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What is Different in Canvas?

Selected differences between Canvas, Blackboard Ultra, and Blackboard Original:

Tables of Contents (Blackboard Original) 

  • The organizational structure of Canvas is different than that of Blackboard.  When preparing your Blackboard Original Course (the type of Blackboard course that has a customizable left navigation menu) for migration to Canvas, please note that the menu structure will not transfer between systems. 

Teaching and Learning Tool Integrations  

  • All integrations (third-party tools like McGraw Hill and VoiceThread) must be installed by OIT in Canvas before they can be used in Canvas courses. Since these are new connections between the tools and Canvas, any links and assignments you created with these tools in Blackboard will not automatically transfer to Canvas.
    • In the best case scenario, you will need to relink the content you created on the third-party tool page (such as publisher assignments) to your Canvas course.
    • In the worst case scenario, such as with Turnitin Assignments, you may need to create a new assignment in Canvas. 

To view the full list of integrations and their expected availability within Canvas, visit the Using third-party integrations in Canvas help article.

Access to Student Data Stored in Blackboard 

  • No student data from Blackboard will be imported to Canvas. Any archival process will store data in a separate space outside of Canvas.  
  • Student portfolios from Blackboard will not import to Canvas and will have to be exported in a different format for later access. OIT is not providing an alternative tool for backing up student portfolios.

Test Courses, Manually Created Courses, and Organizations 

  • Users will not be able to create their own courses in Canvas, but OIT will create courses on request. Please view the instructions for requesting a manually created course
  • Manually created courses are not connected to the data feed that populates courses with students or other users. Manually created courses are best used as a space to design a course and then copy content into term-based course shells as they are created. 
  • Manually created courses can also be used to house organizations, as a replacement for the Organization feature in Blackboard. 

List of Comparisons for Commonly Used Features

Blackboard Feature: Original CoursesBlackboard Feature: Ultra CoursesCanvas FeatureAdditional Information
Not Available in OriginalAccommodationsModerateNo significant changes
AchievementsNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasNo additional information
Add/Modify EnrollmentsRoster, Enroll PeoplePeople, + People You can add or remove Instructors, TAs, and Designers to your courses.  You will be able to add students to your courses, but you will not be able to remove them.  This is to prevent the accidental loss of data if you were to delete a student that should be enrolled in the course.  If a manually added student needs to be removed from the course, you can contact support for assistance.
Adaptive ReleaseConditional AvailabilityPrerequisites and Locking ModulesThe following conditions can be used to determine release of materials: date and time for all students, completion of prior modules. Availability cannot be determined by user or group. 
Additional Attempts to Students in Specific AssessmentsAdditional Attempts to Students in Specific AssessmentsAdditional Attempts to Students in Specific AssessmentsNo significant changes
AnnouncementsCourse AnnouncementsAnnouncementsCan allow students to comment or like announcements
Cannot force an email message to students regarding announcements
Can schedule to post at a later date
Cannot set an expiration date
Anonymous GradingAnonymous GradingAnonymous GradingNo significant changes
Anonymous Discussion Board PostsNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasNo additional information
AssignmentsAssignmentsAssignmentsCan restrict file upload types
Can accept a website URL as a submission
Adds additional submission types such as On Paper, External Tool, No Submission
No Submission could be used to add items to the Course Calendar, such as readings
AttendanceAttendanceRoll CallNo additional information
Audio/Video FeedbackAudio/Video FeedbackFeedback in SpeedGraderAvailable as part of feedback options in SpeedGrader in Canvas. 
Blackboard Mobile AppBlackboard Mobile AppCanvas Mobile AppTwo apps with different functionalities based on role (one for teacher and one for student)
Blank PageDocumentsBlank PageNo significant changes
BlogsNot Available in UltraNot available in Canvas

Work Around 1: Pages become editable when editing is allowed for teachers and students. 

Work Around 2: Collaborations creates a shared document for selected students to edit.

Bulk Download of AssessmentsBulk Download of AssessmentsDownload submissionsNo significant changes
Calculated FormulaCalculated FormulaFormula QuestionThere are multiple options for formula questions in Canvas. 
CalendarCalendarCalendar (overview for Instructors)The calendar automatically populates with due dates and meetings from the course.
Calendar ExportCalendar ExportCalendar FeedIn Canvas, you can subscribe to the Canvas calendar to have it add content to Outlook.
Not Available in OriginalCalendar ImportNot available in CanvasNo additional information
ContactsNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasNo additional information
Content EditorContent EditorContent EditorNo significant changes
Not Available in OriginalCopy ContentDuplicate an assignment /Duplicate a module itemNo significant changes
Course CopyCourse CopyCopy this CourseNo significant changes
Course BannerCourse ImageFront PageYou can create a custom page, including images, which can then be set to the home page for your course.
Course Builder RoleNot Available in UltraDesignerNo significant changes
Not Available in OriginalCourse FacultyNot available in CanvasNo additional information
Course LinkCourse LinkCourse LinkNo significant changes
Course MenuNot Available in UltraCourse Navigation MenuUnable to add additional course menu items in Canvas.
Course MergeNot Available in UltraCross-ListFaculty must wait until students are enrolled to cross-list their course sections. Students are loaded to a course two-weeks prior to its start date.
Course MessagesCourse MessagesCourse Messages Course Messages are completely contained within Canvas, they are not an email message, and do not have the option to be forcibly delivered via email.  The course messages also do not have the full rich text content editor (RTE) and only allow text, video, audio or attachments.
Course ReportsCourse ActivityNew AnalyticsThere are significant changes in Canvas. We recommend you review the linked support materials.
Not Available in OriginalCourse ScheduleCourse SummaryCourse Summary is located on the Syllabus page and automatically pulls in the due dates for any items in the course.
Course StructuresNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasSee "Teaching Style" 
Course SurveysNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasWork Around: Ungraded Quizzes can be used for anonymous collection of answers to a question set.
Not Available in OriginalNot Available in UltraCurve GradesCan curve grades for an assignment using a bell curve based on a manually entered average score.
Not Available in OriginalCourse Tasks and LogsImport>Current Jobs & ExportsNo significant changes
Date ManagementBulk EditBatch EditNo significant changes
Decimal Points in TestsDecimal Points in TestsDecimal Points in TestsNo significant changes
Delegated GradingParallel GradingModerated GradingNo significant changes
Not Available in OriginalDiscussion AnalyticsNot available in CanvasNo additional information
DiscussionsDiscussionsDiscussionsAnonymous posting not available in Canvas. 
Dropping GradesDropping GradesCreate Rules for AssignmentCanvas allows you to create an exception for assignments that should not be considered for dropping.
Edit ModeNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasEdit mode is not necessary because newly created content is hidden from students be default, until the instructor makes it visible.
Embed MediaEmbed MediaEmbedNo significant changes
Exempt GradesExceptionsExcusedNo significant changes
FilesUpload or Insert Local FilesAdd FileNo significant changes
ForumDiscussionDiscussionsNo significant changes
FoldersFoldersFolders (in Files)No significant changes
GlossaryNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasWork Around: Create a page for a course glossary. 
Grade CenterGradebookGradebookThere are significant changes to the Gradebook in Canvas. We recommend you review the linked support materials.
GroupsGroupsGroups / Group SetsCanvas allows the option for students to create their own Groups. This must be enabled in settings. Student-created groups cannot be assigned group work. 
Groups - Manual EnrollmentGroups - Custom EnrollmentGroups - Manual EnrollmentNo significant changes
Group AssignmentsGroup AssignmentsGroup AssignmentsNo significant changes
Groups - Random EnrollmentGroups - Randomly AssignGroups / Randomly AssignNo significant changes
Not Available in OriginalGroups - Reuse GroupClone Group SetNo significant changes
Groups - Self EnrollmentGroups - Self EnrollmentGroups / Self Sign-UpNo significant changes
Not Available in OriginalNot Available in UltraGroups / Group LeaderGroups may have an assigned student leader.  
Not Available in OriginalInstitution -Based Cloud StorageInstitution - Based Cloud StorageNo significant changes.  You can add content from your OHIO University OneDrive directly to Canvas Courses.
ItemDocumentsPagesNo significant changes
Item AnalysisQuestion AnalysisItem AnalysisNo significant changes
JournalJournalNot available in CanvasWork Around: Create a Discussion assignment, make it a group assignment, and then assign each individual student to their own group.
Not Available in OriginalNot Available in UltraMissing Submission PolicyThe Missing Submission policy allows you to define a grade that will be granted for missing submissions as a percentage of the total points possible.
Learning ModuleLearning ModuleModulesAdded functionality: Indent options to create a hierarchy available in Canvas, ability to send modules to others in Canvas. Loss of functionality: Cannot nest modules in Canvas
Lesson PlanNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasNo additional information
Manual Grade ColumnManual Grade ColumnNot available in Canvas​​​​Work Around: You cannot add a manual grade column directly to the Gradebook in Canvas (as you can in Blackboard). You must create a new assignment, and in the “Submission Type” settings, set to “No Submission.” 
Mashup: FlickrNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasWork Around: Content can be embedded using the Embed option.
Mashup: SlideshareNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasWork Around: Content can be embedded using the Embed option.
Mashup: YouTubeNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasWork Around: Content can be embedded using the Embed option.
Not Available in OriginalOffice 365 IntegrationMicrosoft OneDriveNo significant changes
Password Protected AssessmentsPassword Protected AssessmentsQuiz RestrictionsNo significant changes
Performance DashboardNot Available in UltraNew AnalyticsThere are significant changes in Canvas. We recommend you review the linked support materials.
Portfolio AssignmentNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasNo additional information
PortfoliosPortfoliosNot available in CanvasNo additional information
Not Available in OriginalProgress TrackingStudent ProgressNo significant changes
Question BanksQuestion BanksQuestion BankQuestion banks for New Quizzes and Classic Quizzes are separate.
Question RegradingQuestion RegradingQuiz RegradeAdditional options have been added. 
Question SetsQuestion PoolsQuestion GroupNo significant changes
Random Blocks (Questions)Question PoolsQuestion GroupNo significant changes
Retention CenterNot Available in UltraNew AnalyticsThere are significant changes in Canvas. We recommend you review the linked support materials.
Rich Text Editor (RTE)Rich Text Editor (RTE)Rich Content EditorNo significant changes
RosterRoster  PeopleNo significant changes
RubricsRubricsRubricsNo significant changes
SafeAssignSafeAssignTurnitin Plagiarism FrameworkTurnitin offers an integration called Plagiarism Framework which allows you to use the native Canvas assignment features with the addition of the originality check from Turnitin.
SafeAssign Direct SubmitNot Available in UltraNot available in CanvasNo additional information
Score Per QuestionScore Per QuestionGrade by QuestionYou can choose to manually grade the same quiz question for each student before viewing student submissions for a different quiz question. Note: Quizzes that pull questions from a question bank will shuffle the order of questions for each student. Question order for each submission may vary within SpeedGrader. Available for both Classic and New Quizzes
SCORMSCORMSCORMSCORM report is not visible for grading.
Student PreviewStudent PreviewStudent ViewNo significant changes
SyllabusNot Available in UltraSyllabusThe Syllabus feature allows you to add information that is pertinent to your course.  You can do so through the Canvas text editor, or by attaching a copy of your existing syllabus.  The Course Summary section of the Syllabus page automatically populates with due dates and events that exist within the course.
Self and Peer AssessmentPeer AssessmentPeer ReviewNo significant changes
Send EmailEmailNot available in CanvasSee "Course Message"
Not Available in OriginalSingle Student Progress ReportGrades for StudentInstructors can view all assignments, due dates, status, and score for each individual student via the Gradebook. 
Not Available in OriginalStudent OverviewNotesNotes in the Gradebook are visible to anyone with access to the gradebook. 
TasksNot Available in UltraTo-DoTo Do in Canvas has a similar functionality to the Activity Stream in Blackboard for students.
Test ExceptionTest Additional TimeModerate QuizNo significant changes
Teaching StyleNot Available in UltraSee notesAll the features in Teaching Style are available in Canvas, but in different locations.  You can import a template from Commons to provide a structure, choose a course home page and set a banner image by selecting a Front Page, and reorder the course menu under Settings by selecting Navigation.  
TestsTestsQuizzes / New QuizzesCanvas is in the process of redesigning their quiz offerings and currently have two options. These options are the following: Quizzes, also referred to as Classic Quizzes, and New Quizzes.  If you import tests from Blackboard they will be using the Quizzes (aka Classic Quizzes) option.
Video Everywhere/Browse My YouTube VideosInsert YouTube VideoEmbed a videoNo significant changes
Web LinkWeb LinkWeb LinkLinks open in a new window by default.
Weighted Assignment GroupsWeighted Assignment GroupsWeighted Assignment GroupsIndividual assignments cannot be weighted in Canvas. Work Around: make an assignment the only one in a group.
WikiNot Available in UltraNot available in Canvas

Work Around 1: Pages become editable when editing is allowed for teachers and students. 

Work Around 2: Collaborations creates a shared document for selected students to edit.