Canvas | ITS Educational Technologies (2024)

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Summer 2024 courses are now in Canvas! Log into Canvas to find your SSI and SSII courses on your Dashboard.

“SAKAI_Archive” sites are also available if you wish to reuse course materials. These include migrated content of all 2022 and 2023 Registrar courses taught in Sakai. Learn more about working with migrated content.

Sakai Timeline: Spring 2024 is the last term Sakai will be available for teaching and other activities. Starting May 15, 2024, Sakai will be in a restricted access state until May 15, 2026 when Sakai is decommissioned. Watch our training videos and attend live training to learn about Canvas. Next trainings May 8 and 24!

Canvas is the University’s centrally-supported Learning Management System (LMS). The Sakai LMS will continue to be supported and available for teaching and other activities through the end of Spring 2024 (last semester instructors may teach in Sakai). Beginning May 15, 2024, Sakai will transition to restricted access until May 15, 2026, when Sakai will no longer be available. Please see below for information about the timeline, planned course migrations, and plans for Sakai Restricted Access.

Training and Support

Canvas Help Resources

  • Help menu within Canvas: 24/7 chat and phone support
  • Moving from Sakai to Canvas: UNC training videos and resources to help instructors move from Sakai to Canvas
  • UNC Canvas FAQ: Curated list of guides to help users get started in Canvas
  • Instructor Guides and Videos
  • Student Guides and Videos
  • UNC Help: Go through for UNC-specific questions only (cross-listing courses, renaming sites, 3rd party tools, etc.). All other questions about how to use Canvas or issues should go through Canvas Support (Help menu within Canvas).

Canvas Training

Learn How to Use Canvas (Technical)

Self-Help Resources

See Moving from Sakai to Canvas for video tutorials and guides to help instructors transition from Sakai to Canvas with tool comparisons between the two systems. This resource provides an overview of commonly used tools for instructors to manage their courses, communicate and share course materials with students, and collect and provide feedback on student work.

Personal Consultations

Need one-on-one help transitioning to Canvas? Sign up for a personal consultation to meet with an ITS-EdTech member over Zoom!

Group Training

Just in Time for Summer: May Canvas Training Options

For UNC instructors who are making the transition from Sakai to Canvas this summer, we are offering two different Canvas training opportunities before the end of this semester. You are welcome to attend either or both!

Canvas Course Design Snapshot

The CFE is hosting a special 2-hour Canvas Course Design Snapshot session for instructors interested in refining and aligning their course goals around Canvas tools and organizational structure. The 2-hour interactive session outlines the process of making evidence-based instructional decisions and helps you learn about the features of Canvas that can be used to help you achieve your course goals. ITS staff members will also be on hand to answer any technical questions. They will also be available between 12 and 1pm to answer any specific questions that may arise during the morning session.

Technical Canvas Training

After the Canvas Course Design Snapshot, the Educational Technologies team will be hosting a 1-hour Technical Canvas Training. This training will allow faculty to be face-to-face with technologists while you locate migrated content and import it into a Canvas course for this summer/fall as well as provide a general overview of key features/tools to ready you for the first day of class.

Select the appropriate registration link below. You may (and are encouraged) to attend both sessions!

Both sessions will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in Carroll Hall 111.

Summer Canvas Support

In addition to the offerings listed above, ITS Educational Technologies will be hosting several sessions both in person and virtually for those making the transition from Sakai to Canvas. This highly interactive session will give a comprehensive overview on how to start teaching in Canvas. Register below for a session that suits your schedule.

In Person


About Canvas


  • Fall 2021 – Spring 2022: Pilot conducted through several courses across various academic units.
  • Summer 2022: No summer courses taught in Canvas. System access only available for future course development.
    • May 20: FA22 courses made available in Canvas (in addition to Sakai). All active Onyen users granted access to Canvas.
    • July 15: Begin accepting requests for non-Registrar courses.
  • Fall 2022 – Spring 2024: Canvas and Sakai available for any course listed in ConnectCarolina (instructor chooses which LMS to use). Migrated Sakai content from 2022 and 2023 available in Canvas (see details on getting content into Canvas). Content migration from these terms to be available by:
    • SP24: Late June 2024
  • Summer 2024: Only Canvas available for teaching and active use.
    • May 15, 2024: All Sakai course and project sites unpublished. Restricted access available only to Instructors, Organizers, Teaching Assistants, Coordinators, and Tech Support.
  • May 15, 2026: Sakai no longer available.

Sakai Restricted Access

Sakai will enter a Restricted Access state on May 15, 2024, until the system is completely decommissioned and unavailable to all users on May 15, 2026. During this Restricted Access state:

  • Spring 2024 courses are the final rosters rolled into Sakai. No Summer 2024 or terms beyond will be available in Sakai.
  • All courses must be taught in Canvas after Spring 2024.
  • All projects and University-related work must be conducted outside of Sakai.
  • Every Sakai site will be permanently unpublished.
  • No new course sites or project sites will be created.
  • These instructor-type roles will still have access to their Sakai sites: Instructor, Organizer, Teaching Assistant, Coordinator, Tech Support
    • This access is to allow for content review and retrieval from Sakai for 2 years until Sakai is decommissioned on May 15, 2026.
    • All content from University Registrar courses has been migrated from Sakai courses taught in 2022 and 2023 into Canvas. Spring 2024 content will be migrated after the term ends and available by late June. See more on course migrations.
    • The Lessons tool will be added to all Sakai sites to allow for content retrieval. See more on exporting Sakai content.
  • Student, Participant, Auditor, and Guest roles will not have access to Sakai sites.
  • All email functions disabled.
  • Password resets for Sakai non-Onyen Guest accounts will not be permitted due to disabled email functions.
  • Incomplete grades: Instructors who have students with IN and AB grades must submit a help request to give their students temporary access to the course to complete their work. All communication between instructor and student must occur outside of Sakai (e.g., University email).

Course Migrations

We are working with a third-party vendor (K16) recommended by Instructure to migrate courses from Sakai to Canvas. This means that the content in some (but not all) of your Sakai courses will be automatically transferred to a similar (but not identical) structure in Canvas.

Migrated content from University Registrar courses that were taught in Sakai in the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2022 terms as well as Spring, Summer and Fall 2023 are now available in Canvas. If you taught a course from these terms in Sakai, you should now see an archive of each of your courses on your Canvas Dashboard, titled in the form of “DEPT101.001.FA22_SAKAI_Archive” (note: SP22 archive sites do not include “SAKAI_Archive” in the site name and some sites may include “k16” in the archive title as well). Instructors can choose to reuse this copied content and import it into their official Canvas courses. We advise reviewing migrated data as soon as possible to identify where you will need to make adjustments. See full details on getting content into Canvas.


  • The Sakai data from past courses was extracted on the following dates. Updates made after this will not be available in the Canvas archive sites.
    • Spring 2022 courses: June 3, 2022
    • Maymester, Summer Session I, Summer Session II 2022 courses: December 12, 2022
    • Fall 2022 courses: December 12, 2022
    • Spring 2023 courses: May 15, 2023
    • Summer 2023 courses: September 13, 2023
    • Fall 2023 courses: January 29, 2024
  • Sakai content from Spring 2024 will be copied into Canvas archive sites as well and will be available by late June 2024.
  • As of April 2023, faculty can request migration for select courses they are scheduled to teach again but have not taught since Fall 2021. For example, if the last time you taught DEPT101 was Fall 2021 and you are scheduled to teach it in Fall 2024, you could request migration. Also, faculty and staff can request migration for select project sites with planned reuse in Canvas.

Rationale Behind Transition from Sakai to Canvas

While Sakai has worked well for the University, the number of educational institutions comprising the Sakai community has significantly decreased over the years and fewer improvements are being made from version to version. Our faculty members continue to experiment with external technology tools they can use in tandem with the campus learning management system. Unfortunately, many vendors are not developing their products to integrate with Sakai. As a result, the Sakai LMS is not a viable long-term option.

ITS Educational Technologies and Digital and Lifelong Learning conducted a pilot of the Canvas Learning Management System as a potential replacement for Sakai over Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. The pilot consisted of a diverse cohort of undergraduate and graduate courses representing a variety of schools and academic units across campus. Although the preferences of the more than 600 students surveyed for the pilot were mixed between Canvas and Sakai, an overwhelming majority found Canvas easy to use. A strong majority of pilot instructors who were surveyed or participated in focus groups also support the move to Canvas, while recognizing that there will be a period of adjustment for all.

Based on the results of the pilot and diminished development support for Sakai, the University is replacing Sakai at UNC with Canvas. Sakai will continue to be supported and available for use through the end of Spring 2024. Beginning May 15, 2024, Sakai will remain available in a restricted access state until May 15, 2026, when Sakai will be no longer available.

Canvas’ Advantages

Canvas by Instructure is used by more institutions of higher education than any other learning management system, including other UNC System schools and UNC-CH’s peer institutions. In addition to being a more intuitive system for designing courses, below are several benefits of the Canvas system. Canvas’ cloud architecture also requires little to no downtime for feature upgrades and system maintenance.

  • 24/7 phone and chat support provided by Instructure
  • A more modern, straightforward, and easier-to-use interface
  • A more accessible experience for all users
  • Mobile apps for instructors and students
  • Robust app and email notifications
  • Improved calendar services
  • Templates that can be created by schools and automatically populated into all of their courses
  • Canvas is popular with K-12 school systems and across higher ed, so many first-year and transfer students will arrive already familiar with Canvas

Request Forms

Note: Faculty/Staff Onyen required to access request forms.

New Site Request Form

New Site Request Form: Submit site requests for a brand new Canvas site for course development or training, instructional, or administrative purposes (committee work, communications, reviews, etc.).

Additional Sakai to Canvas Migration Request Form

Sakai migrations have already been completed for University Registrar courses taught in 2022 and 2023. Future migrations are scheduled for Sakai courses taught in Spring 2024. This request form is for Sakai courses taught prior to Spring 2022 and sites with planned reuse in Canvas.

Additional Sakai Migration Request Form: Submit requests to migrate 1) Sakai course sites (pre-SP22) that are scheduled to be taught again in Canvas, or 2) select Sakai project sites and non-registrar course sites with planned reuse in Canvas. Note: If you require Sakai content quickly, please refer to instructions on how to migrate content from Sakai yourself.

Guest Accounts

Non-Onyen guest accounts may be created for individuals not eligible for an Onyen account who will serve in instructional, advisory, or other coordinating roles in Canvas sites. Guest accounts can also be created for students from other institutions enrolled in credit-bearing courses at UNC-CH as well as for students enrolled in non-credit bearing courses or training sponsored by a UNC-CH operating unit. Only users with the role of Teacher, TA, Designer, Dean Designate, or Tech Support can create a guest account from their site. Important: Once created, active guest accounts are valid indefinitely but will be suspended after one year of inactivity (i.e., user unable to log in) and deleted after four years of inactivity (i.e., all data removed).

All UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty, Students, and Staff who have an active Onyen have access to Canvas. Rosters are added automatically to Canvas for official course sites based on enrollment data in ConnectCarolina.

If needed, you may add other UNC-Chapel Hill users to your Canvas sites. For example: tech support, instructional designers, departmental colleagues, or students not on the roster. To do this, go to the site and select People > +People > select Login ID > enter their Onyen > select role > Next > Add User.

Only complete the following steps if you need to add a user to your Canvas site who does not have an Onyen. Note: Only Teachers, TAs, Designers, and Tech Support can create users in their sites.

  1. Log into Canvas at
  2. Go to your site where you would like to add a guest
  3. Go to People
  4. Click People+ button
  5. Select Login ID
  6. Enter the guest’s Email address in the box
  7. Select a Role and Section for the guest
  8. Check the box if the guest should only interact with this section
  9. Click Next Button
  10. If the guest does not have an account in Canvas, you will receive the following message: “We were unable to find matches below. Select any you would like to create as new users. Unselected will be skipped at this time.”
  11. Carefully check the box next to the guest
  12. Type their Full Name into the Name box (e.g. “First Last”)
  13. Click Next button
  14. Confirm that the guest’s name and email are correct
  15. Click Add Users button

The guest will then be added to the site with Pending status.The guest will also receive an email from Instructure Canvas with steps to create their account. Important: The guest should respond that they Do Not have a Canvas account (in our UNC-CH instance) if prompted during setup, even if they have one at another institution. After creating their account, the guest will be able to log into Canvas at using the Non-Onyen Login button. Note: Users may be added to sites during the current term but not after courses have concluded.

Canvas | ITS Educational Technologies (2024)


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