CyberChronicles: Piloting Canvas in online waters

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I have been piloting Canvas (www.instructure.com), an open-source learning management system, in my Florida State College at Jacksonville (www.fscj.edu) courses since Summer 2012. This is my log of the features I “like” and those that I would “like” to have. This post will be updated as I explore new features. Updates follow a Twitter format. Follow @DrLepervanche and #CanvasFSCJ hashtag.

I like…

1. Import feature from Blackboard. It was easy to import old content from old Blackboard courses. In some courses it did not work smoothly. I had to manually import each component due to deadlines. I will try again next term.

2. Ipad and smartphones applications. I can read discussions and emails in all courses. Limited features so far in interactivity. I am sure it will improve.

3. Front Page. I like the options to include links, videos and guide students to other pages.

4. Integrated Inbox. Checking all pending emails from all courses at the same time is a cool feature to reply to students in less time.

5. Due dates page. Easy to read page with all discussions, exams, and assignments deadlines and it is linked to calendar.

6. Recent Activity. It displays all recent activities from all courses in one page.

7. SpeedGrader. Easy to read papers and to add rubrics.

8. Conference. Professor and students can set specific conference times if needed.

9. Gradebook. To Do list with pending grading. It reminds professors to finish grading.

More coming soon…

I would “like”… (maybe they are available and I have not used yet)

1. Color codes for different courses. It will help to identify each course in a multiple course screen (recent activities, inbox)

2. Improve Import feature. If you manually import content from Blackboard, you have to eliminate references to BB and work on the code.

3. SpeedGrader. Waiting for feature to add comments to papers.

4. Groups. Some students says it is confused on their side. Still checking.

More coming soon…

Here is a comparison between Blackboard and Canvas.

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