Canvas gets mostly positive reviews, according to tech director

NEW ORLEANS (March 10, 2017) – Canvas, the new learning management system here at Dillard, has received mostly positive reviews from faculty and students at Dillard University, according to the technology director.

Additionally, UnPlag, a new component of Canvas is now available to students and faculty to check for plagiarism in writing assignments.

Dr. Rona Tyger, director of Instructional Technology and Distance Education for Authentic Learning, said faculty has responded positively to the transition from Blackboard made between semesters. She said faculty report the system is more intuitive than Blackboard and that very few students have had issues with Canvas.

Raymond Vrazel, assistant professor of theatre, said, “It is easier in a lot of ways. It adapts better to what we do at Dillard than Blackboard did.”

Students have also embraced Canvas. Jasmine Clemons, a sophomore English major from Chicago, said she likes Canvas “because it is easy to navigate and submit things.”

However, some challenges exist as not all courses have been “published” by faculty and syncing myDU and Canvas.

Kiana Stewart, a mass communication junior from Dallas, said she only has two classes on Canvas.

Tyger said, “If you have teachers who do not wish to publish their classes, you don’t get to see them.” Tyger said. “I will not publish the teacher’s course.”

As for synchronization of myDU and Canvas, Tyger said the goal is to have the two systems sync automatically so students see schedule changes as quickly as possible. Currently, however, Canvas is being updated manually by her.

Tyger said the sync was expected to be completed by mid-semester.

Tyger announced Feb. 24 that the university is planning to has purchased a full license for the plagiarism detection tool Unplag. The system integrates perfectly with Canvas and students can check their work for plagiarism, according to the Unplag website.

Tyger is encouraging more faculty to utilize Canvas. 

“We would like to have 100 percent of our spring semester published on Canvas,” Tyger said, even if the faculty member does no more than “publish” and uploads his or her syllabus.