Friday, November 30, 2012

Learn to Canvas at USF: Exporting Courses from Blackboard vs. Building them from Scratch (kind of)

As some faculty venture out to explore Canvas on their own, I thought it might be useful to provide some insight on one of the first issues that faculty may encounter, or at least should contemplate as they consider their readiness for the spring migration (sounds reminiscent of a temporary mammalian relocation pattern, huh?). How do I get my course content into Canvas as painlessly as possible? Can’t I just export it over from Blackboard? The answer is…wait for it…Yes, and No.

One of the features in Canvas, of which I am particularly fond, is the way in which Canvas houses course content. Once you login, there is a link on the left navigation bar, called “Files.” This repository is essentially a C: drive associated with your individual Canvas account. It is similar to the Content Collection in Blackboard, but is far less clunky and fare more akin to the Finder on a Mac or Windows Explorer on a PC. 

Once you are in a specific course, you can access files for that course by clicking on the Files link in the left navigation bar. Once you are on the Files page, you can also access all of the files for all of your courses by clicking on the  “see files for all your courses/groups” hyperlink in the bottom right corner. 

You should be aware that exporting courses from Blackboard may be more cumbersome and time consuming that simply dragging and dropping files from your Finder or Windows Explorer directly into your Files page in Canvas. I have found that using this feature (as well as a few others) in Internet Explorer and Safari does not work as seamlessly as in Firefox. Exporting courses from Blackboard does not place your course content neatly in Canvas the same way it appears in Blackboard; your content is simply dropped into the Files interface in Canvas, in no particular order, I might add. With that said, it is certainly worth considering organizing your course files and folders on your local drive and them dropping them into Canvas. You can now create modules and/or pages and add very simply add links to the files you have already dropped in Canvas.

--Nicole M. West

No comments:

Post a Comment