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Offline Canvas Content with ePub Exporting

Online Learning Support

The ePub format is a common file type for eBooks, and it’s compatible with a wide range of devices from physical e-readers, to cellphones, to desktop computers. UNF Canvas users can now export ePub files to make course content available offline. 

Why use an ePub?

One of the major benefits of using an ePub file is the file type’s ability to adjust to any device – meaning the same ePub file opens across a variety of devices. This comes in handy if you plan to travel to an area without internet connectivity or simply want to review course materials offline. ePubs also offer distraction-free reading which may be valuable to those with accessibility needs.

Of course, there are some things that should be considered when using ePubs with Canvas:

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • ePub content is for offline viewing only; you cannot interact with course content directly, such as viewing student assignment submissions or replying to discussion posts.
  • In an ePub file, you can view assignment details, availability dates, and point values.
  • Discussions include only the discussion topic. All discussion replies (graded or ungraded) are considered submissions and must be viewed online.
  • Currently ePub files and any associated files can only be generated in the browser version of Canvas, but the files can be transferred for viewing on any supported device.

If you’re unsure how to view an ePub, consider the device you’ll use to view course content. Will you be using a physical e-reader, such as an Amazon Kindle or Nook? Or do you plan to read the ePub on a desktop computer or cell phone? Here are a few recommended options for e-reader applications to choose from:

Ready to get started?

How to Export an ePub File

In the Global Navigation Menu, users will need to select their Account icon, then click on Settings. In the far-right of the user’s Account Settings page, click on the Download Course Content button.  

screenshot of canvas user account settings menu
Download course content

Inside of the Download Course Content page, users will need to locate their course and select the Generate ePub option. Once the export process is done, click the Download ePub link. If the course includes files that are not supported by ePub, then users can click on the Download Associated Files link to access them as a ZIP File.

Generate ePub
Download ePub. Download associated files.

By default, ePub files are organized by module, though you can change the ePub format to be organized by content type (assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc.). As we’ve mentioned, ePub files adjust to the device they’re on, but here’s an example of what you can expect to see.

Nook e-reader displaying a table of contents

Additional Considerations

You should note that both instructors and students are able to generate course ePub files. However, the content contained in the download will vary depending on which type of user generated the file.

When an instructor exports a course as an ePub file, the download includes all published course content, including published content within an unpublished module and published course files that have not been linked in student-facing course content. Conversely, when the export is generated by a student, the downloaded file only contains what is visible to the student at the time. If course content is added or changed over time, the export can be regenerated to include the updated content.

Exploring Exporting

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of the ePub exporting feature within Canvas. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to visit the Instructure Community’s guide How do I view course content offline as an ePub file as an instructor?

All interested UNF faculty who want to learn more are welcome to reach out to the Online Learning Support team at CIRT via email at cirtlab@unf.edu or phone (904-620-3927).

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