Overall Satisfaction with Canvas
Canvas is our college's primary learning management system. It is used to deliver online and hybrid courses, as well as supplemental support for face-to-face courses. Every division at the college uses Canvas. It plays an integral part of instructors' pedagogical approaches, and it is an important catalyst for students' learning and engagement.
- Student engagement -- Canvas allows students to interact with content, with professors, and with course content quite organically in the learning process. Students may choose to integrate Canvas with Web 2.0 tools, while determining the method and frequency of Canvas notifications.
- Elegant User Interface -- Canvas mirrors many of the Web tools that our students currently use and with which they are already comfortable. The simple, clean UI prevents unnecessary clicks and confusion for students.
- Display of content -- Canvas provides innovative ways for professors to display their course content and for students to navigate that content.
- Assessment & Feedback -- Canvas supports interactive. immediate feedback to students, allowing them to track their learning progress. Professors can utilize a variety of feedback methods: digital annotations, video/audio comments, rubric assessment, and automatic quiz replies.
- Glitches -- even after four years of using Canvas, I still experience glitches in the system. Most recently, the Media Comment tool was not fully reliable when I was recording feedback to students.
- Missed opportunities -- there are some functions that are not fully realized in functionality. For example, an instructor can assign badges to students via the Attendance tool; however, the instructor is the only one who can view the badges tally! The effectiveness of badges hinges on students' intrinsic motivation -- how can they find motivation if they cannot see the badges that they've earned in a course?
- Poor reporting / poor extraction of data -- the Attendance reports that are downloaded from the system are simply horrible to decipher and read. If an instructor must produce a conversation from the Inbox to an administrator/supervisor, there is no easy way to extract these messages from Canvas. The best one can do is take screen shots of the conversation!
- Inbox -- the whole Conversations experiment that Canvas has been performing must end. The Inbox tool acts nothing like conventional email. Professors see the word "Inbox" and expect a traditional email tool. Instead, there is a "bait-and-switch" quality to Conversations. In my four years of training faculty to use Canvas, I regularly received complaints about the Inbox and the challenge of storing, sorting, and managing messages.
- In the majority of my surveys of faculty, Canvas consistently scored positive results in the following areas: pedagogical effectiveness, assessment, and student engagement.
- Since our institution adopted Canvas, more professors have implemented digital learning opportunities for their students. Faculty have become more open to transforming their teaching approaches.
- Faculty and student satisfaction with Canvas has been consistently high and positive.
It seems as if Instructure has recently poured its efforts into developing the K-12 instance of Canvas at the expense of higher education users of the product. The product is an excellent learning tool; however, its recent updates seem directed more toward the K-12 market place. Also. the would-be selector of Canvas should ask about the company's plans to adapt Canvas in support of mastery-based and competency-based learning approaches. Since these are disruptive approaches in higher education, Canvas would do well to help professors implement them in their courses.