Canvas Transition:  Import Course Content from Moodle to Canvas


People enrolled in a course site with the Teacher, Designer, or TA role can import course content from Moodle as long as they have the downloaded Moodle course file on their computer to be uploaded into Canvas. When you migrate your Moodle course to Canvas, there are 3 steps you have to do:

  1. Import your Moodle Backup file to Canvas.
  2. Review the completed import result notes.
  3. View the imported content.

Importing your Moodle Backup file to Canvas

One you have created a backup of your Moodle course site and downloaded your backup file (.mbz) to your computer, you can import it into to your Canvas site.

  1. Log in to
  2. Click Courses in the Global Navigation Bar on the left.
  3. Select your Canvas course site.
  4. Click Settings in Course Navigation. The Course Details Settings tab displays.
  5. Click Import Content into this Course in the Sidebar on the right.
    Course navigation, settings highlighted; Course details tab, Sidebar, Import Course Content highlightedThe Import Content screen displays.
    Import Content screen
  6. Click the Content Type drop-down menu and select Moodle 1.9/2.x which is also the correct option for 3.0 and 3.2 files. The Import Content panel refreshes.
  7. Choose your Import Contentoptions.
    1. Source
      1. Click Choose File and navigate to your backup file. (It will be in your Downloads folder unless you have moved it to another location.)
      2. Click Open to select your backup file (mbz).
    2. Optional: Default Question bank. If you need to import quiz questions:
      1. Click the Default Question bank menu.
      2. Select Create new question bank.
        • If you have an existing question bank in Canvas you can select it instead.
    3. Content: Choose either
      • All content imports all content.
      • Select specific content. You will be given a chance to select which content you want from the backup file after it has uploaded.
    4. Options
      1. Click Adjust events and due dates. The screen refreshes.
      2. Beginning date: Set this to the Course start date of the Moodle course
      3. Change to: Set this to the start date for the semester in which the new course will run.
        For example: For a Fall 2017 Moodle course moving to Canvas for Spring 2018, the Beginning date would be 9/5/17 and the Change to date would be 1/16/18.
        Import content screen with described options selected
  8. Click Import. The Import button changes to read Uploading

Uploading the backup file can take awhile. When it finishes, a visual progress bar indicates the import process is Running. It make take some time to finish.
Current Jobs section, running process tag highlighted

Once the import process has finished, the progress tag will change from Running to Completed. (If you chose to Select specific content, click the resulting Select Content button and choose your content.)
Current Jobs section, completed progress tag highlighted, issues link to right of tag

Reviewing the completed import result notes

Most of the content will have imported cleanly, i.e., without any issues. If there were no issues, you are done with the import process.

If Canvas encountered any issues during the import process, you will see a link to the right of the Completed tag.

  1. Click the Issues link.
  2. Click each link to review the issue.

Some issues will be information-only notes while others will direct you to course site areas where you can take action.

Click each issue and note them for fixing them later. 

  • Broken links: Fix broken links (aka Missing links). If there are any, there will be a link that takes you directly to the page where the broken link is.
    1. Click the link to the page.
    2. Identify the broken link.
    3. Fix the link if you can. You may have to return to your Moodle course site to see where it should be pointing.
  • Quiz questions: Note any quiz questions with images that did not transfer.
  • Other issues you will address as you work through the rest of the transition process.

Viewing the imported content

To see the how the content imported, click Home in the course navigation bar.

Canvas will have retained the content organization from your Moodle course with each Moodle Topic translated into a Canvas Module.

You will need to rename the modules and update the settings for Assignments, Quizzes, and other activities.