January 23, 208
As a freshman, Blackboard was the first tool that helped students understand how to organize their assignments in college.
It was a place where (most) professors laid out a clear roadmap for an otherwise overwhelming semester, and although it had its glitches, it was fairly user-friendly.
This semester, it seems that Blackboard might be on its way out. UCCS is testing another Learning Management System called Canvas. For me, switching over to Canvas has been eye opening. Even though Blackboard served an efficient purpose for students, Canvas is a more reliable option.
I have tried Canvas for only a few months, but it is abundantly clear that the system has been synergized in a way that makes Blackboard a less effective option.
The main purpose for both Blackboard and Canvas is to offer a place for professors and students to easily connect and communicate. On both systems, students are able to view course syllabi, receive announcements and updates from professors and create groups with others in the same class. However, user specifications differ greatly.
Canvas allows its users to personalize their accounts by color, calendar and organization. Although its dull color scheme does not necessarily reflect negatively on Blackboard’s abilities as a system, it’s nice to open Canvas and be welcomed by a homepage that feels personal.
This is one reason that Canvas feels a lot more user specific, whereas Blackboard often displays a broad attempt at diverse organizational styles.
Additionally, users can adjust notification settings, so that the ones they are receiving are specific to them.
For example, students could choose to only receive alerts when a grade is updated, or an assignment is due. Users also choose how that notification is received — to their phones directly, or their emails.
Blackboard notifications can be a nuisance to users and often end up in the spam folder.
Canvas also offers a helpful organizational option for teachers. Where instructors and professors often had to link documents to Blackboard, teachers can directly attach these files to their course pages on Canvas.
Also, Canvas has an extremely personalized syllabus tab that allows teachers to organize the semester. Canvas, in fact, automatically generates a course summary from the syllabus where students are able to view upcoming due dates and assignments.
The real benefit of switching from Blackboard to Canvas is truly up to the user to obtain and their own personal preference.
I’m sure that some students who switch to Canvas will be underwhelmed by it; however, from my own experience I would argue that those students aren’t using it to its full capacity.