Update on Sakai Timeline: Spring 2024 is the last semester instructors may teach in Sakai. Starting Summer 2024, Sakai will be available in a read-only state until the start of Summer 2026 when Sakai will be decommissioned. Watch our training videos to learn about Canvas.
Migrated archives of SP22 Sakai course content is available in Canvas. Additional archives for future courses will be available at a later time. Learn more about working with your migrated content.
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 use through the end of Spring 2024 (last semester instructors may teach in Sakai). Beginning Summer 2024, Sakai will remain available in a read-only state until the beginning of Summer 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 & 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).
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. Live versions of this training resource are being provided each term. Stay tuned for more opportunities!
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 Maymester/Summer Session I 2024, Sakai will remain available in a read-only state until the beginning of Maymester/Summer Session I 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: Canvas and Sakai available for any course listed in ConnectCarolina (instructor chooses which LMS to use). Migrated Sakai content from SP22 available in Canvas (see details on getting course content into Canvas).
- Summer 2023 – Spring 2024: Canvas and Sakai available for any course listed in ConnectCarolina (instructor chooses which LMS to use). Content migration from Sakai to Canvas will be available.
- Maymester/Summer 2024: All Sakai course and project sites available for viewing only.
- Maymester/Summer 2026: Sakai no longer available.
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 2022 semester is now available 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, titled in the form of “DEPT101.001.SP22_k16.” Instructors can choose to reuse this copied content and import it into their official SP23 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 Spring 2022 courses was extracted on June 3rd, 2022. Updates made after this will not be available in the Canvas archive sites.
- The Sakai data from Summer and Fall 2022 courses will be extracted on December 15, 2022. Updates made after this will not be available in the Canvas archive sites. Migrated content from these courses is scheduled to be available in Canvas archive sites by mid-March 2023.
- Sakai content from upcoming semesters will be copied into Canvas archive sites as well, to be reused during future terms.
- Beginning in March 2023, faculty will be able to request migration for select courses they are scheduled to teach again but that they have not taught since Fall 2021. For example, if last time you taught DEPT101 was in Fall 2021 and you have been scheduled to teach it in Fall 2023, you could request it be migrated.
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.
Site Request Form
Site Request Form (Faculty/Staff Onyen required): Submit site requests for course development or training, instructional, or administrative purposes.
Guest Account Request Form
Guest Account Request Form (Faculty/Staff Onyen required): Submit requests for Canvas account creations for non-Onyen users.
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.”
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.”
Instructional Design Specialist, School of Nursing
“It is a smoother, cleaner website. More on par with what other universities use.”
School of Education
“It was extremely intuitive, very easy to use, and it just looks cleaner. It’s more modern.”
Assistant Teaching Professor, Biology
“It looks like (Canvas) made it easier for the teachers, which makes it easier on us.”
“The user experience was outstanding for me. Things where easy to find. Big legible text, organized, low extraneous information, and pretty.”
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.”
Note: Not closing all instances of Sakai can lead to the loss of student data on exams.