DMACC to transition from Blackboard to Canvas

Blackboard will soon be a thing of the past for students and faculty at DMACC. Starting in the Fall of 2023, students will begin using Canvas as their new platform for classwork. Faculty will begin access to training on Canvas starting next semester. 

The Director of Distance Learning and Technology, Joe Raineri said that Canvas is already used at other schools in the state.  

“[The University of] Iowa and Iowa State use Canvas, and 27 high schools in our district use it already. A lot of adjunct professors at DMACC, who teach at other schools around the state, have started using Canvas as well,” Raineri said. 

DMACC did not necessarily need to move away from Blackboard. However, there was something about Canvas that made faculty members agree that this transition needs to happen. 

“The transition is coming for multiple reasons. Our advisory council group of DMACC was interested to see what else was available. We had vendors come in and show different demonstrations of what else we could use. At the end of the day, faculty decided to move to Canvas based on the demonstrations and ease of use,” Raineri said. 

Rachel Murdock, the District Chair of English, Speech, and Communication said that Canvas was going to come to DMACC sooner or later. She said that this transition is hopefully going to be smooth for faculty and students. 

“We had three different products to choose from, the Online Advisory Council group which consists of faculty here at DMACC, overwhelmingly agreed that Canvas was the best option,” Murdock said. 

Knowing that it might take some time for students to get used to the new platform, Murdock said that faculty members will begin the training process as soon as January, the beginning of next semester.  

“When we had that Online Advisory Council, the big question was when we would begin the move to Canvas. Most of us said that we need to start this in the fall. Instructors and staff will begin to have access in January so that they can have the spring semester and summer to get everything set up and ready for fall,” Murdock said. 

Since this will be new to a lot of students and professors, it will take some time to get adjusted to the new learning system. 

“With Canvas, it is much more functional as far as finding the material and creating a workflow. The module is supposed to be much more convenient for everyone. Every area might have different difficulties learning the system, but the intent is to use this platform for many years to come,” Raineri said. 

Chris Jordan, a second-year student at DMACC says that he used Canvas during his senior year of high school. Having already become familiar with this platform, he’ll be interested to see what it has in store.  

“If it’ll make it easier for me to navigate and manage my work, then I would love to see what Canvas has to offer. I used it over my senior year in high school and I remember it being very easy to use,” Jordan said. 

Next semester will officially be the last one for students and faculty using Blackboard, and it will have been over 13 years since DMACC first introduced it. Even though the Online Advisory Council wants this transition to take place, the same cannot be said for all students. 

Serenity Gullings, a second-year student at DMACC, believes this will cause confusion and frustration among students who are going to have to learn this new Learning Management System. 

“I feel like it is not smart to switch to a new platform since everyone is now used to working through Blackboard. If it is not taught properly to students, it could be an issue,” Gullings said. 

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