Course Import: What to Expect

If you are planning on importing a Blackboard course into Canvas, there are some things you should know about the process and what to expect when using and navigating an imported Blackboard course.

"Where will my content go?"

The tools in Blackboard and Canvas are not identical. When using the Course Import Tool, Canvas will translate Blackboard content as best it can. Some content that will not transfer (or transfer so incompletely it is virtually useless) from Blackboard includes:

  • Blogs
  • Collaborations (collaboration sessions are not saved in the first place and have a different meaning within Canvas)
  • Journals
  • Messages
  • Replies to discussion board topics
  • Wikis (incomplete/unlinked pages)

Note that there are also issues with incomplete importing of Course Files, Discussions,Contacts, and Group Tools. Our complete and specific list of how to go about copying these and other contents into a Canvas course can be viewed on our Best Practices page.

The content that does transfer will end up in the following areas:



"What will my imported course look like?"

In short, your imported Blackboard course will not look much different than a course created from scratch in Canvas. There are, however, specific things that may appear different or require adjustment because of the differences between Blackboard and Canvas.

Course Files

We do not recommend importing course files with the Course Import Tool. From our testing, the tool has a lot of trouble deciding which files belong in the Files section and which belong in the Pages section. To make sure all of your course files go into the Files section, follow the Learning Technologies tutorial on importing course files.

If you use the Course Import Tool to import course files, here's how it will look:


Because content in Blackboard is far more nested than content in Canvas, using the Course Import Tool will produce many folders with often meaningless names. Additionally, the system gets confused and will not deliver all course files to the Files area.


The Pages section of Canvas can be very confusing after importing. Much of the course content as a whole is divided between Files and Pages, and it seems that most group tools, web 2.0 tools, and content areas have a page made for them. Although the page will be created, it will serve as a "bookmark" of sorts for the tool or content and will generally not be functional (many links leading to other Pages sections and text that failed to be linked).



Although quizzes generally import quite well, it is helpful to know a few things before using them for a class:

  • Quizzes that are import are unpublished. They become available to students once they are manually published by the instructor.
  • Tests and surveys will both import into the Quizzes section, whereas pools will import into the Question Banks section within Quizzes.
  • Blackboard offers types of questions that do not exist within Canvas. When questions in formats other than multiple choice, fill in the blanks, essay, matching, numerical, or formula are imported, they will become text-only questions by default. This will make it so students cannot provide an answer for the question(s), which will count as a wrong answer. It is very important that quiz questions are checked for this before they become available to students. If a question has imported to a text-only question unintentionally, change the question format by clicking edit this question.