Why Canvas Reigns Superior

Canvas is our new online syllabus for courses and ECHOs here at Western Reserve Academy. Previously used was Haiku, the beta of the systems. But why is Canvas better? What separates Canvas from Haiku?

Canvas is the easy to use, organized, visually appealing version of Haiku. Not only do the facts, but students as well, support the site and change. Canvas, compared to Haiku, is being used far more widely than Haiku ever was. While it is new and most faculty and students are still trying to understand/explore Canvas, it can be agreed that it is simple and user friendly. Jasmine Wheeler ‘20, Lauren Dempsey ‘21, and Jeff Goodall ‘21 all remarked on the fact that it is easy to find links and assignments compared to Haiku. It is far better organized. Not only is it easy on an organization standpoint, it’s easy because it has an app. A program without an app is not fitting to the society we live in today as brought up by Camille Wheeler ‘21. Accessibility, on all levels, is key. 

For me, personally, Canvas is everything Haiku wasn’t. Haiku was cluttered, unappealing, had too many buttons and opportunities for error and to lose links. In addition, no offence to the faculty, solely depended on the page creator to make everything accessible and organized, which is commonly wasn’t. This might just be me outing my inability to use electronics or lack of capability to find the will to search for things, like, really search. Keshav Mody ‘22 stated that Canvas is easier to navigate due to better design and the more “streamline” links. However, I still feel like these are valid points as they are struggles and issues directly from a student. 

But not only is it great for students, but for teachers! The weight and responsibilities of managing and creating these pages are somewhat lifted. Canvas helps create and lay out a page from the teachers for the students. Mr. Buck, the 2D art teacher here at WRA, highlighted the fact that grades are now easy to be seen, inputted, and accessed. 

Andrew Petras ‘23 and Keshav Mody ‘22 also remarked on the accessibility of grades. A main issue with Haiku was the fact that grades were entirely separate. It created confusion and frustration amongst the student body, and no question the faculty with students asking every other week what their grades were. The gradebook portion not only can show the grade itself but each part and section with comments and topic. Like stated many times before, the ease and accessibility allows for the grades to be easily altered by teachers, helping them and students. 

Part of the reason it’s easily used and accessible is the fact that it is visually appealing and pleasant. The easy, simple aesthetic and layout fosters a usable website. It also makes it simpler to process. The clean visuals allows for minimal discrepancies between visual preference as well. It allows for the student/user to change order and colors of course icons and pictures, tailoring it to the user. It is clean, organized and accessible. 

As much as change is bothersome, we cannot ignore the pros of Canvas. It can display grades, assignments, hold discussions and a space to turn in assignments, and is all easily organized for the user. Google Drive, Microsoft Office and other platforms can be implemented and used for turning in assignments directly from the site. Everything that Haiku lacked, or was difficult to access are all on one easy page for the user. Announcements and a usable calendar are also a part of Canvas. Not much can top that. Canvas has so many abilities that Haiku didn’t have, or that weren’t easily found. Haiku lacked in many places Canvas makes up for. I mean, if Haiku was everything we needed, then why would we switch? 

-Ellie Polyak ’21

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