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Importing a Course to a new institution, but file size is OVER the 500MB limit.


I have been employed at the same institution and a Canvas user for the past 4 years. I resigned from this position and will lose account access in just a few weeks. 

While I have not yet found a new position, I am going to move all of my courses to a free K-12 Canvas account so I won't lose what I've spent the past 4 years building. 

Normally, I use the Canvas Export Package function. This time, the files were too big. I shared them to the Commons, but then the import from Commons function only allows for 500MB as well.

If I was copying to course within my institution, it's not an issue at all. But since I am trying to share with a different account, I can't seem to find a way around it. 

Is there a less tedious way to import my entire course outside of my current institution account?

Will I really have to go through each module, share to Commons, and then import individually?

Thank you! 

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2 Replies
Community Champion

@mefyandell  I see no one else has chimed in and I was thinking about this more as I am sure others have run into it. 

I am not sure if your institution allows for you to copy courses or create courses but that could be a work around.  For example, make a copy (if allowed) from the settings menu of the course you need and then delete like the second half of the modules so that you now have a course that is half the size of the original course.  Then you can export this entire course and hopefully it falls under the 500mb limit.  While this still takes some time, it might be a lot easier then doing each module to commons.

The other good news is the Canvas export file is a common cartridge file so most other LMS systems will be able to read and import that file so if you are planning on going somewhere else, you will hopefully be able to import your content into their system, which is hopefully also Canvas 😉.


Community Champion


Canvas documentation says the maximum export is 50 GB. Did you mean that you couldn't import it since it was more than 500 MB or that you couldn't export it since it was more then 500 MB? If you can export it, I would go ahead and export the whole content and download it just so you have a copy of it.

I like the approach that Nick ( @nwilson7 ) suggested about splitting it up into multiple exports. It's not the modules themselves that are giving you issues. Modules are essentially links to other content, which means that the space required for a module itself is small. It's the content that the modules link to -- most likely files -- that are going to be the problem.

However, what you could do is go into a sandbox course (if you are allowed) and import half of the content from the course and then do an export. Then reset the sandbox and import the other half of the course and then do a second export.

The ability to control what is exported is limited, but the ability to control what is imported allows granularity down to individual items. Picking half the modules works well.

Copying the entire course and then deleting modules may not work for you. Deleting the modules won't delete the files that go along with them and the files could be embedded in pages so they wouldn't get removed from the Files anyway.

Although Nick's suggestion gives direction, what I would suggest is looking for huge files and seeing if you can offload the content to a site external to Canvas so it doesn't get included in the course copy. In particular, if you uploaded video files directly into Canvas, this is a good time to put them on a free video-sharing site (like YouTube) and then embed them into Canvas. You can go to the course Files menu and look for large files that might be causing the problem.

Videos and publisher content like PowerPoints tend to take up a lot of space. Most faculty don't have that much content on their own inside a course. Those items could be stored elsewhere or at least saved to your computer outside the course export and then manually uploaded. The problem is that they would have to be relinked.