Moving a D2L course to Canvas [Migration Complexity Tool]

Use Migration Complexity Tool to move a single course from D2L to Canvas as efficiently as possible


  1. Identify the D2L course that you want to migrate to Canvas
  2. Determine your Migration Strategy
    • Strategy 1: Build from scratch with some components copied from D2L
    • Strategy 2: Clean up the course in D2L prior to backup - less Canvas clean-up
    • Strategy 3: Backup D2L course, as is, and invest my time effort in Canvas building out the course


  1. Access the Migration Complexity Tool at  [Use NetID and Password]
You will find Course Complexity data for courses from Winterim 2016-Winterim 2018. 

Complexity Tool Course List
  1. Click the Expand tab to see the courses for each past semester in the reporting period.
Course List View in Complexity Tool

You will be able to see a complexity score for the overall course:  High, Medium or Low.

The complexity score is a composite score that accounts for course size, degree of customization, grading system and number/type of grade items, and complexity of quizzes and quiz questions. It provides an estimate of the complexity involved in the migration process. High complexity courses will require a higher degree of review and revision after the course is migrated to Canvas.

  1. Click on the Course Name to open the Complexity Report for the course.
A single course complexity report

The alerts in the Complexity Tool can help identify areas of concern to be aware of as you export from D2L and import your course to a blank Canvas course.

  1. Use the Report Tour to learn more about the features in the Complexity Report. Click the ? to get started.
Arrow pointing to the Help (?) button
  1. Navigate through the Tour by clicking Next and Prev
Tour box displayed

If you have chosen to clean up D2L first (Strategy 2 from above), use the information provided in the Complexity Report to determine the areas of most concern.  Check out Spring Cleaning D2L for Canvas Migration to begin to clean up your D2L course.


It is possible to backup a D2L course directly from the Migration Complexity Tool. 

  1. Open a new browser tab and login to Desire2Learn
  2. Open the Complexity Report for the course you want to back-up (different browser tab)
  3. Choose the Export course icon to start
Export course icon

  1. Select Components to Export
  2. Click continue
Select course material window

  1. Confirm components to Export (Note that you must select to include course files)
  2. Click continue
  3. Click Finish
  4. On the Export Summary page, you must download the zipped backup file [Save it for the import to Canvas]
Export Summary page


  1. Access Canvas at
  2. Use federated login [you may need to select institution to get to UW-Platteville's login page]
  3. Choose one of your blank courses for the course import by clicking on the tile
Canvas Dashboard with blank courses

  1. In the course page navigation bar, select Settings
Settings on course page

  1. From the right side menu, choose Import Course content
  2. On the Import Content window, select D2L export .zip format
Import Course Content
  1. Browse to the saved D2L backup from the previous download
  2. Select all content (or specific items if you are not importing the whole course)
  3. (Optional) Adjust events and due dates to match the upcoming course calendar
  4. Click Import [the download will begin and a progress bar will be displayed in Current Jobs]
When the download completes, click on Hide Issues to see what may not have downloaded accurately. This information will help you as you review your course and revise and rebuild it for the upcoming term.

Import content details

If you have questions, please contact the TTC at 608.342.1798 or

Keywords:D2L Canvas Migration Complexity Tool   Doc ID:81025
Owner:Regina N.Group:UW Platteville
Created:2018-03-20 09:50 CDTUpdated:2018-04-05 10:31 CDT
Sites:UW Platteville
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