Get Prepared

UCR is transition its learning management system from iLearn (powered by Blackboard) to Canvas. Instructors can login at and find their current and previous courses. 

Canvas Instructor Guides

How do I prepare for the Canvas move?

Where should you start?  Follow the five-step checklist below to get you ready for the move.

Step 1: Access your sandbox

ITS is working hard to prepare Canvas for use. If you are interested in getting an early start, request a sandbox (practice) course by emailing XCITE. The practice course will let you familiarize yourself with Canvas while you build and store your content until your official course is ready.

Step 2: Get acquainted with the Canvas tools

Canvas has all the common LMS features, such as assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, file sharing, grading, and announcements. To learn about any of these features, refer to the how-to resources available at:

You can also share this Canvas Student Guide with your students.

Step 3: Start with a blank Canvas?

One of the first big decisions you will need to make is:

Should I start from scratch? Or should I copy my content over from iLearn (aka Blackboard)? It may seem like an obvious answer, but not so fast!

Depending on the complexity of your existing iLearn course, you may end up spending as much time reorganizing copied content as you would if you were to start from scratch.

  • Starting from scratch gives you an opportunity to get to learn and know Canvas better. It is also a great opportunity to redesign and optimize your students’ learning experiences. True, it may take more time to build a course from scratch, but keep in mind that the content you develop can be reused in subsequent terms.
  • Copying content from iLearn to Canvas can make the move easier. You will still need to spend some time reorganizing the transferred content. Also, some activities, such as blogs and journals, won’t transfer over correctly, so you will have to rethink how to best reinterpret those kinds of assignments. Lastly, copying an iLearn course over to Canvas may lead to adding many obsolete and/or redundant files. Therefore, consider doing a little spring cleaning prior to transferring your material. If you opt to use this method, checkout the Migrating from iLearn to Canvas page for step-by-step instructions.
  • Many instructors have found that the easiest thing to do is a combination of the above methods, where they bulk upload course-related files and then recreate the page, assignments, and discussions in Canvas. This is the method that we in XCITE recommend as you migrate over to Canvas.

Step 4: Design your students’ course experience

Unlike iLearn, which makes use of folders to deliver content, Canvas offers its module structure to assist instructors in building the student experience. So what are modules? According to Canvas:

“Modules allow you to organize your content to help control the flow of your course. They are used to organize course content by weeks, units, [chapters, themes, projects,] or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With modules, you are essentially creating a [list view] of what you would like your students to do."

Before building your course in Canvas, ask yourself what kind of module setup will be used? Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc? Not sure? Explore some of the sample courses below to see how the instructors set up their modules.

Still unsure what module setup to use? The Teaching + Learning Commons staff is available to help you determine the best module structure for your course.

Step 5: Get Support

  • For technical issues in Canvas, contact Canvas Support at 877-469-7640 or use the Help tab on the left navigation menu in Canvas to get live support
  • For enrollment issues, contact UCR ITS.
  • For help with course design and course building, contact XCITE.


Some of the content and structure of this page has been adapted from UC San Diego's Prepare for Canvas page.