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Important Note: Spring Courses & Integrations Update

Canvas spring courses are almost ready and will start appearing on your dashboard next week. There are some important changes happening with many of the available Canvas integrations to be aware of as you build or import your spring courses. If you are not using any integrations or external tools, this will not have any impact on your use of Canvas.

About the Integrations Update

The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification has updated from version 1.1 to 1.3. LTI is the “language” that educational software uses to talk to each other. Those that talk to Canvas are called integrations. Some examples of those available at Pitt include Zoom, Panopto, Top Hat, Gradescope, Turnitin, and myriad textbook tools.

Our vendor partners have been working to update their integrations to the new LTI 1.3 standard. As these new versions are completed over the coming weeks and months, we will need to take steps to enable them in Canvas. As we do so, you should be aware of what you might see in your courses (see below). We are not getting rid of any of our Canvas integrations, just updating them to a new, more robust standard.

There is currently not a specific date when LTI 1.1 will be disabled. Some vendors may need additional time to finish; it may be a few semesters before all updates are complete.

What is happening? (action may be required)

We are working with our vendors to update all of our integrations as they become ready. Because we do not want to remove or replace tools while they are in use during a semester, this often means that there will be times when both the old and the new versions are available in Canvas.

As you prepare for the spring semester, we ask that you pay special attention to any integrations you use with Canvas. Keep the following in mind:

  • Some integrations are already using the new version and there will be no further interruptions or caveats to their use. Zoom is one such example.
  • If you see the same integration in the Course Navigation settings list twice, please use the new one for your spring courses (which will usually be labeled with “LTI 1.3” or “New” in the title). Please do not enable both. Example: Top Hat currently has “Top Hat” and “Top Hat — New” available.
    Screenshot of Canvas navigation page showing Top Hat and Top Hat New next to each other.
  • We will do our best to prevent any disruptions, but in some cases, we may need to remove the old version before we can turn on the new one. To avoid doing this during an active semester, we will do it between semesters (such as in December or at the completion of the spring semester). Please check your courses at the beginning of the new semester to verify any integrations you use are still active.
    • It is possible that some integrations that embed content into pages may require you to redo that content. We do not currently have any examples of this.
    • This is not a concern for any tools already using the new version.
  • There may be some times when an integration is unavailable. (For example, GitHub Classroom was not available for the fall semester while Microsoft updated it to support LTI 1.3.) This is a potential issue controlled solely by vendor decision-making.
  • The names of some integrations may change across the next few semesters. For example, Zoom is currently titled “Zoom (LTI 1.3).” The name may change in the future to just “Zoom.”

About the Course Import Tool (action may be required)

LTI changes may also affect course copies done with the Canvas Course Import tool. We always recommend doing a selective import (course copy directions), and unchecking the “Course Settings” option. This is especially important for the next few semesters as the LTI list updates.

More Background about Integrations

We previously wrote about how we decide which integrations are available at Pitt. You can find that article from our archives.

Dashboard Management

Once courses are available, the usual reminders for managing your dashboard apply.

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