I am being warned about overwriting imported course content, what does this mean?

Last updated on July 18, 2022

When copying course content, an automatic warning that states “Importing the same course content more than once will overwrite any existing content in the course” will populate for any content type. So, what does this mean? Will you lose all of your content in the new shell?

Warning message stating that importing the same course content more than once will overwrite existing content in course
Canvas warning message regarding importing

Simply put, if you’re not copying the same course into the same shell twice, there is nothing to worry about. You should only be concerned if you copied content into a new shell, edited that content in the new shell, then re-copied the same content again from the old shell. 

Here is an example: Say you are copying a quiz from your spring semester shell to the fall semester shell. Once the quiz is copied into the fall semester shell, you decide to add a question to the quiz. Later, you decide to copy that same quiz from the spring shell to the fall shell again. The edited quiz with the added question will be overridden back to its original number of questions, losing the question you added.

As long as you are not editing course content information, then re-copying that same course content again, you do not need to worry about this warning. However, if you decide to edit content in a newly copied shell, keep this warning in mind if you want to copy that same content again, as you do not want to overwrite any information you may have made. For a step-by-step walkthrough of how to properly copy content from one semester to the next, please see our Copy a Canvas Course Into the New Semester spotlight.