Simple LTI Integration vs. Deep Link LTI Integration for Blackboard: Which is Right for You?
LTI integration provides a seamless, single-sign on course experience- linking your learning management system to the Connect For Education course site. There are different types of LTI integration. Each type provides you with unique benefits, but requires different levels of involvement from the instructor/school and subsequently has an impact on the way the course is supported. It is important that you understand the differences between the types of LTI integration in order to determine which type best suits your course needs and circumstances.
Connect For Education currently offers the following LTI options for the Blackboard Learning Management System:
• Simple LTI integration (available now): Simple LTI integration enables you to connect your Connect For Education course to your Blackboard learning platform. Students click a link within your Blackboard course shell which seamlessly directs them to your course content on the Connect For Education course site:
Students read the text and complete all coursework within our learning platform, and their grades are recorded in the Connect For Education gradebook. With simple LTI integration, once students have completed all work in the course, only the final (overall) grade for each student can be passed back to the Blackboard Grade Center. If you would like the grades for all coursework to be present in your Blackboard Grade Center, you do have the option to manually export the gradebook from the Connect For Education course site and import the grades in your Blackboard gradebook.
• Deep link LTI integration (in beta testing now, should be available for Fall semester): Deep link LTI integration offers enhanced features, such as grade syncing and a detailed Blackboard course table of contents:
With grade sync, grades for each individual coursework item can be automatically recorded in your Blackboard Grade Center. Connect For Education's App for deep link integration allows you to select which content you would like to link to your Blackboard course, giving you the flexibility and freedom to blend the Connect For Education course content with resources within your Blackboard course shell. To preview what is involved in the deep link LTI setup, please review our guide here.
|Simple LTI||Deep Link LTI|
|Grades Passed Back?||Yes, final grade only once all coursework has been completed.||Yes, all grades passed back automatically once work is completed.|
Things to Consider When Determining What Option is Best for You
Blackboard Knowledge/Admin Assistance
If you are evaluating which LTI option best suits your needs, please note that the use of our deep link LTI does require more instructor (and/or Blackboard administrator) involvement and assistance. As you will be required to configure the course gradebook and manipulate the course modules page, you must have intermediate working knowledge of the Blackboard Learning Management system or dedicated support from your school's Blackboard Administration team. Your Blackboard administration team will be required to create a REST API Integration within your Blackboard environment and then add a Placement for our Deep Linking Tool. During the initial course setup process, support from your Blackboard administration team may be necessary depending on your account permissions. Lastly, your Blackboard administration team can provide the guidance to ensure the LTI implementation is completed correctly.
Connect For Education Support
It is important to remember that your school's Blackboard system is a closed environment. As a result, with LTI integration our ability to intervene may be more limited should any issues arise. With the Deep Link LTI integration process being more involved and complex, the need for Connect For Education support assistance may be greater than with Simple integration. This can sometimes present challenges as a result of our inability to access your Blackboard course directly. The Connect For Education Support Team would likely be able to offer more hands on assistance with Simple LTI integration- as the course is completely maintained on the Connect For Education course site. With the Deep Link integration, more of the course components exist in part on the Blackboard side. If you elect to use the Deep Link LTI integration, it is important to understand that you may need to perform some of the common processes typically handled by the Connect For Education Support Team (adjusting settings, deadlines, etc.).
Course Customizations and Maintenance
With Deep Link Integration, all course customizations (namely, changes to the layout/course ordering, etc.) would ideally need to be completed before the course content has been pulled in. With Simple LTI integration, it is easier to change the course at any time.
Additionally, all LTI course links will need to be updated from semester-to-semester and cannot be reused! It is very important to keep this in mind when copying your Blackboard course from one semester to the next.
What To Do If You Are Interested in LTI Integration
If you are interested in utilizing either our simple or deep link LTI integration, we strongly recommend submitting your course setup requests to us well in advance to ensure the course and course link will be ready in time.
Connect for Education is actively working on LMS integration with the Learning Management Systems instructors use most. While our current focus has been on the development of integrations with Canvas and Blackboard, we also hope to offer integration with Moodle and D2L in the future as well.