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Community Participant

Import multiple courses into one course

Hi All!

In addition to adopting Canvas for SY2017-18, our institution is moving from bite-sized "modules" (our own term) of content to longer courses.

Because this work is happening simultaneously to our migration, we have migrated the smaller courses and need to create the larger courses post-migration.

We have been using the "Import Content Into This Course"/"Copy a Canvas Course" feature. But it's been confusing to locate which content belonged to which original smaller course. Content seems to merge in unexpected ways - perhaps because of similar activity names.

How does Canvas organize imported content? Is it by file name? If we bring over 5 courses into one, how can we easily determine which content came from which original course?

Does anyone have experience importing multiple courses into one?

Any tips or tricks welcome! And please let me know if I can clarify the question.

Thank you!


 @tcrandall ​

4 Replies
Community Champion

Hi  @mevans1 ​ - I do NOT have an answer for this, as I do not have experience importing multiple courses into one, though I could certainly see how multiple issues would come up.  One suggestion I do have, however, is that you indicate to the Community which LMS the imports you are using are coming from.  That could offer the Community some valuable information so that those with experience migrating from the LMS you were on may have some ideas.  Also, make sure (if you have not already) that you check the Instructor Guide section that deals with the different import scenarios here:

Frankly, regardless of the LMS, any import from any system other than Canvas is going to have various issues, simply because each LMS out there will store material under different menu areas, etc.  We were a Blackboard institution before, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by most of the imports, but they ALL required a certainly amount of cleanup.

Community Champion

I have tested this in the past, and although I can't offer specifics, I can say that there are no obvious clues regarding where the content came from originally. It seems to just mash it up. Modules and assignments all over the place. Files get intermingled alphabetically. And if each course import includes a syllabus, that will just keep getting overwritten by the new one (unless you import selected content and deselect Syllabus).

If you have Commons enabled for your institution, you may consider uploading chunks of these courses (individual pages, modules, assignments) to Commons, and then bringing them piecemeal into the "larger" courses.

Community Participant

Hi Ken! Thanks. We are migrating from a homegrown LMS using Canvas migration services. My question is about importing within the Canvas environment as outlined here.

Community Participant

Yes - it can feel so random! Commons may be helpful - thanks. Here are notes from our support team at Canvas:

"So, to be honest, Canvas does not have an intuitive way of differentiating where content came from after it has been imported into a course. If you have 5 files that are all named exactly the same, then Canvas will not add any "identifier" to each file after they are imported. The only way to identify the different files is to name them uniquely before importing them.

If you manually add another file to a course that has the same name as a file already present, then Canvas will raise a warning flag of "Hey, these two files have the same name do you want to: Cancel, Replace, or Rename".

So I think clear naming can help.