Canvas Features


Canvas Features with Blackboard iLearn Equivalents

Canvas has 1:1 equivalents for most iLearn features. You will find a comparison chart of Blackboard iLearn and Canvas features with related videos and links on this page.

Blackboard iLearn Canvas How do I use this Tool in Canvas?
Announcements Announcements
  • Users can receive announcement notifications via email, in the Canvas App, on their Canvas Dashboard, or the Course Home page
  • Students can comment or like an announcement if the setting is enabled

How do I add an announcement in a course? 

Assignments Assignments
  • Canvas uses SpeedGrader, which provides inline grading abilities. Instructors can comment, markup, and grade a document without downloading a student’s submission
  • By creating an Assignment, you automatically add it to the Assignment page, the Syllabus, and the Calendar. If updated, all links are updated automatically

How do I create an assignment?


How do I create a peer review assignment?

Blogs/Journals Workaround How do I use blogs in Canvas?
Course Calendar Calendar
  • Due dates set on Assignments automatically populate in the Calendar
  • The bottom of each course's Syllabus automatically lists Calendar items

How do I add an event to a course calendar?

Discussion Board/Forums Discussions
  • Instructors can require users to post to the discussion before viewing
  • Instructors and students can filter posts
  • Users can receive notifications

How do I use Discussions?

Files, Documents, Images and Media Files
  • Everything uploaded or copied into Canvas Files is accessible to students by default
  • Instructors can set lock or release times for files and folders

How do I upload a file to a course?

How do I upload a video to Canvas?

Folders/Learning Modules Modules
  • Modules are similar to folders in iLearn
  • You can set a Module as a prerequisite to another Module and create a linear sequence for students
  • You can lock modules until a specific date

How do I use Modules?


Glossary Pages
  • Pages function like a Wiki where a history of edits tracks all changes.
  • Instructors can grant students editing privileges.

How do I create a new page in a course?

Grade Center Grade Book
  • To create a column in the Gradebook, you must create an assignment. Graded Discussions will also appear in Assignments and the Gradebook.
  • The SpeedGrader tool displays submitted assignments, grading rubric, and media commenting in a single interface, which does not require downloading student file submissions.

How do I use the Gradebook?

Groups Groups
  • Groups have access to nearly every course tool, including Announcements, Pages, Files, Discussion, Conferences, and Collaboration.

How do I use Groups?

Make Course Available Publish Course
  • Canvas courses are unpublished by default; you must publish your course before students can access it. Once a course has been published, it cannot be unpublished.

How do I publish my course?

Tasks Pages

How do I create a new page in a course?

Rubrics Rubrics
  • You can add rubrics to graded items, including Quizzes.
  • SpeedGrader allows you to add media comments, including audio and video, to rubrics
  • Instructors can override a grade produced by clicking the Rubric criteria.

How do I add a rubric in a course?

Safe Assign Turnitin

How do I create a Turnitin  Assignment?

How do I access the Similarity Report?

How do I interpret the Similarity Report?

Send Email Conversations/Messages
  • Private messages appear in your Inbox within Canvas; notifications will push out to Email, text message, or social media, depending on student settings.
  • Messages can include file attachments, webcam recordings, media uploads, or plain text.
  • By default, students receive Email for every announcement and message; however, students can control in a granular way how and when they receive messaging.

How do I use the Inbox as an instructor?

Student Preview Student View
  • Canvas's Student View, like iLearn, enrolls a test student into the course; however, it does not prompt you to remove the student when exiting Student View.

How do I view a course as a test student using Student View?

Test, Surveys and Pools Classic and New Quizzes/Surveys/Questions Banks
  • Quizzes are automatically submitted if it is a timed assessment. You can change the Quiz timer (i.e., Moderated) for individual students to allow for extended time on published quizzes. Like Blackboard, instructors can allow an additional attempt for a single student; however, Canvas calls this moderating.
  • You can edit tests after students begin submitting attempts and are automatically re-graded.
  • You can set up Quizzes as practice or graded quizzes (i.e., practice quizzes do not count in students’ final grades). You can also set up Surveys to be graded.

How do I use Classic Quizzes?


How do I use New Quizzes?

How do I create a survey in my course?

How do I use Question Banks?

Web Links Pages

How do I create a new page in a course?

Wikis Pages

How do I create a new page in a course?

Adapted from California Community College Online Education Initiative's Converting from Blackboard to Canvas Guide and Georgetown University's Feature by Feature Comparison: Blackboard & Canvas.

Canvas Features without Blackboard iLearn Equivalents

Attendance Tool
  • Easily record attendance using a class list or seating chart.
  • An Assignment will automatically appear in Assignments titled “Roll Call.”
  • The percentage that displays is automatically updated as days progress depending on whether the student is present or absent.
  • Provides a way for instructors to integrate the use of Google Docs within their course.
  • Collaborations allow users to collaborate on a single instance of the same document.
  • Similar to Zoom, Conferences allow for sharing webcam, voice, chat, whiteboard, and desktop sharing.
  • When you set up due dates for Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes, Canvas automatically populates the due dates at the bottom of the Syllabus page. These dates also appear on the Calendar.
  • You can edit the top of the Syllabus page to share files, paste in formatted text, or link to specific course content.

Adapted from Georgetown University's Feature by Feature Comparison: Blackboard & Canvas.

Additional Features in Canvas

There are many reasons Canvas adoption continues to grow within Higher Education. Canvas is dependable, rich with features, and intuitive. Canvas can be integrated with university systems and data sources, and with relevant third-party applications. 

Here are some reasons why instructors will love Canvas:

Simplified Gradebook

The Gradebook helps instructors easily view and enter grades for students. Grades for each assignment can be viewed as points, percentage, complete or incomplete, GPA scale, or letter grade.


Canvas Gradebook - spreadsheet view

Convenient Feedback Tools

The primary tool that instructors use for grading is called SpeedGrader, and it can be used to give students feedback (text as well as audio/video comments) on any assignment, online quiz, or graded discussion. Annotation tools are also available for file submission assignments.


Speedgrader - Document viewer with annotation tools

Insightful Analytics

Course analytics will prove useful in determining how students react to course activities; seeing which students are at-risk and need help; and viewing how effective your teaching strategies are with students.


Course analytics charts & graph view


Even more reasons to love Canvas: