School during the year of 2020-2021 will be a unique one to say the least. At Webster Groves High School, the school board created a plan for students that they saw best fit the circumstances. Not only did it adopt a block schedule rather than a drop, but it switched over from Google Classroom to Canvas.
Canvas is an online course management system in which students and teachers are able to navigate through lessons, assignments, quizzes and grades. The platform is used worldwide and was used by Webster Groves High School by students taking online courses in the Chelsea Center.
Students have different opinions on the new system.
About his feelings on the new platform, senior Isa Siddiqui said, “I feel like the teachers and the students were not properly educated on using the application … I can’t really learn online because it just doesn’t stick with me. ”
Students who have attended school in the Webster Groves School District since elementary or middle school had been accustomed to Google Classroom for several years, so it is not hard to imagine that the switch is causing some discomfort among students.
Teachers had to face challenges of their own. While figuring out a plan for online teaching, they also had to learn to utilize and navigate Canvas in time for the start of school.
About her transition to online teaching and Canvas, English teacher and yearbook advisor Amie Keane said, “Learning to navigate and customize courses in Canvas was challenging and stressful under the current circumstances… We had to learn a significantly more complicated delivery system (Canvas) while also trying to figure out how to adapt lessons and best teaching practices to a virtual space… One teacher told me he was more nervous for the first day of school this year than he was for his actual first day 20 years ago.”
However, it’s not all bad, Keane added she likes the customization features of Canvas, and that “Once I get the hang of Canvas and understand how to utilize all the tools, I think I will like it even more. I think Google Classroom might have been a better platform as a reinforcement to a traditional classroom, but I think Canvas will end up being more effective for online instruction.”
Although Canvas may seem complicated now, by the end of this semester the hope is that both teachers and students feel more comfortable on the platform and are able to focus more on school and teaching rather than figuring out the ins and outs of the virtual classroom.
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