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Topics Map > University of Chicago > IT Services > Teaching, Learning, & Research Computing > Chalk
Canvas - How is it Different from Chalk? (Instructor)
This article explains the similarities and differences between Chalk and Canvas.
Canvas has all of the core functionality found in Chalk, but each system operates under a different paradigm. Chalk is instructor-centered and focuses on document distribution; Canvas, a Web 2.0 platform, emphasizes the student experience and focuses on instructional interaction and collaboration. With this in mind, there are five things that instructors need to be aware of when transitioning from Chalk to Canvas.
Publishing Courses and Course Content
In Canvas, courses and content are not available to students unless they are explicitly published. In Chalk, content is available to students by default and instructors have to set a display date and time if they want to restrict student view.
Exception: In Chalk, files directly uploaded to the Files link are automatically set to be published.
Organizing Course Content With Modules
In Chalk, most instructors upload documents to folders under Course Material to organize their course content. Canvas uses Modules, where content is organized in expandable menus. This allows instructors to link to documents residing in a central document repository. Instructors can find their documents more easily and are less likely to upload multiple versions of the same document.
One Inbox for All Classes
In Canvas, instructors can email and have Conversations with students just like in Chalk. Canvas Conversations are sent with the instructor's name in the To: field and the course name in the Subject: field. Replies are recorded in Canvas. This, together with the single inbox design, allows instructors and students to check all their communications in one place.
Personalized Notification Settings
As smartphones and mobile devices become more popular, Canvas allows individuals to decide how and when they want to be notified of events and communications. By default, announcements, conversations and other notifications are sent by email, but faculty and students can choose to receive notifications by SMS text messaging as well.
As-Needed External Tools
Chalk is an all-in-one platform that provides a defined set of tools. Canvas provides a set of core functions, including course document management, communications, assignment and feedback, assessment, and gradebook. This gives instructors the flexibility to add external tools such as Blogs, Wikis, Box, or Google Docs, as needed in a plug-and-play fashion.
Note: During the transition period, be sure to let your students know your Canvas course URL and how your course content is organized.