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Fall 2023 courses are in Canvas! Log into Canvas to find your FA23 courses on your Dashboard.

“SAKAI_Archive” sites are also available if you wish to reuse course materials. These include migrated content of all 2022 and Spring 2023 Registrar courses taught in Sakai. Learn more about working with migrated content.

Sakai Timeline: Spring 2024 is the last term Sakai will be available for teaching and other activities. Starting May 15, 2024, Sakai will be in a limited access state until May 15, 2026 when Sakai will be decommissioned. Watch our training videos and attend live training to learn about Canvas.

Known Attendance (Roll Call) Issue

If you are using the Canvas Attendance Roll Call tool and sending those attendance scores to the Gradebook, we have encountered grading issues. The Attendance Gradebook column will update every time you take roll call. To avoid Attendance calculation errors:

  • Do not manually adjust scores for the Attendance item in the Gradebook. The Gradebook does not currently adjust point value changes accurately after points have been manually changed, and the percentage values in the SpeedGrader and Gradebook will be incorrect. Only rely on grades automatically calculated by Canvas in Attendance instead of making manual adjustments.
  • Do not delete, rename, or unpublish the Attendance item in the Assignments tool. If it is deleted, the Roll Call tool will not be able to take attendance. Canvas will automatically create a new Attendance assignment within 15 minutes after a failed attendance attempt.

Note: This is not the same attendance tool as the UNC Check-in Mobile App.

Canvas is now available at UNC! Instructors may teach their courses in either Canvas or Sakai starting with the Fall 2022 semester. Sakai will continue to be supported and available for teaching and other activities through the end of Spring 2024 (last semester instructors may teach in Sakai). Beginning May 15, 2024, Sakai will remain available in a limited access state until May 15, 2026 when Sakai will no longer be available. Please see the timeline, information about course migrations, and more details on the Canvas Project below.

Training and Support

Canvas Help Resources

  • Help menu within Canvas: 24/7 chat and phone support
  • Moving from Sakai to Canvas: UNC training videos and resources to help instructors move from Sakai to Canvas
  • UNC Canvas FAQ: Curated list of guides to help users get started in Canvas
  • Instructor Guides and Videos
  • Student Guides and Videos
  • UNC Help: Go through for UNC-specific questions only (cross-listing courses, renaming sites, 3rd party tools, etc.). All other questions about how to use Canvas or issues should go through Canvas Support (Help menu within Canvas).
  • Meet with a Panda Pro: Book a 45-minute 1-on-1 session with a Canvas expert from Instructure to discuss specific course questions beyond technical support. Book today as spots fill quickly!

Canvas Training

Learn How to Use Canvas (Technical)

Self-Help Resources

See Moving from Sakai to Canvas for video tutorials and guides to help instructors transition from Sakai to Canvas with tool comparisons between the two systems. This resource provides an overview of commonly used tools for instructors to manage their courses, communicate and share course materials with students, and collect and provide feedback on student work.

Personal Consultations

Need one-on-one help transitioning to Canvas? Sign up for a personal consultation to meet with an ITS-EdTech member over Zoom!

Learn Why We Use Canvas (Design/Pedagogical)

Canvas Course Design Snapshot (Partnership with Center for Faculty Excellence)

Presented in partnership with the Center for Faculty Excellence, these special 2-hour sessions are for instructors interested in refining and aligning their course goals around Canvas tools and organizational structure. CFE staff members will outline the process for making evidence-based course decisions and will introduce you to some of the features of Canvas that can be used to help achieve your course goals.

Why Canvas?

Canvas’ Advantages

Canvas by Instructure is used by more institutions of higher education than any other learning management system, including other UNC System schools and UNC-CH’s peer institutions. In addition to being a more intuitive system for designing courses, below are several benefits of the Canvas system. Canvas’ cloud architecture also requires little to no downtime for feature upgrades and system maintenance.

  • 24/7 phone and chat support provided by Instructure
  • A more modern, straightforward, and easier-to-use interface
  • A more accessible experience for all users
  • Mobile apps for instructors and students
  • Robust app and email notifications
  • Improved calendar services
  • Templates that can be created by schools and automatically populated into all of their courses
  • Canvas is popular with K-12 school systems and across higher ed, so many first-year and transfer students will arrive already familiar with Canvas

Transitioning from Sakai to Canvas

While Sakai has worked well for the University, the number of educational institutions comprising the Sakai community has significantly decreased over the years and fewer improvements are being made from version to version. Our faculty members continue to experiment with external technology tools they can use in tandem with the campus learning management system. Unfortunately, many vendors are not developing their products to integrate with Sakai. As a result, the Sakai LMS is not a viable long-term option.

ITS Educational Technologies and Digital and Lifelong Learning conducted a pilot of the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) as a potential replacement for Sakai over Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. The pilot consisted of a diverse cohort of undergraduate and graduate courses representing a variety of schools and academic units across campus. Although the preferences of the more than 600 students surveyed for the pilot were mixed between Canvas and Sakai, an overwhelming majority found Canvas easy to use. A strong majority of pilot instructors who were surveyed or participated in focus groups also support the move to Canvas, while recognizing that there will be a period of adjustment for all.

Based on the results of the pilot and diminished development support for Sakai, the University is replacing Sakai at UNC with Canvas. Sakai will continue to be supported and available for use through the end of Spring 2024. Beginning May 15, 2024, Sakai will remain available in a limited access state until May 15, 2026, when Sakai will be no longer available.


  • Fall 2021 – Spring 2022: Pilot conducted through several courses across various academic units.
  • Summer 2022: No summer courses taught in Canvas. System access only available for future course development.
    • May 20: FA22 courses made available in Canvas (in addition to Sakai). All active Onyen users granted access to Canvas.
    • July 15: Begin accepting requests for non-Registrar courses.
  • Fall 2022: Canvas and Sakai available for any course listed in ConnectCarolina (instructor chooses which LMS to use). Content migration from Sakai to Canvas not available.
  • Spring 2023 – Summer 2023: Canvas and Sakai available for any course listed in ConnectCarolina (instructor chooses which LMS to use). Migrated Sakai content from SP22 and SS22 now available in Canvas (see details on getting course content into Canvas).
  • Fall 2023 – Spring 2024: Canvas and Sakai available for any course listed in ConnectCarolina (instructor chooses which LMS to use). Migrated Sakai content from FA22 and SP23 now available in Canvas. Content migration from future terms will be available.
  • May 15, 2024: All Sakai course and project sites unpublished. Limited site access available only to Instructors/Organizers/Teaching Assistants/Tech Support. 
  • May 15, 2026: Sakai no longer available.

Course Migrations

We are working with a third-party vendor (K16) recommended by Instructure to migrate courses from Sakai to Canvas. This means that the content in some (but not all) of your Sakai courses will be automatically transferred to a similar (but not identical) structure in Canvas.

Migrated content from University Registrar courses that were taught in Sakai in the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2022 terms as well as Spring 2023 are now available in Canvas. If you taught a course from these terms in Sakai, you should now see an archive of each of your courses on your Canvas Dashboard, titled in the form of “DEPT101.001.FA22_SAKAI_Archive” (note: SP22 archive sites do not include “SAKAI_Archive” in the site name and some sites may include “k16” in the archive title as well). Instructors can choose to reuse this copied content and import it into their official Canvas courses. We advise reviewing migrated data as soon as possible to identify where you will need to make adjustments. See full details on getting course content into Canvas.


  • The Sakai data from past courses was extracted on the following dates. Updates made after this will not be available in the Canvas archive sites.
    • Spring 2022 courses: June 3, 2022
    • Maymester, Summer Session I, Summer Session II 2022 courses: December 12, 2022
    • Fall 2022 courses: December 12, 2022
    • Spring 2023 courses: May 15, 2023
  • Sakai content from upcoming semesters will be copied into Canvas archive sites as well, to be reused during future terms.
  • As of April 2023, faculty can request migration for select courses they are scheduled to teach again but have not taught since Fall 2021. For example, if the last time you taught DEPT101 was Fall 2021 and you are scheduled to teach it in Fall 2023, you could request migration. Also, faculty and staff can request migration for select project sites with planned reuse in Canvas.  

When Should I Move to Canvas?

Faculty and instructional support staff have shared several approaches being taken in moving courses from Sakai to Canvas. Some professional units are adopting an approach based on student cohorts, moving courses enrolling new cohorts into Canvas. We encourage you to check with your academic unit’s leadership team to see if there is a preference for when you should move your courses to Canvas. Otherwise, we encourage you to use Canvas as soon as you are able.

Other Canvas Sites and Guest Accounts

We are pleased to share that as of December 2022, Canvas is available for more use cases related to University work! In addition to hosting non-credit training and instruction, Canvas may now be used for administrative purposes (committee work, communications, reviews, etc.). Although availability has expanded, please consider if Canvas is the appropriate choice or if another system or tool would be a better fit for the use case.

Non-Onyen guest accounts may be requested for individuals not eligible for an Onyen account who will serve in instructional, advisory, or other coordinating roles in Canvas sites. Guest accounts can also be requested for students from other institutions enrolled in credit-bearing courses at UNC-CH as well as for students enrolled in non-credit bearing courses or training sponsored by a UNC-CH operating unit. Note: Guest accounts are intended only for users who do not have Onyens. Users with Onyens are NOT permitted to request guest accounts for themselves to access Canvas with a personal email address.

Note: Faculty/Staff Onyen required to access request forms.

New Site Request Form

New Site Request Form: Submit site requests for a brand new Canvas site for course development or training, instructional, or administrative purposes.

Guest Account Request Form

Guest Account Request Form: Submit requests for Canvas account creations for non-Onyen users.

Additional Sakai to Canvas Migration Request Form

Note: Sakai migrations have already been completed for courses taught in SP-SS-FA22 and SP23. Future migrations are scheduled for Sakai courses taught in SS-FA23 and SP24. This request form is for Sakai courses taught prior to SP22, non-term courses, and project sites.

Additional Sakai Migration Request Form: Submit requests to migrate 1) Sakai course sites (pre-SP22) that are scheduled to be taught again in Canvas, or 2) select Sakai project sites and non-term course sites with planned reuse in Canvas. Note: If you require this content in time for FA23, please refer to instructions for how to migrate content from Sakai yourself.

UNC Community Testimonials

Read about Canvas in The Well!

“The dashboard in Canvas is a game changer. It provides a list of what’s coming up and what to do next. It tells you when grading for an assignment starts. I use that as a cue to send a ‘friendly reminder’ to students about upcoming assignments. I used to keep a schedule on paper, but now I don’t have to.”

Rebecca Kitzmiller
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Nursing

“I like the mobile app. I can see all courses in one place. It gives a quick visual of the activity. I can easily see how many people have turned in an assignment and who has turned it in.”

Leslie M. Sharpe
Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

“Canvas allows us to deliver engaging learning experiences more efficiently across our campus. With features such as Learning Outcomes, we can track mastery of learning among students, and the Portfolio tool allows us to capture longitudinal learning experiences. A student and teacher app make it easier for students and faculty to access content and interact with each other while they are on the go. This promotes the continuity of learning, regardless of time, place and modality of teaching.”

Manisha Mittal
Instructional Design Specialist, School of Nursing

“It is a smoother, cleaner website. More on par with what other universities use.”

4th-year Student
School of Education

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

Eric Hastie
Assistant Teaching Professor, Biology

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

2nd-year Student

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

Graduate Student
School of Education

“The forum system in Canvas was much easier to use and navigate. It was helpful to be able to add possible grades for assignments to see your estimated current overall score. It was also helpful to be able to open multiple tabs on Canvas, compared to Sakai where it forces you to close all other instances of Sakai.”

4th-year Student

Note: Not closing all instances of Sakai can lead to the loss of student data on exams.