In late 2017, the University of Canberra signalled the end of their 10-year subscription with the online Learning Management System (LMS), Moodle. Instead, the university opted for another LMS, Canvas, and integrated their own custom interface, which they’ve called UCLearn. For continuing students, this means getting familiar with a new process for their studies.
Here is a comparison between Moodle and UCLearn, as well as some of the basics you’ll need to know:
You’ll be able to access UCLearn the same as you did Moodle: through the UC Student Portal
For new students, this is found by logging onto the ‘MyUC Portal’ on the Current Students page, selecting the ‘UCLearn’ tab, and then on the InterFace landing page, selecting ‘Continue to UCLearn (Canvas) for all 2018 units’. At the time of publishing this article, you’ll still be able to see the option to continue to Moodle, though this will eventually be phased out and none of the 2018 courses will be active there.
You’ll go to UCLearn for all things course-related
Unit outlines, assessment submissions, recorded lectures (still through Echo360), readings, contact information, ePortfolios (still through Mahara, but an updated version), announcements, and everything else you once used Moodle for.
There’s an app for both Apple and Android software, found on the app store under ‘Canvas Student’. Although UC has advertised UCLearn as easier to use and mobile-friendly, the app isn’t exactly great in terms of speed and stability. This is probably because it’s jumping from Canvas to the UC website when viewing things like the unit outline, for example. The interface and navigation is exactly the same as the desktop version, which is fine except it’s harder to navigate on a smaller device.
The desktop interface is much easier to navigate
A course page on Moodle typically was a single page, which meant a lot of scrolling. For example, to see Week 13’s resources and details, you would have to scroll through 13 weeks of information before you got what you wanted.
With Canvas, all this information is broken up into self-explanatory tabs, e.g. Syllabus, Assignments, Modules and Grades. The Dashboard is also a great feature that will keep you up to date with an overview of your recent activity, any upcoming tasks and assignments, and any recent feedback you’ve received.
There’s a chat feature called ‘Conversations’ (but appears as ‘Inbox’)
Despite what you might initially guess, this is not your student email. Instead, it acts as more of an instant chat and can only be used between you and other Canvas users, like your teachers and classmates. You can message a single person, a group, or your entire class. You are also able to add files to share course content.
Conversations can be found in the main navigation sidebar.
An integrated Calendar that auto-fills course dates
Keeping track of assessments just got easier. The calendar automatically inputs all of your assessment due dates and agenda items which acts as your to-do-list. You also have the freedom to add to the calendar, which is good for adding in UC events that haven’t synced to UCLearn, like Census Date for example.
Calendar can be found in the main navigation sidebar.
Online collaborative documents or ‘Collaborations’
Basically, this is the Canvas version of Google Docs. It allows multiple users to work together, add and edit a document at the same time. They save in real-time, so that changes are instantly visible to the other users. This will be especially useful for exam revision, updating classmates on missed tutorials and lectures, and group assignments. Course instructors will also be able to assign group assignments using the feature.
Collaborations is found on the navigation sidebar when you open up one of your course pages.
Incentive to set up your profile
Moodle had something of a profile that was used for online interaction. However, it’s more practical on UCLearn as it has more profile settings and communication functions.
You can add a profile picture, biography, links, and files, which will be particularly handy if the chat function takes off and students are using it as their primary source of online course communication.
Submitting assignments is easier
Submitting an assignment on Moodle was a very high-pressure situation. Thankfully, there is no ‘draft’ status to trick first-years into thinking they’ve submitted an assignment, when they’ve really only uploaded a draft (we’ve all done it).
On UCLearn, the submitted file is simply the most recent file you uploaded. You can edit or replace this file until the ‘until date’, which just refers to the due date or a later date depending on what your unit convenor decides. You will submit assignments by clicking on ‘Assignments’ in the navigation sidebar that appears when you open up a course page.
For assistance with UCLearn, the best place to go is either the Study Help site (located within the ‘Help’ section of the main navigation bar at the very top) or the ASK Advisors on Level B of the Library.