Been There, Done That--Canvas Gave Me The T-Shirt
September 15, 2015

Been There, Done That--Canvas Gave Me The T-Shirt

Krista  M. LeBrun, Ph.D. | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Canvas

Canvas is being utilized as a our learning management system for the entire institution. All instructors have access to a Canvas course shell each term and utilize it to provide course content, maintain grade records, and as synchronous/asynchronous meeting space. Canvas allows us to provide quality, accessible education regardless of location. The ease of use and seamless integration with other vendors has allowed us to take our course offerings to another level. As a previous Blackboard user, our institution was familiar with utilizing an LMS for course content. There are many portions of Canvas that we prefer but it appears that publishers are still lacking when it comes to synching publisher content with Canvas.
  • Canvas puts the user first. Having been developed by college students, Canvas was originally developed with only the student in mind. When the instructor posts an announcement or assignments, students can access it through a variety of portals including inbox, email, Twitter, Facebook, and the Canvas calendar. Canvas has recently identified that instructors sometimes need to limit what students have access to so new features have been implemented such as locking modules and building but not publishing content in the course.
  • Organization. Courses can be easily organized under modules. Additionally, there is the Canvas calendar, to-do list, and the fact that when an instructor creates an assignment it auto publishes to the syllabus page, Calendar, to-do list, and sends messages to the student if their notifications are turned on.
  • Canvas listens. They have a feature request forum which allows users to request certain features and functions. Once the feature requests receives enough votes, Canvas adds it to their roadmap.
  • Room for growth. Canvas is constantly seeking to improve and listens to the consumer. They allow the user complete customization through CSS codes and constantly seek feedback from users for improvement.
  • Canvas is there to Help. Canvas has a Help button feature within the LMS that allows you to submit tickets, speak to a representation over the phone, speak to a representative via chat, or search the guides for self-help. There is even a Canvas Community to build a network of support from Canvas employees or other Canvas users.
  • Canvas does not let you upload Word documents to upload test questions. This was a feature available in other LMS.
  • Publisher content does not upload seamlessly like it did with other LMS systems. Course cartridges were a valuable resource from publishers but with Canvas, you end up hyperlinking all content to the publisher site which requires you to go out to the publisher website.
  • Canvas seems to put too much stock in the student experience and sometimes forgets that it is the teachers who need certain functionalities to exist to better perform their jobs.
  • Inactive users is a huge issue. Currently, you can only have an active student or a deleted student. So if a student gets withdrawn, they are completely removed from the course.
  • Since implementing Canvas and some of the third-party resources, we have seen a 3% decrease in student attrition.
  • We have decreased usage with publisher content due to the fact that it will not seamlessly sync.
  • We have increased usage campus-wide. Canvas is extremely intuitive and instructors have enjoyed implemented the use of the instructional technology into all modes of instructional delivery.
During the RFP process we evaluated a number of platforms. Additionally, we were formally a Blackboard school. We needed our LMS to customize due to our unique relationship of 15 community colleges sharing resources including student enrollment. Canvas was up to the challenge and listened to our needs. Their attention to detail and the fact that they put the user experience over all else really sold me. On the very few times there have been issues with Canvas, they admit to it and own the mistake and also report how they corrected the mistake. This was not something we had experienced with previous LMS systems. Canvas is a unique product that allows for customization and can be used in both the business and educational sector. While we primarily use it for instruction, we have also used it to host meetings. The only thing lacking is the fact that Canvas does not have an instant messenger which makes for a great communication too. There are work around, but it would be a nice feature. Overall, the cost and return on investment is unparalleled to any other product I have used.
Canvas is well suited for any course that is offered on our campus. Originally it was adopted for only our online courses but we have since expanded it for use in any courses we offer. We have not found an instance in which it is not appropriate. Instructors who heavily use publisher content run into issues since Canvas does not streamline as well publisher content and requires us to hyperlink to their websites.

Using Canvas

100 - We are a community college so our faculty uses Canvas to provide course content and report student grades. We also have various departments that use Canvas to host meetings at a distance.
2 - Canvas users need to have a basic understanding of technology. However, we tell people if they can Facebook, they can use Canvas. It is extremely intuitive and user friendly.
  • Online courses. We utilize Canvas to share resources including student enrollments with the 15 community colleges in my state.
  • To provide course content to students enrolled at our institution.
  • To provide meetings at a distance and to communicate outside the classroom.
  • We are using Canvas to host meetings at a distance.
  • We have integrated early warning systems and tutoring within Canvas to ensure student success.
  • Not sure at this time. We are always exploring.
Canvas has provided an exceptional product but their commitment to customer support and user satisfaction is unparalleled. While there is always room for improvement, Canvas is the best LMS I have used to date.