Canvas Software Product Review and Integration with CCSD Infinite Campus
During one of my stints as a teacher for the Clark County School District, I came across a frequently used software platform called Canvas. The developers refer to Canvas as ..most well known for its ease of use and painless adoption….. In fact, I have used Canvas and shared my opinons on its use thoughout the School District with staff and teachers.
In a nutshell, Canvas Software is a Content Management System. It has been sold to the Clark County School District as an LMS (Learning Management System.) The persons making the purchasing and buying decisions of such software apparently did not do their homework very well. Canvas is similar to WordPress, and Moodle, but severely lacking in plug-ins, teacher-designed plug-ins, and extenstions, as well as other useful features, and extenstions. Canvas is not all what the developers claim it to be, and it does have several flaws, if not headaches.
CCSD Administrator Ignores My Canvas Software Review and Input.
It should be no surprise that a school within the Clark County School District (which is ranked nearly the last in the United States, and has a budget deficit of over $25 million), would ignore the advice, opinion, and input of a Purdue University graduate with over 25 years of programming experience in favor of a &34Google Certified Teacher Level who is supposedly skilled at Canvas products and services, but lacks programming experience.
Therefore, I am helping the general public, open-minded schools, and resourceful teachers better understand the severe flaws associated with Canvas and the pain-staking letdowns which many teachers experience in integrating the Infinite Campus gradebook with Canvas .
SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR OF Canvas Software AUTONOMOUSLY OVERWRITES INFINITE CAMPUS GRADEBOOK DISPLAY DATA
The Canvas software program has a feature of importing assignments automatically to Infinite Campus. The imported assignments are parked in the Imported Assignments tab but also are parked directly into the gradebook once an intructor officially imports the assignment to the Assignments tab into a specific grading quarter.
All of this sounds wonderful, but: It is does not work they way it was pitched. Canvas Software autonomously appends the Infinite Gradebook regardless of the fact that the teacher may have already SAVED the gradedbook. Canvas Software nullifies and ignores the SAVE feature, and thus any edits the teacher may have done are automatically overwritten.
Teachers and administrators have scrambled to overcome this flaw. The updates by Canvas are not professonaly designed on te same level as a Microsoft or Google, Inc., wherein the end user is first notified of a pending update and has the option to delay,cancel, or refuse the update. Canvas Software FORCES the gradebook to be updated, period! After spending time on several re-edits, and 2AM over-writes done by the System Administrator of Canvas, this flaw was discovered.
Canvas Software Does not Distiinguish Between Different Grading Scales
Some Teachers base their assignments upon a 100 point grading scale, while others use a grading scale based upon somethig different, like, 58 points, etc. This may seem minor in the general scheme of things, but imagine Canvas-created course assignments where the learning modules use a variety of grading scales (12 points, 45 points, 32 points, etc) while your Infinite Campus assignments are all traditionally based upon 100 point scale.
Canvas Software has features for calculating grades as a percentage WHILE IN CANVAS, but this pecentage doe not export to Infinite Campus. This means that Canvas will use, let’s say, a 32 points Essay assignment, and calculate a grade of 93% based upon 30 scored points. However, when the assignment is transferred by the System Administrator of Canvas the score is computed upon a default 100-point system, and the student receives a 30% score.
The teacher has to re-edit the gradebook to cover the Canvas flaw or failure of Canvas Software to automatically correct this programming miscue. No problem, says the CCSD teacher. The teacher dutifully uses an outrageous amount of non-paid hours to correct/overcome these flaws by re-editing the System Administrator Canvas Input to a 100 point scale.
- Canvas Software does not routinely and automatically display the imported Grades from Canvas to match the “Display Grade As” selected by the instructor although the value of the programming variable clearly is officially set and does exist as evidenced by the fact that the grade does display in the Canvas gradebook for the specific course(s); ;
- Canvas Software OVERWRITES not only the corect percentage-grade on Assignments in Infinite Campus, but also overwrites the Grade Scale with the Canvas-supplied point system. All of this takes place AFTER an Instructor has submitted and SAVED his/her own work. ;
- Although a due date on an Assignment ma have passed, or the assignment is no longer accessible to the students, and once an Instructor has “SAVED” his/her work on Infinite Campus, Canvas is still autonomously importing both “points”, and a new “grade-scale” to each Canvas-created assignment!
- When Canvas over-writes data, or updates the Quarter Grade assignment data, it only displays the original date when the first import creation of the assignment occurred instead of the date that the over-write took place. For example, Canvas displays “Created by Administrator, System 11/07/2017…” for M1L1S. Canvas does not alert the Instructor with a warning Message like “Canvas is Ready to Update. Do you authorize this Update to take place?. Yes or No.” Canvas bruteforce updates and bruteforce overwrites existing “SAVED” data and does not perform a programming check to ascertain if the Instructor has altered the Gradebook, e.g., the Grading Scale.;
Canvas Software is an Example why CCSD has Budget Deficit
Teachers spend an excessive amount working to overcome and outpace the flaws or shortcomings of Canvas Software. School-based administrators are sold on Canvas. The questions is this: Is the Canvas Software the best product for Infinite Campus, and why are their databases not in sync with one another?