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Student view: Canvas in Astronomy

wayneFrank Wayne took Astronomy 101 with Andy Rivers in Fall 2013. Professor Rivers had volunteered to pilot Canvas with the course, so Frank got a first-hand look at the LMS.


What was the Astronomy class like? I had a lot of fun in his class. Professor Rivers is a font of information on current events and he always had a lot of extra curricular information about the topic. You can see that he put his Twitter feed on the home page for our course.

How did Professor Rivers use Canvas? He had information every week about what we’d be learning, including articles and his PowerPoints. He had us put information about ourselves in the student profile area of Canvas.

Our assignments included one that was an essay about the size of a blog entry. He had us put it on Canvas so that all the students could see each other’s and comment. Actually, not many students put in comments. I liked reading my classmates’ assignments.

How did you learn Canvas? The professor showed us the URL the first day of class and explained that we were in the pilot. He didn’t do a demonstration.

How long did it take to learn Canvas? About an hour. It might take longer for an instructor. It presented no obstacles for me.

What did you think about Canvas? It’s good. I was excited at first, because I hate Blackboard.

Did you run into any problems? Yes, I had trouble previewing files from the files menu. It might have been a problem with viewing a PDF. I always found a way around the problem, though.

What was your overall experience? My experience with Canvas was positive. Both Blackboard and Canvas give students all their stuff in one place and you can figure out when everything is due. Some professors don’t use a course management system at all, which is frustrating. I want all the information in one place. I like the way Canvas is organized. It is easy to find things.