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Changes often force us to adapt in ways we’ve never experienced, which can be a major driver of personal (and even professional) growth and development.

Migrating PolyLearn-Moodle into Canvas

Migrate Info  | PolyLearn Quiz MigrationImport Course to Canvas  |  Canvas Sandbox to PROD Migrate | Check List: After Import

Fall 19-Summer 20 PolyLearn-Moodle content was migrate into Canvas (ex: ENGL-101-01-2204-PolyLearn-Backup).

These courses will need to be redesigned to fit the new LMS Canvas layout. The intuitive user interface and time-saving tools will help ease the transition. Support is available to assist you with the redesign: instructional guides, self-paced online courses, workshops, and consultations are available through the CTLT. 

Canvas courses will remain within the Cal Poly Canvas system for nine quarters. Winter 2020 is the first quarter instructors can teach with Canvas. Once Spring 2022 starts, sometime in late April - Winter 2020 courses will be deleted from Canvas. 

You may want to start over with the Cal Poly Canvas Template. The courses have already been migrated and you can find your Files within those courses. 

NOTE: If you would like to have your own copy of your PolyLearn-Moodle courses, you can backup the Moodle course and save the MBZ file from your desktop to the OneDrive. This MBZ file could be used in other Moodle systems or imported into Canvas at a later date.  

Migration Tables


Depending on your course content, some items will not transfer or will need editing.

  • Activity Restrictions and Release Conditions comparable to those in PolyLearn-Moodle exist in Canvas, but such settings need to be reconfigured in Canvas following the migration (Prerequisites and Requirements are set at the Module level in Canvas, and release conditions are part of Canvas’s Mastery Paths function).
Moodle Canvas
Announcement & Forums in Block 0 imports into Canvas Announcements (one way - instructor post)
Forums (Blocks 1 +) imports into Canvas Discussions (collaborative post)
Assignment  assignment descriptions will import, but Rubrics and Marking Guides will not.
Book imports as Pages, one for each book page
Files imports into Canvas
Glossary no option in Canvas
Labels imports as individual Pages, recreate as Text Headers within a Page
Lesson not migrated, recreate with Page and Quiz
Question banks imports into Canvas
Quizzes imports into Canvas, need to change from "practice' to "graded"
Surveys imports into Canvas, need to change from "practice' to "graded"
Workshop not migrated, recreate with Assignments peer review 
Wiki imports as Pages
Blog / Journal no option in Canvas without an LTI plugin


Quiz Questions

Depending on your quiz question type, some questions will not transfer or will need editing.

  • Very long question text will not import properly.
  • Questions rendered by the Polylearn-Moodle equation editor may not import properly.
  • Quizzes that have an overall value set will have the point totals changed. For example, if you have a PolyLearn-Moodle quiz set to 20 points regardless of the total number of questions, Canvas does not like that. It will set the default value as 1 point per question.
  • Question banks imported from Polylearn-Moodle will not support the strict multilevel hierarchy categorization. Canvas' Question Groups support: bounded randomization within questions associated to a common topic. 
  • Calculated questions from PolyLearn-Moodle will become Formula questions and should be should be thoroughly tested to ensure that they behave as expected; they may need to be re-configured post-migration or recreated in Canvas.

Quiz vs New Quiz Comparison
New Quiz FAQ

Moodle Canvas
Calculated Formula
Calculated Multiple Choice Formula
Calculated Simple Formula simple
Drag & Drop None - recreate with Fill in Multiple Blanks
Embedded Answers (Cloze) None - recreate with Multiple Dropdown
Essay Essay
Matching Matching
Multiple Choice Multiple Choice
Images within questions None: need to re-add images
Numerical Numerical
Random Short Answer None - recreate with Matching
Select Missing Word None - recreate with Fill in Multiple Blanks
Short Answer Fill in the Blank
True/False True/False
Description (Label) Text - no question
Wildcard None

Import PolyLearn into Canvas

  1. If you wanted to start working on your Canvas course before it is migrated or older PolyLearn-Moodle (before Fall 19), you will need to first Backup your PolyLearn-Moodle Course and save the MBZ file to your Desktop.
  2. If you have already used your "Sandbox" course, request another so you can import into a clean Canvas shell. 
  3. Once the MBZ file is downloaded, you can Import it into Canvas.
    NOTE: Your migrated course will NOT look like PolyLearn. It may not look at all like you want it to. You will need to fix that manually. See an example
  4. Once you have imported your course into Canvas or started with a blank course, please view the Canvas Course Checklist for next steps.

Migrate Canvas Sandbox into PROD

There are multiple ways you can move your Sandbox course into the PROD system.

Canvas courses can be exported and imported into other course shells.

Export / Import 

  1. From the Sandbox course, click on the Settings Course Menu link. 
  2. Within the Course Details tab
  3. Click on the Export Course Content Side Bar link.
    Save the course (.imscc file) onto your Desktop, click on the New Export link to download file to your computer.
    download and import
  4. NOTE: You may need to request a TEST shell to have a course to import into.
    From the PROD course, click on the Settings link.
  5. Click on the Import Course Content link.

Canvas Commons

Courses can be shared in the Commons and accessed from other Canvas systems. 

NOTE: You will need to share the course with everyone until you can search for it within PROD to Import to your shell. Then you can un-share the course on the Sandbox. 

  1. From the Sandbox course, click on the Settings Course Menu link. 
  2. Within the Course Details tab
  3. Click on the Share to Commons Side Bar link.share commons
  4. From the PROD system, click on the Course Card (in the Dashboard) you want to import into. 
  5. In the Side Bar, click on the Import from Commons link. 
    commons import


Check List

Just migrated your PolyLearn-Moodle into Canvas....

Once you have used the Course Import tool to upload your MBZ file (Moodle) into Canvas...

  1. Organize Files  
  2. Course Settings: show or hide items in Course Navigation Menu (recommend hiding Files, Pages, Outcomes, People, Conferences) 
  3. Review, revise, and organize content 
    • Use Modules to organize content 
    • Use Pages to add text content (minimize the use of document files) 
    • Moodle quiz transfers as “practice quiz” and must be reset as a “graded quiz.”
           - Click on the Quizzes Course Menu
           - Click on the name of the quiz
           - Click on the Edit button
           - Choose Graded Quiz in the Quiz Type pull-down list
    • Lessons do not transfer; must recreate with Pages and Quizzes 
    • Books become Pages 
  4. Determine whether you will organize your course via Modules or Pages 
  5. Choose the Home Page [video]  (if using a Page). Set Homepage (Activity Stream, Front Page, Modules, Assignment list or Syllabus).
  6. Default Grade Policy = missing assignments 100% (meaning students will get an A for not doing the assignment). Change your Grade Policy.
  7. Check Link Validation from Course Settings
  8. NEW: Choose a Start Date. Default student access is 10 days before the 1st day of the quarter. 
  9. Cross-List course sections if you want to manage one Canvas course. 
    NOTE: Once you Cross-List, the child courses will no longer appear in your Dashboard. ALSO - you will manually need to create a group for your sections if you want to keep them separate in the grades, activities, or other.  If your course has group assignments - use Group Sets
  10. Publish the course, which will automatically send invitation emails (ONLY: if the course Start Date has passed) to any student enrolled in the course. 
    NOTE: The items (Modules, Pages, Quizzes, Assignments, and DiscussionsLinks to an external site.) also need to be published so students can see them.
  11. You currently have access to multiple quarters on your Dashboard. If you do not see a course in your Dashboard, click on the Courses > All Courses link to view all. On this page, click on the Star icon to favor the course you want to see on the Dashboard. Make sure to favor ALL the courses you want to see.    


NOTE: Please check the One Stop Shop page for all the Tips & Tricks and Gotchas in Canvas. 

Canvas guide For more information, please visit the Guides.

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