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What is LTI?

A standard developed by IMS Global that allows you to integrate third-party resources into Blackboard Learn in a secure and seamless way.

In just a few steps you can enable instructors and students to include LTI links in their courses. Links will act as gateways to gamified learning activities, virtual science experiments, immersive 360° virtual field trips, or any of the hundreds of LTI-certified tools available.

LTI enables users to move smoothly between resources without having to leave Blackboard Learn. Forget about logging into multiple sites or retrieving grades manually: LTI allows a secure exchange of information that enables a cohesive experience for your users.

By expanding the capabilities of LMSs, LTI paves the way for achieving a plug-and-play, future-ready digital learning ecosystem.


Setting global properties for new domains

Here you can configure the default global settings for LTI tools. If you want to customize individual settings, you can do so when adding a new Tool Provider.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Integrations, select LTI Tool Providers.
  2. Select Manage Global Properties.
  3. Under Feature Availability, select your Creation of Tool Provider Links preference:
    • Allow links to any tool provider that isn't explicitly excluded allows instructors to add LTI links to any domain that the administrator hasn’t specifically blocked when managing LTI tool providers.
    • Allow links to any tool provider, but require approval for each new provider allows instructors to add LTI links but if it’s a new domain, it needs to be approved by the administrator.
    • Allow only links to approved tool providers will not allow instructors to add LTI links unless the administrator has already approved the domain. 
  4. Select whether to allow any Tool Provider to post grades to the Grade Center. This global setting only applies to LTI 1.1. For LTI 1.3, the grading is on a per tool basis.
    • When this global setting is enabled, Blackboard Learn will accept grades posted by LTI Tool Providers but only into Grade Center columns created by Tool Provider placements in courses.
    • For a Tool Provider to take advantage of this setting, it must be configured with a placement that allows grading.
  5. In the Default Configuration section, you can set global options for user data and the user acknowledgment message. 
    • For security reasons, we highly encourage the Send user data only over SSL option. This setting is exclusive to LTI 1.1. In LTI 1.3, an SSL (TLS 2) connection is required.
    • If you select Never, all the User Fields to Send options will be unchecked. 
    • If you select Send user data only over SSL or Send user data over any connection, User Fields to Send will show three preselected fields you can customize based on your institution’s privacy policies:  Role in Course, Name, and Email Address.
    • By selecting Yes in the Allow Membership Service Access section, the tool can ask for all or any subset of users in a course (instructors and students). If you select No, the tool won’t be able to access that information and the option Show User Acknowledgment Message becomes available. By selecting Yes to that option, you can show a custom message to your users, for example: “You’re about to launch a 3rd party LTI tool."
    • Select Submit to set the global properties.

LTI versions

There are two versions of LTI: v1.1 and v1.3. Each version requires different configuration steps. Before adding an LTI tool, make sure you know which version it belongs to.

LTI v1.0 is very similar to the also deprecated LTI v1.1 but without the ability to pass back grades information. If you’re adding an LTI v1.0 resource, please register it as LTI v1.1.

The current version is LTI v1.3. The biggest difference from previous versions is the upgraded security model based on OAuth2, OpenID Connect, and JSON Web Tokens. There’s also LTI Advantage, a package of new extensions services built on top of LTI v1.3 that evolve outside of the LTI specification.


Add an LTI 1.1 Tool Provider

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Integrations, select LTI Tool Providers.
  2. Select Register LTI 1.1 Provider.
  3. Type the Provider Domain, such as www.example.com.
  4. Select the Provider Domain Status - Approved or Excluded. Approved is the default setting. Selecting Excluded prevents users from adding LTI links from a Tool Provider.
  5. Optionally, provide any Secondary Hostnames for the provider. The provider can supply this information.
  6. Check with the provider if they allow configuration for the entire site, or each link, and select the Default Configuration accordingly. For Set globally, type the Tool Provider Key and Tool Provider Secret. Leaving the Default Configuration as Set separately for each link requires users to enter the Key and Secret when creating each link. Any choices you make for the individual provider override the Global Properties
  7. Add any custom parameters required by the Tool Provider in the text box Tool Provider Custom Parameters.
  8. The Institution Policies section pulls preferences from the Global Properties. Here you can manage individual settings. 
    • For security reasons, we highly encourage the Send user data only over SSL option.
    • If you select Never, all the User Fields to Send options will be unchecked. 
    • If you select Send user data only over SSL or Send user data over any connection, User Fields to Send will show three preselected fields you can customize based on your institution’s privacy policies:  Role in Course, Name, and Email Address.
    • By selecting Yes in the Allow Membership Service Access section, the tool can ask for all or any subset of users in a course (instructors and students). If you select No, the tool won’t be able to access that information and the option Show User Acknowledgment Message becomes available. By selecting Yes to that option, you can show a custom message to your users, for example: “You’re about to launch a 3rd party LTI tool."
  9. Select Submit to add the LTI 1.1 tool.

Add an LTI 1.3/Advantage Tool

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Integrations, select LTI Tool Providers.
  2. Select Register LTI 1.3/Advantage Tool.
  3. Enter the Client ID or Application ID provided by the tool vendor. If you’re developing your own application, you can sign up on the Developer Portal and register your application to get the Client ID.
  4. Select Submit. The application's configuration settings from the Developer Portal will be shown on the page. 
  5. The fields are read-only but you can select the status of the tool as Approved or Excluded.
  6. The Institution Policies section pulls preferences from the Global Properties. Here you can manage settings for the individual provider by activating or deactivating the User Fields to Send checkboxes: Role in Course, Name, and Email Address. You can also allow or disallow grade service access on a per tool basis.
  7. By selecting Yes in the Allow Membership Service Access section, the tool can ask for all or any subset of users in a course (instructors and students). If you select No, the tool won’t be able to access that information and the option Show User Acknowledgment Message becomes available. By selecting Yes in that option, you can show a custom message to your users, for example: “You’re about to launch a 3rd party LTI tool."
  8. Any choices you make for the individual provider override the Global Properties.
  9. Select Submit to add the LTI 1.3/Advantage tool.

Configuring placements: where LTI tools appear

After adding an LTI Tool Provider, you can set up a Placement to make it easier for users to find and use the tool in Blackboard Learn’s user interface. A tool vendor can define all the placements for LTI 1.3 tools.

If the Placement is not configured, students and instructors must know the URL or secret key if they want to use the tool in courses, as described in Teaching Tools via LTI Connection.


How to create a Placement

  1. In Administrator Tools > LTI Tool Providers, go to the Tool/Provider you want to configure and select the menu option that appears next to the domain. Go to Manage Placements.
  2. Select Create Placement.
  3. Type a Label. This is the name that appears to users in a course.
  4. Add a description if the tool appears to students in their Tools menu. Descriptions don't appear to instructors.
  5. Type a Handle. It must be unique and can only contain alphanumeric, underscore, or dash characters.
  6. To make the placement available or unavailable, select Yes or No.
  7. Select a Type:

    You can't change the placement type for an existing placement. You'll have to create a new placement to change the type.

    • Deep Linking content tool: Allow instructors and course builders to launch the LTI tool and add content from the tool provider, rather than adding content through the Blackboard Learn interface. If the tool provider is configured so that the instructor can select multiple pieces of content in a single import, this tool can save time and simplify the workflow.
      • Allow student access: Give students permission to also add content from the tool provider.
    • Course content tool: Allow instructors to add the tool from the course content page. After adding through the Content Market section, the tool becomes part of the course outline.
      • Allows grading: Allow instructors to add grading features such as the due date and points possible to the tool.
    • Course tool: The tool appears to instructors and course builders in the Course Management section of an Original course and in the Books & Tools menu of an Ultra course.
      • Allow student access: When selected student can access the tool in the student Tools menu. Add a description to help student understand what the tool is and what it does.
    • A System tool can be opened without accessing a course. In the Original experience, the tool appears in the Tools menu of the My Institution tab. In the Ultra experience, the tool appears in the Tools base navigation section. You can also place a System Tool in an Institution Page module.
    • An Administrator tool allows administrators to add the tool to the Tools & Utilities menu on the Administrator Panel.
    • Ultra extension placements are for certain integrations. Only use this placement when told by your integration provider. Don't use this placement if not required by your integration.
    • Proctoring tool, Base navigation tool, and Course navigation tool are LTI 1.3/Advantage-exclusive types set by the tool provider that you can access but cannot modify.
  8. Select the checkbox if you want this tool to launch in a new window instead of an iframe.
  9. Add an icon for the tool by selecting Browse and uploading an image file of 50 x 50 pixels. If this LTI placement is in a course with the Original Course View, the icon appears with the link in the list of Tools. In the Ultra Course View, the icon appears with the link in the Content Market, but doesn't appear with the link on the Course Content page.
  10. Type in the tool provider information. In most cases, this is the same information you added when you created the tool, unless you are creating multiple placements for the same registered provider.
  11. Select Submit.

Managing tool access and visibility

Original Course View courses continue to allow instructors to override the availability state of tools if allowed. Tool availability in Ultra Course View courses is always managed by the administrator.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Tools and Utilities, select Tools.
  2. Search for the tool you want to turn on or off. You’ll see a list of internal tools, Building Block tools, and LTI tools that you can filter by type. 
  3. In Availability, select ON or OFF.
  4. You can also apply changes to New Original courses and all Ultra courses or New and existing courses.
  5. Select Submit.

Managing tools by institutional hierarchy

If you’re familiar with the concept of institutional hierarchy for your institution, you can manage the availability of LTI tools by department or course.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Communities, select Institutional Hierarchy.
  2. On the left menu, select the institution’s node you want to configure .
  3. Select the Tools tab.
  4. Search for the tool you want to turn on or off for the institution’s node. You’ll see a list of internal tools, Building Block tools, and LTI tools that you can filter by type.
  5. In Availability, select ON or OFF.
  6. You can also apply changes to New Original courses and all Ultra courses or New and existing courses.
  7. Select Submit

LTI Role Mapping

You can set user roles for LTI tools that require launches outside of a course context.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Users, select Course/Organization Roles.
  2. Under the ROLE ID column, select the menu option that appears next to the role you want to configure.
  3. Select Edit.
  4. Scroll down to the ROLE CAPABILITIES section. In the LTI Spec Role dropdown menu, select one of the role mapping options. 

Role mapping options

Course role mappings
Role Title LTI 1.1 LTI 1.3
Teaching Assistant TeachingAssistant Instructor
Mentor Mentor Mentor
Member Member Member
Manager Manager Manager
Learning Facilitator Mentor Mentor
Learner Learner Learner
Instructor Instructor Instructor
Guest Learner Learner Learner
Grader TeachingAssistant Instructor
Content Developer ContentDeveloper ContentDeveloper
Administrator Administrator Administrator