with the program.”

There are some disappointed people around campus, including MC student Christina Taylor.

“I was so upset about the change of Blackboard to Canvas,” Taylor said. “I can`t even get my assignments from my teachers. When I send a message to my teachers they do not receive my message.”

She misses the live support of Blackboard. “Now late at night when I am doing my homework and I get stuck, I will not get any help until the morning” she said. “Canvas makes things so much harder for me. It seems like it’s just made for online classes.”

Canvas helped make other students’ college semester easier.

MC students Stephanie Rodriquez and Forrest Randall agree that Canvas is way more organized, and easier to get in touch with teachers and communicate with them as well.

Student Success professor Shauna Cobb said Canvas is easier for her to grade assignments and  more reliable than Blackboard. The only problem she is aware of is that some students can`t access it. Cobb advised them to use a different browser and that seem to work.      Canvas makes it easier for her to organize her assignments, lessons and other information she uploads for her students. Cobb said she is having a blast with the new system and how it`s working for her.

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