Students have entered their final semester of the OpenClass learning management system (LMS), as a committee of faculty members decided to fully switch to Canvas for the fall 2015 semester.
Some classes began using Canvas this semester. The JMC 495 Internship class started using it to keep attendance and grades. The change to Canvas continues the trend of transitions from one LMS to another. Canvas is the third LMS used over the last four years.
The transition to Canvas comes after two years of using OpenClass which was preceded by Blackboard LMS. Canvas features an impressive list of schools including the University of Texas and Juilliard School.
According to Instructure Inc.’s website – the developer of Canvas – the system has spread to 165 countries to more than 1 million students ranging from high school to college in 2013.
Canvas was selected by a multidisciplinary faculty committee, said Lyndell Lee, educational technology specialist.
“They used a number of factors, not the least of which was reliability, ease of use and a forward looking feature set,” Lee said.
The switch came as no surprise to Marisa Beard, director of educational technology.
“We needed to go to an enterprise software LMS that was going to be more user-friendly for both faculty and students,” Beard said.
The Department of Educational Technology had already tested Canvas and got positive results.
“Canvas contains multiple features that benefit both teacher and student,” Beard said. “It allows students to send work in without having to go through a multitude of other sites, including Turnitin.”
The new LMS will do more than make turning in assignments easier.
“The product has stronger adaptability, particularly with other third-party software applications,” Lee said. “In OpenClass you had to live in two different worlds. You had do some stuff in OpenClass and then you would have to go to a different URL.”
Caleb Hughes, senior criminal justice major from Weatherford, said the committee needed to address the problem sooner.
“I would’ve liked for them to have made better choices earlier with their online source so we didn’t have to switch three times,” Hughes said.
Though the constant change in LMSs has caused some frustration, Hughes said he is willing to work with the new system.
“If this is going to be less problematic than other sites, then I’m OK with it if it works,” he said. “And if it’s easier to use and less buggy, then I don’t think students will be so upset about the change.”
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