You get what you pay for

Source: PC Mag and Google, edited by me

This week I decided to try and work with Canvas as an alternative to Google Classroom as some of the accessibility issues were brought up in class (fun fact: I had my first international discussion with someone on Twitter about how to get more public access! I was impressed with my ability to connect with the wider world. Thanks @AliceKeeler!)

So, onto my review of Canvas.

Source: Giphy

After I logged in for the first time, I was struck by the similarities between Google Classroom and Canvas. The layout of how classes are grouped was similar.

But, upon further investigation, the differences started to stand out. And that’s not necessarily in Canvas’ favour.

As I worked through adding information, assignments, discussions, and a syllabus to Canvas, I was struck by the fact that I had no idea of what my class would look like to a student and I wasn’t sure how I would check.

This is what I see as a teacher:


Is this what students see? How can I find out? If this is what students see, I’m unimpressed. To me, it looks cluttered and intimidating. There are almost too many options. For a student, I’m not sure I would know what to do without very specific instructions and modeling.

Logan mentioned some really pertinent points about the integration of “revolutionary” tools. There really aren’t any, proprietary or otherwise. Yes, it has Google Drive access and Twitter integration, but it lacks finesse with those tools.

Audrey Watters’ post about LMS really challenged the way I was approaching the content and the structure.  A big plus to Canvas is the openness of it and the ability to leave the course “open” so students can access it beyond the course’s technical end date. In this way, students are more central to the learning occurring. It seems the Watters’ post had a significant impact

Picture Source: SheKnows, edited by me

HOWEVER, I’m not sure I’ll be using Canvas in the near future, due to the fact that my division subscribes to the Google Apps for Education. That fact simply cannot be surmounted. I have access to all kinds of tools and my students are “walled” into the Google Classroom through the division’s purchases.

As my title suggests, in this case, I get what I (my division) pays for. Canvas looks similar to Google Classroom, but with further investigation, I find myself drawn back to Google’s monopoly of apps and programs. I just cannot get past the fact that Google offers more helpful tools for teachers through Google Docs and parental/guardian access.

So, I enjoyed my sojourn through different LMSes and have a couple more that I want to explore (thanks, Amy!), but for now, Google is king.

Source: Lazy Grace

7 thoughts on “You get what you pay for

  1. Appreciate the comparison between the two as these two would be the most likely mediums that I would use. I don’t have the experience with google classroom that you do, but thanks to your blog I feel that I have a pretty good idea of what each can offer. Thanks Kelsie!

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  2. I was wondering the same thing about the teacher vs student view. So I made a student account for my personal email and subscribed to the course. The teacher and student layout are virtually the same. I didn’t know if that was how it was supposed to be but I was actually contacted yesterday at school by a canvas rep asking me about my initial thoughts. I asked if the student view and teacher were supposed to look the same and he said yes they are. They thought it would be most helpful to both users when trying to explain something if the dashboards are parallel. I haven’t used google classroom but it seems really similar to Edmodo which I have used. So I think our group is going to test out the canvas waters. Thanks for the comparison and wish us luck lol!

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  3. I felt exactly like you did, Kelsie. Perhaps it is the Regina Public School Board in us, or our similar appreciation of Google Apps for Education. Either way, I also felt Canvas was a bit clunky and had too many options. This may have been because I didn’t have enough time to really explore in depth. I do think it is more of a “course” option, whereas the way I have been using Google Classroom is more of an “addition” to an already built course. That being said, I think I’m staying with GC over Canvas as well. Maybe one day, when I have more time, I will explore it further. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Canvas, you’re 100% correct when you say you will most likely be using it in the future. I personally think that we will be using a lot of different apps and software(s) that we may not even know exist.

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