Canvas FAQs

What are the differences between Blackboard and Canvas?

Why are we moving to canvas?

In Summer 2016, Georgetown piloted Canvas as an alternative to Blackboard for faculty on all campuses. Since that time, use of Canvas has increased significantly. In fall 2017 semester, close to 1,300 Georgetown faculty used Canvas and nearly 14,000 students had at least one course in Canvas.

In Fall 2016, a survey was sent to faculty and students who were using Canvas to better understand the use of the tool. A majority of both faculty and students who responded to the survey indicated comfort with the features of Canvas, with students indicating they would welcome Canvas in all of their courses.

After piloting Canvas for a full year—and in an effort to transition to a more modern course management system—last month the Main Campus Executive Faculty voted unanimously in favor of a motion to transition the Main Campus and SFS-Q course management system service from Blackboard to Canvas.

The Law Center has already adopted Canvas for its course management system and the School of Medicine has started the transition to Canvas in Fall 2017.

In October 2017, the Main Campus Executive Faculty voted unanimously in favor of a motion to transition Main Campus courses from Blackboard to Canvas over the next two years.

When will I no longer have access to Blackboard?

The transition to Canvas for the Main Campus and SFS-Q will take place over the course of two years, during which time Blackboard will continue to be available. During the spring and summer 2018 semesters, faculty will have access to both Blackboard and Canvas. Beginning in the Fall 2018 semester, courses will only automatically be provisioned in Canvas; Blackboard will be available by request only. By December 31, 2019, all faculty will need to complete the move to Canvas and Blackboard will no longer be available.

What will happen to my course content on Blackboard?

Course content will remain on Blackboard during the two-year transition period. During this time, you can migrate content from Blackboard into existing Canvas courses.

Before December 2019, faculty may request to have specific courses archived and stored for two years. Faculty can also export course content themselves and upload it to Google Drive or a Georgetown Box account for extended storage.

Due to the significant differences between Canvas and Blackboard, we recommend you become familiar with Canvas well before you plan to transition. 

How can I get additional help with migrating Blackboard content to Canvas?

Canvas’ course organization and navigation differs from Blackboard’s, and we encourage faculty to consider the options for course content migration and organization in Canvas prior to transferring any content.

Faculty can request migration assistance during the transition.  (For pedagogical, non-migration-related support in using Canvas, contact the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship).

Click here for documentaion on moving from Blackboard to Canvas.

how do I get help using Canvas?

To get help using Cavnas, check out the following options:

What other training options are available for instructors or staff who wish to learn about Canvas?

Instructure (the company that makes Canvas) offers live training webinars on a regular basis. To access these sessions, you must first create a free training account.

Learn Canvas 2017 from provides a self-guided online introduction to the platform. To access this video tutorial, sign in to with your Georgetown NetID and password.

Canvas has an instructor guide containing step-by-step directions with screenshots for all common functions within the platform.

I heard that after I import my Blackboard course in Canvas that I will need to do some cleanup.  How can I get help with this?

First, please review our help pages on moving from Blackboard to Canvas

You can sign up for Canvas training offered by UIS and request one-on-one Canvas support for assistance:


Beginning of semester: What process should I use to open the Canvas course to students, etc?

In Canvas, sites are "Unpublished" when they are first created in the system.  When you are ready to make your site available to your students, you can "Publish" the site.

End of semester: What process should I use to end the course in canvas?


how do notifications work in canvas?

Please see the following Canvas document for Notifications information:

Can an Instructor send an email to the Students in an unpublished  Canvas course?

No.  Unpublished courses do not appear in the Inbox in Canvas.  However, if one publishes and un-publishes the course, it will then be listed as a course in the Canvas Inbox. Instructors then can send an email only to other Instructors (teachers), but not to students.  Alternatively, please use MyAccess to send emails to your students until your Canvas course is published.

Does the Canvas “Inbox” tool have formatting options?

No.  When you need to format a message, please use Announcements (students will see it when they access your course site; students may or may not receive an email triggered by an Announcement, depending on their Notification settings).

How do I set a Home Page for my Canvas course?

Please see the following Canvas document for Home Page and Front Page information:

Can the Home Page display a List of Announcements like in Blackboard?

Yes.  Please see the following Canvas document:

How do I Create a group Assignment in a Canvas course?

Group assignments can be setup in Canvas. Group assignments result in one paper submission per group. Individual group member submissions are NOT available, as only one paper per group can be submitted.   

Please see the following Canvas documents:

Can I hide grades from students in a Canvas course?


PLEASE NOTE:  Hiding the Grades button from the course menu does not hide grades from students, since students can still access grades via the Dashboard. Hiding grades is a multi-step process, depending on what the instructors wish to hide.  The assignment should be muted (perhaps the “Total” column should be muted as well), then grading can take place, then the assignment and Total columns in the gradebook can be unmuted and/or enabled.  Please see the following document for more information:

Hiding Grades from Students

Can I TEMPORARily hide Grades in the Canvas Gradebook?

Yes. Please see the following document for more information:

Hiding Grades from Students

Can I assign Letter grades in Canvas?

Yes. Please see the following document for more information:

Can I control when an email goes out to students, indicating that grades are available?

Yes. Use the "mute" button on each column in "Grades."  When a grade column is muted, students will not receive new notifications about or be able to see:

  • Their grade for the assignment
  • Grade change notifications
  • Submission comments
  • Curving assignments
  • Score change notifications

How do I upload an Excel (CSV) file into the Grades area in a Canvas course?

Please see the following Canvas document for more information:

How do I sort columns in the Gradebook?

Please see the following Canvas document for more information:

Can I organize the photo roster by section?

Yes.  Please access the Photo Roster in your Canvas site and select the section number at the top of the page.  If there is no option to select a section, then there is only one section in the Canvas site.

What are Question Banks, Question Groups, and Find Questions during the quiz creation process?

Please see the following Canvas documents for more information:

Can I see question details in a quiz?

Yes.  However, the details are limited via the “Preview” button to display only details for the first 25 questions:

How do I track a student’s interaction with a quiz?

Please see the following Canvas document for more information:

Can I regrade a quiz after I have made some corrections either to a question or an answer in a quiz?

Yes. However, regrading is available only on Multiple Choice questions in a Canvas quiz.  All other question types cannot be regraded. Please see the following for more information.

If students start the quiz before an instructor completes revising the questions, the system will not load the new/revised questions even if students are in the middle of it. This is because a quiz gets a new version each time it is edited and saved. So, after the student submits their quiz, speedgrader will show the version of the quiz they started with and not the newest version if it has been edited.

Unfortunately, only certain question types have a regrade option, which means that if the question you modified is not one of those types, you would have to manually change it in the Speedgrader. Here is a guide that will show you the question types:

is canvas integrated with myaccess?

No, not currently.

Can i migrate content from Blackboard to canvas?

Yes.  However, not all content will migrate or migrate well, since Blackboard and Canvas are two completely different systems. Some manual uploads and revisions are going to be required. Please see the following page for more information:

Moving from Blackboard to Canvas

NOTE TO INSTRUCTORS:  There is no automatic or mass migration of Blackboard sites/content into Canvas.  Each instructor is asked to move their Blackboard content from Blackboard to Canvas according to the steps outlined at the link above.


How do I share question banks with another instructor?


Please see the following document for more information:

How do I share my test banks with other instructors?

There are three options:

  1. Export a bank, and then import.
  2. Master or template course for all question banks:
    • Instructor can bookmark specific banks, then they can look at all bookmarked question banks.
    • Version control better...
    • Do some training...
  3. Export a specific quiz to QTI files then have instrutor import it
    • Is this just a quiz or a bank?


Click here for step-by-step instructions on cross-listing courses in Canvas.

How do I copy content between two Canvas course sites?

Click here for step-by-step instructions on copying content between to Canvas course sites.

I am teaching a course, but it is not listed in my Canvas course list. What should I do?

Click here for more information.


How do I add a course banner to the Home Page of my Canvas site?

Click here for step-by-step instructions.

What question types are available in Canvas?

Canvas offers many of the same question types that Blackboard did; however the current question types offered in Canvas are listed below: 

How do I add users / people to my course?

Click here for step-by-step instructions.

How do I create Groups based on sections in a Canvas site?

Click here for step-by-step instructions.

Users cannot access certain Georgetown Library electronic resources off campus

Certain library electronic resources will be inaccessible to users when accessed from off campus locations:

For example, since the Georgetown library subscribes to many electronic resources, on campus access to these journals works without any issues and does not require a GU affiliation (e.g. NetID login) to be established.  Off campus access to these journals, however, will need to be authenticated first by logging in to the service with the user's Georgetown NetID and password. That is, off-campus users need to access the content via the Library's EZproxy service, which rewrites the requests and proxies them through the GU network.  The EZproxy service is NetID-enabled and requests credentials when the user first tries to access content via a "proxied" link.

We suggest that the following revisions be made to links that have been used in Canvas and Blackboard:  

For example, instead of directly linking to a library resource:
Instructors and course site builders should instead use:
i.e.: add to the front part of the resource url 

This would prompt users to log in to Georgetown services and will provide access to the resource for both on and off-campus users.


Click here for step-by-step instructions.

What is the size limit for course sites and files in Canvas?


  • COURSE SITE: The default quota size for a Canvas course site is 10 gigabytes (GB).
  • FILE: The default size limit for an individual file to be uploaded to Canvas is 2 gigabytes (GB).
  • USER: The default size limit for an individual user (in their "Files" area specifically) is 50 megabytes (MB).
  • GROUP: The default size limit for a Group is 50 megabytes (MB).
  • IMPORTING CONTENT: Course Import Size limit is 5 gigabytes (GB). Larger files will fail on import and will need to be imported in multiple imports.


  • When you attempt to upload a file that will push the course over its limit, you will receive an error message indicating that the file exceeds the file quota.
  • The course instructor can add up to the file quota for each course.
  • User and Group quotas are not linked to course quotas or to each other.
  • Users with faculty or admin role still have the same personal file quota as any other role.
  • If a student adds a file to a group site, it will only count towards the group's quota.
  • Attachments to an ungraded group discussion will only count towards the student's quota.
  • Submissions/Attachments to graded assignments/discussions will count towards the user's personal Files quota:
  • Please see the following link for additional information:

Can Consortium Students Access Canvas?

As a consortium student at Georgetown, you may need to access Canvas in order to fully participate in your coursework. To establish your access to Canvas, you will need the following:
1. As soon as your registration is processed at Georgetown, you will receive a very important email from Georgetown's consortium coordinator, in which you will be informed of your:

  • NetID and NetID Password 

If you are missing this information, you can send an email to and ask for it OR you can search for your GU NetID by searching for your name in the public online directory from any computer on campus: Please note that you can only see the actual NetID from an on-campus computer.
2. Change your password: Once you have your NetID, you must reset your temporary password (which will be provided to you by the consortium coordinator). You may reset your password on UIS’s website: 
3. Set your email routing: After resetting your password, you will need to set up your email routing to your home school’s email account. The following link is very helpful in setting up email forwarding from a Gmail account to another account:
Once step 3 is completed, you will be able to access Canvas on the following business morning or after 48 hours.
NOTE:  Please see the following link regarding how to identify if your professor is utilizing Canvas or Blackboard:


What steps do consortium students generally take in order to enroll at Georgetown?

How can prospective consortium students check on the status of their registration at Georgetown?

What is the expected turnaround time from start to finish?

  • Typically, registration processing for consortium students at Georgetown does not start until the first day of class for Fall and Spring terms (for example, even if a Fall or Spring registration request is received several weeks or several months in advance, it will not get processed until late August or early September for Fall and early January for Spring, during the Add/Drop period). For Summer, registrations may be processed sooner.

Which Learning Management System (LMS) is my instructor using, Blackboard or Canvas?

Which Learning Management System (LMS) is my instructor using, Blackboard or Canvas?

  • Please contact your instructor directly and inquire about which LMS platform they will be using for their course. You can look for your instructor's contact information in the Georgetown Univeristy online directory.

In the meanwhile, you can log in to both Blackboard and Canvas to see if you can identify your course site:

Please log in to each and look for the courses that you are enrolled in for the current term (please note that NOT all instructors will use either Blackboard or Canvas, so you may not see all of your courses).


Canvas course sites are created prior to the beginning of each semester according to the following schedule:

  • November 1: Spring course sites are created
  • March 1: Summer course sites are created
  • May 15, 2018: Fall 2018 course sites are created

For example, on November 1, Blackboard sites will be created for each course for the upcoming Spring. Please note, however, that courses must first be loaded in the Registrar's system (e.g., Banner) before they can be created in Canvas.  Course sites added to the Registrar's system after the above dates will appear in Blackboard the following business day.

Student Enrollment Information in Canvas sites: Student enrollment will be reflected in Canvas course sites once registration is underway. For example, once a student registers for a course in the registrar's system, Canvas will take anywhere from six to nine hours to update and display the student's name in the Canvas course site.

Please access the Registrar's Academic Calendar for specific dates for each term, school, campus or program.

To request a site in Canvas that is NOT in the Registrar's system, please click here.

How can i enable / disable items or links on the course menu?

Click here for step-by-step instructions.

library e-reserves and canvas

Click here for more information.

How can non-Georgetown users access my Canvas course?

There are two options: 1) Your non-Georgetown faculty member can obtain SUA (Sponsored University Associate) status at Georgetown. This process will result in a non-Georgetown user acquiring a NetID and thus, access to Canvas. Click here for more info about the SUA process.

2) You can make your Canvas course public.  However, we do not recommend this option. Opening up your Canvas course to the public will allow access to your course materials by anyone online.  The public will not be enrolled, but will be able to see and interact with all content in the course.