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The Study Hall

LTI, Common Cartridge and Moodle

Did you know one of the core virtues of a good software engineer is laziness (yes, I'm an engineer)? If you have to do something even just twice, it should be automated and then documented so you don’t have to answer questions about it. That is one of the reasons that open standards are great. A standard allows you to create a single implementation of your tool instead of customizing it to each platform you wish to support.

Sausages
This is pretty much how the moodle to cc
converter works.

At Instructure we love open standards because it allows 3rd party developers and universities to make their own tools that integrate with Canvas. That’s why we work so hard to support the latest versions and make using these tools seamless and beautiful in Canvas.

We are doing awesome things with LTI right now and we plan to do lots more. We’ve got lots of apps for people to use that do cool things like add navigation tabs to a course or content selectors to your content editors. We just released some new documentation for teachers and admins showing how to configure LTI tools in courses and accounts over at Canvas Guides.

And for developers, we’ve got some even cooler LTI stuff. We have tons of documentation for creating tools in our API docs and even made a Ruby library that does all the hard work for you. You can find the library and some example apps on our GitHub page.

While LTI allows tools and applications to be used across all LMS platforms, Common Cartridge allows teachers to move their content between systems and vendors without having to recreate it. Canvas uses Common Cartridge as its native export format and can import all current versions as well.

Since we launched, we’ve had lots of customers requesting that we support importing Moodle 1.9 courses. Well, now you can! If you’re using hosted Canvas, the option is already there and ready to use. And if you host your own Canvas install, you just need to update to the latest release.

While building the Moodle course importer, we thought it’d be cool to create a tool that would be useful to all Moodle users, not just those wanting to move their courses into Canvas. So we made a utility, separate from Canvas, that allows you to convert any Moodle 1.9 course export into a Common Cartridge 1.1 package. There is still some work to be done but you can find instructions for using the tool on its GitHub project page: moodle2cc

So, we love open standards because they allow everyone to build useful tools and get their content into Canvas. You should love them because you get access to great learning tools with the flexibility to do what you want with your content.

Keep learning,
Bracken
Engineer