Bobby Pedersen

What challenges did you face with using/implementing Canvas from a public (government) school perspective?

Blog Post created by Bobby Pedersen Champion on Oct 5, 2018

At the recent CanvasCon in Sydney we were asked a series of questions. As there was not enough time to answer them all live we have begun a series attempting to answer a few here. 


But Community is all about people, your input to the discussions will assist everyone so much, so please feel free to add your thoughts and experiences. 


What challenges did you face with using/implementing Canvas from a public (government) school perspective?

All change takes time and it always comes with some resistance. Listed below are a few challenges we have met so far.

  1. I can’t do this on my own
  2. Why should I?
  3. Shared devices
  4. Younger students logging in
  5. It takes too long to learn how to use Canvas
  6. Flickr
  7. Where do I start?
  8. Connectivity

Some things we have done to address them.

  1. The Department of Education in Tasmania have employed seven teachers with K-12 experience. This has created hands on support to school leaders and teachers as they come to grips with the new LMS and the pedagogies involved with using it. We have come at it with a blended learning lens rather than just Canvas. The tool is merely the avenue for excellent teaching and learning. These seven Blended Learning Leaders are available to come to schools to support school leaders with their School Improvement Plans, teacher teams to collaborate on projects, and individual teachers to create their  presence in Canvas. The relationships built in the past year with the Blended Learning Leaders and schools has meant a more solid uptake and some exciting projects taking place. No one is on their own anymore.
  2. The Blended Learning leaders strive to demonstrate a variety of purposes for using Canvas, they also work with teachers to see where their needs are and aid them in using Canvas to make their lives easier. The purpose must come first!
  3. By modelling station rotation or other ways to organise the use of shared devices teachers are seeing the potential of not only using Canvas but using digital technologies in more productive ways.
  4. Younger students logging in is a challenge. However many teachers have reported that after the initial few times it becomes second nature. Setting up user names and passwords can be a little time consuming to begin with – but it only needs to happen once! There are a few good ideas here for the K-2 students.
  5. The Blended learning Leaders, when they are presenting, acknowledge with teachers that it does take a commitment of time and concentration to get your head around using Canvas. BUT from that initial effort comes the payoff of saved time and energy. Collaboration with staff members is encouraged also. The team also presents a fortnightly 15 minute live session on topics such as Differentiation, Assignments, Blended Learning, Communication in Canvas, Quizzes, and Course Design.
  6. Flickr posed a challenge when we first started with Canvas. Way too many inappropriate images were being found. So we turned it off.
  7. The Department of Education has a team of course designers who have created a series of templates for teachers to begin with. Blueprinting has also been championed by the Blended Learning Leaders with a huge uptake in High Schools.
  8. As the team of Blended Learning Leaders visit schools around the state they have been able to action some improvements in connectivity. Sometimes busy school teachers do not have time to address this.



Feel free to add challenges you have come across, as well as ways you have addressed them – or plans you have in the pipeline to address them.


Many thanks to Scott Dennis for his support during CanvasCon and this Canvascon Q&AStuart Ryan and Jayde Colquhoun fellow panelists, and the wonderful Barrett Doran for being the MC.