External applications (apps), also referred to as LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability), are applications that can be plugged into Canvas to expand its capabilities. An example is an app that creates badges to award for total grade point reached or supplemental quizzes.
However, Los Rios must fully screen and test every external apps for compatibility, accessibility, security, compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), affordability, compliance with board policy, and other requirements. Instructors are asked to follow the procedure outlined on this page to be able to safely incorporate apps into their Canvas courses.
Deadline for Requests
Requests should be made well in advance of the time you expect to start using the app(s). The length of time required to test your app may vary considerably, depending on the complexity of the app.
- Fall Semester Deadline: April 1
- Spring Semester Deadline: November 1
- Summer Semester Deadline: March 1
Any external app integrated into Canvas must meet the following requirements:
- Application vendor must not permit direct sales to students via Canvas or any other means. This is distracting to students and a possible invasion of privacy.
- Application vendor must be a viable company that will provide ongoing technical support. Los Rios staff cannot support external applications.
- The application must meet Los Rios' accessibility requirements. Read Regulation 7145: Distance Education (PDF) to learn more.
- Application vendor must be able to secure any student data their app "touches", restricting their use of student data to what is minimally required for the app to operate correctly (sometimes referred to as the principle of least privilege).
- Application vendor does not sell student data. Los Rios student data is confidential and protected by law.
- If there is a cost attached to acquiring or subscribing to the application, the requester must identify available funding. The district's Information Technology Office (DO-IT) typically doesn't have the funds to purchase or cover the ongoing costs of these tools.
- The application must not violate any Los Rios board policies.
- The application and vendor must meet all FERPA Compliance and Regulations.
- The application must not adversely impact system security or performance.
Requests should be completed and submitted by a Los Rios employee, with information and information provided by the vendor where necessary. They are first jointly reviewed by DO-IT and college learning management system (LMS) coordinators. If recommended, then requests will be forwarded and presented to the District Education and Technology Committee for an implementation decision. Please familiarize yourself with the following process before submitting your request, which includes, but is not limited to:
- A discussion with faculty to determine if the product requires Canvas authentication and course enrollment feeds. The use of student data, which is subject to FERPA regulations, in some external apps, may lengthen the review process significantly.
- A consideration as to whether the functionality or features offered by the app already exist within Los Rios' services or systems as alternatives.
- Verifying the external app's technical compatibility within Canvas. This will include the permissions required for specific roles (Admin, LMS Support, Librarians, Media Specialists, and Designers); error-free installation; performance impact; and security issues.
- Verifying the external app's accessibility compliance with Section 508, as required by Los Rios policy and federal law. An explanation and criteria of compliance can be obtained through a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), which should be completed by the vendor. This application will be tested by an accessibility specialist to verify the information on the VPAT.
Requesters are also expected to undertake basic quality assurance testing to ensure the app's compatibility with general Canvas functionality.
Ready to Submit a Request?
- Complete the Request Form (PDF) and submit it with all required accompanying documents by the deadline noted above. If you have any questions, then please work with your college LMS coordinators and/or email CCMS@losrios.edu with External Apps in the subject line.
- DO-IT and the LMS coordinators will review the request to determine if all the required information has been provided, including:
- Proof that the app meets Los Rios' accessibility requirements
- Proof that funding is available for any acquisition costs
- Assurance that any required contracts or agreements with the vendor are acceptable or already in place
- If all the above conditions are met, DO-IT and the LMS coordinators will proceed with a pilot implementation involving the requesting department and update the Existing Canvas Apps and LTI (PDF) with information about the vendor, app, and status.
- DO-IT and the LMS coordinators will coordinate all pilot activities and produce a report at the conclusion of the study with one of the following recommendations:
- Pilot successful. The app will be recommended and presented to the District Ed Tech Committee during the next meeting for review and final approval.
- Pilot not successful. The app will not be recommended and reasons will be provided to the requestor, who may follow up with the vendor and resubmit their request at a later date.
- Vendor support contact information will be maintained on the following document: Existing Canvas Apps and LTI (PDF).
- Faculty and students must contact the vendor support directly with any questions or issues encountered when using the app; DO-IT and LMS coordinators will be limited to providing minimal support for external apps, primarily the verification of setup and security.