What is it?
Canvas includes a core set of tools and functionality that facilitate instructor's creation of assignments, quizzes, and the uploading of resources such as documents or media. At times, instructors use external software, tools, or services to facilitate their teaching in Canvas in the form of book publisher tools or cloud-based software providers. Canvas provides a standardized method to integrate third party resources into the system using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard. This provides a standardized method to "plugin" external tools to individual courses or the overall Canvas instance for the purpose of student access/authentication to the resource or passing back grades from external systems to the Canvas gradebook.
Third party tools or products can be subject to quality issues and inconsistencies that impact the integration itself, can present accessibility issues to students with disabilities and/or accommodations, or create security issues. In order to meet campus compliance issues for accessibility and security and ensure the overall functionality of the Canvas LMS for all users, a review of products requested for integration with Canvas will be required in the future. Additionally, in the context of the ongoing campus transition to Canvas, its implementation of LTI is less flexible than what had been available in iLearn so additional considerations are now required prior to implementation to guarantee a successful integration.
Principles for Supporting LMS Integrations
Academic Technology (AT) has maintained a primary focus on enabling instruction as it is delivered through the campus Learning Management System (LMS) in all its form. Over the last 16 years in which iLearn (Moodle) has been the campus LMS, AT has been highly flexible regarding the integration requests from instructors which has predominantly centered upon publisher-based or other tools requiring LMS-based access and/or grade pass back. The only requirement placed on such requests has been a longstanding policy with respect to publisher integrations, requiring that they conform to a course-level integration (as opposed to being exposed to the entire LMS).
Additionally, accessibility, security, and general IT reviews required for all campus IT software or service acquisitions has often not included publisher-based software tools because they are often acquired through a Bookstore related process. This has led to issues and AT has regularly supported work-arounds to support dysfunctional publisher software in order to facilitate last-minute instructor integration requests.
Approach to Integrations in Canvas
Vendors who conform to industry standard LTI integrations can be integrated into Canvas courses directly by instructors. In some cases, Canvas requires an administrator to enable additional privileges before the integration can work. Faculty can work with AT on new integrations by request.
Note: In some circumstances, vendor implementation of integrations requires site-wide (rather than course-based) orientation or require broad permissions to the campus LMS that overly expose our campus assets. These types of integrations generally will not be added to the Canvas platform. Exceptions may include site-wide licensed software or departmental implementation. As with all non campus-wide integrations, additional evaluation will be required for these types of integrations to make sure that the vendor conforms with campus data security and accessibility policies.
These integrations are already configured in Canvas as a result of a campus-wide contract with these specific vendors
- Turnitin (including Peermark)
- iClicker sync
These integrations are not officially supported by SF State, but have existing configurations that can be added to classes upon request.
- Macmillan (Achieve and Launchpad)
WileyPlus(In Fall 2023, WileyPlus changed their integration and is no longer compatible with this guideline)
- Pearson (LTI 1.3 integrations only)
- McGraw Hill (additional configuration by the publisher is required)
Note: Please allow at least two business days for adding these to your course as there may be additional information required from these vendors in order to complete integration.
Starting Academic Year 2023-2024, Academic Technology will introduce new guidelines for the request of an LMS integration. The purpose is to:
- allow an adequate technical review of the readiness for integration by the product within the Canvas environment and
- ensure a campus Technology Acquisition Review (TAR) has been completed to ensure accessibility and security compliance
For 2023-2024, the guidelines will be introduced to faculty across campus and the process will be allowed to be completed prior to integration requests or, in cases where request timelines may not allow for the full completion of a TAR, that can be subsequently completed. In other words, it will be exercised flexibly while the process is socialized among faculty requestors and the broader community. The guidelines will be enforced in 2024-2025 and required prior to integration.
Faculty should follow the procedure below to request a product integration for Canvas:
- Review the current "Supported Integrations" to see if your request may already be in place and supported. In this case, you can proceed with a request to firstname.lastname@example.org as described in #2.
- If the product for which you wish to request an integration is not on the "Supported Integrations" list, you can submit a new integration request using this form.
Requests for integration should be made at least two weeks in advance of the semester you are intending to use this tool. If the tool you are requesting is a publisher integration tied to a textbook, please make the request at the time you are selecting your book for the following semester as publisher integrations take much longer to assess.
Note: Requesting an integration does not guarantee configuration as Academic Technology will need to work with the vendor to ensure they are in compliance with campus policies on student data privacy and accessibility.