Starting the Year Off With a Blank Canvas

A review of the applications Canvas and Microsoft Teams


As the new virtual school year begins, students have become very familiar with Canvas. Canvas is a course management system that supports online learning. Canvas has a wide array of features to suit the users’ needs, as it is not only used by highschools, but universities as well. According to Canvas’ website, more than 300 colleges use canvas daily. Some people like Canvas, while others have different opinions. 

One good thing about Canvas is that it is simple for students to use. The way Canvas is formatted allows easy navigation for students and teachers. Students can submit their work in multiple ways. As a file, a text box, a google doc, one drive, and more. Students can do their work online, or they can write it by hand and scan it. Canvas allows students to attach editable files, making it more user friendly. Tests and quizzes can also be taken on Canvas, with the results appearing directly after. Teachers can also reach students with announcements through Canvas. Students can also provide their teachers with personal information on Canvas. This information can help teachers get to know their students without seeing them directly.

Canvas also provides a calendar and a to-do list. This allows students to stay aware and on top of their work. All courses are clearly displayed and resources can be provided by teachers in the resources tab. Students can also directly message their teachers through the inbox if any problems with their work arise. Another helpful tool is the Canvas app. This app allows students to take an entire class on their mobile device. 

Although Canvas is seen as a very helpful tool, the application has some kinks as well. With so many people on the website at one time, the site tends to crash often. It can be glitchy and students have had problems submitting things. This submission process can also be confusing to new students or students that are not used to submitting things online. 

Another application that is being used often is Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a forum that allows teachers to conduct meetings with their students. Microsoft Teams is helpful because it creates a more classroom-like environment. Teachers have all their students together and can teach through this app. It is easy to use as students need just a link provided by their teachers. Microsoft Teams also gives students a chance to voice their concerns and have a more personal conversation and relationship with their teachers. 

Despite the fact that most teachers and students prefer in-person learning, the use of Canvas and Microsoft teams has made this transition to online learning relatively smooth.