Canvas To Replace Sakai

UNC is in a phased process of replacing Sakai with Canvas as the campus-supported Learning Management System. Starting in the Fall 2022, Canvas will be available for any instructor who wants to teach in it.

See the site for complete information.

New Training Opportunity: The Canvas Challenge!

Gillings teaching faculty: your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to leverage the capabilities of our new Learning Management System, Canvas, as you continually improve course quality and demonstrate inclusive pedagogy. Get ready for The Canvas Challenge!

Need Quick Help for the Fall?

If you are currently building a Canvas course for the Fall 2022 semester, you can schedule a live consult to help with specific questions. Use this Booking page to schedule a Canvas consult.


What is Canvas?

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. Canvas is easy to use and offers improved calendar services, robust email and text notifications, a smartphone app, and a more intuitive interface for designing courses. Additionally, Canvas’s cloud architecture requires little to no downtime for feature upgrades and system maintenance.

What is the exact timeline for the switch?

See the Timeline for the most up-to-date timeline information.

Where can I learn more about Canvas?

Here are some useful resources:

For more help:

When can I get started in Canvas?

Official course sites are currently available in Canvas ( Just login and you should see a site for each Fall course you are teaching and can begin to build your course(s) in Canvas whenever you are ready.

NOTE: Official Fall 2022 Canvas sites will be created for every section of every course in Connect Carolina. If you are teaching a course with combined sections (multiple sections in the same course site), you will need to crosslist any sections that should be combined into a single course site.

Are there any Canvas templates I can use to start building my course?

Yes! We have our own school template in Canvas Commons that you can import and build from, called the “UNC Gillings Starter Template”.

See our demo video on finding, importing, and using the template.

Also see more info on Canvas Commons and on importing from Commons.

Campus also has two versions of a campus template available, “UNC-CH Course Template” and “UNC-CH Course Template Simplified”. While we do not recommend importing either of the campus templates, previewing them in Commons may be useful as a way to see some Canvas organization examples.

What is being planned by Gillings for the transition?

The MPH Steering Committee has agreed that all 24 Fall 2022 MPH Core and Concentration courses taken by first year students will be taught in Canvas. This is to provide an improved and consistent learning experience for Fall 2022 incoming residential MPH students across all their courses.

To achieve this, the SPH Educational Technology Team (EdTech) is planning to build all 25 courses in Canvas for instructors between May 1 and August 1.

We ask each instructor to confirm by Friday, April 29 that you agree to allow the team to build your course for you, or alternatively, that you plan to build your course yourself.

What about other Gillings courses?

Instructors teaching Fall 2022 courses other than the 25 MPH courses will need to determine whether to teach from Canvas or from Sakai. Please plan to consult with program directors and department chairs as needed, making a informed decisions that consider impact on students. However, SPH EdTech will NOT be able to build any other courses for the Fall 2022 semester.

Starting with Spring 2023 courses, Canvas course creation will get easier. Instructors, program directors and department chairs may wish to factor this into timing for course migration. There will be an automated migration tool available for Spring 2023 and later that will import course content from Sakai. We expect to reduce the amount of effort for faculty building courses. We expect Sakai to continue to be available through at least Fall 2023 but there is not yet a firm retirement date.