Canvas Conversion Chart

An Outline of the Differences in Terminology and Function between D2L and Canvas
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  • Canvas courses exist in three states: unpublished, published and concluded.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