Although I am most comfortable with Google Classroom, I was excited to dive into Canvas and learn about a new platform (LMS) and see what benefits the platform held for teachers. Overall, I am impressed. Canvas is organized, integrates with Google and Microsoft platforms, and is accessible to learners.
Course instructors in Canvas have full control over what students see, what language a course is in, and dates for the course. There is even an option to let students self-enroll in a course (which is what I plan to utilize for adult learners). When it comes to organization, the modules toggle bar is fully customizable by the instructor as to what students can and cannot see. Instructors can utilize the Navigation feature to hide any of the tabs within Canvas (See image on right). Courses can also be organized with images, names, and most importantly… course modules! Setting up modules to organize the course allows students to follow along with the content without becoming confused.
Many educators are familiar with Google for Education Workspaces or Microsoft tools. Canvas’ allows for integration with either or both tools. This integration feature relieves a lot of stress, especially when it comes to learning a new LMS. All resources that have been created in Google or Microsoft are supported by Canvas. In addition, there are hundreds of apps that can be added to individual courses. By linking these Apps, students can quickly access all materials and tools.
When it comes to accessibility features within Canvas, there are a plethora of features to support all learners. My favorite feature is the Accessibility Checker. Instructors can create content and use the accessibility checker to look for accessibility issues. These issues include (but are not limited to):
- Table Captions
- Table Header
- Sequential Headings
- Heading Paragraphs
- Image Alt Text, Filename, and Length
- Adjacent Links
- Large Text Contrast
- Small Text Contrast
My overall experience with Canvas has been positive. This LMS is affective for meeting students diverse learning needs and can be customized as needed by the professor. There are many opportunities for teachers to set up collaborative opportunities with each other and the discussions open the door for inquiry and learning. I am looking forward to beginning my first demo build utilizing Canvas.
Secretly, I am happy we are not using Google Classroom. I utilize Google Classroom every day for my job and I like that I have the opportunity to learn something new!