Transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas


Blackboard vs Canvas Terminology

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”.


How has course copying between semesters changed from Blackboard?

The new Canvas LMS implementation has streamlined copying course content, empowering faculty with more tools to copy specific content from previous courses and allowing for copying content from multiple sources rather than the previous all-or-nothing approach.

What has changed:

  • No more course activation system. Once student registration begins for a future semester, Banner will automatically begin populating the next semester courses into your Canvas account utilizing the institutional blueprint.
  • No more course activation deadlines. With your course already provisioned, you can copy content at your leisure.
  • More Course Development sandboxes. You will also see that you have 5 Sandbox course shells, these course shells are available for you to utilize as a playground for future course development, testing, etc…
  • New Internal Guest role in Canvas. We have added a new custom Canvas role called “Internal Guest” that allows you to utilize this role to allow your fellow peers access to your course to copy content. For details on what permissions this role provides, please see the What Course Roles are available? FAQ entry below.

What has not changed:

  • If you would like to merge courses into one Canvas course, you still will work through your department class schedule coordinator to have your courses cross-listed in Banner. Once those are cross-listed in Banner, they will be merged in Canvas automatically.
  • Pooled Course students (UCD/CCD, Meritus students, etc.) will still be handled the same way: The Office of the Registrar will create accounts for Pooled Course students and add them to your course CRN, which will continue to populate their enrollment automatically.

Instructions on how to copy course content can be found on the CTLD's Ready site

How long will I continue to be able to access my content in Blackboard?

We no longer have a contract with Blackboard and have no access. An archive of course content is available from Fall 2017 until Summer 2020. You can get a copy of your course archive by filling out this service request Student submissions are not part of the course migration.



Article ID: 141520
Thu 2/17/22 5:02 PM
Wed 3/2/22 12:28 PM