Alamo Colleges District

Copying a Canvas Course

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Canvas logo with red circle and red Canvas lettering

As an instructor you have the ability to copy a canvas course into a new shell. Courses should be copied if you would like re-purpose important content including syllabus, assignments, files, pages, quizzes, etc. You can also share a course if you would like to offer access to materials to other instructors or students.

In this guide, we will go over the three ways to copy or share a course in Canvas.

Notes on copying a Canvas course:

  • Not all content may be transferred
  • It may take time to fully transfer content if you have a large amount of course material
Copy a Canvas Course

If you are copying your own content from one course shell to another, copying a canvas course is the best option to copy your course material.

1. Select the Canvas course you want to copy from your Dashboard.

canvas course selection

2. On the course page, in the left Navigation bar, go to Course Settings.

canvas course settings in navigation bar

2. Then, on the right side of the screen, locate and select Copy this Course.

canvas copy this course selection

3. Then, you will be prompted to fill in the correct Title, Course Code, Start and End dates, and choose the content you would like transfer.

canvas copy this course template with dates

If you have more than 100 courses, you will only see a search box, and not a drop-down menu listing your courses. Some tips for searching:

  • Searches are not case-sensitive (cosc is as good as COSC)
  • Searches can include any part of the course name (COSC or 1336 or COSC-1336)
  • The search only looks at course name / course code (COSC-1336 works, but Programming Fundamentals does not)

Note that search results are labeled with their term, but not arranged chronologically by term.

If you have more than 100 courses and are having trouble copying because you are getting too many search results, a Canvas admin can deactivate your older courses. Contact your college Instructional Innovation Center for assistance.

Export/Import a Canvas Course

Note: If you want to make a backup of your course, copy it to another Canvas institution (another school, or to a Free-for-Teachers account), or share the content with someone outside the Alamo Colleges, you can export the course. Follow the instructions below to learn how to export Canvas course content.

  1. Go to Course Settings.
canvas course settings in navigation bar

2. Click  Export Course Content on the right side of the screen.


canvas export course content settings

3. Choose Course for export type, and click Create Export.

canvas content exports and create export

4. Click the link in your content exports to download the file.

canvas content export download file link

The course can then be archived, shared with others, or imported into a different Canvas environment. Import instructions are covered in the Canvas guide, How do I import a Canvas course export package?

Need help locating your Canvas Course export file?

Q. Where is my export package?

A. On Windows computer, most downloaded files end up in your "Downloads" folder. Export packages have a unique extension of .imscc file type.

Screenshot of downloads folder and imscc export files

If you are sharing your course export package with others, you have several options, depending on file size.

  • For files smaller than 20MB, you can email the file as an attachment.
  • For files larger than 20MB, you can upload to cloud storage such as your Office365 OneDrive account and share the link, or use a fileshare site such as
  • Still need help? Contact your IT help desk for assistance.
Sharing a Course to Canvas Commons

If you want to share all or part of your course with other instructors at Alamo Colleges, sharing the content to Commons is the easiest way to do so.

1. To share your course, go to the Course Settings, located in the left navigation panel of your course.

canvas course settings in navigation bar

2. Click on Share to Commons on the right side of the screen.

canvas share to commons option in navigation bar

3. Choose your settings and add information such as description and tags.

4. Click Share.

These steps are covered in more detail in the Canvas guide, How do I share a course to Commons?

For details on sharing individual resources or documents to Commons, see the Canvas guides How do I share a resource to Commons? and How do I share a document, image, video, or audio file to Commons?

You can choose to share the resource with the Public (any Canvas user anywhere), throughout the Alamo Colleges district, or with a select group. Groups are currently set up at the college level only. If you want to share with a smaller group of faculty such as a single department and do not want it to be visible to other departments, the Export/Import process might be a better option.

Additional Support

Still having trouble sharing your course? Login to Canvas to ask a question, or contact your local or district IT help desk.

Feel free to leave us a comment if you still have questions about sharing or copying a Canvas course.


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