North Texas Daily

UNT’s rollout of Canvas has been messy to say the least

UNT’s rollout of Canvas has been messy to say the least

UNT’s rollout of Canvas has been messy to say the least
September 15
10:30 2018

The Old El Paso taco girl who once asked, “Why not have both?” must have been at the meeting where UNT officials decided how exactly they were going to navigate between Canvas and Blackboard. Just like in the commercials, those in the meeting probably cheered and applauded. However, instead of cheering in jubilation, students are doing the opposite.  

Last year, UNT announced that it would switch from Blackboard to Canvas and that Blackboard would be cast aside (at least for the next five years). Fast forward to this semester and many students, including myself, were surprised to find that UNT is using both learning systems, leading to much confusion.

When UNT announced the switch from Blackboard, I was thrilled. Blackboard always felt clunky and lacked some features that could have made it more user-friendly. Not to mention the fact that the Android app makes me think third graders could have coded a better version.

Once I was able to access Canvas, it was like a breath of fresh air. The user interface is much cleaner and students will have an easier time figuring out where all their class materials are.

The real trouble came when I realized UNT was using both Canvas and Blackboard. I am enrolled in five classes for this semester and of my professors, three are using Canvas exclusively and two are using Blackboard exclusively. This means I will be bouncing between two different places for assignments until UNT completely switches over to Canvas.

I barely have enough time to check Blackboard, so checking two sites is even more of a hassle. In an academic environment, those who can best manage their time often succeed, so it is a major inconvenience to spend your time maneuvering between websites when everything could just all be in one place.

It should be said the professors are not at fault here. They are simply using the system they prefer. There is nothing wrong with that.

The reason there are issues is because the system rollout has been awful on UNT’s end. What should have been a smooth transition is more like the university is attempting to run a marathon with weights around its ankles. It is doable, but taking off the weights would just alleviate so many problems.

I understand why the change has taken so long, but instead of allowing professors to use both Blackboard and Canvas, UNT should have just directed professors to use Blackboard until the end of this semester while getting all classes ready over on Canvas. Then they could use the winter to hold workshops and teach professors how to use Canvas so everything is prepared for the following spring semester. If the school had just done this from the start, professors would have then had some time to get familiar with the new system and be able to better help students when they arrive for spring classes.

But of course, that would be too easy.

Featured Illustration: Elizabeth Rhoden

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Parker Ward

Parker Ward

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1 Comment

  1. Janey
    Janey September 15, 21:10

    I think since UNT has had so many problems with Blackboard and it just doesn’t work (according to these articles) we should invalidate all degrees earned using Blackboard.

    Reply to this comment

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