Is Canvas Suitable for Students and Teachers?


Since 2020, Canvas has become the universal learning platform for haumāna and kumu alike.

Paris Kekua, Staff Reporter

The new platform for students and teachers were digitally introduced in the year 2020, functioning as the replacement for Google Classroom–a place where teachers post assignments and where students turn in these assignments. Canvas, the platform used almost in uniformity at the high school level for a little over two years, should be just as good as Google Classroom if not better for Kamehameha Schools. In addition to referring this platform to all high school teachers, KS has added their own KS link that logs straight into a student’s account so the student can access all of their classes. Having the same preface that shows a student’s classes that they are enrolled in, that is the only remnant that mimics the Google Classroom fad. The regular announcements, assignments, and grades are set up in a different layout on Canvas in a way that Senior Landon Choy says “helps me stay organized.” 

The organization that Choy is referring to is “[t]he dashboard,” where “you can see all the assignments by date.” This is one of the known perks about Canvas but others prefer Google Classroom for the reason “that [it] is more efficient in a school environment,” said sophomore Jenna Lingenbrink. Perhaps Canvas is too cluttered, for on the dashboard, it provides a running To-Do List, as well as recent teacher feedback. Jenna’s sister Julia, a junior who still uses Google Classroom, states that uploading word documents is “easier,” on the Canvas platform while “announcements are much better on Google Classroom.” From this feedback, students seem to have nuanced opinions about Canvas, and for the most part, do not seem to think one service is better than the other, as each has drawbacks as well as benefits. 

For teachers, they seem to follow the same suit as students, but for different reasons. Canvas is “a tool to interact with ʻohana and kumu,” as Dual Credit Global Cinema Studies teacher Christian Mosher says. However, Mosher also adds that he “dislike[s] that LMS does not talk to SMS.” When inputting grades for each student, he has to first type in scores for the assignments in Canvas and then manually input the same scores into Infinite Campus. “IC” or Infinite Campus, is the replacement grading system that took the place of KS Connect; after using its last straw, Kamehameha Schools had to switch each student’s grade-keeping data into a new app–Infinite Campus. Robert Hutchison, a high school Science teacher that teaches three classes, including two advanced placement classes, confessed that “Blackboard is better” than Canvas. Specifically, having the “analytical tools to sort right through student scoring [was] also better.” 

From student and teacher reactions, the Canvas platform is not perfect and the administrators should have ultimately anticipated these reactions. In the words of Hutchison, it seems as though “we went backwards,” in which department heads did not improve the student and teacher experience–but instead made it “worse.”