Migrating a Blackboard Vista course into Canvas is quick and easy. Even better, you can expect most if not all of your content and activities to be preserved exactly in the migration.

Import Process: Quick Step-By-Step

  1. Create a new course in the Canvas sandbox
  2. Choose Import Content' from the Next Steps frame at the bottom of the course page. If you do not see the bottom frame, click Course Setup Checklist on the top right.
  3. Choose Migrate content from another system into Canvas
  4. Select Blackboard Vista/CE, WebCT 6+ Course
  5. From the School list select your institution, e.g. Utah Valley University, and enter your username and password before clicking Retrieve list of courses from this account. This may take a few minutes...
  6. Select the Bb Vista course from the list. You may, under Selective Import, decide to choose which parts of the course to import.
  7. Click Import Course to proceed.
  8. Select the Bb Vista course content and activities that you wish to copy in before completing the import.
  9. The import procedure may take a while. Canvas will send you an email when the process is complete!

Import Process: In-Depth

The following is one possible step-by-step procedure to migrate a course. There may be other steps not found in this document that may be necessary to migrate an individual course to Canvas.

Home Page

Currently the page defaults to the communication stream. Click Change Home Page Layout and select the Course Modules/Sections, then click Update Layout.

Custom headers and footers in Blackboard home pages are not automatically migrated. In order to migrate these pages, click Change Home Page Layout, then select a Page I’ll Design Myself. Lastly, click Update Layout. The custom course home page is edited in the same way as other Canvas-generated pages.

Note: Links to individual course modules or folders will not be preserved. At this time, linking to a specific Module from the home page must be done manually.

Additionally, any JavaScript or non-inline CSS can not be added to custom home pages. Links to external sites should be unaffected by migration.

File Structure

Check each folder to ensure the structure of the course is arranged as expected. If there are files or folders out of place, click and drag those folders into the appropriate place.

Note: some users have experienced issues when moving files around in the file manager. If the first attempt does not work, make sure you are dragging the file by its icon, and not its name.


Note that quizzes can only be imported two ways. 1) through the course migration tool. 2) By exporting a QTI file through Respondus. Direct upload through Respondus will be supported at a future time. See Importing quizzes for more details.

  1. Re-link all images.
  2. Ensure formatting for quizzes was maintained
  3. Verify correct answers (this can be done quickly)
  4. Set the following:
    1. Due Date
    2. Dates locked (contact ID if there is a question)
    3. Attempts (1 attempt by default)
    4. Should students be allowed to see quiz results? Yes/No
    5. Should you show them correct answers? Yes/No
  5. Optional: Add the following:
    1. Time Limit
    2. Shuffle Answers
  6. Create Quiz or Exam Assignment Group
    1. Remove Imported Assignments category

Question Banks

As a part of quiz migration, the question banks need to be migrated.

  1. Verify appropriate names for question banks
  2. Add/delete question banks as appropriate


Discussion forums normally will not import into Canvas through the migration tool. Discussions will need to be manually created, or the migration needs to be run again, with only the discussions selected.

  1. Click Discussions in Canvas. Then Make a New Discussion Topic
  2. Copy and paste title.
  3. Copy and paste description. If HTML is used, click Switch Views and paste the HTML into the box. Click Switch Views again to return to the WYSIWYG editor.
  4. Attach Files as necessary.
  5. Optional: Click Use for grading
    1. Select the number of points possible.
    2. Select appropriate assignment group.
    3. Select due date
  6. Add link from module to week as appropriate


The modules should be titled and arranged in the same way they are in Blackboard. Folders within Blackboard, and items within it, will not be migrated automatically.

  1. Verify titles and arrangement of modules
  2. Add exams or assignments to the appropriate module. (click Add item to module at the bottom of the module)
  3. Add any discussions to the appropriate module.
  4. Set prerequisites to modules as appropriate (e.g. syllabus or plagiarism quizzes)
    1. move cursor over module title.
    2. click on pencil icon to the right
    3. click Add prerequisite
    4. In the case of syllabus or plagiarism quiz, the Course Orientation module would be selected.
    5. After selecting the appropriate module, go to that module and click on its pencil icon.
    6. click Add requirement
    7. Select the syllabus quiz or appropriate assignment from the drop-down menu. Then score at least from the second drop-down menu with the appropriate number of points entered into the third field.
  5. Hide modules to match the visibility settings in Blackboard.

Left Navigation

Elements of the Canvas LMS not used in a course should be hidden in Course Settings in order to reduce unused interface features and associated cognitive load.

Rearrange the left navigation:

  1. Click Settings within left navigation.
  2. Click Navigation tab.
  3. Follow the directions on the page to rearrange and disable course components.
  4. Click Save when done.

Hidden navigation items can be unhidden at any time. Course navigation elements cannot be completely removed at this time.

Related: UVU DE Standards

Grade Book

Because Canvas relies on the structure of Assignments for Grades, the grade book should be one of the last steps in the migration process. Some recommendations:

  1. Verify correct points possible for each assignment
  2. Check columns for any hidden or missing grade book columns
  3. Publish/Unpublish grades as appropriate
  4. Optional: Set Group Weights


When you migrate your course, Canvas will ask you if you want it to adjust the due dates of items. This is not an exact science, and so you may have to adjust some due dates yourself. The easiest way to do this is by dragging and dropping items in the Calendar tool.


Announcements in Blackboard should be migrated automatically. If they did not import correctly, add the announcements manually to the course. Announcements can be time-delayed to be released at a later date.

Bb Migration Checklist

The following checklist is intended to support faculty or instructional design staff who are migrating courses from Bb Vista to Canvas.

PDF version: File:Bb canvas migration list.pdf

The version below is JPG. You may have to adjust the image size to fit your printer.

Bb canvas migration list.jpg

Created by Seth Gurell of Utah Valley University, so buy him a candy bar.

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