Courses Restored in Canvas: Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 enrollments in Canvas have been restored. Please check your courses and report any missing data through help.unc.edu. We are working with the Instructure vendor to restore manually-added participants to spring courses and review underlying causes.
Spring 2024 courses are now in Canvas! Log into Canvas to find your SP24 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-Summer 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 restricted access state until May 15, 2026 when Sakai is decommissioned. Watch our training videos and attend live training to learn about Canvas.
Canvas is the University’s centrally-supported Learning Management System (LMS). The Sakai LMS 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 transition to restricted access until May 15, 2026, when Sakai will no longer be available. Please see below for information about the timeline, planned course migrations, and plans for Sakai Restricted Access.
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 help.unc.edu 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).
Learn How to Use Canvas (Technical)
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.
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.
- In-person Option 1: Friday, Oct. 20 (Fall Break), 9am-11am in 111 Carroll Hall
- In-person Option 2: Wednesday, Dec. 13 (Reading Day), 1pm-3pm in 111 Carroll Hall
- Online Option 1: Thursday, Jan. 4 (week before SP24 classes begin), 10am-Noon on Zoom
- 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.
- 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, SP23, and SS23 now available in Canvas (see details on getting content into Canvas). Content migration from future terms will be available.
- May 15, 2024: All Sakai course and project sites unpublished. Restricted access available only to Instructors/Organizers/Teaching Assistants/Coordinators/Tech Support.
- May 15, 2026: Sakai no longer available.
Sakai Restricted Access
Sakai will enter a Restricted Access state on May 15, 2024, until the system is completely decommissioned and unavailable to all users on May 15, 2026. During this Restricted Access state:
- Spring 2024 courses are the final rosters rolled into Sakai. No Summer 2024 or terms beyond will be available in Sakai.
- All courses must be taught in Canvas after Spring 2024.
- All projects and University-related work must be conducted outside of Sakai.
- Every Sakai site will be permanently unpublished.
- No new course sites or project sites will be created.
- These instructor-type roles will still have access to their Sakai sites: Instructor, Organizer, Teaching Assistant, Coordinator, Tech Support
- This access is to allow for content review and retrieval from Sakai for 2 years until Sakai is decommissioned on May 15, 2026.
- All content from University Registrar courses has been migrated from Sakai courses taught in 2022 and Spring-Summer 2023 into Canvas. Content from Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 will be migrated as well. See more on course migrations.
- The Lessons tool will be added to all Sakai sites to allow for content retrieval. See more on exporting Sakai content.
- Students, Participants, Auditors, and Guests will not have access to Sakai sites.
- All email functions disabled.
- Incomplete grades: Instructors who have students with IN and AB grades must submit a help request to give their students temporary access to the course to complete their work. All communication between instructor and student must occur outside of Sakai (e.g., University email).
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 and Summer 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 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
- Summer 2023 courses: September 13, 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 Spring 2024, you could request migration. Also, faculty and staff can request migration for select project sites with planned reuse in Canvas.
Rationale Behind Transition 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 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 restricted access state until May 15, 2026, when Sakai will be no longer available.
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
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 (committee work, communications, reviews, etc.).
Additional Sakai to Canvas Migration Request Form
Sakai migrations have already been completed for University Registrar courses taught in 2022 and Spring-Summer 2023. Future migrations are scheduled for Sakai courses taught in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. This request form is for Sakai courses taught prior to Spring 2022 and sites with planned reuse in Canvas.
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-registrar course sites with planned reuse in Canvas. Note: If you require this content in time for SP24, please refer to instructions on how to migrate content from Sakai yourself.
Non-Onyen guest accounts may be created 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 created 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. Only users with the role of Teacher, TA, Designer, or Tech Support can create a guest account from their site. Important: Once created, active guest accounts are valid indefinitely but will be suspended after one year of inactivity (i.e., user unable to log in) and deleted after four years of inactivity (i.e., all data removed).
All UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty, Students, and Staff who have an active Onyen have access to Canvas. Rosters are added automatically to Canvas for official course sites based on enrollment data in ConnectCarolina.
If needed, you may add other UNC-Chapel Hill users to your Canvas sites. For example: tech support, instructional designers, departmental colleagues, or students not on the roster. To do this, go to the site and select People > +People > select Login ID > enter their Onyen > select role > Next > Add User.
Only complete the following steps if you need to add a user to your Canvas site who does not have an Onyen. Note: Only Teachers, TAs, Designers, and Tech Support can create users in their sites.
- Log into Canvas at canvas.unc.edu
- Go to your site where you would like to add a guest
- Go to People
- Click People+ button
- Select Login ID
- Enter the guest’s Email address in the box
- Select a Role and Section for the guest
- Check the box if the guest should only interact with this section
- Click Next Button
- If the guest does not have an account in Canvas, you will receive the following message: “We were unable to find matches below. Select any you would like to create as new users. Unselected will be skipped at this time.”
- Carefully check the box next to the guest
- Type their Full Name into the Name box (e.g. “First Last”)
- Click Next button
- Confirm that the guest’s name and email are correct
- Click Add Users button
The guest will then be added to the site with Pending status. The guest will also receive an email from Instructure Canvas with steps to create their account. Important: The guest should respond that they Do Not have a Canvas account (in our UNC-CH instance) if prompted during setup, even if they have one at another institution. After creating their account, the guest will be able to log into Canvas at canvas.unc.edu using the Non-Onyen Login button. Note: Users may be added to sites during the current term but not after courses have concluded.