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Blackboard to Canvas Migration Checklist

Learner II
4 12 1,936

Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone has/knows of a Blackboard to Canvas migration checklist?

I am looking into some of the aspects for my institution and was looking for such a document, but could contribute to a collaborative one here.

I have seen the very useful guide by  @benjamin_rodrig ‌ on the commuity (see post here with link), just looking for a document - but might have to start making one!

Thanks in advance,


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Community Team
Community Team

Hi,  @s_j_beale  Welcome to the Canvas Community! What a great idea this is.

I'll add the link to another resource that might prove beneficial in this project:

Naming Conventions, Repurposing Draft State Icons, and Using BbLearn Pop-out Class Menu to Create an... 

Learner II

Thanks for that, Stefanie! Will have a look at that resource now. Smiley Happy

Learner II

Hi all,

I've started in the table below to make it easy to export to Excel/CSV for sorting etc.

I am only adding problem areas - anything not on here should come across fine (and this is an on-going work so do not take it as being exhaustive!).

Feel free to add any points you know of.



Blackboard Content Type Notes
Adaptive Release (all relevant content)

This does not work in Canvas in the same way and rules for this from Blackboard will not come across.

You will instead need to assign 'Pre-requisites' for specific modules to permit students to view the content.

Attached files (NB - these could be attached to Items, Announcements, Files, etc.  in BB) Check that you have copyright license for these/know who to assign this to as Canvas will ask you to manually assign both usage rights and the copyright licence holder for each attached file individually before letting you publish them.
NB *Tests were migrated into an instance of Canvas using the standard quizzes, not 'New Quizzes'*
Blackboard Tests (Essay questions and Short Answer questions) These will import but display a WYSIWYG editor for students to enter their answer, which is quite different to the standard text box entry on Blackboard.
Blackboard Tests (File Response, Error, Hot Spot and Quiz Bowl questions) These neither display in Canvas nor produce an error message.
Blackboard Tests (Numeric Response question) These questions will not display in Canvas and will be skipped entirely (without displaying an error message).
Blackboard Tests (Jumbled sentence questions) These seem to work but do not display exactly in the same way, which is actually more intuitive but different to the usual Blackboard view for students.
Blackboard Tests (Questions with images in feedback)

Images in feedback for questions in a Blackboard test will not display in Canvas - it shows a placeholder icon which then displays a broken link if you try to click on it.

Images used for feedback will need to be downloaded manually from BB and uploaded to a relevant place in Canvas.

Content Folders that are set as unavailable in BB when export file is created If creating an export file in BB with content folders that are set as unavailable to students, note that these will import into Canvas as unavailable yet any content contained within them will be visible to students if the individual folders are set as available. This can be changed but is something to note as BB's rules for parent-child folder structure does not translate on Canvas.
Course Tools

These will appear in the incorrect place if imported and you will then have to manually delete them to avoid confusion. Bringing too many of these across can also cause Canvas to crash.

The best way around this is to use the select content option when importing and then deselect the Course Tools that are redundant in Canvas. 

For my test, the following appeared (incorrectly) under 'Assignments' in Canvas and are likely worth deselecting at the import stage:

  1. Assignments (as a duplicate of the heading above)
  2. Survey
  3. Total (from the Grade Centre)
  4. WeightedTotal (from the Grade Centre)
  5. Discussion
  6. Blog
  7. Journal
  8. Turnitin Assignment
  9. SelfAndPeer 

NB: Points above are written exactly as displayed in Canvas.

Glossary Function

Glossaries created in Blackboard will not come across to Canvas and will need to be recreated manually.

Grade Centre Columns (addendum to the Course Tools points above)


  • remove all custom Grade Centre columns prior to import


  • Choose the import option to select specific content and deselect them at this stage

NB: Importing them directly will place them incorrectly under the 'Assignments' category and you will then need to be removed from Canvas.


Groups from BB should be deselected at the Canvas import stage.

This is because group names from BB will be imported into Canvas simply as 'Pages' with the same name yet without the functionality of a group.

Items with attached files

Although BB 'Items' work in Canvas, if they have an attachment this appears to cause problems.

As such, either:

  • check all items containing attachments and reassign their links individually


  • deselect items with attachments at the import stage and recreate them as 'Pages' in Canvas.

Learning Module Function

'Learning Modules' created in BB come across to Canvas in the same ways as folders do (as a module with content within them as 'Pages', although each piece of content is separated out to a separate page i.e. title of a page is migrated separately to the content of a page).
The parent-child relationship is maintained but becomes a module with pages within it (identical to how a folder and sub-folders/content comes across).

Although this sounds helpful, it becomes quite a different piece of content once migrated into Canvas as compared to the Learning Module in BB.

Mash-ups (YouTube)

These will disappear when migrating from BB.

Therefore, either:

  • recreate YouTube Mash-ups in Blackboard as an Item with the YouTube video embedded in the item description (prior to creating your BB export file)


  • recreate any YouTube links as a 'Page' in Canvas from scratch using either a URL or the YouTube embed code (pasted into the HTML editor).
SCORM Packages Make sure the SCORM functionality is turned on in Canvas (at the Account Manager level - see here) before importing as these will not come across with the Blackboard (BB) export file if not.
Syllabus Function

Although syllabus entries on BB do come across, they lose their structure and appear simply as text in a 'Page' in Canvas.

Tools (Reading List)

The reading list function (Leganto) that we currently use does not work in Canvas or migrate from Blackboard, I received only the following string of code and nothing else: 

/*<![CDATA[*/ /*]]>*/ /*<![CDATA[*/ /*]]>*/

Our reading lists will therefore need to be amended before migrating.

NB: This will vary depending on your reading list system.

Web Links

This one depends on how you choose to export content from Blackboard, but you will likely have all web links created using the web link function in BB assigned to an arbitrary link.

  • Make a list of these or convert them to an item/text before importing.
  • Make a new page in Canvas and copy them all over onto the one web links page (instead of one link per content item, as per BB)


  • manually amend each link once imported into Canvas (likely more time consuming).
  • NB: these links might not show as broken links in Canvas as they will either point back to the content on BB (which will work until your BB licence expires OR they will point to a generic Canvas link, which is not correct but (crucially) neither is it broken, hence slipping through the broken links checker.
Learner II

Thanks,  @s_j_beale ‌. Smiley Happy

Learner II

Hi,  @s_j_beale ‌!

Major item to look out for: Bb grade center categories. You touch on it in the Course Tools row. We found that there were some teachers who would copy their Bb courses from term to term without managing their grade center categories. So after about 5 years of doing that, they may have 10 categories of "self and peer", 10 categories of "blog", etc. (The categories in the Bb grade center have the potential to duplicate when course copying). This isn't too big of a deal for teachers and students in Bb. The grade center categories there are somewhat behind the scenes. However, it's a big deal if migrated over to Canvasbecause they come over as Assignment Groups. That's why Canvas's Select Content function is so important during the migration.

I've seen some instructors migrate a course over to find that they unknowingly had 200+ empty categories which created 200+ empty Assignment Groups in Canvas. Guess what happens there? The Canvas assignments page will not load fully, and actually crash. Students and teachers get a grade book that's a mile long.

In our institution, we had mixed results in migration. Some schools have Instructional Designers and technologists on staff who oversaw the process on behalf of the instructors. While other schools have instructors with high levels of autonomy. We found most issues in schools where the instructors had high levels of autonomy, and migrated over without knowing the consequence of foregoing the Select Content tool.

Anyway, fixing an issue like that requires exporting the Canvas course that has the excess Assignment Groups, Resetting the problem course, then importing the export and only selecting to import actual assignments.

Best regards,


Learner II

Hi Ben,

Thanks for this - I have added another row specifically for the custom Grade Centre columns.

I had also thought that the selecting content option was a good route given that it avoids redundant/misplaced items coming across and makes users more aware of all the content they will be importing.

The team lead is currently developing the migration strategy on how we will approach the migration (i.e. autonomous for instructors or a more hands-on approach). Will see how it goes!

Thanks again,


Surveyor II

We will being migration early next year and thanks for the information to date as we look forward to your updates!


Learner II

Having revisited the Blackboad export settings, I think the following will work best to skip non-existent functionality in Canvas (.e.g Wikis) and also to avoid problematic content (like Grade Centre Columns and Settings)

Blackboard Content Export Options 

Blackboard Export Settings 




Content Areas 



Adaptive Release Rules for Content 












Content Alignments 



Discussion Board 



Include starter posts for each thread in each forum (anonymised) 






Grade Centre Columns and Settings 



Group Settings 



Retention Centre Rules 












Banner Image 



Course Guest Access 



Course Observer Access 






Enrolment Options 



Language Pack 



Navigation Settings 






Tests, Surveys and Pools 






Surveyor II

We are getting ready to migrate courses from Blackboard to Canvas.  Appreciate all of your tips for our faculty. We will watch for updates on this thread as we are finally beginning our transition. Keep us posted!

Surveyor II

Hi,  @s_j_beale 

Thanks for your very helpful post above. The list will be really helpful for us as we at Heriot-Watt University are thinking about all the issues in regard to Blackboard to Canvas migration.

Just to clarify one of the rows in your table:

Grade Centre Columns (addendum to the Course Tools points above)


  • remove all custom Grade Centre columns prior to import


  • Choose the import option to select specific content and deselect them at this stage


NB: Importing them directly will place them incorrectly under the 'Assignments' category and you will then need to be removed from Canvas.


I couldn't find an option to import specific content as you suggest when importing the Blackboard zipped export file. Did you mean that you would deselect individual quizzes? That is, if I deselect Quizzes and Question Banks and then only select the quizzes and question banks that are active?

Thanks for sharing your Blackboard export settings. We might take a different approach but it is useful to see how you approached this.

Kind regards

Learner II

Hi @scatterjames - apologies for the delayed response.

In answer to your question, it's all looking a bit foreign to me at the moment - did you get it sorted in the end?

I think you are right, choosing only the active quizzes and question banks is likely the way to go.



Surveyor II

Hi @s_j_beale 

We're all sorted, thanks.

Yes, choosing only the active quizzes and question banks is the best method if I import an individual course. However, we're going to do a bulk migration at Heriot-Watt University so the approach is likely to be quite different as a result.