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Blackboard to Canvas Transition


Best Practices for Imported Blackboard Content

For instructors using Canvas for on campus classes. (Not distance education classes.)

Getting started

You may copy some or all of the content from your Blackboard course to your Canvas course shell. Or, you may set up your blank Canvas courses shell “from scratch.”

Some types of Blackboard content import cleanly into Canvas, but others may come in disorganized or misplaced. Review this overview of best practices when copying Blackboard course content into Canvas to help you work efficiently and effectively.

We have separated different areas of the course and organized them into three recommendations:

  • Best imported content to use;
  • Best content to gather separately;
  • and Best to start fresh.



Best Imported Blackboard Content to Use

Announcements, Discussion boards

These tools transfer well to Canvas. With imported Announcements, check your text for references to Blackboard. Be sure to check the Availability and Due dates in Discussion boards.

Note that there are no tools equivalent to Blackboard’s "Glossary" or "Tasks" in Canvas, so the content from those tools will transfer to the Pages section of your Canvas course.

Assignments and Grade Center

These tools will import hand-in-hand, though you will need to delete several Blackboard gradebook categories from Canvas Assignment groups.

Please note: SafeAssign is a Blackboard-only tool. We do not yet know when a plagiarism prevention tool will be integrated with Canvas. We do not have a way to retain or collect OSU's repository of SafeAssignments. Individual instructors may download SafeAssignments from their course site.

Tests, Surveys and Pools

Tests, Surveys and Pools will all import into the Quizzes section. Note that Pools will not show up on the main Quizzes page, but are accessible by going to Quizzes > Manage Question Banks.

Some quiz and survey question formats do not transfer to Canvas (Hot Spot; Quiz Bowl). Matching questions that have images in the answers must be fixed. Be sure to check multiple choice, fill in the blanks, essay, matching, numerical, and formula question types before publishing the quiz or survey. If a question format is not supported by Canvas, the question will become a text-only question (students will not have the option to answer).

View details here on selecting content from another Canvas course to import.


Best to Content to Gather Separately or Recreate

course files


Course Files and Documents

Because Blackboard folders are nested, your course files may be hard to find in a new Canvas course (these are typically your syllabus, Word docs, PowerPoint slides, PDF’s – any files you have uploaded for students to read). Files import to Canvas within two folders, and an .xml file is auto-generated for each file in your course.

When working with files, the easiest way to get them to Canvas is to upload them from your computer. But if you do not have access to the desired files, we recommend downloading the imported course files and documents to a .zip file, then importing the content you want directly into your Canvas course's Files section. This way, your files will be easier to find and organize. View instructions here on downloading folder content to a .zip file.

Web Links

Web links will be imported to Canvas (to Modules), but descriptions and attachments are not brought over from Blackboard. The best option is to recreate the link, include the description and attachment,  and display it in a Page or content area.

If you have a lot of links in your Blackboard course, it may be best to keep track of the text and urls in a separate document on your computer so you can quickly add them to Canvas Pages or content areas.


Links to Media

If a URL link does not have an attachment or description, it may work but may have security issues depending on the type of link and location of it. Some options for making these more user friendly for media specifically:

  • Ensure any YouTube links start with “” and not the redirect”.
  • Edit the URL link and set it to open in a new window.
  • Create a new Page and add the URL link within the page instead so it opens in a new window.


Best Tools to Start Fresh

start fresh

Course Organization

Learn how to create modules in Canvas to organize your content.

Groups and Group Tools

Groups and group tools simply do not transfer over. Although the import process creates a page for some of them, they are generally blank (or display little information) and have no enrollments or tools connected to them. Use Canvas' Groups feature to create student groups instead, or take a look at this brief video on Canvas Groups.


Although Wikis technically transfer over to the Pages section during an import, the pages de-link upon import, and grading options are not retained. One option is to copy and paste the content of each wiki page into the Pages section of your Canvas course, then link them together.


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