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Alex Heldrich, Reporter
Returning students and staff have probably noticed the changes made to Canvas at the beginning of winter quarter. Canvas is the online program used by students and professors to communicate grades, deadlines, important files and calendar dates. Students can also use Canvas to communicate with their professors and other students in their class through an inbox messaging system.
The updates to Canvas are all visual. This includes a change in the color theme from orange to blue. There’s also tile effects, cleaner lines and new placement of the navigation bar, which has moved from the top of the webpage to the left.
Interim eLearning Director James Johnson said the new user interface makes Canvas more like iOS and Windows 10.
“The reason these changes were made was due to user requests to Canvas,” Johnson said. “According to Canvas, there was (a) desire to create a cleaner and more contemporary feel, which has made the user experience more simple and streamlined.”
The updates to Canvas didn’t take away any features but instead added new ones. The homepage now includes a megaphone on a course title if there are any announcements for that course and a dialogue bubble used to indicate unread discussions within the course. While things may look slightly different, everything runs the same as before.
Changes are constantly being made to websites in order to fix any internal bugs or issues.
“Canvas schedules new changes roughly every three weeks,” Johnson said. “Major changes like the new user interface are implemented on a slow roll which means Canvas takes their time to bring it out and they give the options to the administrators at the same time in for the implementation.”
The new user interface was available back in early fall, but the eLearning directors didn’t want to switch it over in September, the middle of the quarter. Instead, they opted to wait until the holiday break at the end of the quarter to make the change, Johnson said.
“So far students have reacted positively about the changes to the user interface,” Johnson said. “The volume of Canvas support calls have been pretty low.”
Some students are thrilled with the new updates to Canvas.
“It’s a lot easier to navigate,” student Connor Staffen said. “I’ve heard some complaints that people aren’t finding the things that they used to, but I think that’s just a matter of getting used to the new layout. Honestly for me it’s a lot easier, the lines are cleaner, there isn’t clutter on every side and everything is better organized.”
While some students find the updates easier to navigate, others don’t like the new appearance.
“It’s too blue,” student Mikaela Payne said. “Every social media thing is blue: Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, even MySpace used to be blue. Orange was a better color. Blue is depressing.”
For students who check their grades and communicate via mobile device, there’s a mobile version of Canvas available to them for iOS and Android products. The Canvas app doesn’t have the old orange theme, but instead has flying superhero panda bears, something that may be favored by some students.
“The apps don’t offer the exact same experiences, but a similar interface as the new one,” Johnson said. “If there are any problems with the mobile applications, we would ask students to go to the ‘help’ icon at the bottom of the left hand menu to open up a case so that we can work with our Canvas counterparts to resolve the issue.”
Students who experience any issues with the changes to Canvas can contact the eLearning center at (253) 964-6244.
“We want to make sure our Pierce College students have the best experience possible in Canvas,” Johnson said. [/responsivevoice]
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