Canvas’ spiffy features are slow but sure to please

After its pilot last year, Canvas officially replaced School Loop as Burlingame’s learning management system (LMS) in August. By using an LMS, teachers, students and parents can develop a mutual understanding of students’ academic progress. 

   Students can access Canvas in its mobile form, on their tablets or on the desktop website.

Students can access Canvas in its mobile form, on their tablets or on the desktop website.

Canvas has many desirable features, including a web page for each class with links to modules, class agendas, assignments and more. Unlike School Loop, Canvas connects to Google Drive and Turnitin, meaning that everything students need to submit work is in one place. Colleges across the country from the Ivy League to the California State University system use Canvas, so becoming familiar with it now may help students in the future. 

For teachers and students who have been using School Loop since sixth grade, however, Canvas poses a challenging learning curve. 

“The transition from School Loop to Canvas has been a little hard because a lot of teachers and students are still learning,” sophomore Cherilyn Yu said.

To ease the transition, several teachers began to use Canvas last year. The district held professional development days to teach its faculty how to use the new LMS, which has more options and tools for teachers to use while grading. This semester is the first time the entire school has used Canvas. 

“Canvas is very organized and more flexible than School Loop, but it is harder to check grades efficiently,” junior Diana Milne said. 

Yu agrees, bringing up a problem many students face while navigating Canvas—unlike School Loop, grades do not just pop up automatically on the main Canvas dashboard. In the long run, though, this difference could teach students to value their individual classes above their grade point average.

“I don’t think about my grades as often anymore,” Yu said.

Posted on September 28, 2018 .