Author Topic: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?  (Read 520 times)

clean

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Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« on: May 10, 2023, 04:26:20 PM »
The word has been given that we will move to Canvas Next Summer, and be fully on Canvas in Fall 2024.

I wasnt part of the discussion, or part of the decision. 

I was hoping that I could retire in a few years without such a set of issues. 

For anyone who has had to deal with all of these sorts of issues, what do you think?  What are the biggest problems I will have to deal with? 
What do YOU wish you had known before your classes had to make the jump?
What will I like about the transition? (What will I like most about Canvas?)

Advice?  Good Wishes?  Better me than you comments? 
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am"  Darth Vader

Hegemony

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2023, 04:32:52 PM »
I can't remember specifics about when we did that same transition, but I do remember that I found Canvas much easier to deal with. I think you will be happy with Canvas.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2023, 04:35:32 PM »
We use Moodle. And although I have used Canvas, it was so long ago now that I don't remember the particulars.

I would just say: remember to save your course templates and files, and to save them in a non-proprietary file format. You don't want to have to rebuild quizzes and stuff from scratch!
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lightning

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2023, 05:37:02 PM »
Considerable time has passed since my place did the Blackboard>Canvas migration. This is what I remember.

Files that you upload to Blackboard, if they were "hidden" from students in Blackboard, won't necessarily migrate as "hidden" and will end up discoverable in Canvas, if you don't manually go in after the migration and manually set all the files back to "hidden."

This can be a problem if you keep test answers in the LMS.

I also had some problems with quizzes not migrating all of the auto comments on the auto-graded quizzes. It was really annoying when I discovered a lot of the comments were missing.

It took considerable time on each faculty member's part to make sure the class set up in Blackboard ran like it was supposed to in Canvas.

Most of the faculty were really pissed off about the cutover, because it was the faculty who were doing most of the work in the cutover. It was a lot of extra overhead, just so admincritters could save money and the useless executive IT managers who failed "Into to Programming" and became Business Administration majors (or worse, "Leadership" majors), could make it look like there were doing something "IT."

sinenomine

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2023, 04:10:27 AM »
Canvas is the third LMS I’ve worked with, and I’m pleased with its features and ease of use.
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downer

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2023, 04:38:58 AM »
I've done that transition. It takes some adjusting. There might be a way to import your courses to Canvas from Blackboard, but it is bound to be imperfect. You are probably better off starting afresh and manually setting up the courses.

Canvas is certainly more modern and mostly better than Blackboard. I'm not a big fan of its gradebook and I find its Quiz function to be a total pain in the neck. But they work ok once you get used to them. Avoid the "Curve the grades" function at all costs.

As with Blackboard, Canvas partly depends on how it is implemented at your institution. Mine has various functions which I haven't explored because IT doesn't do much to support them. So there's lots of potential there, which could take a lot of time to master, but it is easy to stick to the basics.
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AmLitHist

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2023, 06:44:16 AM »
We made the shift last summer.  Canvas is worlds better than Bb (and I say that as someone who had pretty much beaten Bb into submission over the years and was considered a "power user").  It's just way easier and more intuitive to set up most things in Canvas, though I'm not wild about their quizzes, but I don't use those much anyway.

One thing I have had to really emphasize to my students:  when I do Discussions, I always have two deadlines--one for the original response to the prompt, and then a second one for students' replies to classmates' posts.  The schedule that shows up in the Syllabus tab ONLY shows that second deadline, so I post notes all over each module (and in the early days, also send reminder email announcements) that they DO have that earlier deadline as well. (I don't accept any late work, so it matters.)

Hibush

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2023, 06:56:42 AM »
My school made that transition after a year of having selected faculty test competing LMS programs in their classes. I think that analysis was extraordinarily well done. If you want, you can consider that effort to be done for your benefit as well.

The transition took a rather large support staff in the first year to make sure the new LMS was working well in each class. Once instructors got the hang of it, which wasn't long, they were universally happy to have the new system. I have not heard of anyone longing for Blackboard.

spork

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2023, 10:02:09 AM »
Your university's academic technology unit should be on top of migrating pre-existing Blackboard content into Canvas. It's an easy content import process that you, as a faculty member, can do yourself. Download the course file in Blackboard to your computer, then upload it into the next iteration of the course in Canvas. 

The only really annoying part of Canvas for me is the quiz tool. I strongly recommend building a question bank first, then drawing questions from it for each quiz in a course.

SpeedGrader, with its ability to use clickable rubrics for grading of writing assignments, is fantastic.
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Aster

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2023, 12:03:52 PM »
The Announcements feature is inferior in Canvas.

You can't turn specific Announcements on and off as easily as in BlackBoard. In Canvas, you can either leave each Announcement up permanently, set each one to a "delay" that you'll manually futz with on the calendar every time (very tedious), or you can switch off *all* the Announcements in your class page.

Since moving to Canvas, I don't use Announcements so much anymore.

Istiblennius

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2023, 12:28:07 PM »
We shifted from Moodle to Canvas a few years ago, but I have absolutely loved the update. One of my favorite features in Canvas has been the "email students who" feature in the gradebook. I can do things like quickly email everyone who hasn't turned in an assignment or who have not yet started the exam that is due in an hour.

And yes to the love for the SpeedGrader! So much easier, and the ability to build a comment library makes adding feedback a breeze. I do not love that "new quizzes" is still an external tool. I don't know why they haven't just made the features in new quizzes part of the internal Canvas quiz system. I also really like and use the Announcements feature (unlike another poster) but I have to remind my students to update the settings in their Canvas system so they get the Announcements in email - I can't force that. I never used Blackboard, so I still like the Canvas announcements better than Moodle, but I can't compare to Blackboard.


arcturus

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2023, 12:32:37 PM »
The Announcements feature is inferior in Canvas.

You can't turn specific Announcements on and off as easily as in BlackBoard. In Canvas, you can either leave each Announcement up permanently, set each one to a "delay" that you'll manually futz with on the calendar every time (very tedious), or you can switch off *all* the Announcements in your class page.

Since moving to Canvas, I don't use Announcements so much anymore.

I am confused by this, since the only LMS I have used is Canvas. I post class announcements regularly. I can choose how many are posted at the top of the home page (I currently leave the 3 most recent), and there is an archive of all announcements I have previously made under the "announcements" tab.  Most students have the announcements forwarded to their email accounts too. Is there some functionality that I should be wanting to use that I can't do in Canvas?

the_geneticist

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2023, 02:24:38 PM »
I made the transition and I found it better to just rebuild my course from scratch.  Question banks and quizzes DO NOT migrate over properly.  All of your slides, videos, etc. will come over as individual files in no particular order.

Here are the things that I learned the hard way:

Canvas is designed to work well for a class that is organized into "Modules".  This is sort of like a header/big bin to post materials.
I use the approach that each week of lab is a Module.  That's where I post the: pre-lab assignment, protocols, links to videos, etc for that week.  I also have modules for things like "Welcome to class" that has the TA contact information, syllabus, etc.  Or "Need help?" as a place to put links to the tutoring center, counseling, etc.

Know that there is no such thing as a "folder" in Canvas.  If you want to share a bunch of images/.ab1 files/readings you have a few options:
1. Put the things in a Google folder & share a link
2. Set up a Module called "Readings" and upload each file individually
3. Use the "pages" to copy & paste the images/links to all the images on the page & publish that page in a module

Unless it's a .jpg or .pdf, images do not display properly.

Unless it's a file you upload, basically everything else is on a "page".  I use those to embed videos, share links to Google folders, etc.  You can do some really nice cross-references by putting in links to existing course files.  Like a quiz that says "read the syllabus before you take this quiz" and you can put in a link to the syllabus that is clickable.

If you want an assignment to be in the grades, you MUST create an assignment.  No more "add column to grade book" option.  You do have the option to say that the assignment is "on paper" for things that students hand in during class (as opposed to upload).  That's what I use for the in-class lab worksheets.

The default settings are annoying as all get out.  I'd suggest eliminating any features you are not using (e.g. I don't use online discussions so I hide that from view).  The "enable class grading scheme" will automatically choose a letter grade scale and show it to the students unless you turn it off. 

It's also tricky to set up the grades the way you want them unless you go by a straight point system.  If you know that you want to have 30% of the grade from quizzes and drop the lowest 2 quiz scores, you need to set that up in advance using the categories in the "Assignments".

Anything that you want students to complete online that has more than one question should be set up as a "quiz".  Trust me.

spork

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2023, 02:41:02 PM »

[. . .]

It's also tricky to set up the grades the way you want them unless you go by a straight point system. 

[. . . ]


I use a point system. The more points earned by the end of the course, the higher the grade. No fiddling with how much different categories of assignments are weighted.

If anyone knows how to hide the gradebook columns that contain percentage figures, please let me know here. No matter what I do, students fixate on the percentage instead of total points.
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onthefringe

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Re: Migrating to Canvas from Blackboard. What should I know?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2023, 04:36:43 PM »

[. . .]

It's also tricky to set up the grades the way you want them unless you go by a straight point system. 

[. . . ]


I use a point system. The more points earned by the end of the course, the higher the grade. No fiddling with how much different categories of assignments are weighted.

If anyone knows how to hide the gradebook columns that contain percentage figures, please let me know here. No matter what I do, students fixate on the percentage instead of total points.

If your university has enabled it, this may work.

If not, this used to work for me: Put in a stealth assignment worth one point with no due date and set the posting to “manual”. Give everyone a point but (and this is key) don’t post the ‘grade’. Since they have a graded assignment that they can’t see, canvas (at least used to) disable the final grade column.