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LMS Transition: Canvas

Canvas Support
Phone: (844) 683-6439
Live Chat:​
​Hours: 24/7
Temple University’s Canvas Website:
For more LMS Transition Information:
Phone: (215) 204-8000


Starting in Fall 2017, Temple University will be transitioning to a new Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas. Canvas is robust and easy-to-use and will replace our current Blackboard LMS.

Why Canvas?
Temple is following the lead of many peer universities in adopting Canvas, which offers many benefits including:

  • strong support for Temple's pedagogical requirements and educational outcomes
  • a clean modern interface for easy navigation
  • tools to assist faculty in creating opportunities for student collaboration, while facilitating deeper learning and the ability to build communities beyond the classroom.

Positive Feedback During Pilot
Temple University conducted a Canvas pilot in the Spring 2017 semester, which resulted in much positive feedback from faculty and students. To learn more, see Temple's Learning Management System Evaluation Report (PDF). Some typical comments received during the pilot appear below:

Speech bubbles showing positive testimonies about Canvas from students and faculty


Spring 2017 Summer I & II 2017 Fall 2017 Spring 2018 Summer I & II 2018
Pilot Post Pilot Early Adopters & First Wave Second Wave Final Wave - All Classes Using Canvas

Faculty Support and Training

The Center for Advancement of Teaching (CAT) team is ready to help and support faculty in making the transition to Canvas. Consider taking advantage of the following resources:

You can contact the Center for Advancement of Teaching at 215-204-8761 or

How do I get my course materials from Blackboard to Canvas?

You will find it easier to start fresh in Canvas, depending on your circumstances. However, you can also move the materials you want to keep or save them for future use. Please click here for a step-by-step guide on how to Export your Blackboard course material. Please click here for a step-by-step guide on how to Import your course material into Canvas. We are archiving all of our blackboard content from our managed-hosted Blackboard environment.

Blackboard Organization Transition

If you have the "leader" or “owner” role in a Blackboard Learn organization, you'll have until June 1, 2018, to either transition or phase out your Blackboard organization sites.

Currently we have nearly 1,300 organizations active in Blackboard Learn. The Academic Applications group has analyzed the sites to identify the leaders, the features used and the dates of last access. We want to be sure that Blackboard organization owners and leaders who would like to transfer to a course site in Canvas have the information they need and a course shell to start the transition.

We have also been researching alternative platforms that may be a better place for your Blackboard organization materials (than a Canvas course).

Please read the information below and feel free to contact the Help Desk if you have additional questions or to obtain more information about alternative platforms.

Cases where a Canvas course site is a good fit:

  1. If your organization is an academic organization that provides information, announcements, and/or surveys to participants and/or enrolls users each term using automatic enrollments.
  2. If your organization is a course of some sort, i.e. student orientation, professional development, job qualification or test practice, etc.
  3. If your organization uses any of the following Blackboard features:
    • Announcements
    • Surveys or quizzes
    • Discussion boards

Cases where you should consider another platform:

  1. If your organization is mainly used to store and/or share documents. Each Canvas course site has a limit of 2 GB of storage, so in this case, you should consider these options:
    • Owlbox or Google Drive to store and/or share documents.
    • Using MS OneDrive to store and/or share documents with colleagues.
    • Using Office 365 Groups (coming soon) to share and message group members.

Note: Temple has standards regarding document security. Please click here for more information.

  1. If your organization is a student organization. Students may create a Canvas course if the organization is seeking Canvas features such as discussion boards, robust notifications, and surveys.
  2. For more information regarding Canvas groups (faculty or student) please click here.

Blackboard Organization Transition Training

If you were not able to attend the training we conducted on this subject, we did record it. Please click on the link below to review. NOTE: This training session is roughly 2.5 hours in length.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will all of my course data import into Canvas from Blackboard exports/archives? 
    Student enrollments, grades, and individual student feedback will not import into Canvas. We strongly advise faculty who use the grade center in Blackboard to export their entire grade center into excel at the end of the semester to ensure all student data is archived and easily accessible. To export the grade center to excel, click on the "Full Grade Center" in Blackboard and then click on the "Work Offline" button in the top right corner. Next, click download and indicate that you'd like to select all columns and submit. The file will appear in "Downloads" on your desktop once it is finished. Please click here for a step-by-step guide on how to Export your Blackboard course material. Please click here for a step-by-step guide on how to Import your course material into Canvas. For further assistance, please contact the Center for the Advancement of Teaching at 215-204-0789 or click here to visit their Blackboard Export/Canvas Import resources. 

  • When is the last possible day I can access my Blackboard courses?
    Blackboard will be available until May 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM at which time Temple University's contract with Blackboard Inc. will formally end and we will no longer have access to Blackboard. Any retrieved data stored within the Blackboard system will not be accessible. Instructors are responsible for the backup of their Blackboard course material as listed in the Temple policy. All instructors are strongly advised to export their Blackboard courses and attempt all imports to Canvas before May 7, 2018, so that failed imports can be addressed prior to the expiration of Temple's contract with Blackboard on June 1.

  • When will Fall, Spring or Summer courses be available to create in Canvas?
    Courses for an upcoming semester are made available by the end of priority registration for that semester. For example, for the Spring 2018 semester, Canvas courses will be available by November 13, 2017. Please remember to create your course in Canvas, click on the Course Tools icon on the left-hand global navigation bar, then click on the Banner tab. Your courses should be listed here. Click the plus sign next to the course you would like to create and indicate “Canvas” as the target LMS.

  • Will my students be automatically enrolled in my course once it’s created in Canvas?
    Once you have created your Canvas course using Course Tools, the CRN associated with your course will be automatically enrolled. While your students will be enrolled, they will not have access to the course until you publish it. To learn how to publish your Canvas course, click here.

  • Where can I find a comparison of Blackboard Learn features and Canvas features?
    Click here to view how Blackboard features compare to Canvas features.
  • What if there are features I use in Blackboard that I do not see in Canvas?
    Over the years, Blackboard has integrated many different features. Canvas takes a different approach and allows for third party applications to be integrated. Please check the website (link coming soon) third-party applications area to find what you need. If you do not see an application/feature you need please send a message to along with a description of what you need.
  • What will change?
    The university is moving to a new Learning Management System, Canvas. The main university LMS for the last decade, Blackboard, will be retired.
  • When will the transition happen?
    In phases. Early adopters will be able to use Canvas for instruction in Fall 2017. Mainstream use of Canvas will begin in Summer of 2018.

    There will be multiple opportunities for individuals to choose the best time for them to move to Canvas.

  • Why did the university choose Canvas?
    Canvas offers many attractive features and works well with other university systems. Please see the university announcement for more information. 

    The choice followed a thorough review and pilot of 24 courses, 18 faculty and roughly 900 students in the Fall 2017 semester. Faculty were involved in all stages of the review and decision process.

    Consider this a chance to do something new. You will have the opportunity to review, re-imagine, and improve your courses.

    You will be able to create courses that look like appealing and intuitive websites. The new layout will be easier for students to navigate and locate the course materials they need. 

  • What are the benefits of moving to Canvas?
    Many large-scale research universities similar to Temple already use and trust Canvas, and its adoption in Higher Education continues to grow rapidly. Other universities have regarded Canvas as dependable, rich with features, and intuitive. Canvas can be integrated with university systems and data sources, and with relevant third-party applications. Canvas has demonstrated that it can meet the high-level requirements in terms of usability, accessibility, learning tool integration and mobile use. We have confirmed this information in our Canvas pilot conducted in the Spring 2017 semester.

  • Where can I get more information about the move to Canvas?
    The “LMS Transition: Canvas” website is the best place to start. If you have specific questions or concerns not addressed in this FAQ or on the website, please send them to Both Canvas and The Center of Advancement for Teaching will be providing help with learning Canvas and assisting with course setup.

  • I was about to create a course site in Blackboard. Should I create it in Canvas instead?
    If you have not already started using Canvas, we strongly encourage you to do so for the Spring 2018 semester. 

  • Do I need to move my materials from Blackboard to Canvas, or is it better to just start using Canvas?
    You will find it easier to start fresh in Canvas, depending on your circumstances. However, you can move (or otherwise save) the materials you need or want to keep. Blackboard and Canvas have similarities but do not match up feature to feature. Additionally, the two systems have a very different model for delivering content. Moving data from Blackboard to Canvas is akin to moving from one office to another. At first, everything is boxed up and placed in your new office and you have to reorganize things to fit the new space. “Starting Fresh” doesn't necessarily mean recreating everything from scratch, but rather “starting fresh” in terms of design and delivery concept. The Center for the Advancement of Teaching can provide guidance to faculty on how to move forward with building their course in the best way to enhance teaching and learning.

  • What should I do now to prepare to move to Canvas?
    To learn more about Canvas, you can read or watch any of the getting started tutorials/videos and/or by attending one of the workshops or training sessions that will be offered by the Center of Advancement for Teaching. You can also practice building a course at Think about which of its features you want to use, and how you might use them. Identify materials you have stored in a Blackboard course that you want to move to Canvas. Look for updates on the transition. We will regularly post information on this.

  • How can I familiarize myself with Canvas?
    Visit any of these links:

    Canvas 101
    Canvas Instructor Orientation

    Canvas Faculty Training Courses
    Learn Canvas 2016
    Canvas Community Guides

  • How long will Blackboard be available to teach courses?
    Blackboard will be available for teaching through the end of Spring 2018.

  • Can I have an auditor, guest lecturer, or guest student included in my site?
    Yes. You can request a GARS account for a non-temple user. Once the account is approved and created, you can enroll the GARS account into your Canvas course. 

  • Will I be able to access Canvas from my mobile devices?
    Yes. You will be able to access to Canvas on your mobile device through any mobile browser. However, Instructure recommends using Canvas mobile applications for an improved user experience. An especially popular choice is the SpeedGrader app.

  • Will Canvas be accessible?
    Yes. Ensuring an accessible and pleasant experience to all users, regardless of disability, is a key focus of Canvas. The Canvas platform was built using the most modern HTML and CSS technologies, and is committed to W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative and Section 508 guidelines.

  • Is there someone I can talk to if my question(s) were not answered here?
    Yes. Please contact us at and provide your question and your phone number so we may contact you.

Login to Canvas


We recognize that the transition to Canvas is a big change and are ready to support the university community.

For help creating a Canvas course, learning how to use its features for teaching, or third party integrated applications (such as VoiceThread or ExamSoft), please contact either

Canvas Tier 1 Help Desk


Contact the Center for Advancement of Teaching

If you use organizations in Blackboard and want to learn how to transition them to Canvas, please submit a Help Desk ticket and someone will contact you. For help with technical issues in Canvas (such as student enrollment) you can also contact:

Temple University Computer Services Help Desk

You can contact the Computer Services Help Desk through or by calling 215-204-8000.