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What is a Canvas Cross-List and How is it Different than a Blackboard Merge?

Cross-Listing in Canvas has many unique attributes, some of which are different than Merging in Blackboard. A new course is not created when you Cross-List; instead, the sections (Secondary Courses) are consolidated into one of the sections, which becomes the Primary Course. Then that course will be renamed to reflect all the sections, pulling in the enrollments from all the sections, but no content.

Before Cross-Listing courses, there are some important things to consider, especially around the loss of content and student submissions. In the example below, with Math 101-02, Math 101-03, and Math 101-04, after you Cross-List, you will lose the content you created in them. Also, grades or any student-related contributions to the original course, including: assignment submissions, quiz submissions and discussion contributions will not transfer to the Primary Course and will be lost in those three courses.

No course(s) will be Cross-Listed or De-Cross-Listed after the course is Published; this is because of the potential loss of data. 


  • One place to create content with less updating. Any content added or content updated in the cross-listed course will pass to other course sections.
  • Minimal updating needed - Cut the time it takes for updates by making a change in one section that will automatically update to the other sections.
  • Full course roster in one place. Students in all course sections will show in the Canvas Gradebook (can be filtered by section) and under People (Groups can be created based on sections as well).Note: By default, the Gradebook shows students from all sections. (To view just one section, click “View” then “Filters” then “Sections” and that will show a drop-down menu. Click “All Sections” and then choose a specific section to view the grades just from that one section.)
  • Create section-specific Assignments, Graded Discussions, Quizzes and Events. (Common activities can also be assigned to all sections.)


  • No reversing - Once the course is cross-listed and published, the sections cannot be separated (De-Cross-Listed) without losing all student submissions and grades.
  • In the course Gradebook, you cannot mute (hide) section-specific assignment grades. You either have to mute (hide) all sections or none.
  • The Gradebook and People can be filtered by section however, if you export the Gradebook into Excel, all the sections will be exported.
  • If you are using integrations like Zoom and/or Panopto in Canvas, students will have access to all Zoom meetings and Panopto recordings unless you manually change the permissions.

Additional things to note:

  • Creating section-specific announcements, files, pages, and modules is a bit more complicated - This can be accomplished by setting up student groups for each section which then allows instructors the ability to add content within the group pages or through un-graded assignments assigned to a specific section (group). Otherwise, all sections will see the content you add to these areas.
  • Sending an email or creating an announcement with information about the sections being combined in Canvas  to the students will prevent confusion from the students thinking they were enrolled in the wrong section. All cross-listed sections/courses will have the parent courses name in Canvas (e.g. if ENGL 101-01 and ENGL 101-02 are cross-listed, both courses will show the name of the parent course).

(Pros, Cons, and Additional things to note: Adapted from information provided by Ursinus College - Canvas orientation course)

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