The Advance-Titan

System-wide change to Canvas is for the better

Ethan Uslabar | The Advance-Titan

At UW Oshkosh, the system Desire2Learn has often been unreliable. Many students have complained of being suddenly kicked out of quizzes before finishing and not being allowed to retake them. Getting timed out of a session and the constant updates are two more things students seem to mention often.

However, the time for change has finally come. The entire UW System will be changing from D2L to Canvas by spring 2020 at the earliest.

Dr. Anne Milkovich, the UWO Chief Information Officer, said the contract coming to an end with D2L was part of why the UW System decided to change to Canvas.

“The contract for D2L was approaching its term; the UW System was required by state law to go through a fair process to select a new system, now referred to as a Digital Learning Environment, or DLE,” Milkovich said. “Although this is a tremendous undertaking, the end result is worth the effort. The new DLE, Canvas, will offer more modern functionality and ease of use for students.”

Laura Knaapen, the UWO IT Director of User Services and Digital Learning Environment project manager, said a change of some sort was inevitable and that this switch will benefit students who study on multiple UW campuses.

“If we had stayed with D2L, there would have been a major upgrade from our current version to the new version,” Knaapen said. “Either way it is a huge project, a system-wide project that affects each campus. There is more recognition that students take classes on more than one campus, and we can use our implementation of Canvas to provide a more uniform, helpful student experience.”

Students at UWO rely on D2L for assignments, quizzes, turning in papers and updates from professors.

Fourth-year student Katherine Vopal said D2L is a convenient way to keep track of homework for multiple classes in one place.

“My experience with [D2L], it has been a practical way for professors to keep students updated for posting homework,” Vopal said. “As a student, I heavily rely on it. I think it is a good source for having everything for your classes all in one place.”

However, there are some students who don’t use D2L at all, except for quizzes and certain assignments. With professors who only accept hard copies of assignments, D2L becomes useless.

UWO senior Sean Becher said he doesn’t use D2L much because it isn’t useful for him to use for classes.

“[D2L’s] just not convenient for me,” Becher said. “Most of my professors don’t really require me to use it.”

Hopefully the new DLE program will be more reliable, easier to use and more convenient for student use. If the transition is done smoothly, it could be a great change for students and professors.

UWO junior Amanda Beistle said she is optimistic about the change but feels students need to be given warning before the switch takes place.

“I think it sounds interesting; I’m always open to changes in the technology we use,” Beistle said. “If they give enough warning to the student body and teach us how to use the platform, I could see the transition going well.”

This switch could be beneficial to students because the new Canvas program is more streamlined than D2L and promises to be more reliable, meaning that students won’t get kicked out of an important timed quiz halfway through. Change isn’t always a good thing, but this one just might be.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
System-wide change to Canvas is for the better