Many of our high schools employed only one platform schoolwide for teachers to organize assignments, such as Canvas or Google Classroom, but at Lewis & Clark, it is up to each of our professors to choose what platform to use. This inconsistency has created inconveniences in the student’s everyday lives, having to jump from platform to platform in order to stay informed on quizzes, assignments and general announcements.
While the needs of every professor and class are different depending on the area of study, the use of so many different platforms can make things unnecessarily stressful. It becomes difficult for students to get things done or access information easily. The issue is further complicated by each forum having its own set of rules, systems and shortcuts.
I struggle to remember to check each platform, especially when they do not notify me about upcoming events. Checking multiple websites per day to see if there was anything that I missed is both stressful and tedious.
There are also times when there are additional sub-platforms students are required to use. Pearson is a platform we use in French class to have access to the textbook and assignments all in one place digitally. This would not be an issue if we did not also have to look on Google Classroom for added assignments and announcements.
At my previous schools, all teachers were required to use one site (usually Canvas). It was incredibly easy to get from one class to another, find assignments and emails and have all your documents in one place. We did not need to have several extra tabs open, clicking from one place to another, because everything was compiled in one easy-to-access site.
Proctoring quizzes and monitoring cheating and plagiarism is also simpler on Canvas because you can link websites such as turnitin.com, a website that professors often use to check for plagiarism and consolidate work from students. Canvas logs every click of the mouse or time spent away from the tab for the teacher to see. It was quite stressful for the student, but it was useful information for teachers.
After years of testing Canvas, Google Classroom, Moodle, and even no specific platform, Canvas seems to be the easiest to use. It contains a tab where you can email the professor instead of having to open a separate page. For asynchronous learning, Canvas makes it easy for students to access everything they need with little direct contact with the professor.
For all class materials, from assignments to quizzes, to discussion forums and many more, everything a student needs to have done can be done with one application. Additionally, as students who have used the application before may know, turning in assignments gives you a small shower of confetti, which is a nice reward for doing your work.
In short, Canvas is the best option for students, especially college students, because it has the right amount of complexity for everything necessary to be in one place without being overwhelming. There must be a change in how we manage our workload during the semester. Consolidating our materials, announcements and exams onto one platform is the easiest solution for both students and professors.