It’s been 1 year since the switch to Canvas

Isabelle Hajek, Opinions Editor

This September marks one year of the university using Canvas as the main Learning Management System (LMS) in place of its previous software, Blackboard. The program was introduced as an updated platform that was more conducive to a virtual learning environment, complete with integrated teleconferencing software and comprehensive module layouts, in an attempt to better student learning experiences during the pandemic and once returning back to normal.

The initial switch to Canvas at the university followed a general trend following Canvas’ 2018 status of #1 LMS in the U.S. With Canvas only marginally ahead of Blackboard in use as of 2020 statistics, it has yet to be seen which platform will remain at the forefront of education; however, university students may be able to shed some light on the topic.

For incoming first-year students at the time, Canvas was the only LMS they experienced in their collegiate career. For students who had been at the university in prior years, the new platform was held in stark contrast to Blackboard, to which they had grown accustomed.

Criminal justice graduate Sarah Luppino said, “Blackboard… had similar abilities as Canvas. I do like the dashboard on Canvas a lot which I don’t remember Blackboard having.”

Despite having used Blackboard for three years before transitioning to Canvas, Luppino noted the improvement. “Canvas is [a] good learning platform. It’s better for in person versus online virtual learning. I like how the professor can set up modules for different sections,” she added, “for virtual learning they can post the Zoom links and it’s easy to review them.”

Sophomore general engineering major Laila Soliman came to a similar positive stance on Canvas. They said, “I like Canvas as a learning platform because it is very organized. Every week is planned out based on materials and assignments. The due dates are all under one category in the assignments tab. The app is as efficient and organized as the website. All these features have made accessing my courses and their materials easy for me.”

Unlike Luppino, Soliman did not experience Blackboard at the university. “In my highschool we were using a different website. It was not as organized and well rounded. All that was available was poorly made online assignments and a confusing breakdown of my grades.”

It seems as though, even against other LMS programs aside from Blackboard, Canvas still holds up as superior in virtual and in-person use. While the university has only used it for one year, as classes transition back to majority in-person, only time will tell how the program holds up.