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Canvas FAQ

The Canvas Transition

  • Why is the university discontinuing Blackboard?
    Faculty and students asked for a formal investigation of alternatives, and Canvas was objectively the best choice for Clemson. In 2013, the Academic Technology Council conducted a survey of 345 faculty members. Results indicated that participants desired an alternative solution to Blackboard. After an initial pilot of Canvas in 2014, survey results from 115 faculty and students indicated that the majority of participants favored transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas if possible. Since then, a formal procurement process put bids for multiple LMS options in competition with one another. The evaluation committee selected Canvas in consideration of Clemson's academic and technical infrastructure as well as under the guidance of state criteria.
  • What makes Canvas superior to other systems?
    Canvas is a cloud-based LMS that is openly customizable for developers, intuitive for users to navigate, and robustly supported by its provider. Pilot users have indicated that Canvas is easier to learn and use than other LMS software. Instructure, the company behind Canvas, actively works with developers to open and enhance their API in order to position Canvas as a simple platform for building custom integrations and applications. Instructure also cultivates an active community of users and experts to support one another via the Canvas Community and Canvas Commons.
  • When will Canvas be integrated with iROAR?
    As of Spring 2017, Canvas is fully integrated with iROAR. Course rosters will update automatically, so you will no longer need to add users manually. You can, however, still use the +People feature to add additional users (including co-teachers, TAs, and observers) to your course. For more details on adding people to your course, visit the Canvas Guide:
  • When do I have to start using Canvas for my courses?
    Summer 2017. All courses will be available for Canvas in Spring 2017, so faculty can teach in Canvas or Blackboard during Spring Semester. Adopting Canvas during Spring Semester is highly encouraged because Blackboard will no longer be available for use after Spring Semester. For more information on the transition timeline, visit
  • What will happen to my workgroup?
    You can continue to use your workgroup in Canvas. However, you will need to migrate your content. If you use your workgroup for a mailing list or file sharing, you can continue as before. Management of your workgroup is still done through Group Central. For more information on workgroup migration, please visit our Workgroup Migration page
  • Will I still need to use Course Central?

    Canvas does not use Course Central. Instead, Banner will generate an empty course shell for each of your instructional assignments and automatically populate it with the students who are enrolled in your course. You will, however, need to add content to your course shells. To add content to:

    • A new course, you will need to build the course in Canvas.

    • A course previously taught in Blackboard, you can import content from Blackboard to Canvas. However, your course may have already been automatically migrated. Visit Courses on the Global Navigation Menu (the left-hand bar at and click “All Courses” to see whether your course has been migrated. If it has, follow the instructions for “a course previously taught in Canvas” below. If it hasn’t been migrated, please visit our Course Migration page to find directions or submit a migration request.

    • A course previously taught in Canvas, open the empty shell. Click Settings from the course menu, and then select Import Content into this Course on the right-hand side of the page. For Content Type, select Copy a Canvas Course, then search for the relevant course. Once you’ve located it, select whether to migrate all content or only select content. You can also elect to have Canvas adjust events and due dates. Once you’ve made your selections, click Import. For more information on copying courses, visit

  • Is Clemson Online offering any training to help faculty make the transition from Blackboard to Canvas?
    Yes, we are offering multiple training sessions. To review our offerings or sign up for a training session, visit
  • Who is overseeing the transition?
    This is a university-wide initiative. The project has the support from the Associate Provost for Academic Finance and Operations, the Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the Academic Technology Council, and the IT Student Advisory Board. A broadly representative task force, as well as a project team comprised of technical staff from Clemson Online and Clemson Computing and Information Technology (CCIT), will ensure a successful transition. The LMS Transition Taskforce is composed of cross-functional, interdepartmental members including faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, CCIT technical leads, project manager, and public information personnel.

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Access and Availability

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User Account

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Assignments and Activities

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Adding Content to Your Canvas Course

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Course Content

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Grading and Gradebook

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Communication and Scheduling

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Navigation and User Interface

  • Can I rename the items in the course navigation menu?
    You can’t rename items in the course navigation menu, but you can reorder and hide links. This link has more details:
  • Why do some items appear in light gray on my course navigation menu?

    Items that appear in light gray on your course navigation menu are still clickable by you as an instructor. If an item is light gray it indicates that it is not currently visible for students. There are two reasons for this:

    • You have hidden the link in the navigation menu through the course settings.

    • There is no content in that particular tool. For example, announcements will remain gray until you create the first announcement for the class, at which point it will become visible for students.
  • How can I get rid of items that I'm not using in the course navigation menu?
    To hide items in the Navigation menu that you are not using, first click on Settings, and then Navigation. You will see a list of the items in the Course Navigation menu. Click on the settings icon to the right of each item to choose to Move or Disable an item. You can also drag and drop menu items to reorder your course navigation menu. For more information on hiding navigation menu items, visit
  • How can I view the course as a student?
    To view a course as a student, navigate to Settings in the course menu. Then, click on Student View on the right-hand side of the page. This will allow you to view the course as a student user. For more information on viewing your course as a student in Canvas, visit
  • Can I add items to my course navigation menu?

    To add items to your course navigation menu, you can use an app called Redirect Tool. To use this app,

    1. Click Settings in your course navigation menu

    2. Click the Apps tab

    3. Search for Redirect Tool, then select Add App

    4. In the “Name” field, enter the name of the resource that you’d like to appear in your course navigation menu.

    5. Enter the URL of the website or page in the “URL Redirect” field.

    6. Check “Show in Course Navigation.”

    7. Click submit.

    8. Refresh your page. The new item should appear in your course menu.

    A caveat: you should only use Redirect Tool to link to external web sources, not pages within your Canvas course. If there’s a resource that students need to access frequently, consider adding it to your course home page instead

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Course Management and Logistics

  • How do I publish and unpublish a course?
    You can publish your course by clicking on Publish in your course home page sidebar, or in your course setup checklist. You can unpublish your course by clicking Unpublish, but you can’t unpublish a course once the course has a graded submission. See this link for more details:
  • I want to combine my three courses into one Canvas site. How do I do this?
    Cross-listing allows you to move section enrollments from individual courses and combine them into one course. This feature is helpful for instructors who teach several sections of the same course and only want to manage course data in one location. For more information about cross-listing (including step-by-step instructions on how to cross-list your course), visit the Crosslisting Guide page.
  • How can I view individual sections?
    To view individual sections, click Settings on the course menu. Then, click the Sections tab. For more information about how sections work in Canvas, visit
  • How do I cross-list sections?
    Cross-listing allows you to move section enrollments from individual courses and combine them into one course. This feature is helpful for instructors who teach several sections of the same course and only want to manage course data in one location. For more information about cross-listing (including step-by-step instructions on how to cross-list your course), visit our Crosslisting Guide Page.
  • I have multiple sections in a single Canvas course. Can I assign different due dates and times to each section?
    Canvas has a Differentiated Assignments feature that allows you to set up different due dates and times. For more information on this feature and how to use it for different types of assignments, visit
  • How do I manually enroll TAs or instructional designers?
    To add TAs or instructional designers, select People on the course menu. Click +People in the upper right-hand corner of the page. In the pop-up dialog box, add the user’s email address (use, not, select their role, and, if applicable, assign them to the appropriate section and determine whether the user will have access to users in other sections. Then, click Next. You will be given the option to confirm or cancel the enrollments. For more information about adding users to your course, visit Please note: When adding a user to your course in the teacher, TA, designer or observer role, ensure that you use their email, rather than Adding a user with will result in an error message with the following text: These users had errors and will not be added. Please ensure they are formatted correctly. If you use the same username without the the error will not occur and the user will be added successfully. They will still receive an email notification forwarded to their email.
  • Can I add the same TA to multiple sections of one course?
    You can add TAs to multiple sections. To do so, go to People and locate the user. Click on the gear icon associated with that user (it will be on the right-hand side of the page), then select “Edit Sections.” Here, you’ll be able to add the user to additional sections.
  • Can I edit a course once it's concluded?
    Once a term has ended, you are unable to edit a past course. This ensures that a concluded course remains intact to not only serve as a reference to you but could also be useful in resolving grievances or grade disputes. Rather than editing content in your concluded courses, you may copy the course content into a new shell and make changes there.
  • How will students complete course evaluations in Canvas?
    Currently, students can click on “Course Evaluation” on the course navigation menu. If you are not collecting evaluations for your course, you can hide this feature from students by removing it from the course navigation menu. For information on how to do this, visit this link:
  • As an instructor, what can I do and not do in the Canvas mobile app?
    In the Canvas app, you can create announcements, edit and view course settings, view student assignment submissions, and make comments on the submissions. You can also manage course files, but you can’t create new folders, move files from one folder to another, or rename file items. You can’t grade assignments, but you may download the SpeedGrader app or grade assignments in a mobile browser. The Canvas Mobile Guides provide more information on what you can and cannot do in the mobile apps: This document also provides a comprehensive list of the mobile app functionality:

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