How do I import old content into a new course?

External resource


source course
The older course, the one you're getting material from.
target course
The new course where you want to put the reused material; that is, the course you're putting material into.


The process of importing content from one course into another has some limitations of which you should be aware. In particular:

  • Importing keeps the dates and times from the source course. You still need to change all the due dates, references to other dates in the course, and so on in your activities.
  • Importing activities doesn't import any user content. This is most noticeable when you're importing something like a forum—you get the settings, but you don't get any of the posts (not even your own). So if your prompt was in a post, you have to re-create it in the new forum.
  • Some activities just don't import well. Attendance activities, in particular, are best not imported. All the session dates and times will be wrong, because they'll come unchanged from the source course. Commonly, they'll be before the start date of the target course, so you won't even be able to get at them easily to change them. Even if you can get to them, however, you'd have to change every session individually, which is far more work than just re-creating them.


  1. If the source course was taught before Summer 2012, let me know so I can do the necessary imports to make the rest of these instructions work. If the source course is more recent than Spring 2012, you can skip this step.
  2. Go to the main page of the target course.
  3. Click on the gear icon in the upper right. On the resulting dropdown menu, choose Import.
  4. You will be taken to a page that says “Find a course to import data from:”. It will show a few courses with radio buttons, and it has a blank for searching at the bottom. If your source course is one of the ones with radio buttons, select it; otherwise, find your source course using the search blank at the bottom of the page and select it. Click the Continue button at the bottom of the page.
  5. You will be taken through a series of pages that effectively create a backup of the material you want to import.
    1. The first page gives you checkboxes for “Include activities and resources”, “Include blocks”, “Include filters”, “Include calendar events”, “Include question bank”, and “Include groups and groupings”.
      1. Unless what you want to import is one of the blocks in the left-hand column of your source course, uncheck “Include blocks”.
      2. You can normally leave the others checked. (Groups and groupings, if there are any in the source course, are imported without their students. You just get empty groups.)
      3. Click Next at the bottom of the page.
    2. The second page gives you a list of checkboxes for all the possible things in your source course that you might want to import. Check the ones you want, and uncheck everything else.
      • You can use the links at the top marked Select All / None to check all or none of the items.
      • Unchecking a unit (or week) has have the effect of unchecking everything in it. Despite the grayed-out checkboxes that will display next to those items, they really won't import.
      • You nearly always want to uncheck the “News forum” in the General unit. Your target course will generate its own news forum, and you don't need two.
      • If you have any attendance activities in the source course, uncheck them. Attendance activities just don't import well.
      When you've got the right things and only the right things checked, click Next at the bottom of the page.
    3. The third page gives you a chance to review what's going to be imported. The items with green check marks will be imported; the items with red X's won't be. If the selection isn't right, click the Previous button at the bottom of the page to go back to the second screen and fix your selection. When the selection is correct, click the “Perform import” button at the bottom right.
    4. If all goes well, you'll see a green message saying “Import complete. Click continue to return to the course.” Click Continue.
  6. Your imported material is normally put into the unit (or week) in the target course corresponding to the unit (or week) where the material was in the source course. If that's not where you want it, move it in the target course to where you do want it.
  7. In the target course, make any needed changes to the stuff you just imported, and you're in business!
Last modified: Saturday, August 18, 2018, 8:23 PM