Checklist : Migrating from Blackboard to Canvas

As we near the end of Blackboard and begin implementing Canvas in our online courses, it’s time to check if you’re prepared to migrate your course content from Blackboard to Canvas. To help you prepare for the switch, IDS has created a list of items to make sure you’ve completed before moving to Canvas, and instructions on how to do so.

To learn more and make sure you’re prepared to switch, click on the document below to learn more.

Providing Rich Feedback in Canvas

Feedback is one of the most powerful influencers that enhances student achievement (Hattie, 1999). Yet, be aware, feedback is not simply a letter grade or percentage. A simple label as “Good job” does not provide students with opportunities to further learning. Feedback must be rich by providing students with information about his/ her performance related to the goal of the assignment. Rich feedback provides students with the opportunity to self-reflect for improvement. Self-reflection guides students in deriving ideas on how to meet a goal with the provided feedback from the instructor. Self-reflection can be as simple as posing a question, such as “Your paragraph seems more like an opinion. Do you feel that adding data would support your stand?”

Canvas gradebook provides an efficient way for instructors to provide rich feedback to students by sending an automated notification to students who meet a certain criteria. In Grades, click the ellipsis next to the assignment. 

Callout box displays when three dots are clicked beside the assignment. red circle around Message Students Who

Criteria options include students who

  • Haven’t been graded
  • Scored less than (points / percentage)
  • Scored more than (points / percentage)
message area contains the words, "Do you feel that the use of data could help support your stand?"

To further a student’s learning, ensure that a prompt for self-reflection is provided in the Message area. 

  • For students who have scored less than a score/ percentage, use a message to summarize criteria needed to meet instructor expectations on an assignment. 
  • For students who have scored higher than a score/ percentage, use a message to affirm a continuance in effort to meet instructor expectations. 
  • For students who haven’t submitted, use a message as a reminder.  

As an instructor, conduct your own self-reflection. To get started, consider this prompt, “What could I do to help students who are having difficulty with meeting instructor expectations on an assignment?”

Happy teaching and continue learning.

Hattie, J. (1999). Influences on Student Learning. Retrieved from

Tips for Creating a Course Introduction Video for Canvas

We have all heard about the importance of first impressions.  Well, that is most important, when it comes to teaching an online class.  To make the most of a first impression, create an introduction video to show who you are and why you are excited to teach the class. Better yet, a video displays you, as a human, not just a “person behind the curtain”. It doesn’t need to be a big production; most modern computers have webcams and microphones built-in.   Also, our department helps if you want to make it a big production.   To make an excellent first impression, consider the following:

  • Who are you.
  • Background, why you are an expert.
  • What you expectations of the class are.
  • Something fun about you.
  • Welcome them to the class.

The first thing the student sees is your face, which will help them make a connection! Start with introducing yourself.  Your name is a great place to start.  Next, give a description about your background.  How long have you been teaching? Where did you go to school? Where have you worked in the past that is relevant to the field you are teaching in?

Once they know who you are, lay down some essential groundwork for what your expectations are for the class.  Nothing major is needed; just an overarching idea of the course and how it relates to their studies.  For example, I had one teacher use her Introduction video as a step to help students by clarifying the second-week assignment.  The instructor showed examples of what past students had missed on the assignment and clarified her expectations in the first assignment. 

Share something personal, such as a hobby, or home/family life.  This step isn’t needed, but it is something to help your students get to know you a little bit.

The final step is to welcome them to the class with a closing statement.

Things to think about when you are making an introduction video.  Keep it short! Anything over two minutes in video format, and you are start losing a lot of people’s attention.  Audio quality is more important than video quality. People will watch a grainy video rather than a video that is inaudible.   Have fun! 

Photo taken by CoWomen, found via Unsplash

MCC Timeline for Transitioning From Blackboard to Canvas

On November 22, 2019 Metropolitan Community College’s Board of Governors passed a resolution to license Instructure’s Canvas Learning Management System for a period of three years beginning in August of 2020.  This concluded a year-long review process that included presentations and Q&A sessions with LMS providers, hands-on platform evaluations, course migrations, and conversations with peer institutions.

On January 7, 2020 MCC began an 8-month implementation timeline to configure Canvas, migrate course content, integrate with other college systems and third-party tools, and train faculty and staff.  As Director of Technology-Enabled Learning, I am facilitating this process, with support from Instructional Design Services (IDS) and MCC’s Online/Hybrid Lead Faculty.  IDS holds weekly web meetings with Canvas’ implementation team, and we’ve made quite a bit of progress toward our goal of offering all MCC’s online, hybrid and web-enhanced courses via Canvas beginning with the fall quarter.  

Accomplished thus far:

  • Single sign-on with MCC’s active directory
  • Configured MCC institution preferences
  • Configured a sub-account structure for MCC’s institutional hierarchy
  • Applied integrations with third-party tools such as OneDrive, Google Docs and textbook publishers.
  • Bulk migration of online and hybrid master courses
  • Designed standard homepage with custom banner graphics for each program
  • Created a Faculty Resources course
  • Created a ‘Student Introduction to Canvas’ course
  • Hosted a two-day on-site Canvas Admin Training for our Canvas support team
  • Hosted a day-long train-the-trainers Canvas Workshop for online/hybrid lead faculty
  • Advised Cindy Catherwood on updates to the Canvas Pilot syllabus template.

Happening this spring:

  • We are launching a pilot of around 35 course sections in Canvas.  More courses will be piloted in the summer.
  • Coordinating with Administrative Computing on the design of a custom interface to integrate Colleague data with Canvas.  AC have targeted April 30 to have a version ready for us to test.
  • Scheduling weekly training opportunities throughout the spring quarter.
  • Coordinate with online/hybrid lead faculty to facilitate trainings within their program areas in April.

As of March 5, 2020 all MCC Faculty are able to login to Canvas, access training guides and resources, and access a sandbox course to begin learning how to use the new system.  They also all have the ability to create courses on demand into which they can import content from Blackboard or start building new courses from scratch.

On August 20, 2020 MCC’s license with Blackboard will end, after which we will no longer have access.  IDS will ensure that all courses are archived and saved offline, but faculty should make sure they have moved all course content into Canvas they intend to use going forward by the end of the summer quarter.