Platform improves digital exchange

Canvas establishes ‘fluid’ learning experience online

By Reggie Santini, Advocate Staff

Online classes are providing students with advanced study options.

Contra Costa College currently offers 68 online and hybrid courses to help students achieve their educational goals as quickly as possible.

“I advocate for online courses because they are a necessity. They are convenient for students who are very busy,” drama department Chairperson Carlos-Manuel Chavarria said.

The online classes offered at CCC range from general education courses to major specific classes.

CCC describes a class as online when 51 percent or more of the course material is taught online. A hybrid class uses online features, but is less than 51 percent online. Both course types require some in-person class meetings.

Chavarria said despite the accessibility of online classes, they do present some challenges to the students and the professor.

Most online classes give students the opportunity to do the bulk of their work from home.

“It is easy to forget to keep up with your routine and assignments,” nursing major Amanda Fletcher said.

Despite having to meet a few important deadlines, students can choose to do their work whenever it is best for them.

“One of the challenges of teaching an online class is that you are connected 24/7, so my class is seven days a week,” Chavarria said. “Sometimes I get emails at three in the morning,” he said.

Online classes give students the ability to take more classes than they normally would during the length of a semester.

Business major Carolina Garcia said, “I finished my online speech class and now I am taking library studies online. They are not super long and are usually more fun.”

By having online classes, professors have an easier time assigning students movies, plays and other types of media as study material.

“We don’t necessarily have the budget to take 30 students to see a play in San Francisco, but I can use a video of the play to teach students. Online classes allow you to be more extravagant,” Chavarria said.

CCC’s online classes are slowly moving from their current platform on Desire2Learn to their new home on Canvas.

“I was worried about the switch, but Canvas is super user- friendly and all the material is very detailed,” Garcia said.

It can be a little over simplified at times but it helps, she said.

All online courses will be officially moved to Canvas by next semester despite not all professors being on board with the change.

English professor Melinda Roberts said, “I hate learning new programs,” when students asked why they would not be using Canvas during their English 1A class.

Canvas gives you the same tools as D2L and also provides students with the ability to communicate with other students taking the same class.

“It is almost like social media. It is much more fluid. I am really into the idea of using technology, even though I am not a millennial,” Chavarria said. “I have used Blackboard, Doodle, D2L and now Canvas,” he said.

CCC’s online classes are evolving alongside the technology that surrounds us.

“With more choices online, I can give my students more creative work. It is important for us to keep up with technology. Use Facebook, use your cell phone, these are all things that can help our students learn,” Chavarria said.

As online course offerings grow so does the importance of Canvas.

“They are much better then traditional classes. I don’t have to see a professor everyday,” Garcia said.