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Files vs. links

Hi all,

Quick question there any real benefit to uploading files to Canvas to use in courses vs. linking to files in OneDrive (or other cloud storage) so they can be changed when need be? Thanks so much! 

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Community Champion

@bt130 I think that if you have all the sharing setup correctly then it is probably more of a benefit to use cloud storage as the files can be more easily updated and you do not use up any of your Canvas space.  That said, Canvas was started before many teachers had easy access to cloud storage so there needed to be a way to hold files.  Also, I see lots of people not setup the sharing permissions correctly for OneDrive/Google Drive so having it in Canvas avoids all of that.  


Thanks Nick! Sharing permissions are a huge issue with our faculty right now, many of whom have not worked with cloud documents that much.

Hello @bt130 

To add to what Nick explained,  The real advantage for using OneDrive for your files is that it helps ease the storage quota setup in your course. Files that would normally be stored in the course files, will instead be utilizing the storage on your OneDrive account. The ease of being able to update content in your OneDrive is a huge win for many instructors that have a lot of content to cover in the course. Many instructors will use OneDrive to store and share large media files such as videos, and audio recordings because they take up much of the storage space allocated in the course.

I wanted to provide you with THIS document that goes over how the Canvas file storage quotas work just in case you are curious. 

Hopefully this helps! 




Community Champion

Here are a few things to think about when deciding between using Canvas files or something like OneDrive/Google Drive for storage...

Pros of Canvas Files

  • Files exist in course exports
  • Security is built in (no messing with onedrive/google permissions)
  • Better for archiving / integrity of past courses (content students saw a year ago isn't changing.

Cons of Canvas Files

  • Space may be limited
  • Not easy to update without relinking content
  • Files have to be uploaded to each course instead of having a single file upload and adding a link in each course it's used.

Hope this is somewhat helpful!