Starting with the 2020-2021 school year, teachers in RSD will be required to use Canvas as the primary online communication platform between them and their students.
Dr. Shelley Willott, Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Support Services, said the change came as a result of feedback from the Advanced Learning Program (ALP).
“The most consistent message we heard was that communication was coming from many different places making it difficult to navigate,” Dr. Willott said. “Using Canvas as a communication hub will give everyone a central location to find information.”
Dr. Willott said Canvas is ideal to use as the main communication platform because it allows parents to view assignments their child needs to complete.
However, teachers will not be required to use Canvas for course content and may push these out through any online outlet. Dr. Willott said teachers will only be required to use four features of Canvas: the inbox, the calendar, course information and links to assignments.
Deborah Ketring, Chief Information Officer, said the decision to use Canvas over other platforms came from a committee composed of a variety of teachers, students and administrators. Ketring said the committee ultimately decided Canvas was easiest to navigate and provided flexibility, features and functionality.
Ketring said Canvas may be tricky to use at first, but once users understand the Canvas menu and terminology, it makes sense.
“Canvas, like any new software or tool, may take time to learn, but I do not classify it as difficult to learn,” Ketring said. “The Technology Department has offered professional learning on the use of Canvas as an instructional tool for teachers for two years.”
Ketring said Canvas features like the Inbox and Calendar allow students to be able to communicate with teachers and see all of their due dates, respectively. Additionally, Ketring said the Dashboard feature allows students to quickly view a “To Do” list of assignments as well as feedback on their assignments.
Bridget Lorson, senior, used Canvas in her Spanish IV class to do the required assignments.
“My Spanish teacher actually changed the language of the app to Spanish when we were using the classroom in the app and although it was annoying at times I found it kinda cool,” Lorson said.
Lorson said she liked that Canvas had an app so she could get notifications on her phone about assignments, but prefers Google Classroom overall.
“Personally I prefer Google Classroom to Canvas as I find Classroom to be more streamlined and simple,” Lorson said. “Canvas has more tabs and a folder like organizing system whereas Classroom has it all in one spot.”