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Avalon as an LTI tool in a LMS

Avalon release 3 introduced Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) capability. The purpose of setting Avalon up as an LTI tool in an LMS is to offer course-specific access and customized content verified by the LMS. All a user would need to do to access course items is to log into their LMS, click on an external tool link, and then they will be redirected to Avalon. As part of the redirect, Avalon gathers course and user information verified by Oauth. Using the course ID, Avalon customizes the landing page for the user to only show items listed for that course.

Set up Process

Add the LMS as an authentication provider

The authentication settings for LTI are added to config/authentication.yml with the other authentication providers. A new parameter called "hidden" was added to keep the LTI provider from showing up at the log in screen. Here is an example LTI authentication config block: 

- :name: Avalon LTI Oauth
  :provider: :lti
  :hidden: true
      key: 'secret'

Configure hash keys

There are more lti configuration options in config/lti.yml, which tells avalon where to look for user, class and lms information in the hash received from the LMS. These are the default values that are hard-coded into our version of the gem omniauth-lti. You'll only need to add the lti.yml if any of these values are different for your LMS.  You might want to follow this recipe for choosing values to avoid confusion in the interface.

  :uid: :user_id
  :email: :lis_person_contact_email_primary
  :context_id: :context_id
  :context_name: :context_label

LMS/CMS Specific Setup Instructions

The next step is to go into your LMS or CMS and create a link to the avalon LTI.


To add an external tool to a course, go to site setup on the sidebar then check off the box for one of the external tools. We already named one "Avalon".

Adding external tool to sidebar

It will then show up in the side bar.


Click on it and select the edit button in the upper left hand corner. We used the following settings (replacing <avalon ip address> with your url):

External Tool Configuration

Check the boxes to release the name and email address to the external tool. If these aren't checked, students logging in the first time through sakai will receive an error message.



Canvas allows for the specification of global as well as course-specific LTI providers. From either the Global or the Course Settings, click Apps, then View App Center to reveal the Add New App button.

Clicking that button reveals the LTI app configuration panel.

The parameters are similar to those entered for Sakai or Blackboard. Note that for Blackboard Ultra view to work the user needs to have an email.