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Community Champion

Tips for transitioning SIS Import to Diffing Mode

Is anyone else making use of the recently introduced SIS Import Diffing Mode?    It sounds great, very much like I was used to using back in my Blackboard days of 'snapshot' mode.  

Some initial question


I tend to send .zip files of CSV's to Canvas logically groups by function,






It looks like diffing works by flagging a single file with a diff_id.   If that's the case, can I no longer bundle files?  

2)   My Memberships file contains only recently changed records (14 days in my case) for students and teachers.   It also combines them from multiple terms.   That is, all future terms, the current term, and two previous terms, are all included in a single membership.csv.   To take advantage of diffing mode, I expect I'd need to at least

- Break the file up into separate terms (membership-fall-2015.csv, membership-spring-2016.csv, etc...)

- Include ALL memberships for that term in the file.

3)  With Diffing mode, if a member of the diffing group is missing from the CSV, they are flagged as deleted in Canvas, correct?   Does this delete follow the regular rules of deletion?   That is, if I subsequently put them back in the course, will all their content remain as it was when they were deleted?

Please share your experiences migrating to diffing mode.  

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4 Replies
Community Champion

Hi  @glparker ​

This is an old posting, but I was wondering if you ever implemented the DIFF mode for your imports?  We are looking at implementing diff because our files are currently a large dump of all memberships and can sometimes be over 200K enrollments (includes adds, drops, and withdrawals). 

I'm a little concerned about users since it DELETES any user who isn't in the file.  I'd have a lot less worry if I were able to tell it not to delete anyone who isn't in the file but is in the diff group.  😕

I'd be interested in tips from anyone who has successfully implemented this...



Community Member

And more then 1 year later - anybody is willing to share experience?

I want to move to Diff mode for summer and would like to hear what other people done/doing/recommend

Community Champion


We just transitioned to diffing mode for our enrollment files.  I'd be happy to chat with you sometime about the process I developed.


Community Member

I know this is an old post, but we have experienced the good, bad and ugly with diffing mode!  I need to compare and understand options with the diffing and terms.   When the term changes and the diffing is on it deleted all the old courses and the students were still in a course for that deleted term!!!  (hence the ugly!)  Now to prevent this from ever happening again what are the options?  Please anyone help!!!!