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What do Faculty think about Canvas?

Community Coach
Community Coach
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Each spring Online Learning at Richland Community College collects faculty user ratings for Canvas. The survey includes a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions that cover topics like faculty's overall experience with Canvas, how easy it is to use different features, and their confidence in using Canvas in the future. The full survey with questions is attached to this blog for those who are interested.

While we ask a number of questions, the one question that use as an overall snapshot of how things are going with Canvas is “Rate your experience with Canvas.” The answer options for this question include: Very Positive, Positive, Negative, Very Negative. The figure below shows the total percent by year of the faculty who indicated they were having a positive to very positive experience with Canvas. *Note, our College started the transition to Canvas in Summer 2012 and fully transitioned over in Fall 2013. Response rate for this survey has been between 30-34%.


As shown above, after an initial low when we first transitioned (hey, who ever likes to change to something new?), our faculty appear to be having a good experience with Canvas. This is pretty important because if the faculty are having a good experience then this normally carries over into the classroom and to their use of more features/tools in Canvas. It's also nice to have this data so when your boss asks, "Why are we renewing our contract with Canvas?" I can show her this and tell her it's because our faculty are having a positive experience with it!

Another useful question we ask is about how easy is it to use different tools/features in Canvas. We use the responses to this to help check: (1) how effective is our training, (2) what areas do we need additional/updated training, and (3) if there are problem areas that we might need to discuss with our CSM or post about in the Canvas Community. Below are the results for Spring 2017.

The data from this question helps to show that overall faculty seem to find it easy to use most features in Canvas. Yet, it's interesting to see the percent of faculty who have never attempted to use certain features, namely Attendance and the Calendar, and will give us something to look more into for the next year.

As a tie into how easy faculty find it to use different tools/features in Canvas we also ask, "How confident are you in your ability to successfully use Canvas for future courses?" We find this to be an important question because we want to make sure our faculty feel confident in their ability to use successfully use Canvas. If they don't then this is a huge red flag that something's wrong. We've only been asking this question for the last three years, so not a lot of trend data is available, but so far it's averaging 94.80% of faculty indicate that they are confident to very confident in their ability to successfully use Canvas for future courses.

The last quantitative question we ask faculty is about how they get help with Canvas. We ask this to gauge where faculty are going for help so that we know what resources are being utilized. The Canvas Help link is the link to Canvas Support, but we screen and initially respond to all requests for support before determining if they should be escalated to Canvas for assistance. Canvas Instructor Training Course is our College-developed training course that all faculty must complete before they can use Canvas for their courses. Other Instructor(s) would be other Instructors at our College. Online Learning Staff include the Director of Online Learning ( @kona ) and the Online Support Specialist ( @ejackson ‌).


When looking at the data (from above; 2017) a little deeper we found that 25% of the faculty used one of these resources, 31.25% used two, and 43.75% use three or more of the resources. Overall what I really appreciate is the percent of faculty who indicate that they are using our Training course; this would be after their initial training that is required. We put a lot of time and energy into creating and maintaining the course so it's nice to see that our effort is being rewarded.

The last three questions on our survey are open-ended qualitative ones that ask faculty (1) what features in Canvas do they find most useful/helpful, (2) what features they find confusing and/or need improvement, (3) and what they would like more face-to-face training on.

Here's a word cloud of the things faculty find the most helpful/useful in Canvas.


Here's a word cloud of the things faculty find confusing and/or need improvement in Canvas.


As for what face-to-face training faculty would like, the top of the list for my faculty are Crocodoc and Rubrics!

Overall we find this yearly survey to be very important for us to see what our faculty think about Canvas, how Canvas is working for our faculty, and how we can better serve/help our faculty make better use out of Canvas. We make needed changes or develop training sessions based on this information and then check the next years data to see if what we did made a difference or if we need to keep working at it! This cycle of making data-driven decisions is what helps our division stay focused and ensure that we are making effective use of our resources and time.

Next up to analyze is our yearly Student Survey so stay tuned!