External Tools Introduction

Canvas, like many LMSs, supports loading external resources inline using the IMS LTI standard. These tools can be deployed on a course or account level. Once configured, tools can be surfaced as links in course modules or used to deliver custom assignment experiences. Canvas supports some additional integration points using LTI (see the "Placements" dropdown in the left hand navigation here) to offer a more integrated experience and to allow for more customization of the Canvas product. This is accomplished by configuring additional settings on external tools used inside of Canvas and by leveraging LTI Advantage services.

Because tools can be deployed at any level in the system heirarchy, they can be as general or specific as needed. The Chemistry Department can add chemistry-specific tools without those tools cluttering everyone else's interfaces. Or, a single teacher who is trying out some new web service can do so without needing the tool to be set up at the account level.

Types of Tool Integrations

Canvas currently supports the following types of tool placements:

External tool assignments integrations:

This type of integration is part of the LTI 1.1 Outcomes Service or LTI 1.3 Assignment and Grade Services and allows external services to syncronize grades, and other assignment details.

Example use cases might include:

Adding a link/tab to the course navigation:

Example use cases might include:

Adding a link/tab to the account navigation:

Example use cases might include:

Adding a link/tab to the user profile navigation:

Example use cases might include:

Selecting content to add to a variety of locations as LTI deep links:

Example use cases might include:

How to Configure/Import Integrated Tools

LTI 1.1

Tool's placements can be configured using LTI configuration XML as specified in the IMS Common Cartridge specification, or using the external tools API. Configuration XML contains all non-account-specific settings (except the consumer key and shared secret, which must always be entered manually). The user can configure the tool by a tool-provided URL (recommended), or paste in the XML that the tool provides.

For information on how to programmatically configured external tools, so users don't have to copy and paste URLs or XML, please see the Canvas external tools API.

LTI 1.3

Similar to LTI 1.1, tools built on the LTI 1.3 specification can be configured by either supplying clients with a JSON block or URL that hosts the JSON. This JSON is used to determine the behavior of the tool within Canvas by configuring and LTI Developer Key. Once the developer key is created and turned on, users with sufficient permissions can install the tool using the developer key's client ID.