Viewpoint: Blackboard vs. Canvas: Two students portals at once is confusing

Maleesa BW1

By Maleesa Johnson

Baylor students have developed a reputation for being somewhat resistant to changes on campus. Even with the addition of the glorious McLane Stadium, we found something to complain about. I know, because I was part of the online ticket resistance.

Don’t get me started with the upheaval caused by changing Pawprints in the fall of 2013. One of my friends posted on Facebook, “Hey Baylor, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” in response to the situation. She was not alone in this sentiment, as the status earned around 60 likes.

When course evaluations went online, only a select number of students ventured to the Internet to fill them out.

These are only a few instances in which students resisted change. The current change getting under our skin is Baylor’s slow-paced shift from Blackboard to Canvas.

In most of the changes listed above, we eventually came around and most of us would admit that the change was for the better (with the exception of online evaluations). I am open to the idea that Canvas may be the better program for handling courses. The problem now is the implementation of the change.

As of right now, I have three courses listed on Blackboard, one on Canvas and two that simply aren’t listed at all. I know I am not the only student annoyed by having to check both websites. It’s confusing and inconvenient.

Many times, I forget to check Canvas because I only have one class listed.

While there are many more pressing issues at Baylor, and the complaint may seem trivial, it is an inconvenience that could have been easily avoidable. If every course could have switched to Canvas at the same time, students wouldn’t have to manage two sites. I’m sure we would have grumbled at the change, but the adaptation time would be minimal.

There are many benefits with using Canvas and the change is not a bad one. Bugs in the site can be worked out faster than with Blackboard. Canvas is also more user-friendly.

However, none of these benefits matter when over half of a student’s classes are on the old site. If we have to switch at all, why not switch over completely at one time? Professors have been making an effort to learn the system and implement it since last semester. This is more than enough time for students and faculty to adjust.

While I see the trivial nature of my irritation, I feel justified when I forget to complete an assignment because of the shuffle between sites. If Baylor wants to be more user-friendly, let’s switch to one site at one time rather than leave us balancing between two.

Maleesa Johnson is a junior journalism major from Round Rock. She is the copy desk chief and a regular columnist for the Lariat.