ACU’s first year in the new grading system, Canvas has seen both ends of the spectrum, but it still outperforms its predecessors. In fact, Marisa Beard, director of educational technology, said in an Optimist article last year that it benefits students and teachers.
“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.”
Canvas followed Open Class which was preceded by Blackboard. Blackboard did a pretty good job of keeping track of grades. In my freshman year, professors had a solid grasp of Blackboard and how to weigh grades. The site calculated grades and told students if they were missing assignments. However, Blackboard was quickly replaced by the confusing period known as Open Class.
Open Class didn’t calculate grades correctly. The site weighed all grades the same causing major grade confusion. In fact, if you happen to make good grades on tests and papers but performed poorly on a daily quiz then it weighted all of them the same. It’s an absolutely infuriating problem to have especially when you don’t know what your grade is. As a student it drove me and my professors mad, because I had to ask weekly about grades.
Canvas fixes this major problem along while doing a lot more. Canvas not only allows you to see all your grades and due dates for the semester it also lets you put in hypothetical grades. If students are waiting on a paper to be graded and want to know how it would affect the current total grade is. Then they can type in any grade to see how it affects their cumulative average.
Wesley Scott, senior engineering major from Leander, Texas, says he likes the email notifications and site navigation.
“I like the email updates the site sends you when something is graded,” Scott said. “It’s easy to use and navigate through.”
However, Canvas is not without its critics. Marcel Tedesco, junior psychology from McKinney, Texas, says he doesn’t like classes that use Canvas incorrectly because of its complexity. He says certain professors wouldn’t use the app because it was too advanced.
“Some teachers don’t set up their Canvas correctly,” Tedesco said. “Their Canvas was organized and unhelpful.”
Also, Canvas gives professors the option to let students submit all work online. In fact, last semester an education course I took used all facets of Canvas. We took all tests online including the final. Now, the site doesn’t come without its problems, but they are fixable. Some struggled with how to change due dates and randomize quiz questions. But, all these problems are just small roadblocks and most were fixed in the first semester. Canvas is doing great because it streamlines classes instead of creating confusion.
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