Bb to Canvas Course Migrations

Learner II
8 9 2,598

Hello,

 

My university is coming up on the great transition from Blackboard to Canvas in the Summer. I have a few questions on users that have done this transition:

 

1. Did you do a mass export of Blackboard Courses into Canvas?  If so, what did the process look like?

2. How did you go about training Faculty about the transition? Did you have a recommended process?

3. Were there any problems/bumps in the transition?

4. Any helpful tips?

 

Thank you for any assistance!

 

Kari Johnson

9 Comments
Community Member

Hi Kari,

1. We are NOT mass migrating courses from Blackboard to Canvas, instead opting for elective migrations while promoting course redesign/rebuilds. This is largely in part to poorly designed courses in Bb and their terrible migration to Canvas. If you have a module based Blackboard course, then the migration to Canvas will go smooth.

2. Training has been in several stages - training our "pilot" faculty leading into the fall term, training faculty from our colleges assigned to "wave 1" for spring, and then training the remaining faculty in "wave 2" cutting over for summer 2016. Training has been done as an open drop-in office hours style, 1-hr presentation, and directly to entirely programs/departments in the comfort of their own building.

3. Our transition has been quite smooth and widely received as positive. We've closely monitored each step and asked for feedback along the way.

4. 24/7 support from Canvas has been huge for us!

Good luck!

Shane

Community Member

1. We had a small group of "LMS Experts" to research Canvas in comparison to Blackboard (which our institution has used since 1998) and make a suggestion to our faculty & administration regarding whether switching to Canvas would be advantageous.  We pored over the Canvas pilot reports from many other higher ed institutions, and overwhelmingly they suggested that the transition would be a good time to NOT bring over old, unorganized content en masse.  Start with a clean slate... begin with a tabula rasa;-)  We passed this suggestion on to our administration & faculty.  *Yes, they ignored this suggestion and wanted their Blackboard course content brought over for them from the last year. 

I found a PowerShell script on GitHub that made the content migration via API very easy, and ported over about 1,400 Spring semester courses in a short time.  While waiting for the Fall semester to end, our school signed a new Canvas contract, which included a service to port over a large number of course archives "for free".   So, for the Fall Blackboard course archives we are sending those via hard drive to Instructure.

So far, the import routine seems to work very well creating Files, Modules & Quizzes where possible.  So, this content is now available, in Canvas, for our faculty to Import into their upcoming Canvas sites.

Community Member

Hi Kari!

We transitioned from Bb 9.1 in 2012, so it may work a little differently, but knowing Bb, not so much.  Smiley Happy

1. Did you do a mass export of Blackboard Courses into Canvas?  If so, what did the process look like?

     We chose not to do a mass export, but rather encourage our instructors to consider re-building their course in Canvas using their tools, because we felt that there was so much more rich content available here.  We did however help exports/imports on a course by course basis.  It was painful at first, simply because we were one of the initial guinea pigs for the 9.1 to canvas transition.  But, the Canvas folks were great and made a lot of programming changes to help out.  (Our biggest issue was that Bb had a 3 tiered discussion forum/thread format and Canvas was 2 tiered. Canvas was not bringing in the top tier question but instead all of the responses, which we didn't want. But they got that fixed quickly)

2. How did you go about training Faculty about the transition? Did you have a recommended process?

     We had a series of Intro to Canvas presentations face to face and online.  We also offered what we called, lab hours where instructors could request to sit down with someone from our department to work out how to move content and whether or not it would be worthwhile.

3. Were there any problems/bumps in the transition?

     Our biggest issue was those nasty discussion questions, but the transition team worked great together to get a solution.  We survived and I think it was because of training, support and a general desire from our school (students, staff, and faculty) for a real change.

4. Any helpful tips?

     I preached the whole time we were transitioning that, if you can re-build, this is your best opportunity.  Canvas is not blackboard and we left that system for a reason.  Why would we want to have a Blackboard class in a Canvas wrapper.  But, just know if you have to import a course or ten, it isn't so bad.  It will just need some clean up work once it is in. Oh- and if you or your instructors use test banks, just know that Bb is still the iron giant and sometimes you do have to work a little to get those banks in, but they do work.  Smiley Wink

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!

Mary

Community Member

Hi, Mary.

In your migration did you find that you needed to create any special resources such as handouts, guides, and tutorials for faculty and students? Did you use any resources outside of Canvas? Or, were the guides produced by Canvas enough?

Manish

Community Member

Manish - we only create help articles in our knowledge base when it directly relates to university specific processes or procedures, otherwise we use Canvas created materials.

Community Member

Thanks, Shane.

Learner II

Really interesting

were you exporting common course cartridge or export.zip?

Instructure
Instructure

Hi there, kari@unr.edu!

I wanted to follow up on your question and see how things were going. Were you able to come to a solution? Or are you still seeking assistance? Because this question is from over two years ago, I'm going to go ahead and mark it as "Assumed Answered." Don't worry, this won't prevent people from continuing the dialogue in the event the discussion needs to continue Smiley Happy

Community Member

Bb Export zipped files, but I think the script allowed for choosing the archive type.

About the Author
Born at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital and grew up on the Coast of North Carolina during the 1960s. Graduated Swansboro High School ('72). Attended UNC-Chapel Hill ('72-74), Campbell College ('75), UNC-W ('76 G), Southern Seminary ('81-83), Coastal Carolina Community College ('91-93 MST); Have worked in the IT department of a small university in Fayetteville, NC since 1995.