Goodbye Moodle, hello Canvas; SBCC adopts new online system

JUSTINE ANDERSEN, Staff Writer

City College has officially made the switch from Moodle to the new software Canvas, following several other community colleges across the state.

The transition came into effect as a result of the Online Education Initiative, which is a five-year grant from by the California Community Colleges Chancellors’ Office. The goal of the initiative is to offer the best online access for students to boost success.

“It is a system that provides a consistent platform for all students and is accessible on mobile devices,” said Kenley Neufeld, dean of computer-assisted instruction. “It is like walking into a classroom, you shouldn’t be surprised by what you see.”

85 to 90 California Community Colleges have already signed on which is already a substantial acceptance rate, Neufeld said.

Canvas is provided to all 113 community colleges for free by the state, and is a unanimous choice from over 50 people in the selection process when deciding on what online tool to use.

Unlike Moodle, Canvas will look the same no matter what classes a student is taking, who the teacher is, or where the class is being offered. Assignments, grades and content will be streamlined in the same place, which makes it more efficient for students planning to transfer, or taking multiple online courses.

Nico Maestu, chair of film and media studies, said that Canvas is noticeably more intuitive than Moodle. “[Canvas] creates a story for your content without disruptions,” said Maestu. “It flows better from activity to activity.”

Maestu is the first instructor to successfully transfer all his classes over to Canvas.

Canvas, unlike Moodle, allows instructors to preview exactly what students see on the platform, which Maestu finds useful for efficiency.

Some other features include a “learning management platform, which creates an open architecture/resource piece so faculty can share content,” Neufeld said.

One key feature in Canvas is a scenario builder that helps students calculate grades and show progress being made in a course, which allows more grade updates.

“Moodle is more familiar, Canvas just looks a bit different,” said Student Christopher Lundberg. Getting used to the navigation was the biggest challenge, he said.

Despite all of the new and improved amenities, not everyone has been on board with the program.

“It’s not a complete love-fest,” said Neufeld. “Adjustment and change always brings challenges.”

Canvas will officially replace Moodle after the end of the Spring 2017 semester.