BY SONALEI AMADOR
In order to provide better support to COD students, the college has made the choice to switch from Blackboard to Canvas, starting this summer.
Dr. Kim Dozier, professor and Distance Education Coordinator at COD, said a state initiative called the Online Education Initiative (OEI) is, “working to make it easier for students to take online classes through any community college,” by using a, “single course management system.”
According to ccconlineed.org, “The OEI is a collaborative effort among California community colleges to ensure that significantly more students are able to complete their educational goals by increasing both access to and success in high-quality online courses.”
The OEI provides students with the opportunity of taking courses at different community colleges while just being a student at one college, explained Dr. Dozier. Switching to Canvas will allow COD students to register for courses at different community colleges while avoiding additional application, registration, orientation and financial aid processes.
The switch to Canvas will be made June 30, the day COD’s contract with Blackboard ends. Summer courses will be offered using the new system.
Compared to Blackboard, Canvas is more accessible to students. It features more self help material, course guides, and an inbox system that provides easier communication with instructors.
In addition to providing students with an easier experience, Dr. Dozier said that Canvas is more cost efficient for COD. She said that Blackboard costs the college at least $125,000 per year, but Canvas will be free for four years and will be available at a reduced rate thereafter.
Dr. Dozier, with the help of student services representatives, is planning to get students oriented to Canvas by developing a website and setting up on-campus and virtual orientations. “If a student has used Blackboard, I think they won’t have a lot of trouble making the shift to Canvas,” she said.