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January 3, 2013


What Annoys Me Most About Canvas #30in30

I have to begin by saying that most of these annoyances are probably from user error and/or ignorance, so feel free to educate me in the comments below. Then other annoyances probably have more to do with our (MCCCD) administration of Canvas than with Canvas itself. Canvas is by far the best LMS I’ve used, BUT nothing is perfect and somethings just drive me crazy. Anyway, with that disclaimer, here we go.

First off, Canvas is making me think I’m senile. I will spend a couple of hours making little changes here and there to content pages, and sometimes when I go back the next day or a few hours later, some of the changes are gone. Cue the Twilight Zone music. This has happened on more than one occasion. “I know I changed that,” I say. “I’m not crazy!” It happens enough that I don’t even trust it or me any more, so I have to add an extra step to “check” my work later.

canvas logoI’m all for change, but sometimes I miss the “old” way things were in Canvas. You can never get too attached to anything in Canvas because it can disappear just like that. One day you have a colored yellow quiz icon and the next you don’t. Little things you never thought you’d miss are just gone. Please come back yellow quiz icon. They even changed their logo. But of course with change bring progress and growth, so I’ll never really complain about this one. Just kidding.

Another annoyance I experienced this past semester was with the surveys.I’m still trying to figure out surveys, but it took several days to figure out how to tell if a student participated in an anonymous survey for no points. In Bb it would show a check mark next to students who took the survey, but in Canvas there’s nothing that I could find. I had to resort to looking in each individual students’ access history to see if they accessed that survey. That worked, but I couldn’t really tell if they took the survey. They could have just looked at it. It’s all a mute point anyway this semester as all that great data is gone.

Our district has Canvas set up to self destruct auto close classes as soon as grades are submitted in SIS. I’m sure they think this is just a dandy way to keep the courses in order and cleaned up quickly, but it really sucks for instructors. I mean literally a few hours after I submitted my grades my Canvas class was emptied out. I learned after the fact that I should have downloaded a copy of my grades. Oh well. Good thing no students questioned my grades. I’d have to say, “I’m sorry. Your grades and all your work is gone.” But what really bothers me is many instructors like to use the content of the closed class to help improve the class for the next semester. This is done by surveying students, having them provide comments in a discussion forum, but also allowing for the instructor to view the analytics for the course. We can gauge a lot from that data, like which assignments students did better on, quiz question analysis, etc. Many of us don’t have time to do this type of reflection until the end of the semester. Well, now we can’t do it at all.

NO Android app! Still? Come on Canvas. Twenty-three percent of my students have an Android device compared to 12% with iPhones. There’s twice as many Android users in this country. Where’s our app? Okay. Ha! Hang on a second while I wipe this egg off my face and tweet.


Scratch ALL that. Let’s go with where’s my SpeedGrader app for Android? Vote here if you would also like to have a SpeedGrader android app.

I have other annoyances, but with things generally going well with Canvas, I tend to forget I was briefly annoyed with something. I’ll try better to remember so I can come back and share with you all.



  1. Susan High
    Jan 3 2013

    I agree with all your points, positive and negative. Canvas is by far the best LMS I’ve ever used. That said, my biggest complaint is that edits get undone even though I know I saved them. I have heard other people complain about this problem, too. I work *really* hard to build good courses, so it’s frustrating to proof read and do final edits–sometimes critical–only to have them disappear.

    • soul4real
      Jan 5 2013

      Well, I’m glad it’s not just me because that would mean I’m insane! 😉

  2. Marie Wright
    Jan 11 2013

    I am not looking forward to this editing nightmare when I change from Blackboard to Canvas!

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