January 23, 2018
In the first couple weeks of classes, many students are adapting to a new Learning Management System: Canvas.
Last fall, UCCS conducted a test trial of Canvas after students and faculty expressed frustrations with the Blackboard support system. Some students used Canvas in their classes last semester, but the LMS is now being used campuswide.
For some, the addition of a new LMS to Blackboard might be frustrating. Blackboard has been used longer, and students are more familiar with it.
While students learn to navigate their coursework between the two different systems, the question still remains as to which system is more beneficial to students: Canvas or Blackboard.
For me, Blackboard is easier to navigate. It is easy for those with visual impairments, like myself, to find my classes in Blackboard.You can simply scroll by headings and links to get to where you need to be.
On Canvas, however, you have to navigate through modules and announcements that contain your assignments, which can be confusing at first to new users.
Blackboard would also be a better fit for those who are Mac users. I found that using Canvas through Safari automatically froze my computer. Blackboard works with either Safari or Google Chrome.
This is an inconvenience because Safari has to be closed out of completely. However, that is not to say that Canvas always freezes when you use it on Safari on a Mac; this could be an exception on my computer.
I find it easier to access assignments on Blackboard as well. The assignments are close to the bottom of the screen, so I can download them to revisit later.
Blackboard’s grading system is also more preferable. In Blackboard, a student can just go through the tiny paper and checkmark icon to view grades for all their classes. On Canvas, the student has to go through the course and then to the grades under a different module to view them.
This is a minor change, but one that might be inconvenient and confusing if all grades are accessed through hoops.
Although you might not be able to see the progress of the class as easily on you can in Canvas, you still have the ability to figure out your progress in each class. All of your grades appear when you click on, for example, “English 1310.”
While Canvas has its faults, having this system alongside Blackboard is an appealing approach to make the grading systems more accommodating to students, faculty and staff.
This gives students more options as to what they would like to use. If student dislikes using Blackboard in one class, they can find solace in the layout of Canvas for another. If Canvas seems confusing, they can revisit the familiarity of Blackboard when they need to.
This way students and professors can decide together at the beginning of each semester, which grading/assignment system would work best for the entire class as a whole.
Whether it is or Blackboard, both systems should be available in the university for personal preference.