Canvas Conversion Chart

The following chart outlines differences in LMS language and function between D2L and Canvas. Some terminology is the same, but the tool may not function in a similar fashion. See for more information.

Personal & Course Settings

Activate Course Publish Course
  • Canvas courses exist in three states: unpublished, published and concluded. Once “concluded” course becomes read-only (e.g., grades cannot be changed).
Account Settings Two Setting Options:

  • Does not include settings for Discussions or Email.
  • Includes: Course Details, Set-up course navigation, Student View, Course Statistics, Copy Course, Import Content into this course, Export Course Content, Reset Course Content
Course Offering Information
Copy Course Components Functionality available within Settings
  • Copy or import course content and Export course content functionality available within (Course) Settings
Notifications Notifications
  • Weekly option for notifications
  • Applies to all courses within Canvas
  • Notifications via Twitter and other social media outlets available
Profile Profile
  • Create links to your social media accounts
  • Users can reply to Inbox communications from any email address self-added to the Profile section. By default, the only listed email address is the user’s email address.
Help Help
  • Report a problem or question using the Help button.
  • Submit a Feature Idea
Role Switch Student View
  • Student view allows instructors a full student experience as a “Test Student.” Instructors can upload materials, take quizzes and navigate the course.
  • The Test Student also appears in the Gradebook for assessment when instructors leave the Student View.


Dates and Restrictions Functionality within:

Release Conditions


Classlist People
Event Log
Email Conversations
  • Functions more like a Facebook wall than an email inbox.
  • Receive notifications via social web services, text, etc.
  • Send email to individuals or entire class from the Global inbox. Messages are delivered to each user’s registered email addresses. Users can reply-to messages.
Groups Groups
  • Create Group Sets within People section
  • Ability to drag / drop students into groups, allow self-assign or randomize
  • Can assign a group leader
  • A group workspace is created where students can create pages, announcements, collaborations, discussions, calendar events, and chat in real-time.
User Progress View Student Progress for Modules
  • Instructors can view student progress for required content within modules.
Calendar Calendar
  • Drag & drop to make changes
  • Assignment due date changes made in your calendar are automatically updated everywhere else in the course.
  • Copy calendar feed link to view Canvas calendar in apps like Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, etc.


Content Modules
  • Cleaner design
  • Fewer options (e.g., descriptions available for content items only)
Course Overview Syllabus
  • Automatically syncs with Calendar to display assignment dates.
  • Can be displayed as the Course Home Page
Create a File (HTML page) Pages
  • Choose whether pages are editable only by instructors, both instructors and students, or by everyone.
  • Link to course Assignments when in the HTML Editor by using the content tools in the sidebar.
  • Can use a Page as a course homepage.
Discussions Discussions
  • There are two levels to Discussions in Canvas: create a topic and reply to a topic. Replies are then threaded within the topic. You can reply to the main topic post or an individual’s comment.
  • By default, students can only reply to a given topic and cannot create topics. Instructors can change the default to allow students to create topics.
Manage Files Files
  • Course-related files can be made accessible to students via a tab/page
  • Files on the course navigation display only course-related files
  • Files within the Account section display all files for all courses and personal files (e.g., profile pictures, etc.)
News Announcements
  • By default, unless you change the setting, students can reply to announcements.


Includes functionality of:

  • Dropbox
  • Grading Discussions
  • Quizzes
  • Assignments can be submitted online through text entry, file uploads, media recordings, or URL’s
  • Easily set up peer review assignments.
  • Combine assignments to include % of total grade (e.g., Quizzes, Other, Assignments). Similar to D2L Gradebook’s “Categories.’
  • Gradebook setup happens here.
  • Includes all graded items (e.g., graded discussions, quizzes, submitted items, etc.)
  • Ungraded assignments create a deadline in the calendar and syllabus, but do not create a column in the gradebook.
Quizzes Quizzes
  • When you create a quiz, you can choose one of four quiz types: practice quiz, graded quiz, graded survey and ungraded survey.
  • Quiz Statistics include student and item analysis
Surveys Quiz Type
Question Library Question Banks
  • Question banks have to be added to each course you want to use the questions in.
  • No single repository for all questions
  • If you change a question in your question bank it does not change in the quizzes that the question is being used in. You must update it everywhere.
Question Sections / Randomize Question Groups
  • Ability to pick a certain number of questions from a Question Bank.
  • Must use Question Groups to randomize the order of questions.
Rubrics Rubrics
  • Can be used for grading or just feedback.
  • Simply click to add columns.
  • Similar to Analytic Rubrics in D2L.
Gradebook Grades
  • Faculty can enter grades and comments directly from here, but if the assignment was turned in to Canvas the best way to grade is using Speedgrader.
  • Gradebook is automatically populated from the items in the Assignments list.
  • Students can figure hypothetical “what-if” grades.
  • Sort columns in one click by due date or assignment category.
  • Student submissions are highlighted in red if the submission was turned in late.
Adapted from Ohio State University