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Community Contributor

VERY Introductory Training for Faculty

Last week our district announced the adoption of  Canvas as our new LMS.  I am offering a series of quick 1 hour training for faculty the week before we break for summer.   As we know Canvas has wonderful resources available to faculty and I want to highlight those but I also know the biggest barrier for faculty to overcome will be the import process.   My question for this group of fabulous people what would you recommend covering 1 hour of introductory training.  Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!

16 Replies

Thanks for the positive feedback, stefaniesanders​. I just added a revised version of the resource to the Canvas Engagement Strategies​ group here. Smiley Happy

New Member

We found that bringing over content from our old LMS into Canvas was not "pretty" so, we ended up rebuilding every course.  At our institution where the number of faculty and courses is on the smaller side in terms of many institution, it was a very time consuming process.  I would spend the time in your training sessions focusing on how to use the canvas system, editing, building assignments, etc. and have them bring their content over through copy and paste.  We had to copy and paste into text box and copy from text box and copy into Canvas in order to get the formatting, but it was easier in my opinion than to sift through all the pieces.  The other thing we did was using the file from the old LMS, we had the ability to just upload certain pieces, so we just uploaded all of the files, like PPT and word doc and PDF.

New Member

Our college just transitioned to Canvas from Blackboard last year- we are just ending our first few semesters in this LMS.  I am a trainer by training, education, and nature but was not a trainer this time- I was a student but couldn't resist evaluating the training I received based on what I would have done if I was the trainer...

What I would recommend is someone creating a crosswalk document between Canvas and Blackboard and then short trainings of some sort based on the skills and concepts the crosswalk highlighted.  Unfortunately, the training we had included one trainer who kept telling us to 'let Canvas be Canvas' without helping us see the parallels and similarities between the two.  Some of the items on the crosswalk could be:

  • Discussions in Canvas equals Discussion Forum in Bb. 
  • A Page in Canvas is the same thing as an Item in Bb.
  • A Folder in Bb is equivalent to a Module in Canvas.
  • (ok, there are tons of these!)

I really believe if we had training that began from what we knew (a training best-practice) and applied that to our new LMS, our transition and acceptance would have been much easier.  We all know that change is scary - minimize the change aspect!

Once your crew sees the similarities (their very basic training), then you can start playing with building new modules, assignments, activities in Canvas based on what they already have done in Bb.  Minimize the change, emphasize what they know, and encourage them to explore!

Just thinking aloud 🙂 ,


lhenning​, as someone who transitioned courses from Blackboard from Canvas, and who currently trains in Canvas, I respectfully disagree with that approach. Drawing parallels between Blackboard--or any other legacy LMS--and Canvas creates the danger of leading your users to believe that the functionality will be the same across both. It will not be, nor is it designed to be. For examples, in terms of their functionality and features Discussions do not equal Discussion Forums; Canvas Modules don't have folders (although they can be viewed as content wrappers); and so on. While it might be overly facile for a trainer to tell learners "let Canvas be Canvas," the trainer is, in my perspective, setting the right tone for the training with that statement, which I would interpret as: Don't try to recreate your courses item by item, but instead, embrace a new philosophy toward design and content delivery.

On the other hand, if the crosswalk emphasized the differences between features (and yes, as a veteran of those previous LMSs, Canvas's improvements over them) instead of the similarities, I'd welcome such a training approach.


Assuming "this equals that" is to gloss over the tiny details that certainly have a potential pedagogical impact. Every time you look at a learning event with new eyes (or even the same old pair) you have an opportunity to redesign for learning.

You bought up a very good point stefaniesanders​, and I love "let Canvas be Canvas". This is an incredibly important concept when migrating between systems, and I've done four! All LMSs are different, but faculty will want them to be the same - just human nature and resistance to change.

We made sure that faculty knew that Canvas "was not your Dad's Oldsmobile", and instead, used the differences as selling points - this is what Canvas will do that Bb could not.

I think that for faculty, the biggest challenge is adapting their person workflows to Canvas. Faculty have very strong feelings about how they manage their time, and I think online faculty have even stronger feelings because initial design/set-up and course management time can be greater when teaching online. When we first migrated to Canvas, we spent a lot of time showing faculty how they accomplish key tasks in Canvas, and even more time simply asking "what do you want to do?" so that we could show them the easiest ways to do it in Canvas.

Moving content is a huge issue, and hrutherford​ brought up a good point about migrating content - Copy/paste is not a bad idea for much of the content. Using the Import from an Export file can be especially messy moving from Bb. There are too many differences in the basic structure of the functional areas. We found, when migrating from Angel to Canvas, that the clean-up was more time consuming than if they just started from scratch.

  • Teach your faculty about the basic structure of Canvas,
  • Show them how to set up the skeleton of their course through setting up modules, and including the placeholders for pages, discussions, assignment and quizzes in each module,
  • Then have them copy/paste all the content they can into each of these placeholders.
  • Then show them how to apply the settings for each content type.
  • All the time asking them, "How did you do this in Bb?", "What did you use that for in Bb?";
  • Then show them how it might be accomplished in Canvas.

But never, ever tell them an LMS is an LMS, and they all work the same - they will become your worst enemy when they realize they all aren't the same.


Community Champion

"Icon Understand Canvas"

These icons represent two areas where minor angst can occur for new Canvas users.

I follow our Service Cloud tickets and have seen several instances of the following:

The user contacts the Help Desk and says, "I'm in my Dashboard but some or all of my courses are not showing."

It may be that they don't understand about "favoriting" a course, so that a course card will show in the Dashboard.  Walk them through the simple steps of how to favorite courses.

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Items such as documents, assignments, or quizzes are not showing for students.

Faculty need to understand that if they want their students to have access to an item, it must be published.

They also need to understand that even if published items are included in an unpublished Module those items will not be visible to their students.

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