From Blackboard to Canvas, Respondents Want User-Friendly Learning System | Latest Updates



Kent State faculty and students are adapting to the new learning management system, Canvas. The university switched from Blackboard to Canvas this fall.

Canvas has met the expectations of Kent State faculty and students as the campus adapts to the learning system transition.

At the end of 2019, the existing contract between the university and Blackboard ended and the search for a new system began. Kent State competed with three different vendors: Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and Canvas.

The Learning Management System Research Committee sent out a mass survey to ask what participants wanted in a new learning system.

“There were a few key elements that really stood out as must-haves in a learning management system,” said Jim Raber, executive director of information services, educational technology and service management. “One is the mobile experience. Students are using their phones a lot more for their university lectures. “

Raber, Jim

Jim Raber is the executive director of information services, educational technology and service management at Kent State University.

Raber said the survey received 1,800 responses, consisting of 61% students, 31% faculty and 8% administrators.

In addition to a mobile experience, Raber added that other important factors the survey showed were usability and accessibility. He also said board members wanted a program that had “a minimum number of clicks to access content.”

As the Canvas rollout continues, Nathan Pochedley, a senior computer science student, said he was happy with the new system and preferred Canvas’s calendar feature.

Like Canvas, Blackboard offers a similar calendar feature that allows users to view due dates and class times.

“With Blackboard, there really is no way to easily view all of your homework that is due on a certain day,” Pochedley said.

Nathan Pochedley

Computer science major Nathan Pochedley loves the organizational features Canvas has to offer. The university began implementing Canvas this fall.

Pochedley said he sees the value of having both systems during this transition period, but he said it might be a challenge for those most comfortable with Blackboard to make a full transition of the systems. platforms.

The faculty has undergone changes with the move to a new system.

“As the courses develop, asking professors to revisit the structure of their course and rethink the presentation of the content,… this is probably the greatest amount of work for them,” Raber said. “It’s not difficult but takes effort.”

Raber said nearly 40% of lessons are accessible through Canvas, but the university recognizes the barriers faculty face.

Difficulties adapting to a new learning system produced a campus-wide Canvas Guide training to assist faculty as well as students. The university offers Canvas online office hours to support faculty and students. Canvas workshops are an alternative support system.

“Changing the LMS (Learning Management System) is a lot like a move,” Raber said. “You move into a house, but it takes a little while to feel like home. “

Alexus Rayzer is a journalist. Contact her at [email protected]


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