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The Transition to Canvas

Why Canvas?

Canvas is a 21st-century cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) that is reliable and easy to use. Canvas also offers a different approach to sharing learning content with your students.  

After a successful pilot involving our faculty and students, consensus was gained at the Presidents’ Council meeting to replace Blackboard with Canvas as Nova Southeastern’s official Learning Management System (LMS).   Based on the extensive evaluation of the pilot, recommendations from the faculty and students were due to the following:

  • System ease of use
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Enriched student experience
  • Open-core architecture allowing flexibility and interoperability with outside tools (GoTo Meeting, LockDown Browser, Office 365, etc.)
  • Robust security capabilities allowing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • 24-7 phone and live chat support

Along with enhancing the quality of our courses, the move to Canvas strategically aligns with NSU’s Vision 2020 in pursuing and defining the Nova Southeastern University of tomorrow. 

When Will We Transition and What is the Timeline?

All courses will be taught on Blackboard beginning Fall 2018.  During Summer 2018, faculty have the option to teach on Blackboard or Canvas unless your summer courses end after August 15th.  If your summer course ends after August 15th, you must teach your course on Canvas, as we will no longer have Blackboard available to conduct classes after that time. 

Take a look at this timeline to take note of key events happening during this transition.

How is Canvas Different from Blackboard?

Canvas has many feature improvements over Blackboard in which you should become familiar.  

The Canvas LMS features a dashboard where instructors and students can see all of their courses and can customize the dashboard to color code their courses. The featured To Do List on the homepage notifies instructors and students of upcoming tasks. Similar to Blackboard, Canvas features an inline grading tool called the SpeedGrader. Instructors can personalize their feedback by recording short videos, audio clips, and it will transform your speech into text. Instructors can also view the grading rubric and Criteria Description while grading students’ assignments in the SpeedGrader. The Canvas Mobile app is an essential tool for teaching and learning on the go. Instructors and students can use the Mobile App to actively engage and collaborate with course participants.

Take a look at the Blackboard to Canvas Comparison Sheet that summarizes the differences in workflow from Blackboard to Canvas.

What Do I Need to Do Once I Receive My Course?

First, let us say "Congratulations! Your content has been migrated to Canvas!" j Although we took every step possible to move and organize your existing content, there are still steps that you will need to complete.  Please review the list below to note the specific steps you will need to take.

Review Content

  • Enter Getting Started content
  • Enter module level Objectives and Wrapups
  • Organize any unorganized content (We tried to organize into modules when possible. If we couldn't, the suggested template is below your current content)

Review modules for:

  • Module naming convention (You may need to update this.)
  • Missing content you might need to recreate
  • Publish and Unpublish modules and individual items as needed

Review content pages for:

  • References to Blackboard
  • Broken links (You can use the Link Validator tool to assist.)
  • SharkMedia videos (These need to be re-added manual, as these did not convert over.)


Announcements were imported, but you will need to update announcement dates (or delete them if you want to start fresh).


  • Setup Groups, Availability Date, Due Dates and Points
  • Enable Turnitin or Respondus as needed

Discussion Boards

  • Discussions are listed in order of most recent activity. If you want to modify this, you can pin each discussion board and reorder them
  • Enter the description for the discussion board if none already exists
  • Check settings for each discussion board - set items such as Availability Date, allowing threaded replies, etc
  • By default - students can create discussions, edit and delete own posts - you may wish to disable this
  • If 'starter' threads were used to introduce topics - you will need to recreate them


Only content that was deployed in Blackboard is available under Files. The entire content collection is available in the Blackboard Content Collection Backup under Files


Groups may exist but come into a single group set. You may expect them to be multiple group sets and have to recreate them


  • Please note that there are some unsupported question types (Hotspot, Calculated - using LateX, equations may need to be re-entered in Canvas - there is no gui editor) Must verify quizzes and pool questions work properly. May need to recreate/re-setup pools and quizzes
  • Look for quizzes that pull questions from multiple pools, make sure settings are correct


  • Verify Rubrics were imported correctly and point values are accurate
  • Attach rubrics to Assignments as needed


Your Syllabus will be automatically linked to the Syllabus in AppCentral Syllabus Manager tool


Conferences are created on demand - they can be recorded, recordings remain available for 14 days.
GotoTraining will also be available.

External LTIs

Most commonly used LTIs (like McGraw-Hill, etc) are enabled. If you are using something else that is not available, let us know

Media Gallery

If you used a media gallery in Blackboard, you may need to recreate the content from SharkMedia.

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