Community Champion

How do you get around the "external Learning Outcome couldn't be found" issue when Importing a course into a different Canvas?


I'm in a predicament with importing a course into a different Canvas and having the course outcomes carry over correctly.

When I do the import using a course export file (because I'm going from one Canvas to another), issues come up with the course outcomes.


Well, the copies get created indeed, but those "new" outcomes are no longer associated with the rubrics. In fact, the former outcomes just become regular criteria.

In my example, the outcome points do not count toward the grade by design:


The only solution I've found is to edit those rubrics and delete the old outcome criterion and add in the outcomes again. But this is not a good solution when I give the course to someone else who doesn't know all the places the outcome is in the rubric and I had promised them this really cool way to keep track of the learning mastery for their course by using the outcomes.

Alas! Is this the expected behavior? The original outcomes are from the Account Level and brought into the course.

The course import outcomes are also at the course level, but since they are copies, they do not replace the original outcomes in rubrics.

I've submitted a help ticket, but did not get a support number (yet). The email from Canvas Support update suggested checking the guides here in our community.

Any advice or workarounds are welcome,
Alas - Shar

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New Member

Did you ever figure out a solution for this.  I have the same problem.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi @Shar and @JaredLeinen ...

I have a theory about this...but I've not done any testing to confirm the theory.  I have experienced a very similar situation in two separate Canvas environments that we maintain.  We have a set of "Career and Life Skills" that we recently added into our account-level "Outcomes" screen within our main Canvas environment.  There are five folders of C&LS (these are our categories), and each folder contains four separate C&LS...for a total of 20 C&LS.  In our additional Canvas environment, we manually added these same C&LS at that account level as well.  When you look at any particular outcome that you've created on your "Outcomes" page, you can hover your mouse over the title of the outcome name to see an ID number of that particular outcome.


For example, you might see a URL at the bottom of your browser that looks like this:

...where "12345" is the ID number of that particular outcome.  However, it seems to me there wouldn't be a guarantee that this ID number would match the same ID number for the same outcome in a different Canvas environment.

So, I wonder if when you create a course export from one Canvas environment so that you can import it into the other Canvas environment ... maybe Canvas is looking for the same outcome ID number in that second Canvas environment?  And, if it cannot find that exact ID, then instead of making it an outcome, it just creates that row as a regular rubric line ... not using the Outcome that you intended...and so you have to re-create it for the rubric.

Again, I've not done any testing of my theory may not even be valid.  And, I wouldn't know if there would be ways to make both IDs the same in two different Canvas environments...if my theory was valid.  But, I thought I'd throw this out there as a possibility.

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Community Champion

Thanks Chris @Chris_Hofer ,

That's probably a correct theory, but alas it does not solve the problem. And there is no way but to go through all the rubrics and re-import the correct outcomes. The good news is that the "fake outcome" is in the rubric so it's easy to see which one needs to be replaced.

I went round-and-round with support tickets (with a seemingly new agent each time I replied) and there was no real resolution. Until they change how the outcomes attached in the rubrics are referenced (prefer local course rubric number), and/or when the order in which items are packed into the course export (prefer outcomes first and then rubrics) and then unpacked in course imports (again outcomes first and then rubrics), this issue of losing track of the outcome will happen.

I did imports that were outcomes only = fine. outcomes and rubrics = messed up. And near as I could tell the rubrics came into the course before the outcomes were imported. Hmm did I do one with outcomes only and then the rubrics... I don't remember but that sounds like something I might have tried back then when I was trying to find easy work arounds. Still though, I can't expect someone else to go through the trouble of a double or triple import, it's tough enough getting them to understand how to do the first import. 😅

This year, I did the replace the outcome in the rubric thing myself for a new course we are piloting. It was one of those tasks that just has to be done uninterrupted and with a checklist to make sure I got it all. heh.

Stay positive, test negative,
Cheers - Shar

Thanks for the additional post, @Shar!  The same is happening for me...I am able to see the rubric row that needs to be replaced with the actual at least that is a little helpful...but still not ideal.  Sounds like you've done a bit more troubleshooting than I have done...nice work there!  Also, I'm totally borrowing your tag line of "stay positive, test negative".  😎

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