Whether you like it or not, Blackboard is on its way out of Salt Lake Community College. In its place will be CANVAS, a similar web-based education program.
Unveiled at a meeting for all faculty held in the Oak Room of the Taylorsville Redwood Campus last Wednesday, CANVAS will be in use on a small-scale as early as the Summer 2011 semester, as Blackboard’s licensure expires in June. 10 teachers will use CANVAS this summer to allow time for training and glitch repairing before the program becomes more mainstream. 30 more teachers will use it this fall, 60 next spring and full integration will take place by the summer of next year.
As with any change that comes along, feelings were mixed about the move from Blackboard to CANVAS.
“I’m excited. This is going to be a wonderful platform for online classes,” Rhonda Low said, who is the Concurrent Enrollment Director and also an adjunct instructor.
While excited, she said that there will be “a huge learning curve for the student as far as knowing how to navigate the system.”
It was acknowledged that the system is still in its beginning stages.
“I am at this point in a waiting position,” Computer Science instructor Margaret* said. “I am not excited. I am not thrilled about this project. There are still quite a few things that are less than satisfying.”
She said that she does see promise for the program once all its wrinkles are ironed out.
One of the most unique and controversial features of CANVAS is the updated way in which students will be able to receive announcements from their instructors.
With Blackboard, students must log on to check for updates. With CANVAS, this will no longer be the case. Though not mandatory, students will have the option to receive these notifications through text message and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Many instructors are nervous about the notion that their class material could appear on these sites, but music instructor Craig Ferrin said that the good outweighs the bad.
“I think that the communication options are just incredible,” he said. “They are concerns. They need to be addressed, but 15 years ago e-mail was suspicious, and now it’s a part of life.”
Faculty will go through introductory training sessions over the coming months and group discussions that will include student feedback will occur after the first users have used the system. General student orientations will occur online and in person as things progress.
For more information visit slcc.edu/online. Click on “Faculty Resources,” then the “CANVAS Instructions” icon.
*Last name not provided.