Some words from your colleagues
Before we discuss moving content, we suggest watching the videos below created by Drs. Marguerite Koole and Murray Drew, respectively, detailing their impressions of Canvas from an instructor's perspective as instructors who had previously used Blackboard. Dr. Koole's video also outlines her experience as a person who took part in the Canvas trial before we had chosen Canvas as the replacement for Blackboard.
Moving is only step one
While you can quickly and easily reuse content from Blackboard in Canvas with relatively little extra work, the videos above both clearly show that Canvas is quite a different system with great, new opportunities to enhance the student experience. We recommend treating the migration of content not as the end goal, but rather as step one – a starting place from which you can continue to learn about Canvas and explore what it has to offer that could benefit your course.
Canvas was intentionally selected as it aligns well with many of our identified Learning Principles. Consider how you might evolve your course’s online presence to leverage the features that support these principles. Our supported learning opportunities will teach you how to use these features while simultaneously explaining how the features support our Learning Principles.
Your options for moving content
You have two options for extracting content from Blackboard.
- Take your files and documents from Blackboard and recreate your course in Canvas using these documents from scratch, reuploading files and content using the relevant Canvas features
- Export your Blackboard course and upload it into Canvas
It’s recommended that you select the option between those two that works best for the specific Blackboard features you used. The next section lists Blackboard features sorted by how well they work when courses are imported into Canvas. If you use many of the features in your courses that don’t translate well, then you may want to consider the start from scratch route.
How well does content migrate?
- Discussion Forums (just the main topics – not the content within)
- Tests and Test Pools (called Quizzes in Canvas), though not all question types will transfer
- Content areas become Modules
- Student groups migrate, but the membership does not (i.e. a list of groups will exist, but you’ll need to manually assign your new students to those groups)
- Wikis will become Pages in Canvas, which can operate as wikis, but you’ll first need to change the permissions of that page to allow students to edit
Doesn't Migrate Well
- Formula-based questions in quizzes do not migrate well and can result in grading errors. We recommend manually entering formulas into quiz questions from within Canvas.
- Blogs and Journals don’t have analogous built-in features in Canvas
- Attachments in your content Items will not migrate (although the text and images in the Item will migrate into a Page) – you’ll need to add the files into your course modules
- Student data does not migrate at all (i.e. student contributions, student group memberships)
- Manual columns or weighted columns in the Grade Center – use Assignment Groups instead
- SCORM modules won’t migrate, and will need to be reuploaded into Canvas separately
- Content from our external tools in Blackboard (WebEx, Panopto, LinkedIn Learning, etc.) will not migrate and will need to be recreated in Canvas
- Folders nested in other folders do not transfer well – you’ll want to use indenting within a Module in Canvas to visually simulate a nested folder structure
How to export from Blackboard then import into Canvas
Check out our step-by-step instructions document to be guided along the process of moving your content from Blackboard to Canvas. In addition, if you have Panopto videos in your Blackboard course that you'd like to bring over into Canvas, then there are some additional steps that are covered in our quick video, also linked to below.