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Blackboard to Canvas Equivalencies Chart for Faculty

This chart is intended to help instructors locate tools from Blackboard in Canvas. It will tell you the equivalent of those tools and options in Canvas, where to find them, and offers links to both text and video guides on how to use them.

Blackboard Equivalent in Canvas How is Canvas Different? How To
Make a Course Available Publish a Course
  • Canvas courses are unpublished as a default. Instructors must "publish" their course for students to access it.

Publish and UnPublish a Course

Announcements Announcements
  • Users can receive notifications via Facebook, Twitter, email & text.
  • Canvas allows students to comment on an announcement if instructor allows.
  • Announcements appear on the User Dashboard.
  • Canvas has the ability to add RSS feeds

What are Announcements?

Announcements Overview (Video)


Course Assignments




  • Canvas uses a SpeedGrader. It gives the instructor the ability to comment/markup a document, without downloading the student’s submission.
  • When an Assignment is created, it is added to the Assignment page, Syllabus and Calendar. If updated, all links are updated.
  • You must create an assignment to create a column in the Gradebook. Interactive rubrics can be used for grading.
  • Students can submit multimedia assignments or submit document from external services like Google Drive.
  • Instructors can limit the type of file allowed to be uploaded.
  • Instructors can leave multimedia comments.
  • Peer Review assignments can be created.
What are Assignments? 

Assignments Overview (Video)


What is Turnitin?

Course Calendar Calendar
  • You can copy the calendar feed link into any calendar app that takes iCal feeds (Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, etc.)
  • Calendar is automatically populated with items that have Due Dates.
  • Drag & drop items on calendar to make changes in dates. Any change made is applied automatically to all objects associated with that item in various areas of the course.
  • Instructors and students can view multiple course calendars in one view.
  • All dates can be changed at once when importing course from Canvas/Bb.
  • Each user also has a personal calendar (listed as his/her name)for events that aren’t class---related.
  • Calendar items will be listed in the Syllabus page automatically.
  • The calendar has a scheduling tool. 
What is the Calendar?

 Calendar Overview (Video)


Collaborate Ultra

Blackboard IM



  • This tool uses Big Blue Button technology. Allows for webcam, voice, chat, white board and desktop sharing.
  • Big Blue Button Conferences are recordable and accessible for up to 14 days.
  • Alternatively, you could use Chat or use the third-party Zoom conferencing tool.
  • Students and faculty can both start a chat.
  • Chats cannot be deleted from a course.

What is Chat?

What are Conferences?

Chat Overview (Video)

Conferences Overview (Video)




Attendance Tool

  • Can easily take attendance based off a class list or seating chart. An assignment called Roll Call is created in the course.

Attendance (Roll Call)

Customization Import Content
  • Makes it easy to extract course content, assignments, and quizzes from previous terms and quickly import them into existing courses.
  • The same tool is used to import course materials from different Learning Management Systems. Some limitations apply to course imports.
What is the Course Import tool?

Courses: Creation & Management (Video)

Course Import Tool

LTI Tools Canvas 3rd Party Tools
  • Both Canvas and Blackboard have the ability for instructors to integrate LTI’s 

Canvas Plus (3rd Party Tools)

Canvas 3rd Party Tool Requests

Module Page

Content Page

Learning Units

  • Modules are similar to folders/Learning Modules/lesson plans in Blackboard.
  • Drag & drop for ordering Modules and module content.
  • Can set Module prerequisites and Module completion requirements.
  • Can require students to go through Module requirements sequentially.
  • Modules can be "locked" until a given date.
  • Modules appear on the Modules page 
What are Modules?

Modules: Creation & Management (Video)


Discussion Board/Forums/Threads Discussions
  • Can require users to post to the discussion before viewing other replies.
  • Instructors and students can easily view/filter posts.
  • Receive notifications via social web services, text, etc.
  • Group Discussions are seamlessly integrated into Group Pages.
What are Discussions?

Discussions Overview (Video)


Grade Center Grades
  • You must create an assignment to create a column in the Gradebook.
  • The SpeedGrader tool displays submitted assignments, grading rubric, and media comment options all in one interface without downloading files.
  • Grades can be weighted.
  • Easily sort columns in one click by due date or assignment group.
  • Instructors can curve grades.
  • Instructors can Mute assignments.
  • Students can message instructor within the grade column.
  • Columns for assignment groups are shaded, and appear at far right of Gradebook by default.
  • Students can enter “what---if” scenarios to calculate hypothetical grades.

What are Grades and the Gradebook?

Gradebook Overview (Video)


No Equivalent SpeedGrader
  • Grade/give feedback on all submissions for an assignment/test quickly in one place.
  • You can mark up the submitted file by adding comments, drawing, highlighting or text; this is the same service (Crocodocs) as Blackboard.
  • Able to download file as annotated PDF.
  • iPad app is available for the SpeedGrader (Free).
  • Record audio and video feedback for each student assignment.
  • Use speech-to-text to give feedback.
  • Sort students in various ways so that you work on them alphabetically, or by submission date, or anonymously (their names can be hidden from the teacher), or by whether or not they’ve submitted the assignment.

What is SpeedGrader?

SpeedGrader Overview (Video)


Rubrics Rubrics
  • Integrates with gradable items.
  • Ability to add media comments and integration with SpeedGrader interface.
  • You can override the grade the rubric produces.
  • Student viewable.


Modify Course Menu Modify Course Menu
  • At this time, Canvas does not allow you to create unique course navigation menu links nor rename existing menu links.
  • You can hide menu items from students (recommended to hide Files and Pages)
  • Modules are used in Canvas for organizing content.
  • You can also rearrange the order in which these navigation menu items are displayed.

Course Navigation

Groups Groups
  • Groups have access to many similar course tools including Announcements, Pages, Files, Discussion, Conferences and Collaboration. 
What are Student Groups?

Groups: Creation & Management (Video)


No Equivalent Collaborations
  • Allows faculty and students to easily integrate Google Docs directly into their course.
Send Mail Conversations



  • Private messages appear in your Inbox; Notifications will push out to Email, Twitter, Facebook, Text Message depending upon your selection.
  • Discussion responses can be accessed from Inbox.
  • Messages can include file attachments, webcam recordings, audio or video uploads, or just text.
  • Conversation messages are also generated by a comment made by a student or instructor on an assignment.
  • By default, students will receive an email for every announcement and message.


No Equivalent Communication Preferences
  • You can add additional contact methods besides email which is the default. (Text, Twitter, Facebook, Personal Email).
  • Define the objects that trigger the notification.
  • Message is sent back to student/faculty member’s preferred communication method.

Profile and User Settings

ePortfolio Folio
  • Built into Canvas profile.
  • Allows students to retrieve student's assignments, projects from previous Canvas courses.
  • Allow for different levels of sharing, can be shared with specific users or public to the whole world.

Can be found by going to the Global Navigation and clicking on Account. The Folio option in on the menu. VCU has the limited package, therefore may not include all of it's features.


Notification Dashboard Recent Activity
  • Recent Activity links allow you to expand, remove or navigate to that item within the course.

How do I view global activity for all my courses in the Recent Activity Dashboard?

No Equivalent Syllabus
  • Connected to course calendar.
  • Provides organizational view of course based on assignment and quiz due dates.
  • Syllabus document can be uploaded and linked for students to read.
  • As you create/edit objects in the course, the Syllabus reflects the new or adjusted content.
  • Objects on the Syllabus are hyperlinked to content.
  • The page can be edited for customization purposes.

How do I use the Syllabus?

How do I edit the Syllabus in a course?

Courses: Creation & Management (Video)

Content – Files


Content Collection

  • Everything you upload or copy into Files is accessible to students by default.
  • You can create folders to organize materials; folders and items can be locked.
  • Drag & drop files into folders.
  • All files in this area can be downloaded as a .zip file.
  • You can upload a .zip file to this area and Canvas will unzip it for you.
What are Files?

Files: Add Course Content (Video)


Rich Content Editor Rich Content Editor
  • Enhances the content creation experience in Canvas.
  • Can type text and you can copy and paste text from other sources into the Rich Content Editor. 
  • Includes several formatting tools that allow you to modify your text.

Rich Content Editor (RCE)

Properties Settings
  • The Settings navigation link is where you can easily update and see the different users and sections, and you can also modify the navigation of your course. Depending on your permissions, you can edit differing levels of the course settings.
Course Settings

Course Settings (Video)



  • Manually enroll Teachers, TAs, Students, etc.
  • Create Groups
  • Search by User or search by role.

People Overview (Video)


Statistics Tracking

New Analytics
  • Course Statistics identify which content items students are interacting with.
  • Student Analytics identify not only specific user tracking but assignment and grade distribution trends. 
New Analytics

New Analytics Overview (Video)

Needs Grading To Do List
  • To easily see what needs to be graded you will find a To Do list located on the right-hand side of your Canvas Course Homepage.
To Do List
Tests, Surveys, and Pools Quizzes
  • Quizzes/Tests/Surveys are automatically submitted if it is a timed assessment.
  • Timer can be adjusted for individual students to allow for extended time.
  • Instructor can selectively allow an additional attempt for a student.
  • Tests can be edited after student submissions and are automatically regraded.
  • Instructor can add Fudge Points.
  • Test questions and answers can contain audio/video/images.
  • Canvas does not have “Hot Spot” questions types available at this time.
  • Quizzes can be graded or not graded.
  • Surveys (also found here) can be graded or not graded.
What are Quizzes?

Quizzes Overview (Video)

Classic Quizzes

New Quizzes

Wiki Pages
  • Pages are essentially a Wiki (you can edit and track their history).
  • You can grant the ability to edit the Page to students.
  • Pages can include text, video, links to your files, YouTube, Kaltura video files and links to other course content such as assignments, discussion boards etc.
  • If you customize the Home Page layout of your Canvas course, you'll be creating a special page named Front Page.
  • Pages can be linked to other Pages.


Pages: Creation and Management (Video)

Journal Workaround: Text Assignment Submission
  • Canvas does not have a separate Journal tool. Users are encouraged to create a Text Entry Assignment instead.

Assignment Creations

Assignments Overview (Video)

Blog Workaround: Discussion Board or 3rd Party Tool
  • Have students use a 3rd party application such as Blogger.com and share the URL with the class or create them their own Discussion Board in the course or a Group.


Discussions Overview (Video)

Blackboard App Mobile App
  • There are 2 free mobile apps available to download. The Canvas App for iOS and Android as well as the SpeedGrader app for the iOS Tablet only.
  • Canvas apps allow students more functionality than Blackboard app did. 
IOS Guide

Android Guide

Canvas Teacher App

No Equivalent   Outcomes
  • Outcomes are used to track mastery in a course. From the outcomes page, you can create and manage outcomes, create outcome groups, import outcomes, and manage rubrics.
What are Outcomes?
No Equivalent Help
  • Canvas provides 24/7 Chat, Phone, Email and Online Guides support. Students/Faculty contact Canvas directly.
Canvas 24/7 Vendor Support