University to Replace Chalk with Canvas

Professors will be required to use Canvas starting summer quarter.

By Melanie Wang

Starting this summer quarter, the University will switch its learning management system from Chalk to Canvas. Currently, the University offers the option for professors to run their classes on Canvas as a practice option before it becomes required.

Chalk, which has been used for the past 18 years, has been difficult to work with for some teachers and is getting old, which prompted the University to consider moving to a new platform. This change has been in progress since spring 2015, when the University first began contemplating alternative platforms to replace Chalk. As of this past winter, more teachers have transferred over to Canvas as the University holds workshops and resources regarding the new system.

“The Blackboard platform, Chalk, has been showing its age,” senior biology lecturer Alison Hunter said. Hunter is on the committee that reviewed replacement options for course management systems.

“I like that there is a lot more flexibility in page layout, and it is easier to link different parts of the course so students can find things,” Hunter said.

However, Hunter said, some potential difficulties for faculty may be in the behind-the-scenes interface. Canvas has a less interactive interface for professors, though this won’t have any impact on the students.

As teachers begin moving their classes to Canvas, some students have had classes on both systems, forcing them to switch back and forth between the two sites. The complete switch over to Canvas over the summer will solve these issues.

“Chalk has looked the same for the past six years, and I think Canvas’s interface is much more user-friendly and better designed,” second-year George Saieed said. “I think it’s a good thing that the University is moving from Blackboard to Canvas.”