More about Canvas

Blackboard is dead, long live Canvas!

With Canvas, the university promises a learning environment in which students feel just…

After this summer, the entire university will switch to a new electronic learning environment called Canvas. The introduction of the new system means that EUR will stop using the Blackboard and X-Web systems and students and lecturers will be given a more intuitive and easier-to-use learning environment. However, not everyone is happy with Canvas.

The supervisor said he/she was unable to find his/her students’ assignments. “Today the Psychology department’s bachelor thesis is moving back to Psyweb because ‘the students did not understand Canvas’. How about the supervisors? I’m a supervisor, and I had to look for over half an hour before finding anything that I could mark,” says a message on the EUR Confessions Facebook page. A previous Facebook post was devoted to Canvas as well. ‘Students say: we hate Canvas,’ it says.

The Facebook post on EUR Confessions.

Finding information

So what went wrong at the Psychology department? One of the students who struggled with Canvas is psychology student Öznur Senyurt. “What I found most annoying is the fact that we had to switch to Canvas right in the middle of the year,” she told EM.

“And only for our final block, in which we are expected to write our bachelor theses. So you’re used to doing something one way for years and then, boom, they switch to a different system. I think Canvas is very unintuitive, unlike Psyweb [the Psychology department’s current X-Web – ed.]. But obviously, we had to get accustomed to it too.” Senyurt said she had to look a lot harder in Canvas to find the information she needed, and everything looks more complex.


According to the Psychology department’s Director of Education, Guus Smeets, many students would have encountered Canvas before embarking on their bachelor theses. “There was a pilot study involving several courses, and generally speaking, it was successful.” Smeets denied that the Canvas experiment had been terminated, as suggested in the Facebook post. “Our theses are written over the course of two five-week blocks. We tested Canvas during the first block. Since that block provided us with all the information we needed, we switched back to Psyweb afterwards.”

Smeets admits that the department’s Internet team has some ‘fine-tuning’ of Canvas to do to make sure the system is entirely ready for the big work come September. “That was exactly the purpose of this pilot study – getting an idea for what difficulties still remain. Things didn’t go quite as well as expected with regard to the bachelor theses. For instance, we discovered it’s hard to see when your deadlines are. We’ll have to provide greater clarity on that. So for now it’s better to switch back to the old system.”

“Dat studenten en docenten moeten wennen snap ik goed. Ons webteam heeft de invoering van Canvas buitengewoon zorgvuldig voorbereid. Met vragen kunnen docenten 24 uur per dag terecht bij het webteam. Canvas gaat er komen en het zal echt een flinke stap voorwaarts zijn”, aldus Smeets.

“It’s perfectly understandable that students and teachers have to get used to the new software. Our web team has prepared the migration to Canvas meticulously. They are willing to answer questions from teachers 24 hours a day. The arrival of Canvas is inevitable, and it will be a big step forward”, says Smeets.

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