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Blackboard to Canvas Comparison Chart

This chart compares tools from Blackboard Learn with its Canvas equivalent. Please use the information provided below to help familiarize yourself with the tools that are offered in Canvas, and where to find them. At this time, the information presented on this page is mostly tailored for instructors.

Bb Tool Canvas Tool Notable Differences
Announcements Announcements
New Functionality
  • Option to show recent announcements as part of the course home page
Assignments Assigments
New Functionality
  • Students now see a progress indicator while files are uploading, unlike with Learn where there was no indication. This is especially useful for when a student is on a slow connection or when uploading a large file.
  • When an Assignment is created and published, it is added to the Assignment page, Syllabus, and Calendar (will only appear on the Calendar if the assignment has a set due date). When the assignment is edited/updated, all other links are automatically updated.
  • Instructors can limit the type of file allowed to be uploaded
  • Functionality to require Peer Reviews is built in and can be enabled in the Assignment settings.
  • Students can see upcoming assignments that are published but not yet available
Loss of Functionality
  • An individual assignment submission cannot be cleared.  Instructors can add additional attempts for all students, or edit an individual's grade to account for a revision.

Calendar Course Calendar
New Functionality
  • Calendar automatically links with Syllabus tool (the Syllabus tool in Learn doesn't have automatic linking) and displays assessments and due dates.
  • Assignments can be created directly from the Calendar.
  • Calendar items can be dragged and dropped within the calendar to change the assignment due date.
Content Collection Files
New Functionality
  • Students are given their own "My Files" section where they can upload and manage their own library of files.
  • Access can be managed for the "Files" section of the course as an instructor. You can choose to unpublish specific content in your course Files page
  • Files can be quickly moved between directories using Drag and Drop. Instructors can also drag and drop files between courses.
  • A storage meter is displayed to monitor remaining course quota
  • Items that are in your Commons favorites can be quickly imported into the Files section of the course
Loss of Functionality
  • No Sort by File type (You can search by file type e.g., jpg, png.)
Course Content Area/Blank Page Pages
New Functionality
  • Pages in Canvas have history/versioning and revert/rollback.
Course Copy Course Copy
New Functionality
  • Can adjust events and due dates when performing a Course Copy
  • Course Copy logs will provide direct links to course items that had issues on the import.
Loss of Functionality
  • Course import log summary and log details
Course Link Course Link
New Functionality
  • Improved, updated interface
Loss of Functionality
  • Only available within the Rich Content Editor
Course List Courses
New Functionality
  • The ability to “favorite” courses.
  • The ability to add a Nickname, change card colors add images to cards.
  • Quicklinks on cards to common course tools.
Informational/Good to know
  • You must click “All Courses” to see courses from a past term.
  • More modernized look and feel.
Course Menu Navigation Menu
New Functionality
  • All coursework such as assignments and quizzes can be found in the appropriate category, regardless of their location in the modules.
Loss of Functionality
  • Currently, Canvas does not allow you to create unique course navigation menu links nor rename existing menu links.
Discussion Board/ Group Discussion Discussions
New Functionality
  • Discussions are more streamlined and more straight forward with fewer layers
  • Discussions can be threaded or unthreaded
  • Discussions can be pinned
  • Discussions can be set to read only (Closed for Comments).
  • Can filter responses to specific people.
  • Discussions can be assigned to Groups. There’s no need to make a discussion thread per group like in Learn.
  • Group Discussions are easier to create. Now, it is a setting that can be enabled in the Discussion settings and is no longer a separate tool.
  • Easier to modify the description for all Group Discussions in the set since there is really only one discussion topic (whereas in Learn you would have to go into each group forum to modify the description)
Loss of Functionality
  • Lack of Anonymous and Force Moderation options
  • Unable to disable inserting file attachments or images from the Rich Content Editor (RCE) in Discussions
  • Unable to set how many posts before entering the "Needs Grading" status
Folders None Informational/Good to know
  • Learning materials are organized using Modules in Canvas. For more information, see Modules.
Grade Center Grades
New Functionality
  • You can now arrange column order automatically.
  • Filtering options by Section (only applies to crosslisted courses), or Modules are now available.
  • Assignment Group Total Columns automatically appear at the far right of the Gradebook.
  • Students can calculate hypothetical total scores using the What-If feature.
  • You can curve grades for an assignment using a bell curve based on a manually entered average score.
  • Row colors alternate to improve readability.
  • You can create Late and Missing Policies to automatically apply grading to late and missed assignments.
Loss of Functionality
  • You cannot hide assignment columns or Assignment Group Total Columns from the instructor.
  • You cannot hide rows from the instructor.
  • You cannot manually create a column in the gradebook without creating an offline assignment.
  • You cannot create Weighted, Average, Minimum/Maximum, or Total Columns.
  • You cannot weight individual assignments (weighting is done by Assignment Group).
  • You cannot override the maximum point value of a column.
Informational/Good to know
  • How to make Weighted Totals (See documentation as well): Under the assignments section, click on the 3 dot (kebab) menu on the top right of the page. Select Assignment Groups Weight>check Weight final grade based on assignment groups and enter the desired weights for each Category.
Groups Groups
New Functionality
  • Discussions can be assigned to all groups at once (via the main course Discussions)
  • Can create Groups while setting up an Assignment or Discussion
  • Can assign a leader to each group
  • Group assignments can be configured so that each student in the group needs to submit their own portion/version of the assignment.
  • Students can create their own groups (instructor can choose not to allow this on a per course basis)
  • Drag and drop group editing functionality
Learning Modules Modules
New Functionality
  • Modules allow students to easily navigate online content with a consistent structure amongst all courses.
  • Modules are uniformly laid out in a linear arrangement that integrates various forms of content efficiently.
  • Modules can be hidden or revealed using accordion style filtering.
Loss of Functionality
  • No Auto-generated Table of Contents
  • Can't have nested modules
Mobile Apps (“Blackboard” and “Instructor” apps) Mobile Apps (“Student” and “Teacher” apps)
Student App
New Functionality
  • Canvas UI is consistent with the desktop version
  • QR code for mobile login
Informational/Good to know

Teacher App
New Functionality
  • Speedgrader is included in the Teacher app along with the ability to annotate.
  • Canvas Teacher includes the "Message Students Who" feature from the web version of Canvas and allows teachers to easily send messages to students about specific course assessments.
  • QR code for mobile login
  • Instructors can now create new Pages and Discussions from the Teacher app
Informational/Good to know
My Grades Grades
New Functionality
  • Students can enter “what--‐if” scenarios to calculate hypothetical grades
Edit Notification Settings Notifications
New Functionality
Rich Content Editor Rich Content Editor
New Functionality
  • What you see is what you get – formatting is consistent between the editing window and final product
  • Real-time spell-checking
Loss of Functionality
  • No emoticons 
  • No ”Simple Embed” function where a thumbnail would appear for a pasted link that contains metadata. (e.g., an article link pasted from WSJ will not create a thumbnail for it in Canvas like it does in Learn. YouTube videos will also not generate a video thumbnail while editing.)
Informational/Good to know
  • Not yet available with New Quizzes
Rubrics Rubrics
New Functionality
  • "Outcomes" can be imported into the rubric as a Criteria.
  • Canvas Rubrics now provides a variety of rating scales.
Loss of Functionality
  • No option to switch between different Rubric Types in the Rubric tool. (Percent/Percent Range)
  • Rubrics cannot be attached to individual quiz questions
  • Categories and Keyword metadata.
Self and Peer Assessments Assignments

When creating an Assignment enable the "Require Peer Reviews" option.
New Functionality
  • Peer reviews are built into assignments and can be enabled on the fly.
Loss of Functionality
  • No self-evaluation options
Send Email/Course Messages Conversations Inbox
New Functionality
  • Accessible through the Global Navigation Menu
  • Course communication can be managed through the Conversations inbox (Discussion responses, Assignment comments and feedback.)
  • Users can reply to Conversation notifications from their external email, and it will also come through to the Conversations inbox."
Informational/Good to know
  • There is no designated ”Email” tool in Canvas like in Learn. However, by default, messages sent via the Conversations Inbox will also send a copy to the external email set for the recipient‘s Canvas account. This can be disabled by turning off notifications for Conversations.
Tests, Surveys, and Pools Classic Quizzes and Question Banks
New Functionality
  • New Multiple Dropdowns question type
  • Surveys can be worth points
  • Option to filter Quiz takers based on IP.
  • Edits can be made to Quizzes even after students have submitted to it. There is a Notify Users option to inform them of any changes.
  • Mastery Paths can be used with Quizzes.
  • Extra Credit "Fudge Points" can be added to a student submission directly from SpeedGrader
  • Option to assign Quizzes to individual students from the edit Quiz menu.
  • Quiz Banks can be Bookmarked
  • Ability to select a Quiz Type
  • Graded Quizzes
  • Practice Quizzes
  • Graded Surveys
  • Ungraded Surveys
Loss of Functionality
  • Ability to select a Quiz Type
  • Hot spot
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Jumbled sentence
  • Likert scale
  • Ordering
  • No Auto-Submit ON/OFF toggle option (Auto-Submit is always on for a timed test).
  • No Option to label multiple choice questions (e.g., abc, 123), or option to choose between vertical or horizontal orientation.
  • There is no designated checkbox option to exclude Quizzes from the Grade Center calculations.
Tests, Surveys, and Pools New Quizzes and Item Banks

Note: Visit Canvas | New Quizzes Feature Comparison to see a comparison chart between Classic and New Quizzes.
What is New Quizzes?
New Functionality
  • New Categorization question type.
  • Stimulus content can be added to Quizzes
  • Specific time adjustment options for student quiz exceptions can be set from the Accommodations column under the Moderate tab.
  • Calculators can be enabled.
  • IP Address Quiz Restriction
  • New option to require a Waiting Period between quiz attempts.
  • Edits can be made to the Quiz even after students have submitted to it. There is also a Notify Users option to inform them of any changes.
  • "Fudge Points" can be added via SpeedGrader.
  • New user interface is more intuitive when creating Quizzes
  • The Item Banks screen has a search bar with filtering options, and the option to share Item Banks.
Loss of Functionality
  • Unsupported questions from Learn
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Jumbled sentence
  • Likert scale
  • No option to create a Survey
  • No Auto-Submit ON/OFF toggle (Auto-Submit is always on for a timed test)
  • No Option to label multiple choice questions (i.e., abc, 123), or option to choose between vertical or horizontal orientation.
  • Question Banks cannot be imported into New Quizzes from Classic quizzes
User Settings Profile and User Settings
New Functionality
  • Additional emails can be added to have notifications sent to.
  • Personal pronouns can be selected.
Users People
New Functionality
  • Can view student "interactions report" and "access report" 
  • Provides a concise list of recent messages
  • An instructor can view various pieces of data about students, such as Student Grades, Interactions Reports, Access Reports, New Analytics, Missing/Late assignments, Total and Last Activity, and Activity Compared to the rest of the class for each student.
Loss of Functionality
  • Cannot find the user’s email. Can only see NetID and send messages via the Canvas message tool. 
Weblinks External Link/URL
Rich Content Editor

New Functionality
  • Improved, updated interface.
  • Keyboard shortcut – Select desired text, then Cmd/Ctrl + K
Loss of Functionality
  • Only available through the Rich Content Editor

New Functionality
  • Option to add indentation to the External Link


Bb Tool Options in Canvas (No Direct Equivalent) Workaround
Blogs Discussions with adjusted settings. Currently, there is no Blogs tool in Canvas. Please see the section for Blogs on the Migration Cleanup checklist for a workaround.
Journal Discussion Board OR Text Assignment Submission Currently, there is no Journals tool in Canvas. Please see the section for Journals on the Migration Cleanup checklist for a workaround.
Manual Grade Column New Assignment -> No Submission You cannot add a manual grade column directly to the Grade Book in Canvas (as you can in Learn). You must create a new assignment, and in the “Submission Type” settings, set to “No Submission.” How do I create assignment columns for non-submission Assignments?
Wikis Pages with adjusted editing permissions Currently, there is no Wikis tool in Canvas. Please see the section for Wikis on the Migration Cleanup checklist for a workaround. The workaround does not work as cleanly as Wikis, however Pages will work. You’ll need to change the permissions of that page to allow students to edit.

Pages cannot be set to be worth a grade, and there is no designated comment section for users to provide feedback on individual pages.

For additional support, Email