Sharebar?

Suggested LTI Advantage Requirements for RFPs

Innovation Leadership Networks logo

Suggested LTI Advantage Requirements for Institutional RFP & Procurement Agreements

This document is intended as a resource for IT organizations and procurement offices. It presents basic background information on the Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®) standard and LTI Advantage, and sample RFP language when specifying current versions of LTI and LTI Advantage as part of the procurement process. The suggested RFP
 
What are LTI and LTI Advantage?
Learning Tool Interoperability, or LTI as it is more commonly known, is a standard developed by IMS Global Learning Consortium. Its primary purpose is to seamlessly connect learning systems—such as a platform—with tools and content provided by a third-party edtech supplier. This connection allows data to move seamlessly and securely between the platform and the LTI connected tool.   
 
LTI Advantage is a package of key LTI extensions that build on LTI v1.3 to implement features that support teaching and learning activities, such as the provision of usernames and roles so a tool can intelligently address the learner on launch, sharing of assignments from a platform to an assessment tool and the subsequent scores back to a central gradebook, and deep linking of content into a learning environment course shell.
 
Why are LTI and LTI Advantage Important?
The basic use of the LTI standard allows the seamless connection between a cloud-based, external, or locally-hosted tool that is outside of the learning platform. LTI moves the user (such as a student) from the learning platform into the tool while maintaining a high-level of security for passing data about the user, the place they come from, and their role (e.g. faculty, student, TA, etc.). The tools can range from simple communication applications such as chat to domain-specific learning environments such as publisher products. In other words, if you have an interactive assessment application or virtual chemistry lab, it can be securely connected to the learning environment in a standard way without having to develop and maintain custom integrations for each platform and tool.
 
In today’s technology landscape, there is an increasing need to secure sensitive and personal information across the institution’s digital ecosystem. Platforms, tools, and content that are IMS certified for LTI v1.3 leverage OAuth 2.0 to provide the most secure and trusted integration, which: 
  • Relies on the security provided by TLS encrypted connections and uses a protocol with built-in defenses against man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Splits the server into two logical roles: (1) authorization server and (2) resource server. This separation fits naturally with enterprises where authorization concerns are spread across many servers responsible for different types of resources.
  • Distinguishes between confidential and public clients, making it easier to secure implementations that suit the specific needs of client applications.
  • Introduces multiple authorization grant types, each with its own protocol flow that makes OAuth 2.0 adaptable for multiple use cases and client types.
  • Is designed to be extensible with new access token types, grant types, and protocol parameters.
LTI Advantage extends the LTI v1.3 core by adding new features that enable deeper integration of any tool with any platform. LTI Advantage makes it easier for faculty to innovate and meet the unique learning needs of students, save time spent provisioning courses, and dramatically reduce integration times. Currently, LTI Advantage includes three extensions: Assignment and Grade Services, Deep Linking, and Names and Role Provisioning Services.
 
Assignment and Grade Services
Enables faculty to sync grades and comments from third-party tools into a single place, such as the platform gradebook, which gives students and faculty a clearer picture of learning progress in one place.
With Assignment and Grade Services you get:
  • Gradable assignments shared with a tool
  • Numeric scores returned to the platform gradebook
  • Assessor’s comments returned if provided
  • Multiple results supported in a single exchange
  • Instructor override and history of attempts allowed
Deep Linking
Simplifies the arduous task of selecting and adding links to content when developing a course, including deep integration to collections of content such as playlists and a table of contents.
With Deep Linking you can:
  • Select and add course content in a few clicks
  • Add playlists and tables of content
  • Enable links and other HTML content
  • Add pre-registered tools with a few clicks
Names and Role Provisioning Services
Automates course enrollment into a third-party tool in a safe and secure manner, and allows faculty to receive reporting on student activity within the tool.
With Names and Role Provisioning Services you can:
  • Exchange a list of users and their roles
  • Provision a learner using LTI’s secure exchange
  • Learn who has not yet accessed a tool

Certification

What is the difference between IMS certified LTI and LTI Advantage platforms and tools, and those that claim to "conform" to the LTI and LTI Advantage standards? 

Are your suppliers IMS certified image

Any system may purport to have adopted (conform to) the current versions of LTI and LTI Advantage standards, however, this does not mean that the system has been tested and certified as conformant. IMS certification requirements for LTI and LTI Advantage ensure that the integrations:
  • Have successfully implemented LTI Advantage security policies,
  • Are interoperable with other LTI Advantage certified tools and/or platforms, and
  • Correctly implement LTI Advantage prescribed standards and services.
Products may achieve IMS certification for one or more of the following LTI Advantage extensions:
  • Assignment and Grade Services
  • Deep Linking
  • Names and Role Provisioning Services
All certified products are issued a certification number and are listed in the official IMS Certified Product Directory at imscert.org. Products that are certified for LTI v1.3 and all of the above applicable extensions are identified as LTI Advantage certified. If you experience an interoperability issue with a product listed in the IMS product directory IMS Global will work with the supplier to resolve the problem. If a product is not listed in the IMS product directory it has either not passed IMS certification testing or its certification has expired.
 
To ensure that your educational technology ecosystem is interoperable, it is recommended that you require IMS Global conformance certification as part of your procurement process and RFP documents.

Suggested RFP Language and Resources for Procurement

There are a number of ways to include LTI requirements as part of the RFP and acquisition process, ranging from a basic conformance inquiry approach to the stringent stipulation of a specific LTI version. Below is sample RFP wording that spans this range, as well as additional guidelines to request from your vendor partner as part of the procurement process:
  1. Suggested RFP wording and clauses (open inquiry to stringent specification):
    1. Meets certification requirements as outlined in the LTI specification. Describe, including the implementation of the LTI Advantage extensions.

    2. [Institution] is committed to a standards-based, interoperable teaching and learning technology ecosystem. We are requesting [vendor/product] obtain certification by IMS Global Learning Consortium as a [platform or tool] for LTI Advantage, including applicable extensions no later than [specific date]. Specify the LTI extensions that each tool or platform supports and holds certification.

    3. [Institution] is requiring the support of LTI core and LTI Advantage and the [platform or tool] must be certified with IMS Global Learning Consortium. The vendor is required to provide a valid, current conformance certification registration number. See imscert.org. The vendor is also required to remain current with the subsequent LTI core versions and applicable extensions, and receive certification within a “reasonable” time period (see Statement of Intent to Adopt IMS Standards in a Timely Manner). Specify the LTI extensions that each tool or platform supports and holds certification.

    4. Data generated by student/faculty interaction with LTI provider tools is student/faculty data, whose stewardship is the responsibility of the institution of which those individuals are members.  The Platform and Tool providers will provide to the institution a copy of this data upon the request of the institution and in a format, such as Caliper, specified by the institution.

  1. Suggested Guidelines
    1. Any features of the specified LTI version that are not supported by the tool, or if there are custom parameter substitution variables that are supported, these should be noted explicitly in the RFP response.

    2. The vendor partner is required to disclose what parameters, variables, and services the tool requires so it can be matched and supported by the tool consumer or tool provider. The partner is also required to disclose optional services used. 

 
For additional curated RFP resources see the IMS Global Higher Education Playbook.
 
Items to Consider
  • Sign FERPA agreement
  • Is student identified data really necessary for the performance of the LTI tool?
  • Learning platform and tool must provide an ISO security review
  • Frequency and formatting of the data collected by the tool (ideally, daily and in Caliper Analytics format)
  • Is there a need for real-time data exchange, and if not now in the foreseeable future?
  • Is data synced between devices, cloud services, the client and the learning platform?
  • Where data is stored and how long?
  • When data is removed, how is the data removed, deleted or erased?
  • Accessibility—not in the scope of LTI Advantage but always worth mentioning