FAST & EASY Way to Copy Content on the FLY

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas
For details, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) and Canvas Release: Direct Share

A couple of years ago in a community far, far away...


I submitted a feature idea to Copy content into multiple courses at once. This feature was marked as completed with the 2016 May update made to Canvas Commons and it does accomplish what was asked for, but we want something more awesome than that.


During the time it took to vote on the idea and fully implement it, we had lots of great use cases and sub-ideas that kind of got lost in translation. It turns out that a lot of Canvas users create course assignments, announcements, discussions, quizzes on the fly and they want a FAST & EASY way to send all that to multiple courses all at once. To do this using the current commons workflow it takes 23 clicks, 2 text entry fields, an image selection and some waiting. And then you still have to go back and adjust your assignment groups and due dates!


Teachers from K-landia to Academia would all love it if this could be accomplished with less than 3 clicks and take no longer than 1 second. Here's how one popular system does this.


Let's up the Awesome and FLY!


Reference: Copy an Assignment , Copy a Discussion , Copying assignments from one class to another without using the commons.


Comments in completed feature idea: Copy to multiple courses

Community Champion

Does this include copying content within a course?   IE, create an assignment then then just click, "make a copy" to have duplicate assignments.  It sure makes building similar assignment faster.

Or duplicate questions.

Or duplicate Quizzes. . .


 @clong  thank you for your hours of rallying and championing this feature request! I'm so glad you reached out to me about it after you saw I was one of the ones that had voted it down when I meant to vote it up. Glad to know I wasn't losing my mind and that it was a Jive bug. Anyway, I've brought attention to it with a few schools this past week, and each admin said that this absolutely would save them loads of time. My vote doesn't count as an Instructure employee, but I love this one and want to see it happen!

Community Novice

It would be so helpful to be able to do this both within a course and among courses. It is a glaring absence that Canvas doesn't have this already. Please add it pronto!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey  @clong  & Community,

I'm a huge fan of this idea! To tell the truth though it's a bit trickier to implement than it may seem, mostly based on Canvas' architecture. The only place a single resource lives is inside Commons, otherwise it's always in the context of a course. I will certainly dive into this and research possible solutions that we could offer as a product. Your comments outline clearly how this functionality would save all of you so much time. Thank you for sharing and as we have further conversations regarding content we'll make sure to keep this thread updated.


The Canvas Product Team

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks Kate/Canvas Product Team.  You are all doing great work and I would definitely support this feature if it were to work out with the Canvas architecture. 

Community Champion

Thanks for the info Deactivated user​! Maybe you could collaborate with CIDI Labs? They have a feature in Design tools that uses the Canvas API to copy content from one of your courses to another, by URL or by page name. The only thing it doesn't do is copy over any files that were linked to. It seems like this same method could be used to quickly copy content into other courses as you create it on the fly.

Other systems that do this do not synch the assignments/content once they are brought into another course, that was not the expectation of this feature idea. There is no expectation that the assignment remains the same after it is moved, so it doesn't have to live in one place.

Community Member

This DESPERATELY needs to happen for those of us who teach multiple sections of a course. It is still too cumbersome to go into the settings of each course and import particular pieces from another course. You can import files and pages that have links to the files into another section yet the hyperlinks won't work and you have to re-hyperlink. It's really ridiculous. I can understand them not working if you forgot to actually import the file, as well. But otherwise, you shouldn't have to remember to re-hyperlink everything. Very, very frustrating!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Chris, Erin and others

Perhaps we could combine this idea with these ones:

- where you can direct pages and modules to particular sections - this is a must for developing manageable courses that encourage staff to collaborate.

- allowing staff to make multiple copies of a canvas resource to add to their course

I do think there is a need to address a number of these issues especially as they support work flow, staff engagement and pedagogy

Community Champion

Awesome feature request! Thanks for the video  @clong ​ and I like your input on this feature request too  @don_bryn ​

Community Explorer

I would like a feature to be added to add content to/import content to multiple courses and calendars at one time. I teach in a K12 setting and teach multiple of the same class. I am also a Technology Integration Coach for my school. I am working with teachers and using Canvas, myself. For myself and for others, the comment I get most often is, "Why isn't there a checkbox option that I can add/import content to multiple courses or my calendar all at once?" I know the commons has that feature but it would be nice to have fewer steps when adding content. I am also aware that there is an import course/specific content feature, but when when adding to 5+ courses, that is also cumbersome.

 @scottdennis ​