What to Expect When Using and Navigating an Imported Blackboard Course

If you are planning on importing a Blackboard course into Canvas, it helps to 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 with 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 transfer to the following areas:

Blackboard Content Where it appears in Canvas
Announcements Announcements
Assignments/SafeAssignments Assignments
Course Calendar Calendar
Course Files Files
Discussion Boards and Forums Discussions or pages
Documents, Images, and Other Media Files
Glossary Pages
Group Discussions and Wikis Files
Tasks Pages
Tests, Surveys, and Pools Quizzes


What will my imported course look like?

Your imported Blackboard course will not look much different from 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

Importing course files with the Course Import Tool is not recommended. Because content in Blackboard is more nested than content in Canvas, using the Course Import Tool can produce folders with meaningless names. The tool has 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 steps for importing only the course files (rather than the entire course).


The Pages section in Canvas can be confusing after importing. Much of the course content as a whole is divided between Files and Pages. Most group tools, Web 2.0 tools, and content area 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 will generally not be functional (many links leading to other Pages sections and text that didn't get linked).


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

  • Quizzes that are imported 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 to review quiz questions are checked for this before they are distributed to students. If a question has imported to a text-only question unintentionally, change the question format by clicking edit this question.

Last modified: January 9, 2014