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How to prep a course for migration to Canvas

There are several steps you will need to go through to prepare your course for migration to canvas. This article will explain the steps.

Consider Revising the Course

The move to the new digital learning environment (DLE), Canvas, is the perfect time to take a good hard look at your courses. There are a few significant benefits to reviewing your existing courses prior to the start of course migration. First, you have an opportunity to evaluate your student learning outcomes, assessments, and learning activities. Analyzing your course can help you determine if your outcomes are measurable and observable, the assessments measure the outcomes, and ensure the learning activities support the assessments. Second, you have the opportunity to reimagine your course. Maybe there are teaching strategies, such as wiki pages, that you have wanted to incorporate into your class, but were limited by the capabilities of Desire2Learn (D2L). Building your course from scratch in the new environment will allow you to utilize the tools in Canvas to their greatest extent. Finally, you have an opportunity to clean up your course. There are many hidden areas of D2L that tend to get copied from semester to semester. Take the time now to delete unnecessary items so that your course migration is as clean and smooth as possible. If you would like assistance in revising or cleaning up your course, please send an email to for information on getting started. 

Prepare Course for Migration

NOTE:  The following steps are intended for courses that are no longer active.  We do not recommend making changes to any courses in which students are actively enrolled.

STEP 1: Back up Materials

The following steps will give instructions on deleting materials from your course.  Before anything is removed,  please make a back up of all materials.  If you later decide a specific item is a necessity, it will still be available in backup.

  1. Click Edit Course
  2. Click Import / Export / Copy Components
  3. Select the radio button next to Export Components
    Note: make sure Include course files in the export package is checked.
  4. Click Start
  5. You will be presented with a list of components used in the course.  Click Select All Components at the top of the list.
  6. Click Continue
  7. You will be asked to confirm the components to export.  Click Continue
  8. Wait a few moments for the components to be packaged.
  9. Click Finish
  10. The screen will change, to display a link with the export package.  Click the link to download and save the export package.
    Download D2L Export Package
  11. Click Done
  12. Locate the downloaded .zip file and rename it.  We recommend including the semester, department, catalog number, section number and course number. 
    Example: F17_Eng_302_004_58947

STEP 2: Clean Unneeded or Expired Components From the Course.


  1. Click the dropdown next to the News title and select Go to News Tool
    Go To News Tool
  2. Review News items and click the checkbox next to the items that are outdated or no longer relevant.
  3. Click the trashcan icon at the top of the list.


  1. Click Content from the navigation
  2. Review each piece of content
  3. Click the dropdown next to items that are no longer needed and select Delete Topic
  4. A pop-up will appear, click the radio button next to Permanently delete both the topic from Cotnent and the associated file or activity from the course
  5. Click Delete


The Manage Files portion of D2L is a storage area for images, and other content.  Although you may delete links from the content section, or quiz questions, images and other items may still be stored in the Manage Files area of D2L. It is recommended that this area be reviewed and unneeded items be deleted.

  1. Click Edit Course > Mange Files
  2. Review each item by clicking the link
  3. To delete an item, click the checkbox next to the item and then the trashcan icon above the list of items
Tips for reviewing items in Manage Files
  • Items with a chainlink icon next to them are linked directly to the Content page and most likely should not be deleted
  • The Last Modified Date can be a good indicator of when the item was added to the course
  • Images and other items that are connected to Content/News through quicklinks may still be in use and not display a chainlink icon.

If you need further assistance please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 920-424-3020 or

Keywords:Guide, Canvas, D2L Prep,   Doc ID:65122
Owner:Michelle L.Group:UW Oshkosh
Created:2016-07-14 09:42 CSTUpdated:2017-11-14 09:03 CST
Sites:UW Oshkosh
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