Skip to main content

The Study Hall

"Canvas Should Be Mandatory for Teachers"

It’s no secret that technology makes life easier. Virtually everything has become electronic. When universities decide to use Canvas, an online learning management system, it allows students to know their grades faster and have a closer relationship with their teachers. At least the teachers who choose to use Canvas. Which begs the question: why do only some teachers use Canvas? And why are there no universal guidelines for Canvas use? Canvas should be mandated for every teacher at the U.

When teachers take advantage of Canvas it helps students get better grades. When a teacher does not use Canvas, or does and doesn’t update it regularly, it seems harder to receive a desired grade. This may have to do with students not being able to see what their current grade is in a class. When Canvas is used only intermittently, students may not focus on the class that needs more attention. It is unrealistic for a teacher to want the best from their students when students do not know what needs to be accomplished to reach expectations throughout the semester.

In every class I’ve taken where a professor does not use Canvas (or update it), it has been harder to receive a high grade. I’ve asked over 30 students on campus what they thought about teachers that did not use Canvas or did so inconsistently throughout a semester. All agreed with my assessment, and most reported that teachers should be required to use Canvas and use it to the fullest extent. A few even complained that some teachers who do use it have not received proper training and so do not use it correctly. They won’t post the assignments due to the dashboard so students have a difficult time knowing when something is due. This causes grades to suffer.

“When teachers take advantage of Canvas it helps students get better grades.”

Many students wonder all semester long what score they’ve received on a specific assignment, and what their current grade is for that class. If this is consistently the case, students will continue to have difficulty keeping up in class, dividing their attention appropriately and maintaining good grades. If students are allowed to see which class or classes they are receiving lower scores in then they can give that class more attention, and possibly raise that grade. This can only happen if all grades are posted in a timely matter, and not letting professors wait to post grades until final grades are due.

Emma Balls, a junior at the U, made an excellent point. “The world is a technologically-driven world,” she said. “The fact that entire classes are offered online definitely means that traditional teachers should at least be able to update a few grades into a computer.”

Universities are different places than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Teachers should be required to keep up with useful programs universities use. When this does not happen, students’ grades suffer, creating more stress. By implementing the correct use of Canvas for all teachers, students’ experiences in class — with grades and with the teacher — will improve overall.

Keep Learning,
Autumn Barney

About the author: Autumn Barney is studying Sociology and Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  She plans to attend law school after graduation.  This opinion-editorial is republished with permission.