Canvas: Learn How Moodle Activities and Resources Migrate into Canvas

Some Moodle activities and resources transition to Canvas well, some transition with work, and some do not transition. For those that do not transition, you will need to find a new approach.

As Is

  • Moodle Page resources import into Canvas as Pages. Once imported, Pages are arranged in Modules that correspond with their Topics in Moodle. Also, you will be able to see Pages listed in the Pages area in Canvas (along with pages imported from Moodle Books, Folders, Labels, and other related tools) in the alphabetical order.
  • Moodle File and Folder resources import into Canvas as Files and Pages, respectively. In addition to appearing as links in Canvas Modules that correspond with the Topics in which they were embedded in Moodle, all files associated with these resources can also be found in the Canvas Files manager.
  • Moodle Course Files assets import in Canvas as files and can be found in the Canvas Files manager. 
  • Moodle URL resources import into Canvas as Links. By default URL resources imported from Moodle always load as embedded in Canvas, regardless of their settings in Moodle. Links that need to open in a new window can be configured to do so in Canvas post-import.
  • Moodle Forums import into Canvas as Discussions (if Moodle forums were credit-bearing, they import into Canvas as graded Discussion assignments).
  • Moodle News Forum and Latest News Block posts imports into Canvas as Announcements. The Moodle Forum prompts themselves are user data and, therefore, not captured in the Moodle backup process.
  • Moodle Assignments import into Canvas as Assignments, including opening and due dates, and other configurations. Assignments initially import into Canvas in an assignment group called "Imported Assignments"; they can be moved into other assignment groups as desired.
  • Moodle Grades import into Canvas as Grades. Most gradebook functions and operations are comparable across the two systems. Some complex operations available in Moodle are not available in Canvas (e.g., grade calculation formulae), and others€”such as weighting operations in Categories and Items€”are associated with other Canvas functions (Assignments in the case of assignment group weighting).

Some Work

  • Question Banks: The Canvas migration tool imports existing Moodle question banks, as well as generating fresh question categories for each Moodle quiz imported. Some questions that include media content (videos, embedded images, etc.) or special formatting (e.g., formulae encoded in LaTeX) may need to be ported from Moodle to Canvas via Respondus Quiz Builder. Canvas does not support subcategorization within question bank categories, although Canvas Question Groups afford some of the same functionality.
  • Moodle Quizzes import in Canvas as Quizzes. When initially imported into Canvas, quizzes are added in a "Practice Quizzes" category; instructors need to configure imported quizzes as the appropriate quiz type (typically, "Graded Quiz"), set other assignment parameters (e.g., its Assignment Group, availability dates, etc.), and publish it to make it available to students
  • Moodle Choice, Feedback, and Questionnaire activities import in Canvas as Quizzes of the type "Ungraded Survey." As with Quiz imports, these survey-like activities may require minor configuration work before they are ready to be published. Instruments generated with Moodle's Survey tool do not migrate into Canvas.
  • Moodle Topics import into Canvas as unnamed Modules, one Module for each Moodle Topic. Although the content of the Moodle Topics typically imports cleanly into Canvas€”so the content of the Canvas Module is identical to that of its Moodle source€”the Modules themselves need to be named.
  • Moodle Books content imports into Canvas as separate Pages sorted in alphanumeric order. Canvas Modules can be used to display that content in a book-like format. Instructors need to manually add Pages into Module(s). Canvas Modules have built-in Previous and Next buttons to advance through the content pages in linear sequence. If needed, different course activities (Discussions, Quizzes, etc.) can be inserted in the Canvas Module content sequence. If permitted by the instructor, Canvas Module content can also be exported as an ePub format to review offline.
  • Graded Moodle External Tools activities import into Canvas as "No Submission" Imported Assignments. These activities can be re-connected with the appropriate external tool (VoiceThread, Turnitin, MyLab, etc.) in the assignment settings.
  • Kaltura Video Resources: Kaltura is available in Canvas as well as Moodle, but Kaltura media embedded in Moodle pages will need to be re-embedded once those pages are migrated to Canvas.

More Work

  • SCORM objects with gradebook connections (assignments) cannot be ported from Moodle to Canvas in a Moodle backup (MBZ) file; they need to be uploaded directly into Canvas via SCORM option enabled on the left-side course navigation menu. It is possible to set SCORM objects as graded or ungraded assignments. View-only SCORM packages (presentations) in Moodle can be ported to Canvas in Moodle backup files€”they will appear in the Files are on the Canvas site. It will be necessary to update the link pointing to the SCORM package. The link should point to the index page, associated with this package.
  • Moodle Workshop activities do not migrate into Canvas. However, any Canvas Assignment may be configured as a peer-review activity.

Require Workarounds or Replacement

  • Categories in Question Banks: Question Groups in Canvas afford some of the functionality that Categories supported in Moodle (e.g., bounded randomization within questions associated to a common topic), but Question Groups don't support the strict multilevel hierarchy that Moodle categorization permitted.
  • Moodle Lesson: Many instructors use Moodle's Lesson tool as a method for situating knowledge-check questions in the context of a linear exposition of content; for those users, Moodle Lesson content will not be ported into Canvas. Instructors/designers will need to create new Pages to display the content and use Canvas Modules to organize those pages into instructional units. For Moodle Lessons that included more complex conditional branching, there is not currently an easy workaround for migrating those experiences to Canvas.
  • (Some) Gradebook Functions: Some complex operations available in Moodle are not currently available in Canvas (e.g., grade calculation formulae).
  • Activity Restrictions and Release Conditions comparable to those in Moodle exist in Canvas, but such settings need to be reconfigured in Canvas following the migration (Prerequisites and Requirements are set at the Module level in Canvas, and release conditions are part of Canvas's Mastery Paths function).
  • Database and Glossary: There are no functional equivalents to the Moodle Database or Glossary activities in Canvas. Because Database and Glossary entries€”even those that belong to the course instructor€”are recorded as user data, not course configuration items, existing Database or Glossary content is not imported into Canvas.
  • Drag-and-Drop Interactive Question Types (e.g., Drag and drop into text, Drag and drop onto image, etc.): There currently is no functional equivalent to Moodle's drag-and-drop format questions in Canvas. Instructure will be deploying a refactored quiz function beginning in July 2017, and new/enhanced question types are expected to be part of that release (it is unknown at this time if drag-and-drop question types will be part of the initial rollout).
  • Calculated Questions: Canvas supports a Formula question type, but its functionality is currently more limited than the Moodle Calculated question type. Calculate questions imported from Moodle should be thoroughly tested to ensure that they behave as expected; they may need to be re-configured post-migration.
  • Embedded Answers (Cloze) and Matrix/Kprime Question Types: There currently are currently no functional equivalent to the Moodle Cloze or Matrix/Kprime question types in Canvas. Instructure will be deploying a refactored quiz function beginning in July 2017, and new/enhanced question types are expected to be part of that release (it is unknown at this time if Cloze or Matrix/Kprime question types will be part of the initial rollout; if they are, it is still likely that such question types would need to be reproduced in Canvas rather than directly migrated).
  • Active Quiz Activities: There is no direct equivalent of Moodle's Active Quiz activity in Canvas. Our University of Wisconsin colleagues recommend conversion to Top Hat or i>Clicker polls.
  • Rubrics: Just as Rubrics can be associated with Assignments in Moodle, Canvas has Rubrics available as an Assignment configuration option. In Canvas, they can be used for any assignment (Quizzes, Discussions, etc.), not just submission activities (as in Moodle). Canvas rubrics can also be shared with co-instructors, or defined at the program level and shared with all instructors who teach within that program. Rubrics cannot not be imported into Canvas from Moodle; they will need to be reconstructed in Canvas.
  • Calendar (and associated Calendar Events): Moodle calendar events are lost on migration to Canvas. Events associated with course activities (e.g., assignment due dates) populate automatically when dates are set in the activity configuration interface; ad hoc events will need to be re-added post-migration.
  • Labels: Most users convert Moodle Labels to formatted content in a Canvas course homepage
  • Surveys: Although several survey-like tools (Choice, Feedback, and Questionnaire) can be migrated directly into Canvas, Moodle Surveys cannot. Existing Surveys can be re-constructed in Canvas using the Ungraded Survey quiz type.