Backup Your Canvas and Blackboard Courses Now

Posted by & filed under Blackboard, Canvas.

Here are scenarios that have actually happened, to help convince you that you should regularly download backups of your Canvas and Blackboard courses:

  • An instructor was working on building their course in their Canvas CRN real course space (not a sandbox space).  The department made changes to who is teaching what CRN, and suddenly the CRN Canvas space disappeared.  Luckily, their work had been copied into another course space, but this shows A) why you may wish to develop your courses in a sandbox space and then copy it over to a CRN space and B) you may wish to regularly download (export) your Canvas course as a file and save it as a backup in case something happens.
  • Someone shared their template Canvas course with others by adding them as designers/teachers to the Canvas course space, instead of sharing it on the Canvas Commons.  Someone accidentally started working in that space overwriting content in the template.  Luckily the template was restored from a backup file.
  • Long after the switch from Canvas to Blackboard at another school, some instructors asked for access to their old Blackboard courses that they hadn’t taught in a while so they could import and convert them to Canvas.  The courses were long gone.  This is why before Blackboard goes away for good on May 31, you should export and download your Blackboard courses that you want to save, just in case.

See below for how to download & backup both your Canvas courses and your Blackboard courses.

How to Download & Backup Your Canvas Course

  1. Go into the Canvas course that you want to backup
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Export Course Content
  4. Click the blue Create Export button, making sure ‘Course’ is selected, not ‘Quiz’
  5. Wait a minute or more while the export file is created
  6. Click the “Click here to download” link to download the file.
  7. Save this file somewhere you won’t lose or forget it (like in the cloud, see below)

See How do I export a Canvas course? in the Canvas Instructor Guide for more details and screenshots.

How to Download & Backup Your Blackboard Course

  1. Go into the Blackboard course that you want to backup
  2. Click on Packages and Utilities in the Control Panel area in the left sidebar
  3. Click on the Export/Archive Course link
  4. Click the Export Package button on the top left
  5. In the Select Course Materials section, click on Select All to backup everything
  6. Click the Submit button
  7. Wait a minute or more while the export package file is generated.  You can click the small Refresh button while you are waiting for it to appear
  8. Click on the link to the export package file to download it
  9. Save this file somewhere you won’t lose or forget it (like in the cloud, see below)

See Export and Archive Courses on the Blackboard help site for more details.

Save Your Backup in the Cloud! (not just a flash drive)

See this earlier post on how to get setup with Google Drive for backing up all your important files online to the cloud, instead of only saving the files on a flash drive (which might get lost) or your hard drive (which might get damaged):

Don’t Depend on that Flash Drive: Embrace the Cloud

How to Import a Canvas Backup or Blackboard Backup

In case you need to import a Canvas export file or Blackboard file, see these pages in the Canvas Instructor Guide:

Backup and Share Your Canvas Course with Others at the Same Time: Canvas Commons

If you share your Canvas course or module or other resource to the Canvas Commons, it will essentially back it up for you, too.  You’ll see a link to download the resource on the right side of the Commons page for your item.  See these pages from the Canvas Commons Guide:

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