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How do I prepare for the Canvas move?

markers in a container and notebook in background

Switching to a new learning management system can be a daunting process, especially without a game plan in place. So where should you start?  Follow the five-step checklist below to get you ready for the move.

Step 1: Access your sandbox

Information Technology Services (ITS) is working hard to prepare Canvas for use. If you are interested in getting an early start, you can access your practice course via CourseFinder. Don't see a practice course in your Canvas account? Request one by emailing at The practice course will let you familiarize yourself with Canvas while you build and store your content until your official course is ready.

Step 2: Get acquainted with the Canvas tools

UC San Diego’s Canvas instance has all the common LMS features, such as assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, file sharing, grading, and announcements. To learn about any of these features, refer to the how-to resources available at:

Step 3: Start with a blank Canvas?

One of the first big decisions you will need to make is:

Should I start from scratch? Or should I copy my content over from TritonEd (aka Blackboard)? It may seem like an obvious answer, but not so fast!

* Depending on the complexity of your existing TritonEd course you may end up spending as much time reorganizing copied content as you would if you were to start from scratch.

  • Starting from scratch gives you an opportunity to get to learn and know Canvas better. It is also a great opportunity to redesign and optimize your students’ learning experiences. True, it may take more time to build a course from scratch, but keep in mind that the content you develop can be reused in subsequent terms.
  • Copying content from TritonEd to Canvas can make the move a whole lot easier. You will still need to spend some time reorganizing the transferred content. Also, some activities, such as blogs and journals, won’t transfer over correctly, so you will have to rethink how to best reinterpret those kinds of assignments. Lastly, copying a TritonEd course over to Canvas may lead to adding many obsolete and/or redundant files. Therefore, consider doing a little spring cleaning prior to transferring your material. If you opt to use this method, checkout the TritonEd to Canvas Guide for step-by-step instructions.
  • Many other instructors have found that the “Hybrid Approach,” where they bulk upload course-related files and then recreate the assignments, quizzes, and discussions works best. This is the method that we in EdTech Services (ETS) recommend following as you migrate over to Canvas.

Step 4: Design your students’ course experience

Unlike TritonEd, which makes use of folders to deliver content, Canvas offers its module structure to assist instructors in building the student experience. So what are modules? According to Canvas:

“Modules allow you to organize your content to help control the flow of your course. They are used to organize course content by weeks, units, [chapters, themes, projects,] or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With modules, you are essentially creating a [list view] of what you would like your students to do.

Each module can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials that you would like to use."

Before building your course in Canvas, ask yourself what kind of module setup will be used? Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc? Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4-6, etc? Not sure? Explore some of the sample courses below to see how the instructors set up their modules.

Still unsure what module setup to use? The Teaching + Learning Commons staff is available to help you determine the best module structure for your course.

Step 5: Contact your Canvas support team

The EdTech team is ready to help and support you in making the transition to Canvas. You can contact the EdTech Services office at 858-822-3315 |