Blackboard vs Canvas Terminology


Please note: Instructor access to Blackboard expires January 31st, 2021.

Blackboard Terminology

Canvas Terminology


Institutional Template / Blank Shell

Blueprint / Blank Shell

Only used when discussing the top-level official MSU Denver Blueprint. This will change regularly and have a name like “MSU Denver Fall 2020 Blueprint” (with the term changing as appropriate).

Course Template

Lead Course

A course developed specifically to be distributed to multiple instructors.

Child Course

Recipient Course

A course that will receive content from a lead course.

Course Shell

Student-facing course

A course that will have students enrolled in it, as opposed to a sandbox or a development shell. For example, a lead course might also be a student-facing course. Or, a lead course might be built in a sandbox and then copied into a student-facing course later.

Merged / Cross-listed Course

Multi Section

In Canvas a cross-listed course will appear with a course title called “Multi Section”.

N/A (was combined with a Course Shell in Blackboard)

Course Section

Enrollments are located for a Banner CRN.

Development Shell

Sandbox Course

Faculty and Staff are provided five sandbox courses as workspaces for creating and editing content prior to moving content into student-facing courses.

MSU Denver Course Coordinator

MSU Denver Course Coordinator

Staff or Faculty member within a department who is responsible for the course content for a particular course.

Send Email / Send Email (External)


Note that Canvas provides the ability to send conversations to students, however this tool is slightly different from Blackboard's. It will send a notification to the student, but they need to access Canvas’s Inbox (via the link in the notification sent to them based on their personal notification settings) on the navigation bar to see the message.

Activated Course / Live Course Shell

Receiving Course

A course that will receive content from a lead course.



In Canvas a faculty member teaching a class is referred to as a “Teacher”.



Article ID: 121147
Wed 11/25/20 3:37 PM
Tue 3/22/22 2:31 PM