When teaching any online course for the first time, course materials and files must be readied and assembled for course uploading. Creating new organizational folders for each course is one easy starting point for ensuring that your course materials for the transition to Canvas.
- On your computer, create a new course folder for each unique course you are teaching. (Include any/all courses you have taught previously using Blackboard that you will teach again—especially consider courses you teach infrequently but will teach again in the future)
- Copy or move all relevant course files into the relevant course folder.
- Utilize SMU’s Box cloud storage service to maintain your course folders so as not take up space on your hard drive (Tip: SMU Box is also a great way to share your course folders/files with colleagues!)
- Use your reorganized course folders to build your courses in Canvas.
Exporting, Reclaiming & Reorganizing course Materials from Blackboard
Many educators who have utilized Blackboard have accumulated substantial course materials and course artifacts which are still only stored within Blackboard. While Blackboard is still openly available to faculty until the end of June, all instructors are advised to export/download any and all course materials for reuse well before the June deadline. Since courses, course materials and files will not be moved automatically into Canvas, all educators must ensure, before June 30th, that course materials required for reuse are exported or downloaded from Blackboard for use in building new Canvas courses. Academic technology team members and instructional designers are available immediately to help guide you through this process. While SMU will offer numerous day-long “Canvas Conversion Labs” during May and June to assist with exporting course materials from Blackboard, please start preparing your materials now. Recovering Blackboard course materials after June 30th will be handled on case-by-case requests, since Blackboard will no longer be openly accessible.
Build courses in Canvas
After you’ve become familiar with Canvas and have consolidated digital course materials in folders for each course, you are ready to build out your course. course shells for your upcoming courses will be available for building and publishing well before the start of each term. If the official course shell is not yet available, please request a “sandbox course” from the OIT help desk for each course you’d like to get a head-start on building.
We’re excited about the opportunities that the Canvas course management system offers the SMU community. SMU, OIT and CTE are committed to providing as much training, guidance and instructional design assistance as possible during this transitional year.
Even with that support, however, most of the work that needs to be completed between now and the time SMU turns off Blackboard now falls to the instructor.
If you have yet to begin preparations for using Canvas, please begin the process of learning Canvas, preparing your course materials (especially those which you might need to retain from old Blackboard courses) and start building your courses in Canvas itself. An initial investment into planning for this imminent change in course management systems will pay dividends as SMU moves exclusively into Canvas.