Frequently Asked Questions

‌Why are we moving to Canvas?

The State University System’s 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education outlines the plans to enhance quality, access and affordability of online courses and programs in state universities.  As part of that plan, the SUS entered into an agreement with Canvas, an online learning platform.  The decision came from the Board of Governors after 65% of students in a survey said that they had used multiple platforms in the past three years.  Almost half of the students surveyed said the platforms had created obstacles to learning.  Hearing this discouraging news, the SUS tested and scored several options.  Canvas received the highest score from testers in every category, ranging from the ease of “customizing curriculum” to “managing student grades” and “tracking student progress.”

When does the transition to Canvas happen?

All UWF online courses (including supplemental and blended courses) will be offered only in Canvas fall 2018.  There will a small number of programs that will transition prior to fall 2018, however fall 2018 is the university-wide start date for Canvas.  The Canvas course migration will be completed at the end of the summer semester 2018.

What are the benefits of Canvas?

Canvas has a clean interface for desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. It is dynamic and cloud-based with continual improvements to features.  Instructors can easily connect with students through video, audio, text-chatting and discussion board options.  It has an excellent track record for reliability.  SpeedGrader allows for faster and easier grading.

How does Canvas compare to D2L?

Canvas has all of the core functionality found in D2L, but there are some differences in the way that each tool works.  Your content will display very much in the same way it does now.  In Canvas, there is a tool for discussions.  Students are able to see grades. There is a tool for uploading written assignments. Please see the Canvas-D2L Comparison table for more information.  

What is involved in the transition to Canvas?

 Instructors will have lots of support during the transition process. Transitioning to Canvas is an opportunity for instructors to review, rethink, and redesign their courses using a next generation educational platform.  Some instructors will take this opportunity to start from scratch and build a fresh course.  Others will upload their course files, but rethink their organization.  Still, others might want to take this opportunity to redesign the way students interact with one another.  Once you see the Canvas platform, you might find creative ways to improve your delivery. 

Will my course content migrate to Canvas

 Course content is easily migrated to Canvas.  All of your course files, videos, PowerPoint presentations and other typical content will export from D2L in a zip file and will easily upload into the Canvas LMS.  You will notice that the grade book will need to be rebuilt and you will notice that your discussion forum area will need some adjusting.

What type of training and support will be available during the transition to Canvas?

Starting in April 2017, the Academic Technology Center will offer Canvas workshops for instructors, orientations for schools and departments, and one-on-one consultation with faculty who will be moving to Canvas. Online self-help materials will also be available, including a self-paced Canvas orientation course for instructors. We will offer the same level of support that has been offered for D2L, with the addition of 24/7/365 support for instructors through our partnership with Instructure, Canvas’s parent company.

What can I do now to prepare?

Instructors could begin now by cleaning out their “manage files” area and removing any unneeded files.  You want your course to be “lean and mean” by the time we migrate.  Smaller files will transition easier.  You will want to prepare your fall rotation courses first. Once those are pruned, then you can begin working on spring and then summer.  So in other words, your workload can be managed if you think in terms of semesters. 

Can you provide a Canvas overview for us at our department/faculty meeting?

Absolutely!  We’d love to give a Canvas overview at your department meeting. Please contact us with some possible dates, times and locations. We’d be happy to tailor our presentation to your needs if there are any particular Canvas features or functionalities you’d like to learn more about.


Features include a cleaner interface, easier building experience, and SpeedGrader. Students report increased satisfaction due to hypothetical grades, a superior mobile app, and simplified group work.

Advantages Page

Get Ready!

ATC offers training opportunities in multiple formats: text-based documentation, face-to-face sessions with an instructional designer, group training classes, Live@Lunch 1-hour webinars, and video-based training.

Training Resources


ATC has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you with the transition to Canvas. If you have questions please visit here before emailing

F.A.Q. List