Karina Huerta, sociology major, does homework on the campus mall. (Photo by: Michael Palacios)
By Nathan Fox Sports Editor
The beginning of a new college semester brings with it an air of excitement. For returning students, there is much to look forward to, such as reconnecting with old friends, discovering how fun new classes are and the joys of being back on campus.
However, the beginning of a new semester can be nerve wracking for new students. Locating classrooms, adjusting to the pace of college courses and maneuvering the nuances of college life can be quite difficult for those who have never before attended college. Learning how to use online learning platforms is just one of the many things college students must do to be successful. For Rose State, the platform of choice is Canvas.
“It’s so easy to learn how to use,” said Dylan Simpson, engineering major. “I can see everything that I have due for the current week and sometimes even for future weeks. That’s really helpful!”
Canvas offers a mobile application, which has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students. “I love the mobile capabilities,” said Justin Grimes, science major. “I don’t use the app to do homework, but having the app helps me keep my due dates easily organized.”
But it’s not just students who sing its praises, professors also enjoy its user-friendliness. “I know a lot of my students like using Canvas because it’s mobile-friendly,” said Dr. Amy Hurst, professor and coordinator of life sciences. “Canvas has many things built into it that can help students be successful.”
Rose State formally made the switch from Desire2Learn to Canvas in 2019. When asked about the difficulty of the switch, Hurst said, “Change is always tough, but if it is for the betterment of the students, it is worth it.”
Hurst is not alone. Dr. Angela Slovak, professor of biological sciences, agrees on the numerous benefits Canvas provides versus alternative platforms. “It was like going from a Pinto to a Maserati,” Slovak said. “Canvas has a lot more functionality than D2L. It’s easy to use, and it helps the students stay organized.” “It was a blessing to make the switch to Canvas when we did,” she said. “COVID heavily impacted us just a year later. I just can’t get over how timely the switch to Canvas was.”
One of the defining aspects of Canvas is its versatility. “I don’t have to put a normal syllabus into the syllabus module,” said Dr. Guy Crain, philosophy professor. “I’ve actually created a Google Slide that has all of the information a normal syllabus would have, but it’s arranged in a fun, interactive way. A lot of my students have told me they really love it.”
With Canvas, college and studies is the dedicated student’s oyster. “I can control a lot with Canvas,” said Leanne May, professor of biological sciences. “I can control which modules the students can access at any given time, so it creates a structured workflow for the students in my classes.”
Every online learning platform isn’t without fault, though. Problems arise and troubleshooting issues need to be addressed. “The e-learning team in the Learning Resources Center has been incredibly helpful,” May said. “Anytime I’ve had any issues, they’ve been ready and willing to help me resolve them.”
“Canvas has many tools available,” Hurst said. “Whenever fellow professors or students come to me and ask for help, I’ve shown them where Canvas has help guides and FAQs. There’s a lot of really helpful information built-in.”