Canvas vs. Blackboard: What’s the verdict?

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Canvas vs. Blackboard: What’s the verdict?

Morgan Randolph going through her class modules on Canvas in the Dick Smith Library.

Morgan Randolph going through her class modules on Canvas in the Dick Smith Library.

Alex Huerta/ The JTAC

Morgan Randolph going through her class modules on Canvas in the Dick Smith Library.

Alex Huerta/ The JTAC

Alex Huerta/ The JTAC

Morgan Randolph going through her class modules on Canvas in the Dick Smith Library.

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In the fall of 2019, Tarleton State University switched their learning management platform from Blackboard to Canvas.

According to Canvas’ website, “Canvas was designed to help instructors easily, instinctively push the boundaries of teaching and learning, while also better engaging and connecting with students,” but not every student and professor is having such luck.

In my own personal experience, I can say that I find Canvas difficult to use. For a senior with all online classes, Canvas is like no-man’s land. My classmates are confused, I’m confused, and my professors are confused. Everyone’s confused and it seems like there are so many different places information can be located on Canvas that you can never actually be sure if the information you have is correct.

For example, twice now in two different classes, I’ve found contradictory information. One spot said that our first exam would cover chapters 1-5 but quizzes for 1-6 were due before our test. I asked if this meant our exam covered chapter 1-6 and if the chapter assignments for 6 were due as well. My professor apologized for not noticing the discrepancy and said that the test would only cover chapters 1-5. In another instance, I struggled to find due dates and almost missed 3 assignments. This happened because the Canvas calendar lists the final due date but the module instructions list the draft due dates. My professor had to make an announcement and push the due date back because so many students had the same issue.

However, not everyone is having issues with Canvas. When asked how she liked Canvas, Caitlyn Oxford said that she finds Canvas to be more user friendly than Blackboard. She said that the structure that Canvas provides works better for her and that most of her professors, “are pretty tech-savy” and can answer any questions she might have.

Even with my own struggles with the system, I can see Oxford’s point. Canvas is definitely more structured than Blackboard, but with that level of structure comes more folders and places to input information. While this allows for more organization, it can get kind of confusing.

All in all, when implementing a new learning management system, there are bound to be some issues students and faculty will discover. Especially if you’re like me and have been using Blackboard for the last 3 or more years, however, given a chance, and maybe a few more semesters to work out the issues, I think Canvas will be more popular than Blackboard.