Pack Your Blackboard Bags; VCU is Moving to Canvas
After a 2-year long planning period, the time has finally come; VCU will be transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas.
If you would like to have a fresh start and do not wish to take any of your content with you that is totally fine. In fact, this is preferred!
If nothing else, we only ask that you download the gradebook to each of your courses and save them for your own records. Then that's it; you are done!
If you wish to save some or all of your content, it is crucial that you gather your course and/or organization content and export them from Blackboard as soon as possible. This page has everything you need to know in order to accomplish this task.
To have a smooth transition to Canvas, faculty who want to keep their Blackboard course content must take action before the May 31st deadline. To retrieve your files/content from Blackboard and move it to Canvas or keep it for your own records, follow the directions below.
All you need is a course in Canvas to put content in and a course in Blackboard with content to move. The steps below will walk you through how to export a course as a zip file from Blackboard and import that zip file to Canvas to set up your new course.
Here are some of the things you might want to consider doing:
- Download any personal files you may have in the Content Collection.
- Download Bb Collaborate videos you may have recorded.
- Download the Grade Center if you need easy access to them (i.e. perhaps there might be a grade dispute and you would like them readily available, or a student who has an incomplete and needs to finish the course in Canvas).
- If you would like to manually migrate a course from Blackboard to Canvas, information in the tabs below will assist you in doing this.
See the Blackboard to Canvas Transition Training if you need more information.
NOTE: You can import content into Canvas at your own convenience; there is no deadline to do this.
After May 31, the Blackboard system will be decommissioned and removed from service.
Want to talk to someone live at VCU?
Join VCU Online during their "Open Office Hours" for faculty. Drop in to get help, ask questions, or just brainstorm about topics related to Canvas.
There are 2 GB of storage allotted for each Canvas course. If your Blackboard course is larger than 2 GB, we highly recommend cleaning it up before transferring the course over to Canvas.
Tip: Keep in mind, Canvas works the best when you make the most of the built-in Pages, so for word documents and other non-copyrighted files, consider copying and pasting the information into a Canvas Page. This will also save you some storage space for more important files in your Canvas Files.
How To Clean Up your Blackboard Course
- When cleaning content items from your Blackboard course, be sure to also clean content from the Course Content System. This can be found by going to the Control Panel, clicking on Content System, then click on the course ID.
- All Videos should be placed in Kaltura and then linked to your Canvas course. Video files can take up a lot of space in your Files and will not have captions unless you are using a streaming platform like Kaltura. If you have downloads of videos you’ve recorded, it is highly recommended that you upload your videos to Kaltura and embed them into your Canvas course.
- Large documents, images, powerpoints with images and videos should be stored in your Google Drive. Enjoy unlimited storage with your VCU apps account.
To add these files to your course, a Google Drive icon now appears in the Rich Content Editor. The icon displays everything in a user’s Google Drive account and allows users to display documents as links or embeds them directly. Students and teachers can view the icon anywhere they can access the Rich Content Editor, such as assignments, tests, discussions and pages. (If the icon is not displayed, click the ? icon for the More External Tools drop-down menu to see it.)
- For additional information, see the Canvas Tip: Uploading Videos and Large Files blog post and subscribe for live updates.
Faculty who have questions or need help with content imports that exceed the course size limitation (2BG), can reach out to VCU Online for a consultation.
Opening both Canvas and Blackboard simultaneously in two different tabs allows for easier viewing and a simpler transfer process. This is something you may want to consider doing before you begin.
1. Go to the course you would like to export content FROM. Note: This will need to be done in each individual course.
2. Scroll down until you see the Control Panel (left-hand side menu)
3. Go to and expand Packages and Utilities.
4. Click Export/Archive Course.
5. Click Export Package at top of page.
You will be taken to a page that allows you to choose select items that you wish to include in the Export Package or you can check all boxes, indicating you want to export all content.
6. Click Submit. Do not leave the page!
- Note: Blackboard will automatically email you when the export is complete. However, you can usually simply wait a few minutes and then refresh the page and your export file (.zip) will appear.
7. Click on the Export File Name (blue link) that appears. This will download the file to your computer wherever files are defaulted to download.
- Note: You may be prompted to “Save File” and select a location to download the file to on your computer.
- Note: Do not open the file once it saves! Leave it as a .zip file and move to the next part of this tutorial [see the Import Blackboard Content to Canvas tab]
Files, assessments, and assignments must be exported from Blackboard and re-uploaded to your new Canvas course, which is what you will learn in this section.
However, just as a side note, transferring text based content is as easy as copy/paste. Text and hyperlinks will copy appropriately; however, keep in mind that any uploaded media will need to be reattached in Canvas’ Rich Text Editor.
Note: Importing may require users to rearrange content throughout the course. Importing will not overwrite any content but instead will make duplicates of content that may already be present.
1. Log in to Canvas and navigate to the course you would like to import your Blackboard file INTO.
2. Click Settings on the course navigation menu to the left in your Canvas course.
3. Click the Import Course Content button on the right.
4. Click the Content Type dropdown at the top of the page and select Blackboard 6/7/8/9 export .zip file.
5. Click the Choose File button that will appear to browse and select the Blackboard zip file that you previously exported.
6. Choose to add test questions (if any are included in your Bb zip file) to an existing question bank in Canvas or create a new question bank.
7. Select All Content or Select Specific Content.
Note: If you select the specific content option, you are required to select the content you want to import after you review the remaining page options. After you start importing the content, the import selection cannot be canceled.
8. In most cases you should leave the setting for 'Overwrite assessment content with matching IDs' unchecked.
9. The Adjust events and due dates gives you the option of shifting all dates, substituting a day with a different day (for example move all Tuesday events to Wednesday), and lastly, you have the option of entirely removing all dates and then manually adjusting the dates on individual items after import.
10. Click the Import button. You will see a progress bar.
Additional Information about Selecting Specific Content
If you checked the option to Select Specific Content, after the import is complete you will see a button labeled Select Content.
Click this button and you will see a list of course content arranged by item type. You can check a box to select all of the items of a particular type (question banks for example) or you can expand the list and choose only specific items from a list.
Select All Group Content
Content can be individual items  or a content group . Content groups show the number of items within the group. To view content within a group, click the group's expand icon .
To import all content for a content type, click the checkbox next to the content name . If the content type is a group, Canvas automatically selects all items within the group.
Select Specific Group Content
To import only a few items from a content group, expand the group and select the specific items to be imported . Canvas places a dash in the content group checkbox , indicating not all items are selected within the group.
The report displays a menu bar with the time remaining to complete the import. View the content from any completed imports by accessing any link in Course Navigation.
The import may also display errors as part of the import status. Learn more about course import statuses.