Canvas from an ISDs perspective
September 15, 2015

Canvas from an ISDs perspective

Bethany Cleveland, PhD | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Canvas

Auburn University uses the Canvas LMS campus wide. It is used for course administration as well as student/instructor communication and resource sharing. I have experience with other LMSs and I prefer using Canvas as opposed to other products. Students as well as faculty have embraced the system and use it routinely in their courses. I teach a distance course and our department has several programs that are delivered primarily via distance. The Canvas LMSs capabilities have proven very effective at managing the distance courses in a positive way for both the students and faculty.
  • Creating leaning modules - the features that Canvas offers allows users to create visually stimulating learning modules within the course itself. As an instructional designer, I appreciate that capability.
  • Embedding materials- YouTube videos, web pages and other web objects can be embedded easily by clicking on the HTML option in posts. This allows the user (designer) to add interactive features to the course as well as provide students with course/resource materials from external links within the course.
  • Communication (chat/email/discussion features), collaboration (GoogleDocs) and grading are features are intuitive and easy to use.
  • Group feature - Instructors can set up pages for groups to allow for enhanced collaboration for group projects. This allows students to have a private page within the main course. The group page has the same look and feel as the main course; including similar navigational tools. In this space, students can share resources by uploading files, communicating via private discussion boards/chats, and collaborate effectively as a group via distance.
  • I would like to be able to upload my Articulate Storyline learning modules/activities into Canvas instead of having to publish them to the web and then embed the link. I would prefer to upload the zip file and run from within the course itself. I have the ability to do this in Blackboard, but as of yet, I'm having issues doing this with Canvas. I do not have issues with Adobe Captivate.
  • As an instructor, Canvas has allowed for effective delivery of F2F, hybird, and distance courses (asynchronous/synchronous). A key feature is the ability to facilitate quality interaction between the instructor and the student; the student and their peers; and the student and the material.
Canvas offers similar navigational and interactive tools as other LMSs; however, as an ISD, I have been most impressed by the quality of the overall look and feel of Canvas. Visually, courses published with Canvas have a more professional overall appearance. I believe this is an important factor that should not be overlooked especially for institutions who wish to showcase their programs and gain/maintain the reputation that they offer high quality courses. From a marketing standpoint, institutions realize that they need to present a welcoming, inviting, and professional environment to the public, both on campus and online. I believe that this should extend to the LMS experience, especially for those who take courses at a distance and have limited interaction to the institution aside from the courses that they take.
I would highly recommend purchasing Canvas. I prefer the overall navigation features and the look and feel of Canvas compared to other LMSs. I currently teach and design courses using both Blackboard and Canvas and prefer Canvas. As an ISD I use Articulate Storyline to incorporate interactive learning activities/tutorials so I have found that uploading to Blackboard is easier; however, I also publish these to the web, so with Canvas I just embed them into a page and add it to a learning module or Homepage. Overall, this really isn't an issue, it's just realizing that you have to work around it and learn how to embed using the HTML code feature in posts/pages in Canvas. Again, l personally prefer working with Canvas.

Using Canvas

30000 - Faculty and students
30 - MIS, OIT, IT, and ISD
  • Faculty course delivery
  • Student interaction with course materials
  • Communication between student & instructor; student & peers; student & course materials/resources
  • Extending its capabilities to outreach programs
  • Extending it beyond the classroom to outreach
Auburn was one of the first institutions to adopt Canvas. The school has not presented an alternative.

Evaluating Canvas and Competitors

Yes - Blackboard- no longer supported Angel
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
  • Analyst Reports
Canvas was adopted by a single department on campus. When Blackboard announced that it would no longer be supporting Angel, the institution began researching other options and sought out the department head who instituted the LMS for his program. It was then decided that Canvas would be adopted.
I was not personally responsible for either the evaluation or the selection process of the Canvas LMS

Canvas Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
The training sessions were broken down into several days as well as different levels depending upon the knowledge of the user.
The online tutorials and videos are very clear and addressed the issues/questions that I had about using the system.
Yes, I found it easy to use and was able to play around with it and figure most things out on my own before attending training sessions or seeking out online materials.

Canvas Support

There are online tutorials and FAQs that provide a great deal of support for general questions. Also, Canvas is open source and is willing to work with individual customers to customize their LMS to fit their needs.
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
When thinking about using Canvas as opposed to other LMSs for an outreach program targeted at children and volunteers, Canvas was willing to develop a course specific to our needs. They were confident that they could work with us and develop something that would meet the specific requirements for meeting federal standards for keeping children safe on the web.

Using Canvas

I find creating courses and navigating through courses is fairly intuitive.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Navigation
  • Uploading files
  • Moving from the gradebook back to the course and grading particular projects/assignments
Yes - I have not had any issues, nor have I had any students comment on issues.