Blackboard – Canvas (non-trivial) Differences

Blackboard (version 8 ) and Canvas are similar in function but different in method of execution. Many actions happen pretty much the same way in both systems. The list presented here are just those differences that would be unexpected or unusual.

Blackboard (version 8 )
Canvas (as of June 1, 2011)
Instructor can make a course active (available to students) in the Control Panel. This setting can be toggled on or off at any time. Instructor can make a course active (available to students) by visiting the Course Setup Checklist. Once published the course CANNOT be made unavailable again. See related tutorial.
Neither instructors not students had access to a tree-like directory structure of folders and files. Canvas provides a tree-like directory structure (for individuals, for groups, for courses). The course level directory structure is readable by students (unless instructor specifically locks a file or folder).
In Blackboard the instructor could add herself to a group and fully participate in group activities. In Canvas the instructor has access to every group sub-site but does not function as a group member. The instructor is NOT able to upload files into the group file space.
Announcements are announcement. Discussions are discussions. Canvas allows the instructor to designate any announcement also as a discussion. Announcements can be discussions.
Blackboard allowed the instructor to keep an archival copy or export of her own course. Canvas now permits the instructor to “export” the course. Go to Settings and look on the right side for a button labeled “Export this course”.
Assignments in Blackboard usually referred to a graded activity for which the instructor expected the student to submit a file. Canvas does have an assignment similar to Blackboard assignments. However, the term Assignments is also used as a tool name, that is, an area for listing any graded activity with a due date like a graded discussion or a quiz.
Blackboard allowed the instructor to manually create extra grade book columns. Canvas does NOT permit manually added grade book columns. A work around is to create an assignment with submission type = “no submission”.
Blackboard allowed the user to search discussions by keyword. Canvas does NOT have a keyword search facility for discussions.
Blackboard allowed the instructor to re-title menu items on the left side navigation bar. Canvas does NOT allow renaming navigational menu items. They can be reordered or hidden, but not re-named.
The instructor could add a decorative banner image to the top of the course home page. Canvas does NOT allow adding a course home page banner image. It does allow the instructor to create a “Front Page” which can contain images and stylized text.
Instructors could add images and/or html to questions AND question answers/distractors in Blackboard. As of June 1, 2011, Canvas does NOT allow images or html in question answers/distractors. Question answers (the a, b, c of multiple choice questions) can contain only plain text.
Blackboard allowed instructors to copy a quiz question and make it the basis for a new (slightly revised) question. Canvas does NOT facilitate copying a question to make it a basis for a new question.
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If anyone notices an inaccuracy, please contact online@umw.edu.

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