Canvas keeps things up to date, unlike some other LMS offerings that look old. A big reason we chose Canvas was because of its ease of connecting students outside of the environment -- with their cell phones and email, as well as other services such as Google Drive. The company has a modern, informal and communal feel, where Canvas users and employees interact regularly; Canvas is definitely in touch with its customers.
The downside of keeping things up to date is that things change quite frequently, which sometimes can be disorienting, but mostly the changes are gradual. Canvas serves a wide variety of institutions, so quite often they have to juggle the needs of diverse customers in terms of what things they will improve or features they will add. Canvas has some weaknesses in managing large numbers of courses and dealing with past courses.
Our school is 100% online. When we were looking for a new curriculum in 2012, we decided that we liked Edgenuity best. However, Edgenuity's LMS was too limited. For example, students could only message students in their class, and they couldn't have messages in the system forwarded to their regular email or cellphones. Other communication factors, such as discussion groups, collaboration, and conferencing were much more modern and easier to use in Canvas. Also, we wanted to have the ability to add our own classes, which we could not do with Edgenuity. We looked at other learning management systems as other possibilities to work with Edgenuity, but Canvas was the clear winner.
A major reason we chose Canvas was that it offered the ability for students to message anyone else in the school. A couple years later, they changed their communication system and deleted this feature, which was frustrating to us. However, our Canvas rep worked closely with us to find a workaround to the situation, though there are still limitations with the new communication system that did not exist in the old.
We have an account rep that I have met with every month, though now that's changing to every quarter, which is fine since we are now quite settled with the system, so quarterly is frequent enough for 1-on-1 meetings. The reps have always listened carefully and done everything they can to help meet our needs.
Canvas has a setup that allows schools to easily brand their Canvas instance, which I really like. Our login page and all of our other pages are clearly branded with our logo and school colors, and I can change those aspects on my own (without web programming skills).
Since our curriculum is in Edgenuity, we have little experience with many of the aspects of Canvas, such as course modules, grades, outcomes, etc. What little we have done in that realm has been easy to accomplish. We use Canvas to set up simple courses such as a writing workshop, a senior capstone project, and non-academic things like the student newspaper team, and most importantly, homeroom. It is through homeroom that all students can communicate with each other via live chat or discussion boards, or private messaging.