Distance Learning & Instructional Technology

Blackboard to Canvas Migration

The table below outlines some of the key differences between various tools on Canvas and Blackboard. Click on the links under "Canvas" to learn more!



What's the difference?



Instructors can allow students to reply to announcements. An "allow liking" feature allows users to "like" an announcement reply, and instructors are able to "sort (replies) by likes."



Scheduler is a Calendar tool that creates appointment groups within a course or group. Students can sign up for a time slot within the appointment group. Some appointment time slots may only allow one student to sign up at a time, while others may allow an entire group to sign up.



Just as tests and quizzes were grouped under "Tests" in Blackboard, they are grouped under "Quizzes" in Canvas. Canvas offers Quiz types of "Practice Quiz," "Graded Quiz," "Ungraded Survey," and "Graded Survey."



Assignments can be accessed through several areas of the course: Assignments, Calendar or Modules. Assignment types include "No Submission," "Online," "On Paper," or "External Tool" (or Turnitin). Instructors can limit the file types they will accept.



Canvas does not have blogs or journals built in. Journals can be created through the Assignments tool and blogs can be developed using the Discussion area or a third-party tool.



The Calendar automatically syncs with other Canvas features such as Assignments, Syllabus, and Grades. If you create, change or delete the due date of an Assignment, the Calendar will reflect this change. Within the Calendar page, you can change dates easily by dragging and dropping assignments from one day to another.



Allows students to use Google Docs for online collaborations



All pages created in Canvas are potential Wikis; an instructor can give students editing rights to a page and can return to an older version of the page if student changes need to be reversed.

Send email/ Course Messages

Inbox (Conversations)

All conversations can be routed to the user’s email. These communications can take place directly in the user's personal email (if specified in Notifications) but copies will still reside in the Canvas Inbox.

Content Areas


Courses are uniformly laid out with a linear module structure based on Pages. The content can use releases or prerequisites to monitor student work.



The syllabus allows you to add information that is pertinent to your course. The Syllabus is automatically generated based on Assignments and Events within a course. It can only be changed by editing or deleting the Assignments or Events. All assignments (unpublished and published) are listed in the syllabus for instructors.


Document Preview

Instructors have the option to set the preview to open automatically for students in the course. Preview will open many file options; .doc, .docx, .ppt, .zip, .pdf, .odt. It can handle large documents up to 100MB and 999 pages



With the people function instructors can oversee the course roster. The People feature also gives great analytics that is easy to read and use.

Content Collection

Files (Canvas Commons)

Files can house course files, assignments, syllabi, readings, or other documents, as well as profile pictures and user-specific files. Instructors can lock folders and files so they can only be viewed by direct links or only unlock on a specific date. Also, consider using the Canvas Commons to store files that might be used for multiple people or departments.


Groups (Project Groups)

Groups can be easily maintained in a single navigation menu.



Conferences are primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups. They can be recorded and are viewable for two weeks. They can also be used to demonstrate technologies or troubleshoot technology issues online. Conferences can accommodate up to 50 people. Currently, Canvas integrates with BigBlueButton.


Media/Video Recorder

Canvas has an embedded recorder in any of the text editing areas. The users can record audio or video for pages, posts, messages announcements and grading feedback.

Course Menu

Course Navigation

Canvas provides a consistent Menu and naming convention for all courses. An instructor can show or hide links for the needs of his or her course.



Each user of Canvas is responsible for choosing their way of receiving different types of Canvas notifications. For different categories, users can choose to be notified immediately, daily, weekly, or not at all. Changes to these settings are immediate.

Make Available

Publish Course

The Publish Course button is conveniently located on each course's Home Page; after students submit assignments, this button disappears.

Self and Peer assessments


Canvas has an easy-to-use function for assigning peer reviews which can automatically match students or allow the instructor to manually match students

Content Item/Blank Page


Canvas pages are adaptable to many individual styles using the robust tool section in the editing panel. Pages also allow in-course linking and drag and drop attachments from the sidebar.

Grade Center


Assignments can be created that have No Submission. These work well for in-class presentations, daily participation points, or other optional activities used for extra credit.

Grade Assignment


The Canvas SpeedGrader is easy-to-use and provides tools to comment, highlight, mark through text, or draw on a paper. Instructors can also add audio or video feedback for the student or incorporate rubrics into Outcomes and Learning Mastery paths.



Canvas Rubrics provides a variety of rating scales and can pull in Outcomes from the departments, intuitions or course level outcomes.

My Grades


Canvas allows the student to use the What-If feature, which allows students to enter possible grades for upcoming Assignments and Quizzes to project his or her potential course grade.



On the Navigation menu, "Help" leads users to support through the Student Helpdesk, Faculty Helpdesk or the Canvas Guides. UNTD has 24/7/365 Tier 1 Canvas Help Desk Support via phone or chat.


Ungraded or Graded Surveys (Quizzes)

Ungraded or graded surveys (types of "Quizzes") can be deployed easily within a Canvas course. Also, instructors have the option of making both graded and ungraded surveys anonymous.

Grade Center


Canvas allows instructors to assign weights to assignment groups within the Assignments section of their course.