Updated Online Campus Ushers in New Era for College

Depending on which year you walked across the stage and became a Clarkson College graduate, a learning management system (LMS) may or may not have been a part of your everyday vocabulary. Today, Clarkson College students utilize a LMS, whether they enroll in an online program or take classes on campus. A LMS offers an organized approach to courses and hosts syllabi, weekly assignments, video lectures from instructors, quizzes, grades and discussion threads.

Nearly two years ago, Clarkson College assembled a committee to identify online learning platforms in order to ensure the College offered the best online education delivery system to its students. After thorough research, the committee quickly realized it was time to replace the current system with a more sophisticated LMS. The group examined multiple options, including Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Ultra, D2L, Moodle, Moodle Rooms, Schoology and Canvas. After rigorous evaluation, the committee unanimously agreed that Canvas best aligned with the needs and vision of online education at Clarkson College.

“Canvas is miles ahead of our former LMS,” said Dr. Ricardo Varguez, Center for Teaching Excellence Director. “The previous LMS was like using a flip phone, while Canvas is the equivalent of using a smartphone. You can accomplish most tasks with either, but the user experience is much better with the latter.”

In addition to a more modern look and feel, Canvas offers advanced features such as a drag-and-drop interface, multiple grading and assignment notifications, and text updates to remind students of important events happening in their courses. Instructors also benefit from SpeedGrader, a Canvas signature tool that allows them to seamlessly and directly annotate student assignments. The tool also offers rubric integration and audio and video feedback capabilities.

“Canvas provides a very intuitive user interface for both faculty and students,” Varguez said. “We couldn’t be more excited about it.”

Clarkson College began utilizing Canvas during the spring 2017 semester, and all courses were fully integrated by the fall semester. The change exceeded student and faculty expectations, and both groups enjoy the optimized online learning and teaching platform.