A New Canvas for Jericho

By Maria Grafas

The Jericho School District decided to implement a new learning management system called Canvas beginning this school year thereby replacing our use of Edline.

In an attempt to determine the most compatible application to use in our district’s schools, Jericho’s technology committee sent out a survey to students, parents, and staff members toward the end of last year asking which features they would most like to see in a new learning management system. According to Director of Technology Linda Alesi, “Canvas had all the features we were looking for and many more. We had students and parents evaluate it before we made our decision.” She added that Jericho now joins more than 2,000 universities and school districts around the world in their use of Canvas.

The application is not only for grades and homework, but also can be used to submit assignments and communicate with teachers and other students. The new system features a calendar option, on which students can see when upcoming homework assignments and tests are scheduled.

Canvas' "Dashboard" setting allows for a student to view announcements and upcoming assignments.

Canvas’ Dashboard allows users an overview of announcements and assignments.

Most students are in favor of the switch. “I think Canvas is much more organized and efficient than Edline. I noticed many teachers used different methods other than Edline because they did not like the system. However, I believe Canvas sums up all of these software [applications] like Edmodo, for example,” said sophomore Angela C. Senior Tamar B. also likes the new system better than Edline.“I love Canvas. My favorite thing about it is the calendar; how it’s all color-coordinated and it’s very easy to see grades,” she said.  Senior Brandi L. agreed with the simplicity of Canvas’ layout. “I can see all my classes easily, and I can submit work online,” she said.

When asked about what problems she has experienced with the site, Angela C. said, “Although Canvas is highly efficient, it may be hard to navigate when you are a first-time user.”  Junior Katie L. agreed and said, “I think that Canvas has a lot of good features, but nobody knows how to work it and nobody’s really teaching us how to use it. That’s why a lot of people probably prefer Edline to Canvas.” Additionally freshman Rachel S. said, “The teachers put things up in different sections, so you really have to look for them.” It’s clear the main dissatisfaction with the site seems to come from the lack of complete knowledge about how to operate it.

However, when asked about this issue, Ms. Alesi said, “Every building has computer aides to assist students who have Canvas issues. They’ve all trained and have communicated with me about any technical problems. Students’ usernames and passwords are the same as their [school] computer login. Jericho began training sessions for teachers, and we have several turnkey trainers in just about every subject area, grade level and building. My staff has responded to every email, phone call and walk-in.” She also believes it has been a very successful implementation. “I’ve seen some great interactive assignments via Canvas that Edline was never capable of.  In just a month’s time, our teachers are creating lessons that are phenomenal,” Alesi said.

It seems as the year progresses and students and teachers grow more familiar with Canvas, the reviews will become increasingly more positive.

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