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Canvas panda looks at mapAs you all have likely heard and as we announced back in July, Canvas became available to all instructors starting in Fall 2022. We’re happy to share that all Spring 2023 Registrar courses are now available in Canvas as well, and blank course sites have automatically been created for instructors. In addition to these SP23 courses, migrated Sakai content from the Spring 2022 semester is also now available to instructors! This should help instructors start developing their courses for the upcoming spring semester. Read about Canvas in The Well!

What is Canvas?

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that is used by more institutions in higher education and K-12 school systems than any other LMS, including in the UNC System. Canvas will eventually replace Sakai at UNC, but instructors have at least through the end of Fall 2023 to make the switch. Sakai’s end date has not been determined. Once Sakai is no longer available for teaching (TBD), courses in Sakai will be archived but still accessible to instructors for a period of time. This means you can continue teaching in Sakai in Spring, Summer, and Fall 2023, however we recommend moving to Canvas this spring to take advantage of migrated Sakai content that you can use in your new SP23 Canvas courses. Access Canvas, learn about Canvas’ advantages, and learn more about the Sakai to Canvas transition and timeline at:

See what UNC instructors and students are saying about Canvas, and join the more than 30% of instructors who have already switched to Canvas!

UNC Faculty:

“It was extremely intuitive, very easy to use, and it just looks cleaner.”

“The dashboard is a game changer. It provides a list of what’s coming up and what to do next. I used to keep a schedule on paper, but now I don’t have to.”

UNC Students:

“The user experience was outstanding for me. Things where easy to find. Big legible text, organized, low extraneous information, and pretty.”

“It looks like (Canvas) made it easier for the teachers, which makes it easier on us.”

Spring 2023 Courses

Like in Sakai, you must be listed as the instructor of record in ConnectCarolina in order to access your course in Canvas. If you’re not seeing your SP23 courses on your Canvas Dashboard, please contact your departmental course scheduler. Great news in Canvas — unlike Sakai where course enrollments can take up to 24 hours to update, Registrar updates typically happen every few minutes in Canvas!

TIP: Have more courses on your dashboard than you wish to see? Go to Courses > All Courses to “star” the courses you want visible on your dashboard. The un-starred sites will disappear from the dashboard but can always be accessed on this All Courses page.

Migrated Content

We have worked with migration partner K16 to copy all University Registrar courses that were taught in Sakai during Spring 2022 and made this migrated content available in archive sites in Canvas. If you taught a SP22 course in Sakai, you should now see an archive of each of your courses on your Canvas dashboard. They will be in the form of “DEPT101.001.SP22_k16.”

Please keep in mind Sakai and Canvas are two different systems and the migration process is not perfect. We strongly advise reviewing your archived sites and reading through common issues we have found to help you decide whether to copy the migrated content from your SP22 archive into your official SP23 Canvas course. See full details on ways to get your course content into Canvas, step-by-step instructions on importing content into Canvas courses, and common issues and things to check in your migrated content. You have four different options to get your content into Canvas:

  1. Use the migrated archive in Canvas
  2. Export from Sakai yourself
  3. Copy from another Canvas course – including from another institution!
  4. Build your site from scratch

What about Sakai?

“What happens to Sakai? What about my old courses and project sites? Where is everything going? Why are we moving?”

These are all valid questions. Unfortunately Sakai has been receiving fewer updates from version to version and no longer integrates well with important third-party products that UNC instructors rely on, including Poll Everywhere and Gradescope. We will still support Sakai through at least the end of 2023 (Sakai end date TBD) and will keep Sakai available for a limited period of time as an archive of courses that were taught in the system.

Project sites may still be used in Sakai for now but will eventually need to be moved out of the system. In addition to University Registrar courses, Canvas may be used for approved non-credit training and instructional sites only. We will provide options for project sites later and recommend exploring University-approved platforms such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, or WordPress.

Learn more about the Canvas project at UNC and when you should move to Canvas.

Canvas Training and Support

Moving from Sakai to Canvas Resources and Video Tutorials

On our Moving from Sakai to Canvas page, you can already find several resources on getting started in Canvas. Find recorded training videos specifically for UNC instructors making the switch and crosswalks between the two systems and their comparable tools.

Zoom Training

We will also have live training via Zoom multiple times before Spring 2023 classes begin! This fall, twice we will offer a two-part training series to help instructors get familiar with the Canvas system, share course materials with their students, and collect and grade student work. In January 2023 before spring classes begin, we will offer a crash course on teaching in Canvas, also offered twice. Please register for the sessions you’d like to attend.

Note on joining Zoom trainings: You must sign into your UNC Zoom account in order to bypass the waiting room and join the Zoom meeting.

Moving from Sakai to Canvas

Part 1 of 2: The first part of this training series covers the basics of Canvas. At this training we will review the Canvas dashboard and available settings, communication tools, and sharing and organizing course materials.

Part 2 of 2: The second part of this training series covers Canvas tools to assess student work. We’ll discuss creating assignments and quizzes, reviewing student submissions, and grading student work.

Note: If you are unable to attend the Part 1 training, we recommend watching our recorded training videos to become familiar with the Canvas system prior to attending Part 2 of this series. Watch the 5-minute video “Build Your Canvas Course in a Few Steps” to get a quick introduction to Canvas.

Intro to Teaching in Canvas (January 2023)

Join us at this crash course on teaching in Canvas! This is a great option for instructors who are new to Canvas and want to quickly get their courses ready right before spring classes begin.

24/7 Live Support

Working in the middle of the night and have a Canvas question? Canvas chat and phone support is available 24/7/365! When you’re logged into Canvas, click on the Help menu to access Tier 1 Support through Instructure (Canvas company). If you have any questions related to the Sakai-Canvas migration or anything specific to UNC, then go through Please reach out if you have any questions. We’re here to help you with this transition!

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