Canvas is bad and it should feel bad – March 19 – Quizzes are terrible.

View: Canvas LMS is bad and it should feel bad >>

Quizzes aren’t exactly the most fun thing for students to do, but if they’re done well they can offer the student a way to practice and review topics and see what they’re getting wrong. Generally, I like to give my students multiple tries at a quiz, so that they can get certain ideas down.

Here’s the first problem: The user interface.

Here, I’ve made one quiz question. Notice how terrible the user interface is. How is it this bad? This one quiz question takes up such a large part of my screen. Why is vertical space hogged so much by each element? Why is there so much wasted horizontal space?

Next, I want to add a similar question. However, Canvas does not support duplicating questions. I’m going to have to create a new question, set up the question text and the answers all over again. In this case, the question is brief, so not a big deal. There are only three answers, so not a big deal. It is wasted time, however. It aggregates. It’s annoying. It breaks workflow.

So here, let’s create another problem with the same style. I’ll keep the original question open to reference it (even though it takes up SO MUCH DAMN SPACE), while I work on the new question. But the little widget that lets me upload images and files is gone!

It’s actually just stuck to the top of the page, which is stupid as hell when I get more than a few questions in my quiz. It just sits up there. I have to scroll up to even use it.

Scrolling up to use the damn widget.

Everything about Canvas is terrible. WHY IS IT SO BAD?

Here’s a video of me trying to make a set of randomly-selected questions that are similar:

3 comments

    • Steve on 2018-05-03 at 7:08 am
    • Reply

    Canvas is terrible. You can’t even upload a simple letter grade/txt to the gradebook.
    1. Canvas does not allow the instructor to limit students’ use of emails (avoid stalking, harassment, selling of items, etc…)

    2. Canvas actually does not use emails and it is difficult to impossible to look up a student’s email through canvas if you wish to actually send an email to their FSU email address.

    2.1 The “conversations” (a terrible email substitute) in Canvas do not get sent to students’ emails unless they have the notifications set up – on their end – to have the conversation forwarded to their email. Professor’s cannot automatically require/set this up from their end.

    3. In Canvas you cannot copy and paste a formatted document from Word into Canvas – all the formatting is lost.

    4. You cannot “hide” a discussion board topic from student viewing after it has been published.

    5. The “email” you are forced by Canvas to use does not allow you to do any formatting of the text.

    6. The gradebook is horrible, you can’t change the assignment and quiz categories from percentages to points. If you use points, this will confuse many students.

    7. You cannot weight quizzes equally when the quizzes have different number of questions.

    8. Canvas will not allow all or No points on multiple answer questions.

    9. Canvas has the ability to use scorm packages, but unlike blackboard it will not track the completion rate of individual students and link it to their gradebook for a grade.

    10. Announcements in Canvas cannot be scheduled to open AND CLOSE on specific dates, they can only be set to open at a certain time. The announcement then remains open unless you delete it (it cannot be closed from viewing – even manually).

    11. You cannot simply add a column in the gradebook for posting points. You must create an “assignment” in canvas to create a column – So what do you do if you distribute an in-class assignment/homework etc… can’t simply create a column to post the points earned by the students.

    12. When creating exams using multiple question banks (i.e. different bank for each chapter) – you cannot randomize the question groups – the exam questions will always be grouped together by chapter in the exam.

    13. The things you are able to do – almost all of them seem to require some odd work-around to be able to do them.

    14. WARNING!!! Do not change the point value of a question after a quiz/exam has already been taken by a student. You will have to manually grade every quiz/exam for every student – it will not automatically update grades and you can not then change your mind and go back to the old point value to avoid this result (you will still have to manually grade the quiz/exam for every student).

    15. Blackboard collaborate has gradebook integration for attendance purposes. Canvas collaborate (Big Blue Button) does not have any method for attendance integration or data for determining attendance/participation.

    16. The respondus / canvas link is weak, often dropping graphics. I’ve been advised that many professors must go through by hand EVERY semester since links are also broken when quizzes are copied from one semester to the next!

    17. Did you know that while Canvas Inbox allows you to forward your email to an external account that if you answer the email from the external account and add an attachment, that will not show up in Canvas Inbox? Seems that file attachments in this situation go into a unknown land never to be seen! So if Canvas allows you to forward inbox messages to your external account (in my case my official college email account) then why not have access to full features of standard email? What sense does it make to have the forwarding happen if replies can’t have full functionality?

    18. Canvas does not give you the option to moderate a student’s discussion board post prior to everyone seeing the post.

    19. Canvas quiz and exam builder will not allow you to pull questions from the quiz bank based on the type of question you are looking for. In Blackboard you can choose a pool/bank of questions and then sort it by the type of questions (all t/F, or all multiple choice, or all t/f and multiple choice, or all short answer and all T/f, etc…)

    20. Along with People, the Grades and Discussions pages cannot be disabled, only hidden. A student can access these pages if they know the URL.

    “We just discovered that at least one student has been using a hack to access a hidden People page (meaning the People navigation link is disabled/hidden from students in the Course Navigation Menu). The hack is simply adding “/users” at the end of the site’s URL. This hack works via Student View as well. The student gaining access can see other students’ names at the hidden People page”

    21. The “what if” grade feature cannot be turned off causing student confusion in many cases.

    The new Quizzes LTI is not ready for primetime this Summer.

    Here are the major limitations

    Exam Settings:
    • Students are able to view the correct answers after they have finished the exam. There is no way to disable this.
    • Exam passwords not hidden while being typed in.
    • There is no Preview option to view the exam as a student without going into Canvas’s Student View; there is no notification within Quizzes LTI that you are in Student View or not.

    Importing:
    • Importing .zip files from Canvas Proper does not work if the imported quiz was using their own question banks. (This prevents multiple banks from being imported at once.)
    • You can only import a question once per question bank.
    • Cannot import more than once per LTI question bank or quiz.

    Question Banks:
    • Question Banks are linked to user accounts and not to Courses sites. This will be a major problem for course migrations between terms as well as multiple instructors and TAs working on a single course throughout a given term.

    Exam Questions:
    • File downloads as external links within questions do not work when the file is saved within Canvas. If the file is linked from Canvas, it will preview the file from within the Files area in Canvas. This is especially problematic when taking proctored exams because links to all course files would suddenly appear during an exam.
    • Matching questions cannot have images as an answer option.

    Monitoring:
    • Any extra time granted to a student through Monitoring will give that student extra time for ALL exams in Quizzes LTI for that course. While this is beneficial in some situations, it is a limitation for others. You cannot grant differing amounts or percentages of time to a student between exams (e.g., 50% more time on Quiz A but 25% more time on Quiz B).
    • Unable to grant extra attempts to individual students for exams. When a student encounters a technical issue after starting an exam, you cannot let him or her start a new attempt.

    1. LOL. Thanks for your list as well. I’ve been posting separate posts every time I get really pissed off at Canvas. I’m coming to the end of my first semester using it, and geeze it has been a real pantload.

      What’s worse is that it seems like other colleges are also moving towards Canvas, too… is it just super cheap to use or something? It’s so bad…

    • Kai Behrend on 2018-07-27 at 4:15 pm
    • Reply

    Yeah, we just switched to Canvas at UBC. I think it was in response to everyone overwhelmingly hating blackboard and whatever we had before, vista or something.

    I guess the good thing about Canvas is it seems relatively lightweight, so you can get started quickly and get your course working MORE OR LESS. But then when you get into the details, it gets infuriating. And reading some of the discussion boards is worse than an apple computer discussion forum.

    I’m a very, very light user of the internet for teaching, so most of these issues won’t affect me, but the fact that I CANNOT WEIGHT ASSIGNMENTS EQUALLY means I can’t even use the Canvas grade book as the official grade book of record for the course.

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