Blackboard and Canvas Feature Comparison

The following figure matches commonly-used features of Blackboard with their Canvas equivalents.

Feature/Tool Blackboard Canvas Additional Information
Adaptive Release
Add Files (see below for detailed comparison)
Add Users

Major differences:

  • Canvas accommodates graded assignments, ungraded assignments, things submitted in person and things submitted online. "Assignments" in Blackboard were always automatically set to be submitted and graded online.
  • Canvas allows students to upload assignment submissions from Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft One Drive.
Appointment Scheduler x Canvas "Scheduler" allows signups for presentation time slots, office hours, and other appointments.
Blog x Workaround for Canvas, Use discussions, assignments or pages depending on goals/objectives of the blogs, or utilize external tools such as Google Docs.
Chat/Virtual Classroom
Commons Canvas has a repository that allows users to share content (either entire courses or modules).
Content Collection/My Files Files stored in Canvas are course-specific
Course Calendar New feature available in Canvas: Appointment Scheduler - Sign ups (presentation time slots, office hours, etc.)
Course Content Areas There is no "Content Area" in Canvas, but content can be organized using Modules and Pages.
Course Copy
Course Messages Canvas has a single tool which will allow users to communicate with one another both within Canvas and via external email accounts.
Discussion Boards
Documents, Images, & Media
Grade Center/Grade Book There are a number of differences between the Blackboard and Canvas grade book features.
Items & Pages Pages in Canvas contain version tracking and can be rolled back to a previous version.
Journals x Workaround: Use discussions or assignments depending on learning objectives/grading for journals.
Learning Module
Lesson Plan x Modules and pages can be used to organize content and activities in Canvas.
Notifications Notifications can be received via email or SMS text messages in Canvas. Each individual is in control of their own notification settings.
Performance Dashboard
Retention Center
Rubrics In Canvas, rubrics can be built ahead of time or while creating an assignment.
SafeAssign (built-in plagiarism detection tool) (see additional notes) Turnitin, a similar service, is available in Canvas.
Send Email Any messages sent via a Canvas Inbox will also be sent to users' external email accounts (see also notes on Course Messages.)
Student Preview
Syllabus Users are still able to upload their own version of their syllabus file in Canvas. The Canvas built-in syllabus tool also contains a new feature where it auto populates a schedule based on due dates in the course.
Tests, Surveys and Pools Not all question types are available in Canvas. Unsupported question types are converted into a text type question. There is also no feedback option in question settings.
Video and Audio Feedback When Grading x
Video and Audio Feedback When Grading x
YouTube Search and Embed
Web Links

Files, Images, and Media



Adding an item
Adding a file

Adding an [graded or ungraded] assignment with a link to a file
- OR - 
Creating a page with a link to a file

Adding an image Adding an image to a [graded or ungraded] assignment
- OR -
Adding an image to a page
Adding media (video or audio)

Embedding media in an assignment
- OR - 
Embedding media in a page

Adding a web link Adding a [graded or ungraded] assignment with links
- OR -
Adding a page with links