If the events and assignments for an existing course in Canvas need to be imported into another course for a new semester, there are some steps that must be taken. We have created a checklist for an instructor to follow before publishing the course for the new semester. Often times, some of these items are missed, which means course events and assignments may behave in unexpected ways.
NEW SEMESTER COURSES IN STANDBY--
READY TO BE ACTIVATED IN CANVAS
After the University Registrar's Office finalizes the course offerings for an upcoming semester, a placeholder course is created for the learning management system for online classes, Canvas. To begin working on course content, the responsible instructor uses his/her login to CIS (Campus Information Services) to locate that course and then ACTIVATE it. Once activated, an instructor can populate the online class with numerous instructional events and assignments, including importing an entire course from a previous semester.
CLONING A PREVIOUS SEMESTER'S COURSE
If a new semester version of an online course is essentially a clone of an earlier semester, an instructor has the ability to import all of the instructional events and assignments into the new class offering. Our recommended procedure is to use the Canvas feature "Import Content into this Course."
Instructions for importing content into a course are found in a brief article authored by Canvas itself. Go to the Canvas article...
If you are only interested in importing specific items, an individual learning activity or a group of activities, refer to this article...
Then return to this knowledge article for further instructions from our checklist.
SHIFTING DATES ONCE A COURSE IS IMPORTED
If you have imported an entire course and all of its modules, activities, and contents, the original start and end dates for the course are copied into the new semester's online course. These and other dates must be corrected to reflect the actual calendar days in the new semester. Dates should be checked and corrected in several areas of the course...
- Beginning and End Date for the Course
When the original course is imported into the new semester version, the Begin Date and End Date for the online course must be corrected. In the same dialog box where course content is imported, there is a checkbox labeled "Adjust events and due dates." Be sure to check this option before clicking the IMPORT button.
A subsequent set of dialogs allows the selection of new beginning and end dates.
- Class Breaks & Holidays
Update any calendar dates to reflect the new semester's class breaks and holidays.
If specific dates are associated with individual modules, update those dates.
- Pre-planned Announcements
If the Canvas course has pre-planned announcements (reminders of assignments or information that is released at specific times), check the accuracy of release dates in the new semester version.
INSTRUCTOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Update instructor contact information for the online course, including preferred methods of communication.
INSTRUCTOR OFFICE HOURS
Update the office hours information for the instructor and/or teaching assistants. Such information may be in the Syllabus or other pages found in the Canvas course.
All links in any online course content need to be checked for viability before the course is published and students begin accessing modules, sections, and documents.
FIX COPIED GROUP ASSIGNMENTS
If you copy a group assignment or discussion from another course, the groups themselves will not appear in the new course. Groups in the new course need to be set up manually.
Instructions for fixing and setting up these groups in the new course are found in the following article:
FIX CUSTOMIZED LEFT-HAND NAVIGATION LINKS
The instructor for the pre-existing Canvas course may have customized the left-hand navigation links for that course. To learn more about customizing left-hand navigation links in a Canvas course, read the following article...
When the original course is imported into the new semester version, these customized left-hand navigation links will no longer work properly.
The customized links that require fixing are the ones that point to items within the Canvas course itself, like a page listing all the components of a semester-long project or a link to an actual Canvas assignment. If a customized link points to something residing outside of Canvas, such as an external website, that link is still active and nothing needs to be fixed. To be thorough and safe, check all links before the course is published for the new semester.
If customized left-hand navigation links simply display an error message when clicked, remove those links manually and re-install them before publishing the course.
To learn more about fixing customized left-hand navigation links, read the following article...
PLAN FEEDBACK FOR STUDENT WORK
When importing a pre-existing course into a new semester, an opportunity to more thoroughly engage students is possible. For student work, make a plan to periodically provide feedback. For example, this feedback could take the form of a video that recaps module and assignment activity based on the students’ current progress.
INSTRUCTOR PERSONALIZED VIDEO CONTENT
When importing a pre-existing course into a new semester, an opportunity to more thoroughly engage students is possible. As an instructor, consider updating or adding personalized video content for the new semester version. For example, add a faculty introduction video.