From Canvas to Canvas: Rolling your course forward for the next semester

Course shells for Spring 2018 were created recently. What’s a course shell? That’s the Canvas course that includes your student enrollments. It appears on your Canvas Dashboard and Courses list with its timetable-assigned title and term (Spring 2017-2018). As the instructor, you need to add the content. (Please don’t add students to your migrated course or sandbox.) This post explains how to roll your content over from a previous semester, a migrated course, or a Canvas sandbox. If you’re a COE instructor teaching in Moodle or D2L, please contact us at to migrate your course materials.

diagram showing content goes into course shell

Finishing out the semester

  • As the semester wraps up, you might want to read our previous blog post on end-of-semester grading.
  • By default, students will be able to view the course after it ends (but not quiz questions!). If you would like to change their access, see this document.
  • Student work is not part of the course export. Download and securely store any work you will need for accreditation purposes or to use as examples in future courses. You can download student submissions in bulk and annotated submissions individually. There is currently no automatic capture process for rubrics or comments; please take screenshots if those are needed.
  • Gradebook data is not part of the course export. Export the gradebook to a .csv file and store it securely.
  • Consider asking students for anonymous feedback about your Canvas course.

Rolling your course forward

Export your Canvas course

Open the course you’re copying from, and use these directions to export your course as a Canvas Course Export Package (an .imscc file).

Import your Canvas course

Open your new semester course shell (where student enrollments are automatically added), and use these directions to import your course, choosing the export package from its saved location. There’s an option to shift dates. It won’t account for spring break, but it will get you close. You might prefer to remove dates and then update them all. If you see an error message, it may be because your course is over the 1 GB limit for teacher materials. Please contact us for assistance in COE.

Courses with multiple sections

Usually, courses with multiple lab or discussion sections will already be cross-listed. If you have sections that meet separately but have the same content, you or we can cross-list them. (Please allow up to 2 business days.) Then within your combined course, you can set different due dates for different sections. (Learn more about working with sections in our post on Sections vs. Groups.)

Review your course

If you’d like design review or assistance with your COE course, please contact us at to schedule a consultation.

Before publishing, use Student View to double-check what students can see. (Note: Kaltura videos do not display in Student View, but they will display for real students just fine.) You may want to set availability dates on your quizzes and/or assignments. You may want to schedule file availability. Setting those restrictions enables students to see that the assignments and files exist, with any corresponding due dates. It prevents them from seeing the content of the assignments, files, and quizzes.

Publish your course

When you’re ready for students to view your content, you can publish your course from the home page. Students will then receive their course invitation. Messages sent from Canvas go to students based on their notification settings. We recommend sending your initial welcome email via the WiscList for your class. In that email, remind students to set their Canvas Notifications to “Notify me Immediately” for Announcements, Discussion, Discussion Posts, and Conversations (also called Inbox).