Behind the District’s Switch to Canvas

Allison McCutchen, Staff Writer

  Many students and parents have been wondering about the decision to switch to Canvas for the online Fall 2020 semester. The effects of the pandemic on school and learning were the major cause of the change. The purchase of Canvas was approved on June 24 and went through on July 2, 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Schoolloop was working fine and there were no issues. COVID-19 showed the Capistrano Unified School District that for online education to working better, a program with everything all in one place was needed. 

  According to John Morgan, the Chief Technology Officer at CAPOUSD, “the District needed a robust system to store online curriculum for delivery to students” which had before required both Schoolloop and Google Classroom. Having only one system with everything on it was an advantage that Canvas had over Schoolloop and Google Classroom, which spread out the data over two systems.

  The appeal to Canvas was the way it is able to gather together the resources and data needed to ensure learning was happening and going well. School loop and Google Classroom were not able to show that students were participating, which is very important when school starts online and teachers are unable to see their students in a classroom. Canvas was able to provide teachers and administrators with the ability to “see if students are able to access material, whether or not they are participating in class,” and see if the students are “learning and engaged” (Morgan). As well, unlike Schoolloop, Canvas is a program for kindergarten through twelfth grade, meaning that the whole district could use the same program across all grade levels.

  The District implemented Canvas in order to make an all-inclusive online learning program meant to help teachers and students during this time. The main goal was to ensure students were “learning and engaged” and that they had access to the materials their teachers provided. Training for the 2,000 teachers and 47,000 students was a difficult task, added on to the fact that it was implemented in a live setting instead of going through lengthy testing. The District’s reopening team consisted of teachers, staff, and administrators who worked together to make the best decision they could given the circumstances.