LTI tools have been something I’ve been championing for a long time. Recently Instructure updated one of the coolest LTI sites on the planet, the Edu Apps Center.
If you’re unfamiliar with LTI tools they are an integration between two web apps that passes along some information. In our realm this means the LMS and another product. The beauty of LTI is that it is essentially a handshake between two apps, no install no versioning and if it’s not setup right it just doesn’t work. No risk of crashing either site.
Prior to LTI tools integrations were a messy proprietary experience. Many schools avoided them not because they didn’t like the idea, but because they simply were unstable. One of the systems I was an admin for had a proprietary integration point and we literally had people who worked for the company tell us that it was super unstable and not recommended. LTI solves that in a lot of ways by being open, easy to write and easy to setup. Above all else it is 100% open. Any LMS system can use an LTI tool.
For example you use Youtube in your courses and you want a simple way for students to put things from YouTube into your course. Here’s where the LTI integration steps in. A couple of copy and paste lines and you now have a YouTube button in your text editor that pulls information from YouTube into your course. This is just one example and LTI tools can do a variety of things. Canvas users get the added bonus of one click installs for courses which makes it so simple for faculty to utilize.
Instructure went one step further a few years ago when it created the edu-apps center. The idea was to create a site where people could place, try out and rate LTI tools. Recently it has gone through a pretty significant facelift with more sorting features and a bunch of filters you can add so people at your institution can only see certain apps.
Here is a video of a webinar I did a while back when I worked for Rider University talking about LTI tools (and how our move to Canvas impacted our adoption rate and tickets)
And here is the new and improved EduAppCenter