LMS Transition: Canvas Frequently Asked Questions

General Canvas Questions

What is the timetable for the transition?

Canvas will gradually replace Moodle and Blackboard in the next two academic years to become the central learning management platform at UMass Amherst by Summer 2025. Instructors can choose between Canvas and Moodle for their Fall 2024 courses, with an exception form available for Moodle. See the timeline


I have questions about the transition. Who should I contact?

If you have a question about the move to Canvas or how to use Canvas for your courses, please email instruct@umass.edu


What other universities use Canvas?

Canvas is now the leading learning management system for higher education institutions, with more than 3,000 universities now using Canvas instead of other platforms like Moodle and Blackboard.  



Instructor Canvas Questions

I'd like to start using Canvas now. How can I get started?

The current timeline for the transition to Canvas allows instructors to request courses through SPIRE. Canvas development work and tool integration is still happening, and there's a chance you could experience some interface changes over the summer. 


I'm developing a new course. Which learning system should I use?

We recommend that you use Canvas to create any new course content to avoid an unnecessary migration down the road. 


I've started developing for the upcoming semester in Moodle/Blackboard. What should I do? 

Reach out to instruct@umass.edu to find the right solution for you and your course.  


When do I need to move to Canvas?

While existing courses will gradually transition to Canvas in the next two academic years, Instructors will only be able to request Canvas courses in SPIRE starting with Fall 2024 requests, with Moodle courses available with an exception approved by your School or College’s Dean.

We encourage you to consult with your dean in case your School or College has defined its own timeline for transitioning existing courses to Canvas. 


Which course migration option should I choose?

Decide which of the following what you are looking for: 

Concierge Migration 

  • A professional migration service will transfer your course content and fix many of the issues that show up in manual content-copy migrations.  

  • This may take several weeks from the deadlines listed above. 

  • Your migrated content will be put into a development course where you can work on it.  

  • When you are ready, you can request an official course in SPIRE and then import this migrated content into your official SPIRE course.  

Content-Copy Migration 

  • UMass Amherst LMS administrators will export your course from Moodle/Blackboard and then import it into a Canvas development course. Multiple imports may be necessary if your course files are over 1.5 GB.  

  • This may take up to 3 business days. 

  • This will likely result in migration problems that need to be fixed before you teach. We recommend selecting “concierge migration” instead. 

  • When you are ready, you can request an official course in SPIRE to copy content into.   

To see more details on Concierge Migration, Content-Copy Migration, and Build-It Yourself migration, refer to our page detailing the different migration options.  

Use this form to request either Concierge or Content-Copy Migration: Request form


I have requested course migration – does that mean I’m ready to teach next semester? 

Migrated courses are not linked to SPIRE. Your migrated content will be put into a development course where you can see and work on it. When you are ready, you can request an official course in SPIRE and then import this migrated content into your official SPIRE course. Please reach out to instruct@umass.edu if you have any questions. 


I have requested course migration–do I HAVE TO teach in Canvas next semester?

Requesting concierge migration of course content does not mean you must teach in Canvas for that semester. However, if you plan on teaching using Canvas in those semesters, make your request early to ensure your course is migrated and you have time to get familiar with it.


Links have appeared in my course navigation that I have no use for–what do I do?

Sometimes this happens when a new external tool is integrated into Canvas. You can change what is available or hidden to your students, and even set the order that tabs appear in by going to Settings > Navigation and dragging items between the ‘visible’ and ‘not visible’ buckets. Remember to click Save to see your changes. Learn more here


What training support will be available for instructors and TAs?

If you need help with your Canvas course, the IDEAS team is here to support you. 


Does Canvas integrate with external tools such as Turnitin and others?

We currently have Turnitin, Echo360, Zoom, iClicker, and other common external tools, with the possibility of even more. View the full list of external tools here


How long will I have access to my course archives in Moodle and Blackboard?

  • Instructors will have access to course archives in Moodle and Blackboard through May 2025.

  • Instructors will need to backup their Moodle and Blackboard course content by May 2025 before it becomes inaccessible and is deleted by these cloud hosting services


How do I integrate Zoom and/or Echo360 in Canvas?

Echo360, Zoom, and other external tools can be added to Canvas just as they can be connected to Moodle or Blackboard. For step by step instructions to add these tools, see the Canvas Training and Resources course Training Modules – External Tools in Canvas 


How does quizzing work in Canvas?

Canvas, like most learning management systems, has several activities for assessing student work and mastery, including Quizzes, Assignments, Discussion Boards, and more. For step-by-step instructions on creating assessment activities, see the modules for each activity type in the Canvas Training and Resources course – Training Modules 


Do I retain control and ownership of my intellectual property when using Canvas?

UMass Amherst considers the course content you have created to be your intellectual property unless otherwise stated by your school or department.  


Can I request customizations to the Canvas LMS?

The UMass campus is reviewing customization/special requests that were made in 2023. Additional requests are also being tracked. Customizations under review (as well as external tool integration status') can be found on the LTI Tool and Request Form page.

Looking for the Student FAQ? Visit our Canvas FAQ for Students page