There are certain features of iLearn that do not have direct equivalents in Canvas. Instructors who are using the following iLearn features may want to take a little more time to explore how to accomplish the same goals without using iLearn specific features upon moving their classes to Canvas.
Table of contents
Activities and features
- Student self-reporting attendance is not supported in Canvas
- Blocks do not have an equivalent feature in Canvas as the page structure is different
- Canvas does not have a Book feature. The equivalent in Canvas would be to construct a module with multiple pages
- A single question poll type activity does not exist in Canvas, but Canvas has an ungraded survey feature that can be used instead
- Activity completion/completion tracking, restrict access
- Activity completion does not have a direct equivalent in Canvas. Activity completion tracking can be done using the logging and analytics tools available in Canvas
- Restrict access works a bit differently in Canvas, but Canvas does have a way of restricting access to activities until other activities are completed
- Extra credit
- Extra credit works completely differently in Canvas than it does in iLearn. It is not possible to mark a grade as being extra credit, but there's a variety of workarounds to offering extra points on existing activities that Canvas has documented in this guide.
- The feedback activity is most closely replicated in Canvas by the ungraded survey tool
- Canvas does not have a glossary tool. The closest equivalent for instructor-driven glossary content is to use a Page. There is no direct equivalent for a student-driven glossary
- Instructors who have been using Glossary in non-standard ways, such as using Glossary to have students post pictures and a profile, will no longer have a way of doing that type of activity within Canvas. A recommendation is to change the activity to be more of an "introduce yourself" discussion forum instead.
- Lesson does not have a direct equivalent in Canvas. A potential workaround is to make a module that contains multiple pages with a quiz at the end. However, the branching, "choose your own adventure" type of activity that Lesson supports is no longer possible within Canvas
- Canvas does not allow placing text directly on the course page. Instead, you can create a Page resource and set a Page as the course front page.
- Canvas does not have a wiki tool. It is possible to make a Page editable by students, but that does not support multi-page links, groups, or any other features unique to wiki.
- While Canvas does have a fairly robust rubric tool, rubrics created in iLearn will need to be recreated in Canvas using Canvas' rubric tool. There is no direct way of importing rubrics from iLearn into Canvas
iLearn courses are subdivided up by sections. By default, there are 17 sections on a course page to represent the 17 weeks of a semester, and typically, instructors will organize their course by week using these sections. The functional equivalent in Canvas are called modules.
Canvas does not prescribe a particular organizational structure. While it is possible to organize a Canvas course by week similar to the way iLearn is structured using modules, it's not the only way to organize a course.
The instructor training course Growing with Canvas uses modules to progress through course content in a directed flow, using the metaphor of plants growing. Learners in the course progress through the modules in a set order, starting with an introduction and concluding with a wrap-up.
If you do not currently have access to the Growing with Canvas course within Canvas, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get added.
Unlike iLearn, Canvas does not allow putting content directly on the main course page (iLearn's Label feature). Instead, Canvas allows you to select a Page activity within a module to use as the Course front page. Instructors can then include links on the page to allow students to navigate to other modules within the course.
One common suggestion is to treat modules as chapters of a book, with the course itself being one long book. Using the built-in navigation within Canvas to progress forward and backward, instructors can organize a course structure to provide a specific flow to a course, where items are gone through in a set order. Organizing your course in this way, however, requires careful planning on how you intend students to progress through the content.
Canvas' navigation on the left of the course page is organized by type of content rather than by section or modules. This has some benefits and drawbacks compared to how an iLearn course is structured and should be taken into account when designing a course in Canvas. Alternative ways of navigating through a course should be provided, such as the book metaphor presented above, or setting items with explicit open and close dates so that the course calendar and syllabus are populated correctly and notify students at the appropriate times of when items are due.
The navigation bar on the left is similar in concept to iLearn's Activities block, where items are grouped together by type.
The navigation links on the left can be reorganized and modified by the instructor to best suit your course's needs. It is beneficial to organize the navigation bar to have the links appear in the order best suited to how your course is organized, adding and removing features that you are using in that specific course. Certain items like Zoom and Mediasite appear in the course navigation, but may not be enabled by default. If you make use of these features, you may want to enable them in the navigation bar to provide quicker access to your students.
Canvas courses have a syllabus link in the navigation bar. The syllabus link automatically populates with a list of activities that have dates associated with them and provides a quick way for students to keep track of when things are due, as well as provide direct links to those items. This syllabus link also appears in the Canvas student app and is a good way to ensure students keep on task with upcoming deadlines. It is extremely important to make sure that anything that has a due date in your course has the correct date and times set so that students get the correct impression of when things are due. Note that this syllabus link is not the same as the Syllabus tool managed by Academic Technology at https://syllabus.sfsu.edu.
Quizzes and quiz questions
While Canvas' quiz functionality is fairly robust, it does not support many of the more esoteric and complex features found in iLearn.
iLearn quizzes and question banks can be imported into Canvas and will come over when you import a whole course using the course import function found in Canvas. However, certain question types are not supported in Canvas and will not import correctly when importing from iLearn:
- Calculated multiple choice
- Any of the drag and drop question types
Canvas quizzes do not support any of the interactive quiz structures where students can check their answers as they go along. While quizzes can be configured to shuffle questions around, answers within questions cannot be shuffled.
For more information on Canvas quizzes, please refer to this Quiz overview video published by Canvas.
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