Canvas FAQs


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 sign up for Canvas training offered by UIS and request one-on-one Canvas support for assistance during the transition.

Click here for documentaion on moving from Blackboard to Canvas.

How should I prepare to use Canvas features, and how do I get help using Canvas?

To get started, check out the following options:

In addition, Canvas Days, a series of presentations and workshops, is offered for faculty and staff each Fall and Spring semester.

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.

What if I have additional questions?

We welcome your questions regarding Canvas. Please send your questions or comments to

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:

How do I hide my grades from students until I am finished grading?

Please see the following document for more information:

Hiding Grades from Students

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?

additional questions