Here's my most recent update, or addition.
I have been assigned three sections of a course for the spring, two online and one face-to-face. Around 80% of the course is identical for all, but for the remaining 20%, different. My question was whether I could create one Moodle course for all?
Yes, I will be trying this in the Spring with Moodle. In Moodle, I was able to add two external URLs, such as to the "syllabus," and "tonight's activities" and "online activities", and use Moodle's "Restrict access" and "hide" so that online students see only their link, and f2f students see only theirs. In Moodle, (I think) every activity and resource provides this "group restriction" feature (and more.) Well, this is great. Looks like it will work.
Now, on the Canvas side, I have combined the three sections into one course. All that I do on Canvas is to point students to my Moodle. So, on my Canvas course I have one link to the course syllabus, one to my Moodle, and one to my "Welcome email." That's it. So, what I wanted to do is to make the URL to my Welcome email be specific to each group. This Welcome email contains not only some introductory information about the course, but also contains that section's "enrollment key" to Moodle. So very simply, I wanted to restrict and hide External URLs in Canvas. Should be simple. Well, can't do. It turns out that Canvas "groups" only work for certain activities and resources, and External URL links is not one! I spent probably 5-6 hours with various Canvas support folks, in the Canvas Community, and by myself trying to figure this out. (If you are into the Canvas Community, the discussion is here: https://community.canvaslms.com/message/127625-re-restricting-external-urls-by-groups?commentID=127625&et=watches.email.thread#comment-127625.
Yep, a bunch of work-around solutions. The final solution was to use a Canvas "Announcement" to do what I wish to do (Announcements are not Forums in Canvas, they are different.)
So, I wanted to create essentially two standard Announcement, one for the link to Moodle and one to the common syllabus, and three Announcements for each of the three sections that contained my Welcome email and the unique enrollment keys, and restrict these three by section. Looks good. But I wanted to turn this course on and hide the last "Welcome" link until later. Guess what, Canvas cannot simply "hide" an Announcement. It only allows one a "turn on date." So, you have to use the turn-on date to hide activities. Moodle provides both features.
So, I have said a lot to make a very simple point. When you hear the sales pitch, it goes something like this:
Do you have "groups?" Yes, Canvas has groups and so does Moodle.
Can you "hide" activities and resources? Yes, both Canvas and Moodle can hide activities.
So, they are both equal, right? WRONG!!!
It's not until you really get into each product that you find out what one can and cannot do.
Canvas reply is "we want to keep it simple." If we add the ability to restrict External URLs by group, that will be more complex. If we add the ability to hide an activity, that will be more complex. If we add the many ways that instructors want to set up their grade book, that is more complex.