Browser Selection for Online Learning

I know that other threads have addressed the pros/cons of browsers in general and which browsers are most frequently used by members of this forum.

My question is more specific.

I have always used Safari as my default browser on Apple devices. However, my college has moved to exclusive online instruction (which affects a graduate course I teach) and so has the school where I serve as Head of School.

The learning platform for the college is Canvas with Google integration. My school’s current (I’m thinking of switching to Canvas when we are able) is Google Classrooms.

My question for those with experience with online teaching and these platforms is, “what is the best browser to use?” I’m guessing Chrome but I thought I’d check with the forum. If Chrome is the best for online teaching purposes, I may set Chrome as my default browser, though I hate to do so.

Thoughts, recommendations, advice? Thanks!

If you want the Chromium engine but more privacy than Google Chrome you may want to check out Brave.

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Thanks. I do have Brave but I find the overall interface a bit clunky but I may have to get use to it. In your experience, how much better, if at all, is the Chromium engine, for online course work?

Brave works as well as Chrome but eliminates Google’s tracking code, and includes an ad-blocker. Interface can easily be gotten used to, and I have come to prefer it to Safari’s. You also have access to a lot more, powerful, free extensions for it. For example, if you want a Safari Reader type experience I use Just Read (and you can also download custom color/font stylesheets for it.). Brave has been my main browser for several months, and really like it.

Be prepared to have to use multiple browsers. Most institutions only officially support Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Depending on what you are doing – e.g. setting up or taking a proctored exam – you may need to use a browser extension that’s only available from one browser.

The institutional LMS in my organization is Canvas. Inside Canvas, I use Microsoft Edge. The reason for that is the online proctoring tool the organization uses requires an extension that is only supported by the vendor in Google Chrome. It works in Edge, but it’s not supported.

Outside of the LMS, I use Brave for the reason @bowline stated. The specific Canvas environment I live in makes use of a number of LTI integrations that use cross-site cookies. Though, even after enabling cross-site cookies, I’ve had issues using Brave in Canvas.

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Interesting. We also use Canvas. Is there a difference between how Chrome versus Brave works in Canvas? I would assume that because they’re on the same essential platform that they should work identically in Canvas. I can certainly experiment but I’m wondering what your experience has been.

If you’re only using native Canvas tools, Brave works. It’s tools that use cross-site cookies – which is any tool integrated with an LTI – that break. For example, we use Kaltura for video and have to access it through Canvas. If I’m in Brave and try to access My Media from Canvas, it doesn’t work because Brave blocks the cross-site cookie. I get a not-so-helpful error message.

IMS is working to eliminate the use of cross-site cookies in the next specification of the LTI standard, but it could be years before we see vendors implement it.

Thanks, that’s helpful.

If you want to be able to use multiple browsers more easily, I recommend Choosy or Bumpr.

(Choosy is a bit more advanced, but Bumpr also supports multiple email clients which I also use because I use one for work and one for personal.)