One of the biggest advantages college has over high school is Canvas. It took me a while to learn how to use it properly, but when I did, school became much more manageable.

Have you ever had multiple backpacks for different days, so you switch folders, books, notebooks back and forth just to end up losing a bunch of papers? In my opinion, that’s what it’s like when professors don’t use Canvas. Last semester, I had two professors exclude the use of Canvas. This semester, I have one professor who put our class on Canvas yet has us email our assignments to them. All these different ways to track and submit assignments is confusing, and it makes students likely to forget their assignments.

My professors who do use Canvas love it because it allows for automatic grading, locking assignments, group discussions, turning in essays and it keeps everything in one place, filed by the student. You can even see which students have clicked on instructions and links.

What professor would want to receive emails from all of their students, open and read each one, grade them and send feedback by email? Instead, they could just put their comments as an attached message. Not taking the time to learn how to use Canvas makes teaching harder in the long run.

Canvas is equally useful for students. The calendar, the to-do list, the Canvas app and the ability to color code make life easier. Sending assignments to professors by email, by hand, by Canvas and sometimes by another electronic platform, make it ridiculously easy to lose assignments or confuse them.

The biggest issue with professors not using Canvas is that it’s harder to know what your grade is in that certain class. Not only is everything in one place – past assignments, comments, discussions, lectures, notes — but you can see what your grade is on each assignment and it’s already calculated for you. This way, you can figure out what classes you really need to work harder in and what classes you can afford to miss a day or two in. Canvas is especially useful during midterms. It sounds lazy, but sometimes it’s necessary. When you need as much time to study as possible, it is overwhelmingly frustrating sitting in a class reviewing when you could be finishing an essay or going over notes for another class you have a midterm or final test in soon.

I’ve had two online classes completely on Canvas now, and aside from the fact that there’s more flexibility with the schedule, everything is easier because the lessons and reading materials are always there, as well as everything else I mentioned. As a matter of fact, half of my best grades so far have been in my online classes. This proves how advantageous of a tool Canvas can be when you actually use it, including professors.

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