NU says 'Bye Blackboard,' starts with fresh Canvas

By Leanne Vastbinder, Opinions and Online Editor

When students and faculty started the semester, they were greeted with a new online platform to learn.

After deliberations, the university decided to stop using Blackboard, and switch to Canvas.

“Last year we looked at a variety of systems and narrowed it down to an upgraded version of Blackboard or Canvas,” Teresa Wilkerson, assistant dean of adult studies, said.

After testing both systems, faculty chose to move on from the previous system, Blackboard, Wilkerson said.

“Sometimes it (Blackboard) would crash because it was an older system, there were some problems with it and it was time to upgrade into something a little more modern,” she said.

The main problem has been in transferring online course information from one system to another, Wilkerson said.

“A couple of classes have been on Blackboard for years and years,” she said, “so there were some problems in trying to get that enormity of information transferred over.”

Besides the transferring hiccups, however, Wilkerson said everyone seems pleased with the jump to Canvas.

“The layout is cleaner. It’s easier to maneuver. It’s more organized, and the presentation is more professional, and that just sends a positive message that we are up to date on our technology,” Wilkerson said.

Overall, Wilkerson said her favorite part of Canvas is getting to use the tools offered on the platform to customize her course.

“It’s like a puzzle...It’s pretty time intensive, but the end result is extremely organized, and it looks really good,” she said.

Sophomore Kayla Garvert said she appreciates the mobile-friendly aspect of Canvas, compared to Blackboard.

“I couldn’t check my grades as easily. Canvas makes it a lot more pleasing to look at and it’s a lot easier to access everything you need right there,” she said.

While both Blackboard and Canvas have mobile apps for their systems, Garvert said Canvas is “a simplified app - and it’s really easy to find what you need to do.”

PHOTO: Courtesy photo. Courtney Klaus.