Canvas Transition FAQ's

What's the plan if I don't want to transition to Canvas right away?

This is the last semester (Winter 2019) for faculty to transition to Canvas.  A consultation meeting is required to transition.  The deadline to hold a consultation meeting is April 18, 2019.  To set up a consultation meeting, follow these steps.  Spring semester 2019 will be the last term in which courses will be taught using Brightspace.  Faculty are encouraged to transition as soon as possible.

Which courses have precedence in the transition?

 With our focus on freshmen retention, we want to create the most seamless experience for new students.  To this end we have prioritized the transition of 100-, 200-level, and foundation courses.

If I've already had a consultation meeting last semester, do I need to have another one?

No, you won't need to hold another consultation meeting, but we do need to know which courses you want to convert for Spring 2019, and the status of those courses.  If you met with a designer/FTC employee last semester, contact the person you met with to make sure we are on the same page.

Is it possible for me to create my courses in Canvas from scratch? I don't want to convert my courses from Brightspace.

Yes, you can create your canvas courses from scratch, but we will still need to create a blank course shell for each of your courses. And you will still need to schedule a consultation meeting.

How long will it take for my course to be converted?

We will begin the process of course conversion for Spring Semester 2019 on January 14.  April 18 will be the last day to schedule a consultation meeting to have your course converted for Spring Semester 2019. A signup link for those meetings is available here.

When will students be added to my course(s) in Canvas?

Approximately one week before the start of the new semester you should see students in your course(s).

NOTE: Students will only be added to your course if it has an SIS ID. To learn how to check your course for an SIS ID, click here.

I'm planning to copy a course from one of my colleagues. How can I arrange that?

You should set up a consultation meeting to make sure we are on the same page. It's relatively easy to do; we just need to make sure we are coordinating that with you.

What opportunities are there for me to receive training on how to use Canvas?

Every Tue/Wed/Thu at 4:30–5:30 PM we hold a one-hour Canvas Basics demo.  It’s not hands-on, but goes over all of the basics.  The sign-up is here.

We have created a "Canvas Training Course" in Canvas that we can enroll you in.  This course allows you to complete training modules.  This should show up in your Canvas dashboard as your "Sandbox" course.   If the Sandbox is not showing up on your dashboard,  call the Faculty Technology Center (FTC) at x7230.

We have purchased and sent to each department/college Office Assistant a printed tri-fold Canvas Instructor Guide.  Check with her to borrow it.  

Canvas has created some very helpful basic tutorials.  They are available online and are updated regularly.  The link to the site is here.

Come to the Faculty Technology Center (FTC) at MCK 355 for hands-on help.  The FTC hours are Mon–Fri, 8:00 AM–6:00 PM.

Sometimes links in Brightspace don't convert properly to Canvas, and as a result they won't work in your course.  Follow this link for a detailed guide on how to find and fix those links:

How do I fix quizzes that didn't convert properly from Brightspace to Canvas?

If you use the question library and question banks, you may encounter a few problems in how your quizzes were brought over.  This video explains those problems and some solutions to them:

It's also possible that your Brightspace quizzes had question types that are incompatible with Canvas.  Here are a few tips on quiz question types:

  • Ordering questions don't work in Canvas.  You may try matching questions instead.
  • You cannot have media files (pictures, videos, audio clips, etc.) as answers to a question.  You will need to put whatever media you need in the question description and label it in a way that it can be referenced in an answer (a, b, c, d, etc).
  • Matching questions don't always convert properly - sometimes the columns switch.  This is easy to fix, but it's something you have to watch for.

Where can I find out more about Canvas and how it operates?

Check out This website is created and maintained by Canvas. It's full of helpful information about how the program works.

Will both Campus students and Online students be switching to Canvas?

Yes. All courses will be transitioning. 

What if I already have courses in my own free version of Canvas (not on the BYU-I instance)? Do I still need to schedule a consultation meeting?

Yes, go ahead and schedule a consultation meeting so we can create new course shells for Spring Semester, and so you can decide which template(s) you want to use.

  • If you've developed a course in a Canvas sandbox, we can copy it into a new course shell with the template.
  • If you've used the free version of Canvas, well need to export your courses, and then import them into the new shells and add the templates.

What are the most exciting features about Canvas? Why should I be excited about switching?

  • Cell phone apps: Instructure, the parent company to Canvas, has developed several cellular applications with full functionality.  
  • Streamlined grading: The grading experience is optimized for ease of use and functionality.
  • Customizable course design: Canvas was developed with individual course design in mind. Each course can be customized to meet individual instructional needs.
  • Simple, clear and intuitive functionality: Canvas makes it easy to learn and stay current with all of its functionality. It is also easy to search for solutions on Google if you ever have a problem.
  • Integrated Zoom, Google Drive and Microsoft Office: Now, when logged into Canvas you can access any of these services.
  • Dynamic Syllabus tool: Canvas' syllabus tool will update based on changes made within the course. If a due date is changed on a quiz it will reflect in the schedule area of the syllabus.


  • What-If calculator gradebook feature allows students to calculate possible grade outcome.
  • Simple, all-inclusive Calendar allowing students to get a clear view of what is due when for all courses.

Canvas sounds almost too good to be true, does it have any drawbacks?

Yes, several were discovered during the pilot process. 

  • One of the weakest areas in Canvas is the Quiz tool. It offers fewer question types and does not currently grant the ability to give partial credit for answers. However, the next generation of the tool, titled Quizzes.Next, is currently in the beta phase but is available to be turned on. Although it has more powerful functionality, it also requires a steeper learning curve.  If you are interested in the possibility of using Quizzes.Next, visit the Canvas Instructor Guides to learn more.  
  • Discussion Boards are difficult to follow. The indentation between the original post and a reply are not immediately obvious. This makes all posts appear to be the beginning of a thread. They also do not show who has read them, making grading based on the number of read posts difficult.
  • Canvas Analytics are limited in the current version. Instructure is currently beta testing Analytics 2, which is designed to give faculty and students a more in-depth look at course use and participation.

I have some extenuating circumstances with my course(s). Who should I talk with about that?

Option A: Contact one of the Campus Curriculum Designers assigned to the transition -- Jilane Richardson, Debra Lowe, Gaylen Jensen, or Samuel Smith.

Option B: Contact the Faculty Technology Center at x7230.

When will Majors courses and Non-Academic courses be converted?

Our first priority is Teaching Courses. We are currently taking requests for Majors and Non-Academic courses.  Please set up a consultation meeting by following these steps.

I'm teaching multiple sections that I want combined. How can I make that happen?

During your consultation meeting, make sure you let the Designer know that is what you would like to do. If you decide after the fact that you want to make changes, contact the Faculty Technology Center at x7230. 

Can I have different names for different sections of the same course?

The name of the course in Canvas has to match the name in the course catalog.  However, if you are trying to differentiate between sections on your dashboard you can nickname each of your courses to make it easier to tell them apart.