Seth Chambliss, Campus Carrier reporter
Madison Morris, Campus Carrier editor
Information Technology is set to administer a campus-wide survey involving user satisfaction and Canvas adoption rates this spring.
This survey marks the first measured public responses for IT since the initial implementation of Canvas over VikingWeb’s learning management system (LMS). According to the 2017 survey, students said they wished more instructors would use VikingWeb. The chief information officer of IT, Penny Evans-Plants, said she expects a similar response for Canvas.
“It will be very interesting this year to see what the usage and satisfaction is for Canvas now that we’re fully implemented and online, versus the last survey, which was VikingWeb LMS,” Evans-Plants said.
The biennial survey comes after the official closing of Berry’s Canvas project. Berry’s web support specialist, Jen Ngetich, said the project fell under general operations starting Oct. 1. According to Ngetich, Canvas is no longer a special project; it is now part of the Berry ecosystem.
According to Ngetich, IT chose to implement Canvas in three phases: two separate optional adoptions, and a final mandatory adoption. This allowed faculty opportunities for trial-and-error learning and valuable feedback. Ngetich said it was a self-selection process for those ready for change and that it allowed her time to support faculty in the process.
“Essentially, the three waves just gave me more time to work with faculty one-on-one,” Ngetich said.
Evans-Plants said she wants to provide training for faculty to encourage Canvas utilization. She said that IT believes faculty training, Ngetich’s one-on-one support and Canvas’s online community are tools to help alleviate user apprehension. Evans-Plants said the modernity and intuitive nature of Canvas makes people more comfortable. Ngetich said that users who try Canvas will enjoy using it over VikingWeb’s LMS.
“You know, there are probably two things that VikingWeb did more efficiently than Canvas, but there are probably 50 things that Canvas does better,” Ngetich said.
An IT committee formed in 2017 to discuss possible replacements for VikingWeb’s LMS component. Evans-Plants said the committee picked Canvas by a slim margin over Desire2Learn to replace VikingWeb’s LMS component. Kristen Diliberto-Macaluso, professor of psychology, said IT gave them mock courses within each system. Questions were also given to the committee members for comparing the two systems.
“We were presented with both of those,” Diliberto-Macaluso said. “We were actually given sandboxes to play in for both of these two. For me, I just felt Canvas was something that was much more user-friendly.”
Diliberto-Macaluso said the functionality embedded within Canvas necessitated the switch. She said her teaching benefits from the tools Canvas offers over VikingWeb’s LMS. Reportedly, her online summer courses garnered significant benefits.
“The lecturer component is really important in this class where you don’t really see your students,” Diliberto-Macaluso said. “You’re not interacting with them in person to kind of create some sort of learning community.”
Evans-Plants said people will always be against change, and that providing information via surveys, training and Internet searches is the best way for IT to quell apprehension and increase overall use of Canvas.
“Our goal is to have as many faculty as possible using it,” Evans-Plants said. “And we are doing everything we can to encourage faculty adoption and usage. Because, we know, ultimately, that it benefits the students.”