Sharing Canvas course content

Sharing course content
Sometimes teachers want to share Canvas course content with others. This can range from sharing a single quiz to much or all of the content in a Canvas course. There are four ways to do this: 
  1. Use Send To... to Direct Share individual assignments
  2. Exporting/importing (when sharing a lot of assignments)
  3. Using a Group in the Canvas Commons (good for select items you want to share)
  4. Sharing a Sandbox course with other teachers (best for frequent collaborators)

Direct Share

The easiest way to share individual assignments is by using Send to... in what Canvas calls a Direct Share:
Sharing an assignment
  1. In Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, or Pages, click the ⋮ icon for an entry and select Send to... from the drop-down menu.
  2. Begin typing the name of the other teacher and select the name of the correct user when it appears. You can add additional teachers if needed.
  3. Click the Send button.
NOTE: If the content being shared includes other course content (such as a quiz that includes a file), only the direct content item selected for sharing will be included. The additional files must be shared individually.

Shared content
Any user who receives shared content will be notified in the User Navigation Menu. Shared content is indicated in the user's Account icon and also in the Shared Content link (see image). 

Clicking that link will display shared items. Click the  ⋮ icon for an entry to Preview, Import, or Remove a shared item.

Export/Import Method

A teacher can open a current or previous Canvas course they created and export individual quizzes or the entire course content so they can share it with another teacher.

If you only want to share specific assignments, however, you'll want to use other way of sharing, via the Canvas Commons.

Exporting all course content or just some quizzes

See How do I export a Canvas course? if you want to export the entire course. (Canvas won't export data on specific students due to FERPA concerns.)

See How do I export quiz content from a course? if you only want to export a quiz or quizzes.

Downloading and sharing the export file
You will need to click the link that is created in Canvas for any export within 30 days to download it. 

For slower large exports, you can go on with your work and wait for an email from "Bartlesville Canvas <>" with a link that will take you back to the Content Exports page in your Canvas course. There you can click on the export title found above the Export Type area, which might look something like Course Export from Month, ##, ### ##;## pm, to download the file, which for a full-course export will end in .imscc while quizzes-only exports end in .zip.

Sharing files
If the export file is very large, instead of attaching it to an email to the recipient, you may want to upload it to your Google Drive and then use Google Drive file sharing to invite the other teacher(s) to view the export file, leaving the Notify people on so they get an email with the sharing link.

Importing all or part of a course

The teacher receiving the exported file can then import it into their own Canvas course.

If you want to import the entire course from an export file ending in .imscc, see How do I import a Canvas course export package? But if you only want to import specific items from an export, see How do I select specific content as part of a course import? 

If you are importing a quiz or quizzes from an export file ending in .zip, see How do I import quizzes from QTI packages?

Canvas Commons Group Method

A different way to share course content, more useful in frequent collaborations among teachers for a shared course, is to have a "Group" created in the Canvas Commons for a course. That creates a special area in the Commons accessible only to the teachers the Group Manager adds. The teachers with that access can then upload or download content to be shared with others in the Group.

Setting up a Group

Requesting a Group
Department chairs and building coordinators can send an email request to Zack Michel to have a Group set up. That request must include the intended audience for the group (usually which course, such as 7th Grade Life Science or Algebra I) and who will be the Group Manager. We go through the chairs and building coordinators to avoid creating duplicate groups and encourage them to operate as Group Managers to improve year-to-year continuity.

Managing a Group
The designated Group Manager is responsible for adding and deleting members and editing or deleting resources shared to the group. 

NOTE: You will NOT be able to add a teacher to a Group until they have accessed the Commons in Canvas by clicking on Commons in the far left sidebar at least once and agreed to Authorize it.

Sharing to a Group

Once a group has been created, you have opened the Canvas Commons at least once to Authorize it, and you have been added to it by the Group Manager, you can then share assignments, modules, quizzes, pages, and discussions. You can also share individual Canvas files and images.

  1. You must share an item from within the course where you created it. by first locating the item to be shared.
  2. Click the ⋮ more icon for that item and click on Share to Commons.
  3. When prompted Who can use this resource?, click on Select Group(s) and then the name of the Group.
  4. Choose a License type.
  5. Adding a Description and Tags can help others in the group understand and find your resource. 
  6. Unless you are sharing an image or video file, you may be required to search for and attach an image. Use something relevant to the shared item.
  7. Specify the grade level(s) by moving the sliders.
  8. Click Share.
For more help:

Importing from a Group

Once something has been shared with a Group, you can find it by:
  1. Clicking on Commons in the far left sidebar.
  2. While on the Search tab, click the Filter button at the upper right.
  3. At the bottom, under Shared With, click on the name of the Group.
  4. Click the X at the top left of the Filter Results box to close it.
  5. You will only see resources that have been shared with the Group. Locate the desired item.
  6. Click on the item's card.
  7. You can now preview the content.
  8. You can optionally click Add to Favorites so the items always shows up when click on the Favorites tab in the Commons.
  9. If you want to use the content, you can either download a ZIP file or it or directly import it into an existing course:
    1. Click the Import/Download button.
    2. If you just want to download a ZIP file, click the Download button.
    3. If you want to import the item directly into a course, click on the box beside the course you want to import into (or you can search for one of your courses by typing in part of its name) and then click the Import into Course button.

Sandbox Course Method

If two or more teachers are building a course together, the easiest way to share content is for one of them to create a separate "Sandbox" course and add the other collaborator(s) as fellow teacher(s) in that course.

Then everyone can add, edit, and delete items in the Sandbox course. They can then directly import and export content between the Sandbox course and their own course(s).

Creating a sandbox course

One of the teachers should:
  1. Click on Dashboard in the far left sidebar in Canvas.
  2. Click the Start a New Course button at the far right or, on smaller screens, at the bottom.
  3. Give the course a meaningful name, such as 7th Grade Life Science 1st Sem Sandbox.
  4. Click the Create course button.
  5. In the new course, click the Publish button even if there is no content yet, since you can't invite other teachers to a course until it is Published.
  6. Choose whatever Course Home Page you prefer; Course Modules is the default but if you don't have any modules built, you can click on Syllabus.
  7. Click the Choose and Publish button.
  8. Click on People in the course navigation.
  9. Click the +People button.
  10. Switch Add user(s) by from the default of Email Address by selecting Login ID.
  11. Type in the dialog box the co-teacher’s username (usually the first part of their email address, so for Jane A. Doe her email address is probably, so you would type “doeja”). If needed, you can use to lookup a teacher's email address and thus their username.
  12. Change the Role setting from the default Student to Teacher.
  13. Click the Next button.
  14. Verify that the correct person is being added and if everything looks okay, click Add Users.
  15. The teacher will receive an email invitation and will see an invitation at the top of their Canvas screen to Accept joining the sandbox course as a teacher.

Importing from a sandbox course

Whenever one of the teachers has some course content in the Sandbox course they want to import into one of their own courses, they would:
  1. Open the Canvas course they want to import content into from the Sandbox course.
  2. Click Settings in the course navigation.
  3. Click the Import Course Content button at the right or, on small screens, at the bottom.
  4. For Content Type, choose Copy a Canvas Course.
  5. Click on Select a course and select the appropriate Sandbox course OR search for the Sandbox course by taking in the Course name box.
  6. You will typically want to select Select specific content so you control what is imported, rather than importing everything in ever-larger imports, although you can do that instead if you wish.
  7. Click the Import button.
  8. If you chose Select specific content in step 6, click the Select Content button.
  9. Click on the boxes and arrows as needed to locate and select the content you want to import. Only items with checked boxes will be imported.
  10. Click the Select Content button.
  11. You will see Queued  which will later become Running with a progress bar and eventually as Completed indicate any errors. 
For large imports, once you have it queued, you can go on about your business and then later click on Settings and then Import Course Content to check on the progress of an import under Current Jobs.