DMACC rolls out Canvas for Fall 2023

Photo illustration by Kennedy Ballinger

A new school year has started at DMACC and Fall 2023 has proven to be eventful as DMACC has said goodbye to Blackboard and turned to Canvas. 

For more than 10 years, DMACC Community College has used Blackboard as its primary software for online learning. 

In 2020, DMACC’s contract with Blackboard was coming to a close, and the faculty was tasked with helping to choose between switching to Blackboard Ultra, D2L, or Canvas. Canvas won out, and the transition to the new learning management system (LMS) began in late 2022.

The Campus Chronicle spoke to students about what they thought of Canvas. Dianne Augustine, a first-year elementary education student from Ceder Rapids, said she had never used either application before but said she loves Canvas. Specifically, the easy-to-use calendar feature helps with organization and keeping track of homework.

Even Students who had previous experience with Blackbpard had only good things to say about Canvas. Joe Kimble, a first-year business education student from Carroll, used Blackboard all throughout high school he said that making the switch was quite the challenge but he quickly picked up Canvas and enjoyed the to-do list option. 

Canvas’s organization tools were a common theme for many. Students said they like having the work laid out in front of them.

Rachel Murdock, a speech professor at the Ankeny campus, was part of the committee that helped pick the next LMS after the DMACC contract with Blackboard ran out, and advocated for Canvas as her top choice. 

The advisory board consisted of 37 people from any DMACC Campus. Representatives from Blackboard, D2L, and Canvas gave presentations and examples of how their systems would work. 

Then everyone completed a survey. Murdock said Canvas was a clear winner from the start. 

Murdock spoke about the LMS change: “In the big picture of things the switch was needed … yes there are still things I find annoying about Canvas but just the way the contract was coming up and the way the Blackboard system was set up and how the canvas is set up, it’s the best choice for us and our students.” 

About the transition, Murdock added, “It’s a lot to say we need to transfer over all these classes and they didn’t transfer neatly, it still had lots of quirks … It’s a process.”

It’s difficult to go from something you’ve worked with for years to something not as familiar. Thomas Tweedy, a long-standing campus counselor at DMACC has used Blackboard for the last decade and is learning to adjust as he goes. 

Tweedy said, “On anything new, you figure out as issues arise and things go, training only goes so far.” 

He said he has begun to get into the swing of the new LMS and only finds issues when he can’t help students. “The awareness of navigation is something I miss; when a student had an issue I could help them figure it out because I had worked with it for ten years. If a student had a problem another student had probably had that problem… I miss having the certainty.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *