LTI launch links and rollover

This article aims to set out what to expect when rolling over links to reading lists in your Learning Management System. This article also contains some important background information on how LTI works which has an impact on the expected behaviours at rollover time.

This article assumes you have already got LTI up and running on your system and are familiar with it's workings.

Let's start with some important background concepts.

  1. The Talis Aspire Reading Lists (TARL) LTI Tool uses the basic-lti-launch-request LTI action. This sends an LTI defined set of parameters to a single /lti/launch endpoint in TARL.
  2. Your LTI Consumer (the learning management system, for example Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Desire2Learn, etc) will create many 'instances' of an LTI link.
  3. One of the key pieces of information sent to /lti/launch is a resource_link_id. This is expected to be unique for each instance of the LTI link added by the LTI Consumer. The resource_link_id of the link that the instructor clicked in the LTI Consumer is used to associate the link with a selected list or section in TARL.
  4. Rollover means different things in different systems!
  5. This article refers to Modules throughout, but your local terminology might be Unit or Course.

Rollover in Talis Aspire Reading Lists

In TARL when you rollover a list the 'old' list will contain a link through to the new list, giving users the option to view the new list. There will always be a way to get to the most recent version of a list.

Moodle

There are a number of 'rollover' strategies in use by Moodle customers, and this will probably not be a definitive list. If you have a strategy that is not described here we would love to hear from you in a support ticket.

  1. Two Moodle Instances — Technically, in this scenario there is no rollover as the current live instance of moodle is simply copied to an 'archive' instance of moodle. There is no copying of lists and no need to re-link any LTI links as nothing will have changed in the 'current' system which continues to be edited.

  2. Copying of Modules — In this scenario all modules are copied to new modules each year and the module codes may be updated with new time period related identifiers. Any LTI launch links which are copied to new courses will now have a new Moodle assigned resource_link_id.

    What happens to the link?
    All links on the original source module will remain linked to their associated content (see background concept 3). All LTI links on the new module will have been given a new resource_link_id by Moodle. Where the original link was linked to a section, there is no information in the LTI request to tell us which section the new link should be linked to.

    What happens when people click on the new link?
    When an instructor clicks on a link, Talis Aspire's LTI tool will prompt academics to relink to the list or section of the list, by using the module code and time period of the new module to identify the most appropriate list to link to. This can be an opportunity for the academic to re-evaluate the content being used as their course structure or reading list content may have changed.

    When students click on the link our algorithm will attempt to link the student to an appropriate list. This will depend on your time period regex custom parameter.

  3. Creation of Modules by Template — Some universities may create blank modules each year by template. In this case LTI Tool Links could be included as part of the template. The outcome in this scenario is the same as in Scenario 2.

Blackboard

There are a number of rollover strategies in use by Blackboard customers, and this will not be a definitive list. If you have a strategy not described here, please let us know by raising a support ticket.

  1. Copying of courses — In this scenario all courses are copied to new courses each year and the course codes may be updated with new time period related identifiers. Any LTI launch links which are copied to new courses will now have a new Blackboard assigned resource_link_id.

    What happens to the link?
    All links on the source course will remain linked to their associated content (see background concept 3). All LTI links on the new module will have been given a new resource_link_id by Blackboard.
    Where the original link was linked to a section, there is no information in the LTI request to tell us which section the new link should be linked to.

    What happens when people click on the new link?
    When an instructor clicks on a link, Talis Aspire's LTI tool will prompt academics to relink to the list or section of the list, by using the course code and time period of the new course to identify the most appropriate list to link to (this will depend on your time period regex custom parameter). This can be an opportunity for the academic to re-evaluate the content being used as their course structure or reading list content may have changed.

    When students click on the link our algorithm will attempt to link the student to an appropriate list. This again will depend on your time period regex custom parameter.

  2. Creation of courses by Template — Some universities may create blank courses each year by template. In this case LTI Tool Links could be included as part of the template. The outcome in this scenario is the same as in Scenario 1, as Blackboard allocates resource_link_id's to each of the newly created template LTI links.

Canvas

We are only aware of one rollover scenario for Canvas customers. If you use a scenario that is not listed here, then please tell us about it!

  1. Copying of courses — In this scenario all courses are copied to new courses each year and the course codes may be updated with new time period related identifiers. Any LTI launch links which are copied to new courses will now have a new Canvas assigned resource_link_id.

    What happens to the link?
    All links on the source course will remain linked to their associated content (see background concept 3). All LTI links on the new module will have been given a new resource_link_id by Canvas.
    Where the original link was linked to a section, there is no information in the LTI request to tell us which section the new link should be linked to.

    What happens when people click on the new link?
    When an instructor clicks on a link, Talis Aspire's LTI tool will prompt academics to relink to the list or section of the list, by using the course code and time period of the new course to identify the most appropriate list to link to (this will depend on your time period regex custom parameter). This can be an opportunity for the academic to re-evaluate the content being used as their course structure or reading list content may have changed.

    When students click on the link our algorithm will attempt to link the student to an appropriate list. This again will depend on your time period regex custom parameter.

D2L - Brightspace, Desire 2 Learn

We are only aware of one rollover scenario for D2L customers. If you use a scenario that is not listed here, then please tell us about it!

  1. Copying of courses — In this scenario courses are copied to new courses each year and the course codes may be updated with new time period related identifiers.

    Important: Any LTI launch links which are copied to new courses will not have a new 
    resource_link_id. This means that LTI links copied to your new course, will still link to the same ones as they did previously. This appears to be an issue with the way the D2L LTI Tool Consumer has interpreted the LTI specification.

    Talis have developed a workaround to detect this D2L specific issue and provide the best user experience we can. If you think you are affected by this, please raise a support ticket.

LTI specification considerations

The LTI specification is evolving. A current development is to bring in new provisions for a more robust method of preserving links in the scenario that a link is copied from one place to another and a new resource_link_id has been assigned. Talis are continuing to monitor these and look at how we can leverage LTI improvements in our LTI Tools.

Not all virtual learning environments support all the features of LTI to the same extent.

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