How to Review and Revise Migrated Courses

NOTE: When you create a new site in Canvas using the Migration tool, it is not intended to be used for teaching your course. It will serve as a staging site to review and modify what was migrated. Once you have edited the content and site to your satisfaction, you will import it into your officially created Canvas course for the term when you will be teaching the course.

Once you successfully  migrate your Sakai course to your Canvas staging site, you will need to verify that the content and the settings are correct.  While the content transfer typically goes well, there are some clean-up steps that may need to be completed, especially if you have a complex Sakai course.  Please remember that although tools in Sakai and Canvas may be comparable, they do differ in some ways and items may require some editing.

It is your responsibility to validate the content of your course.


Canvas Staging Site Review: General Guidelines

  • If you received warning messages when migrating, review each message.  Each warning message corresponds to an item (e.g., a file, an assignment, a quiz question) that may or may not be migrated.  For assistance interpreting the warnings, please contact us at
  • Verify that all Sakai items migrated from your course into each Canvas tool (all Resources, Assignments and Tests & Quizzes).
  • Verify that the title of each item is correct in your Canvas site.
  • If a Sakai item included text created using the Sakai rich content editor, scan the text to make sure the formatting is correct. Refer to Rich Content Editor issues below.
  • If the original text of a Sakai item included embedded images or links to materials stored in your course Sakai Resources, verify that the images are visible and the links work in your Canvas course.  All links to files stored in Sakai Resources should have been updated to point to their new location in the Canvas Files tool.
  • If a Sakai item included attachments, confirm the attachments are associated with the Canvas item.  Attachments will become links under a heading labeled Supporting Materials in the assignment and/or quiz instructions.
  • If the Sakai item was graded, verify that the grading options for the Canvas item are correct.
  • If the Sakai item had configuration settings, verify that comparable settings have been enabled in Canvas.
  • If the Sakai item had an available, due and/or retract date in Sakai, verify that the dates have been preserved.

Please see notes and tips about each tool below:

  1. Rich Content Editor
  2. Assignments
  3. Resources
  4. Tests & Quizzes


Rich Content Editor

These notes apply to Sakai course content that was created using the Sakai rich-text editor (e.g., assignment and quiz instructions, quiz questions).

  • Loss of formatting: Some HTML tags used in Sakai that are not permitted in Canvas are stripped from migrated content.  This can result in some loss of formatting; for instance, depending on how they were coded, font colors may not be preserved.  Review your WYSIWYG content and make formatting changes if necessary.
  • Links to websites stored in Resources: If links to Sakai Resources were included in text created using the rich-text editor, the  link still points to the Sakai course in this Canvas item.  The file will have been migrated to your Canvas Files, and you will need to re-link the link text and the file.  If you do not update the link, it will break when Sakai is no longer available.
  • Embedded videos: Embedded videos do not migrate properly. You must upload embedded videos to Canvas manually (if they were stored in Sakai Resources) and add them to the Canvas editor by hand.

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All Sakai assignments when migrated into Canvas are included in the Canvas gradebook because the Canvas Assignments tool builds your gradebook.  Please review the grading options of migrated assignments and make sure to build your Canvas gradebook correctly before importing into your official course.

  • Attachments:  Sakai Assignment attachments will display as a link to the file under a heading labeled Supporting Materials in the Canvas Assignment description.  The file is in the Canvas Files tool under the assignments folder and is not published, but hidden and can be viewed only using the link in the assignment.
  • Embedded images: Images included in Sakai Assignments (not attached files) link to the original location.  If an image is stored in Sakai Resources, you will continue to see it in Canvas but the link will break when Sakai is no longer available. If you edit Sakai assignments to use attached files (see above), images will be migrated to Canvas Files.
  • Group and section restrictions: Sakai group and section restrictions are not preserved in assignments migrated to Canvas.  If you want to restore your restrictions, you will need to create groups with the People tool in your official Canvas course site and restrict access using the Assign rules. 
  • Honor Pledge:  Canvas does not support adding an honor pledge.
  • Number of submissions:  In Canvas, the number of assignment submissions is always unlimited unless an “Available Until” date is set.  To prevent students from submitting after a specific date, include an “Available Until” date.
  • Grade Scale:  In Canvas, all assignments must have a point value, so Sakai assignments with the following Grade Scale options will migrate to Canvas as a zero-point assignment with the following assignment display options:
Sakai Grade Scale Canvas Point Value Canvas Display Option
Ungraded 0 Complete/Incomplete
Letter grade 0 Letter Grade
Pass 0 Complete/Incomplete
Checkmark 0 Complete/Incomplete
  • All assignments are imported into an “Imported Assignments” assignment group:  The Canvas gradebook is built using the Assignments tool, and assignment groups are grading categories.   Weighted categories that you may have created in your Sakai Gradebook/Gradebook 2 will not migrate, so you will need to create assignment groups if you use a weighted gradebook and drag and drop your assignments in the appropriate group.

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Files and other items stored in Sakai Resources are placed in the Canvas Files tool.  However, the organization and presentation of items in the Files tool may be different than it was in the Sakai Resources tool.  The Migration tool makes folders in your Files tool to organize imported files based on tool, so double check to make sure you have all your Resources. You may need to upload some files individually.

  • Filenames vs. display Names:  Canvas uses the Sakai display Name for an imported file.
  • Empty folders:  Empty folders, including empty folders that only contain other empty folders, are not migrated to Canvas.
  • Identically-named files:  If two files in a Sakai folder had the same Name, only one of the two is migrated to Canvas.
  • File types:  Some migrated files may not open properly because Canvas did not recognize their file types during the migration.  To correct this problem, upload the file manually.
  • Group and section restrictions:  Sakai Resources with group and section restrictions are available to all students in Canvas.  If you want to restore your group restrictions, you will need to create groups in your official Canvas course site and move the restricted files and folders to the Files tool in the appropriate groups.  See the Canvas Guide How do I upload a file to a group?
  • Lock and unlock dates: File and folder lock and unlock dates do not transfer to Canvas. Hidden folders and files are migrated as Hidden, Available with link.
  • Resources metadata:  Canvas does not support the following metadata fields: “Description”,”Copyright Status”, “Copyright Alert”, and all metadata under “Optional Properties”.  The metadata in those fields is not retained during migration.
  • Web links (URLs):  A separate HTML file containing the specified hyperlink is created for each web link (URL).  Students must open the file and click the link to navigate to the URL.  As an alternative, include web links in Canvas Modules or Pages.

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Tests & Quizzes

Sakai Tests & Quizzes are imported to the Canvas Quizzes tool.

  • Practice (ungraded) assessments:  If the grades for a Sakai assessment were not sent to the Gradebook, the migrated assessment is configured as a Practice Quiz in Canvas.
  • Attachments:  Attachments in a Sakai assessment introduction, part information, and questions display as links under the heading Supporting Materials in the Canvas Quiz.  Attached files in Quizzes are stored in Files in the quizzes folder under the quiz title subfolder. All the attachments for each quiz are included in its quiz title folder so if one attachment is used in several quizzes, the file will be duplicated in each quiz file subfolder.
  • Embedded images: Images included in questions or answers (not attached files) link to the original location. If an image is stored in Sakai Resources, you will continue to see it in Canvas but the link will break when Sakai is no longer available. If you edit Sakai questions to use attached files (see above), images will be migrated to Canvas Files; attachments are not supported in Sakai answers.
  • Parts: Sakai assessment Parts with titles other than “Default” will be migrated as Spacers (Text (no question)) in Canvas.
  • Grade visibility:  In Sakai, if feedback settings prevented a student from seeing the grade for an assessment, that assessment is muted in Canvas.  However, assessments that were not configured to send grades to the Gradebook in Sakai are treated as Practice Quizzes in Canvas.  Practice Quizzes cannot be muted.
  • Question pools:  Sakai question pools are migrated to Canvas as a question bank ONLY if they are used in a Random Draw part of a Sakai assessment.  To transfer a Sakai Question Pool to Canvas, create a Sakai assessment that pulls from each of your Question Pools with a Part for each Question Pool.  Sakai Question Pools are owned by the creator but Canvas Question Banks are owned by a course. Any teacher of a course can use the questions in the course bank or banks they created in other courses.  
  • Question Types:  Not all question types migrate accurately, so please review all questions since they may require editing to work as intended.   Below are some known question type issues:
Multiple Correct, Single Selection This question type does not exist in Canvas. These questions are converted to multiple-answer questions with a note to choose all correct answers.
Multiple Correct, Multiple Selection Canvas does not automatically add a note about selecting all that apply for full credit.
Matching Canvas does not support rich text and/or images in the matches (left side) and choices (right side) of matching questions; images are lost and rich text is migrated as plain text. Feedback for individual matches tends not to be migrated properly, so editing may be required.

The Migration tool preserves rich text code in matches (left side), but the rich-text content is not editable in Canvas. If your Sakai matching questions included rich text or images in the choices (right side), they are converted to plain text.
Fill in the Blank Canvas does not support wildcards in fill in the blank answers. If you used wildcards in your questions, you will need to correct the answers. Fill in the blank questions in Canvas are not case sensitive and the mutually exclusive option is not supported. Underscores placed by Sakai are removed, you must add them manually in Canvas.
Numeric Response

The Migration tool will generate a warning for numeric response questions but the questions should be transferred properly. The Sakai note about accepted characters is not added in Canvas.

Canvas does not allow multiple blanks in numeric response questions. Multiple-blank numeric questions are brought into Canvas as fill in the blank questions unless there is a range specified for the answers. Numeric response questions with multiple blanks and answer ranges are left out of the migrated assessment, and a warning appears on your “Content Migrations” page in Canvas.

File Upload Question feedback is not migrated in Canvas. You’ll need to re-add question feedback manually.
Survey In Canvas, survey questions (those without a correct answer) can only be added to surveys, not to quizzes or practice quizzes. If a survey question was included in a graded quiz in Sakai, it is treated as a multiple-choice question worth 0 points in Canvas and with all answers selected as correct. If you edit the question, only one answer can be marked as correct. To keep all answers as correct, change the question type to multiple answers, but keep the points set to 0.
  • Randomized answers: Sakai allows for answers to be delivered in random order on a question level; Canvas ignores this setting. In Canvas you can change the settings for the full assessment to Shuffle Answers. It should only affect Multiple Choice, Survey and Matching questions.

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Getting Help with Course Migrations

If you have any questions or concerns or need help migrating your Sakai site, contact the T2C Team at the Faculty Commons (116 Pearson Hall,, 302-831-0640) or check the T2C calendar for events and workshops to help you through the transition.

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