The cons of Canvas

Evangeline Colarossi — Staff Writer

Students and professors use Canvas for paper submissions, grading, discussion posts, quizzes, and other forms of feedback. While all students at Dordt use Canvas, not all professors do, and the reason for this can be easily misunderstood.

To pass up this convenience and ask students to print assignments instead is not a welcomed thought for students. For students who have multiple classes with professors who require printed work, running out of printer money is common and inconvenient.

“When you get a set amount of money for printing, it can get pretty frustrating to use it all up before the semester ends,” says sophomore Shannon Oostenink. During her first semester at Dordt, Shannon nearly ran out of printer money due to the number of papers she had to print for core classes and KSP 151.

Sometimes paper turn-ins can be easier for professors. Grading lengthy papers that rely on a rubric is not always simple on Canvas. Writing notes in the margins or inserting punctuation is easier with a red pen than creating a new text box for every comment.

Students also face some difficulties with Canvas, especially with viewing their professors’ comments. There is a place for comments on the entire submission, but there is also a place to view a revised document that professors can markup online. When students fail to find all of the constructive criticism, they are not able to adjust as needed.

Some professors prefer to use other methods of grading like checks, plusses, and minuses on smaller assignments. If there is a way to enter grades like this on Canvas, it is not simple to transcribe these grades into an online rubric.

Some professors choose not to use Canvas as a way to keep their classes’ attention on learning instead of grades. One Canvas feature allows students to enter a hypothetical grade for a future assignment and see how it would raise or lower their overall grade. This can be helpful for students to realize what is attainable, but some professors believe it causes students to fixate on the bare minimum they need to accomplish.

“You’re not studying for the grades, you’re studying to master the material, and a grade is simply a reflection of that,” one Dordt professor said. Even if a class is something that a student isn’t interested in, the professors want students to study and to submit their best work.

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