Canvas erases Blackboard as new online management system

Students and teachers adjust to the new learning management system, Canvas, which will become campus-wide next semester.

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Anne Marie Larson, Writer

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Starting next year, the learning management system Blackboard will be a thing of the past. This semester teachers and students alike are beginning to adjust to Blackboard’s replacement, Canvas.


The transition is going well for Eddie Shepard, a biblical studies professor and pilot user of the program.

“I love it. It’s way better than Blackboard,” Shepard said.

He appreciates its sleek interface and user-friendly features. His sentiments are shared by other professors and students. From what Shepard has heard around campus, the general view of Canvas is positive, he said.

Junior English major Yasa Olojan prefers Canvas over Blackboard because it offers more and communicates better.

“I like the notifications they send out. I am not the most organized person, so it keeps me organized by telling me when things are due,” Olojan said.


Canvas has a lot of features that were either hard to use or hard to find on Blackboard, according to Shepard. There is a feature where students can plug in different percentages in their grades, and Canvas will show them what scores they need to get on assignments to receive their desired grade in the class.

Alexis Bolden, a sophomore art major, finds Canvas easier to manipulate and understand.

“Maybe it’s because I’m a graphic designer, but I like Canvas because it’s more aesthetically pleasing. It has a nice, clean user interface,” Bolden said.

Canvas’ professional appearance adds credibility to online courses, Shepard said. He believes this causes students to take the classes more seriously.

Psychology professor Elizabeth Laney does not have experience with Blackboard but uses Canvas extensively. It is easy to figure out how to use Canvas, she said. When she first introduced it, students told her they thought it was awesome and a lot easier than Blackboard.

“It’s not a really hard transition since the setup is the same with the whole front page thing,” Olojan said.

Psychology professor Jenny Pak is one of the professors not using Canvas yet. She was on sabbatical when training was offered but imagines Canvas will be similar to Blackboard.

“I think it’s always hard for people who are not as technologically oriented to make the change initially. But it’s something that we have to get used to, I guess. Everything moves so much faster these days. We’re always having to update to new programs with computers or something else,” Pak said.

Online programs are helpful in terms of keeping track of assignments, according to Pak. Students are able to submit assignments and receive timely feedback and grades.

“I think anytime you switch, there’s always a learning curve where you’re learning the new system. Things are done differently in the new system than the old system. I think overall that when you get familiarized with the new system, it’s a much more positive experience,” Shepard said.

Biola’s contract with Blackboard expires in July 2014. After this semester, use of Canvas will be campus-wide.


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