Integrating Ares with LTI 1.3

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This article reflects some changes/features that are not yet publicly available. Ares v5.0.4/5.0.5 is in the final stages of testing. Once an official release date has been announced, this message will be updated with more information.

LTI (Learning Tools Operability) is a standard that allows applications like Ares to integrate with platforms such as course/learning management systems. As of Ares v5.0.4/5.0.5, Ares supports these connections using LTI v1.3, which can also take advantage of the LTI Advantage extensions. Existing LTI 1.1 connections in Ares should be migrated to LTI 1.3 connections following the instructions in this article. LTI is developed by IMS Global. See the IMS Global website for further definition and history of LTI.

Please contact Atlas Systems at support@atlas-sys.com or 1-800-567-7401 ext. #1 for assistance with LTI setup.

In order to successfully connect Ares with your course/learning management system (CMS), we recommend involving the following people:

  1. Atlas Systems customer support agent
  2. Your Course Reserves staff
  3. Your Course Reserves IT support (access to Ares Customization Manager)
  4. Your course/learning management system administrator

Using LTI

Ares supports LTI 1.3 connections through the Ares Web API. Most course/learning management systems are LTI compliant and can be integrated with Ares using LTI. See the IMS Global Learning Tools Interoperability Catalog and view which LTI versions are supported by each product. We recommend learning more about LTI and your specific course/learning management system in preparation for Ares integration. 

LTI 1.3 Configuration Process

Overview | Configuring the LTI 1.3 Tool Within the CMS | Configuring the Ares Customization Manager Tables

CMS-Specific Configuration Instructions

Atlas has compiled instructions for using LTI 1.3 to connect Ares with some commonly used course/learning management systems:

Overview

Creating a new LTI 1.3 connection between Ares and a course/learning management system will require configuring tools and settings within both your CMS and Ares instances. This process will generally be performed in this order:

It is recommended that your administrator for your CMS work closely with your Ares administrator during this process in order to properly coordinate the settings configured between your CMS and Ares instances. 
  1. A new LTI 1.3 tool is created within the CMS and configured to connect with the Ares server. Specific settings for the tool will generally need to be populated with the commonly used LTI configuration links listed in the section below.
  2. The LTIPlatforms table in the Ares Customization Manager is populated with the configuration details for the LTI 1.3 tool created in the CMS and with a few other details to configure mapping between the two systems. 
    • These details can be obtained from within the CMS administrator interface after the tool is created.
    • See LTIPlatforms Table below for more information. 
  3. The LTIPlatformMappings table in the Ares Customization Manager is configured to specify which LTI fields used by the CMS should map to which Ares fields.

    Note: If migrating a previous LTI 1.1 connection to a new LTI 1.3 connection between your CMS and Ares, your field mappings in the LTIFieldMappings table will need to be migrated to the new LTIPlatformMappings table. Please note that LTI parameter names used in the LTI Field Name column will need to be changed to use updated LTI 1.3 parameter names when migrating your existing field mappings to the new table. Please see the IMS Global documentation for more information on these changes.
  4. Test the LTI 1.3 connection by using the new Ares LTI 1.3 tool to configure links to the Ares course page and deep links* to Ares items on your CMS course pages.

*The LTI deep linking functionality requires that the ltiContentItem.js file is present in the js folder of your Ares web directory. If your web directory does not contain this file, please visit the Ares Downloads page to download the latest version of the Ares web pages, then locate and copy this file from the downloaded web pages into the js folder in your web directory. After adding the file, ensure that the following line of code is added to your include_head.html file: 

<script type="text/javascript" src="js/ltiContentItem.js"></script>

Configuring the LTI 1.3 Tool Within the CMS

Commonly Used LTI 1.3 Tool Configuration Links

The first step in the LTI 1.3 configuration process is to create a new LTI 1.3 tool within the CMS that can be used to connect to your Ares server. The process for configuring this tool varies by CMS, but will most likely require populating the tool's settings appropriately with the links below to configure the connection to your Ares server. CMS-specific setup instructions are available for Canvas, Moodle, Brightspace, and Blackboard.

For more information on configuring LTI 1.3 tools, please refer to the documentation for your specific course/learning management system or contact your CMS directly for assistance. 

LTI 1.3 Tool Configuration Links

The following links can be used to configure the Ares connection settings for the LTI 1.3 tool in your CMS:

  • https://<your.AresWeb.domain>/ares/webapi/lti/keyset
  • https://<your.AresWeb.domain>/ares/webapi/lti/launch
  • https://<your.AresWeb.domain>/ares/webapi/lti/deeplink
  • https://<your.AresWeb.domain>/ares/webapi/lti/login

Note: The Ares web domain used in these links must match the domain used in the Base API Url column of the row in the Ares Customization Manager's APIConfig table that has an ID number matching the value of the ClientUploadAPIConfig customization key. To verify this value:

  1. Open the ClientUploadAPIConfig key under System | Client Upload and note the key's value
  2. Open the APIConfig table under System | Integration 
  3. Locate the row of the table with an ID matching the value of the ClientUploadAPIConfig key
  4. Verify that the Base API Url value of this row has a domain matching that of the domain for the URLs in the links used to configure the LTI 1.3 tool in your CMS. Note that these values are case-sensitive. 

Configuring the Ares Customization Manager Tables

LTI Platforms Table | LTIPlatformMappings Table | Using Multiple Course/Learning Management Systems

After creating the LTI 1.3 tool in the CMS, there are two tables in the Ares Customization Manager you will need to populate with information about the tool and other information about how to map the fields and roles from your CMS to your Ares system:

These tables can be located in the Ares Customization Manager at System | Integration. Please see the section on each table below for more information on configuring the table values.

Once a connection is established between Ares and the CMS using LTI 1.3, an entry will be automatically generated in the LTIKeys table with information on the key used to maintain the connection. This information does not need to be manually configured.
See the CMS-Specific Configuration Instructions section to find step-by-step instructions on configuring these tables for Canvas, Brightspace, Moodle, and Blackboard.

LTIPlatforms Table

If you are linking more than one Course Management System with Ares through LTI, each system will need a separate entry in this table. This table should be populated with certain configuration details specific to the LTI 1.3 tool created in your CMS to connect with Ares. 

ID This value will be automatically generated and should be entered into the LTI Platform ID field for entries configured in the LTIPlatformMappings table for the CMS.
Authentication URL

The URL that the CMS will use to send the authentication request. This should be a URL under the CMS's domain and can generally be retrieved from the configuration details for the LTI tool created in the CMS to connect with Ares.

Ares Web URL

This field is only needed if you use multiple CMS systems that use
multiple sets of web pages. Otherwise, leave it blank and it will use
the SystemURL customization key value.

Issuer

This is typically the URL of your CMS instance. It may also be found as the Platform ID or another similar setting within the configuration details for the LTI tool created in the CMS to connect with Ares.

Client ID

The ID of the LTI 1.3 tool created to connect with Ares. This should be retrieved from the configuration details for the LTI tool created in the CMS to connect with Ares.

Deployment ID

The ID of the LTI 1.3 tool deployment used by the CMS to connect with Ares. This should be retrieved from the configuration details for the LTI tool created in the CMS to connect with Ares.

Key

This field should be left blank as keys will be automatically generated in the LTIKeys table when the connection between Ares and the CMS is established.

Key Set URL

The URL that the CMS will use to store keys for that system. This should be retrieved from the configuration details for the LTI tool created in the CMS to connect with Ares.

Instructor Roles

A comma-delimited list of all of the roles from your CMS that will
be considered Instructors in the Ares system. These roles should be entered in the URI format detailed in the IMS Global documentation, e.g. 'http://purl.imsglobal.org/vocab/lis/v2/membership#Instructor' 

Course Proxy Roles

A comma-delimited list of all of the roles from your CMS that will
be considered Course Proxies in the Ares system. These roles should be entered in the URI format detailed in the IMS Global documentation, e.g. 'http://purl.imsglobal.org/vocab/lis/v2/membership/Instructor#TeachingAssistant' 


LTIPlatformMappings Table

The LTIPlatformMappings table specifies which LTI fields should map to which Ares fields. The LTI Platform ID value is used to specify which CMS system will use each field mapping, allowing you to configure different mappings for the same field across multiple CMS platforms.

LTI Platform ID

The ID number of the row configured in the LTIPlatforms table for the CMS system that will use this field mapping (e.g. if this field mapping is being configured for Canvas and the ID number for the Canvas entry in the LTIPlatforms table is 3, then this field should contain the value 3).

Ares Field Name

The Ares field you want that LTI value to import into (FirstName,
LastName, etc.)

Ares Object Name

Either Course or User

LTI Field Name

*The field in the CMS (given_name, https://purl.imsglobal.org/spec/lti/claim/context#id, etc.)

*Please consult with your campus CMS administrators to obtain the proper LTI parameter field names to use for each Ares field mapping. Note that the names used for these parameters in LTI 1.1 have changed in LTI 1.3. Please see the IMS Global documentation for more information on these changes.

LTIPlatformMappings.png


Using Multiple Course/Learning Management Systems

It's possible to create more than one entry in the LTIPlatforms table of the Customization Manager and direct more than one course/learning management system to Ares using LTI. If continuity across the programs is required, identical values must be able to be mapped into Ares' ExternalCourseID and ExternalUserID fields, as Ares uses these two fields to uniquely identify courses and users, respectively.

When configuring the LTIPlatformMappings table, separate entries should be created for each CMS using the LTIPlatformID value in the LTIPlatformMappings table to specify which CMS will use each mapping. Specifying the LTIPlatformID for each mapping allows you to map different LTIFieldName parameters from each CMS to the same Ares field or to map the same LTIFieldName parameter from each CMS to different Ares fields. The LTIPlatformID value should correspond to the ID number of the entry in the LTIPlatforms table for the CMS. 

Questions?

If this article didn’t resolve your issue, please contact Atlas Support for assistance:

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