CU switching from Moodle to Canvas

Moodle will be replaced by Canvas starting this fall throughout the Vermont College System. Photo Credit: Devin Poslusny

Get ready Castleton University students and professors, Moodle will be no more starting in Fall 2019!

Vermont State Colleges announced in September 2018 that the teaching platform would no longer be used and the program called “Canvas” would be taking its place.

Vermont State Colleges made the decision to change mainly because Moodle wasn’t meeting the standards that VSC wanted, and since VSC is a one for all, all for one type of system, Castleton practically had no say in the change, said Sarah Chambers, Castleton’s instructional technology specialist.

However, Castleton didn’t oppose the change at all, she said.

“Moodle wasn’t doing everything we wanted it to do as a learning management system,” Chambers said.

Canvas, she said, has numerous benefits for both students and teachers. Some examples include a simple interface, Office 365 built directly into the program and a calendar feature that will show all of your due dates in one place.

The grading interface is going to flow better then Moodle and even allow predictive grading so that students could see how an assignment may or may not affect their overall grade, she said.

Canvas is so user friendly that it has 24/7 support and has a mobile application so that all grades, due dates, announcements and reminders go directly to the user’s phone.

“The days of having to wait for the email app to load to find out if class is cancelled or not is behind us since you can have a push notification come directly to your lock screen,” Chambers said.

Of course, with all the good, comes with some concerns.

Getting the word out and getting everyone on the same page is going to be the biggest issue. So far, only professors and select students have been able to see the new interface.

Students are having mixed feelings about change. Some took the news with trepidation.

“I just got used to how Moodle works, so I am kind of bummed I have to learn another system,” said freshmen Emily Greene.

Others didn’t really seem to care.

“I honestly have no opinion, it is what it is,” said junior Kyle Dash.

And others, like Allison Chadwick, have doubts about the transition.

“I hope the system works, but I don’t think it will be better than Moodle,” she said.

Professors have been taking part in instruction sessions to learn the new program, and seem to like it more than the existing system.

Professor Paul Derby said he is unsure of how the whole system is going to work and believes that it might be harder to get content online, but will be easier to use once the information is loaded.

“Some things are going to be easier to use, which will be good,” Derby said.

Ryan Boeke, who has used Canvas in high school, said that is it 10 times easier to use then Moodle.

“Moodle leads you around (to find the information), whereas Canvas gives it to you bluntly,” Boeke said.

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