Formative supports an industry standard web application integration method called "Learning Tools Interoperability" (LTI).  Many educational software systems support LTI as a way to integrate different tools into a single learning platform.  LTI allows users of one of these systems to:

  1. Add a button or link to open Formative, logging in automatically (LTI Launch)
  2. Give assignments that embed / launch a Formative assessment
  3. Copy results from Formative back to the central gradebook (LTI Grade Passback)

Note that support for various LTI features varies between software packages. For example, Canvas is a major driver behind the creation and adoption of LTI and supports every feature of LTI (and a few more). PowerSchool supports launching and embedding a Formative assessment, but does not allow grade passback. BlackBaud onCampus supports launching a formative assessment and grade passback.

Prerequisites & Caveats

  • You must have a partner level license for your organization
  • You must have all teacher and student accounts already created and associated with the partner organization
  • Teacher and student accounts must all have an email address set up in both applications, and it must be the same email address in both cases
  • The user setting up LTI must be set up as an admin of the organization in Formative

Setup / Installation

Exactly how to set up the LTI integration depends on the software you are trying to integrate Formative with.  Please consult the documentation for your software to fully understand the options that are available to you and which LTI features are supported.

In general there will be three main ways to add Formative to your application.  All of them require you to enable LTI within Formative for your organization and retrieve a key and secret to authorize the integration.

Recommended: Account-wide Installation

Note that because Formative associates the credentials with your entire organization, and because the credentials should not be shared widely within your organization, it is best if you are able to configure the LTI key & secret centrally for everyone rather than have it setup individually for each teacher or each course.

The screenshots below show installation to an individual course within Canvas, but this kind of installation is really only suitable for demo & evaluation purposes.  Consult the documentation / support for your software to find how to setup LTI access credentials for everyone at your organization in a central and secure manner.

Accessing Credentials and Configuration in Formative

The LTI Setup page allows a Formative admin-level user to enable LTI and retrieve the authorization information for organizations you are an administrator of:

Please treat the consumer secret with care; in the wrong hands, the combination of consumer key & secret can potentially be used to log into Formative as any user in your organization.  Thus this information should only be accessible to users who should have that kind of power.  It should not be sent in an email or chat message.  If you are not the person who will setup the LTI integration, grant the appropriate person admin access to the top-level organization in Formative.

Note: if you see multiple organizations here, it is best to choose the one that encompasses the most users.  For example, if you see schools and districts, configure LTI for the district only.  This will avoid the need to setup a separate LTI integration for every single school.

Setup Option 1: Add Formative Using The Edu App Center

Instructure maintains a directory of LTI tools for easy access.  If you are using Canvas, or another platform that uses this directory, you can find Formative there:

Clicking the formative logo takes you to the listing page:

Clicking "+ Add App" opens the credentials modal:

The Consumer Key and Shared Secret come from the Credentials you retrieved from Formative's LTI Setup page above.

Setup Option 2: Configuration By URL

If the edu apps directory is not supported by your software, the second simplest option is configuration by URL.

If your software supports this you may find a form very similar to this one:

Set the name to "Formative" and copy/paste the other fields from the matching headings in the LTI Setup page in formative.

Setup Option 3: Fully Manual Configuration

If the above fails, you may end up with a form that looks like one of these:

Exactly which fields are provided varies by application, but they should correspond roughly to the above and should be filled out as follows:

  • Name: Formative
  • Consumer Key & Consumer Secret: Copy from LTI Setup page
  • Domain / Host: goformative.com or https://goformative.com depending whether the field expects a full URL
  • Launch URL: https://goformative.com/lti/launch
  • Config URL: Copy from LTI Setup page (note that the Config URL is not the same as the Launch URL)
  • Privacy / Share Name & Email Address: Enable name & email sharing, since our integration requires the email address to identify the student and if the names are anonymized the users' existing correct names might be replaced with numbers or other placeholder text when they log in
  • Custom Fields: Leave blank

BlackBaud onCampus

  • Go to Core > Settings > Integration > Learning Tools
  • Add a new tool provider
  • Set Status: Active
  • Set "Https Only" for all privacy settings
  • Set available on "Topics" and "Assignments"
  • Choose "By Domain" credentials type
  • Enter goformative.com as the domain and enter the consumer key and secret you get from the LTI Setup page
  • Enable "Returns Grades"

Using the LTI Integration

One configured, you can make use of the LTI features.  The details of how this is done varies greatly depending on the software you are using.  Detailed instructions for Canvas follow; if you do not use Canvas, the integration should be similar, although some features may not be available (such as grade passback and "Speed Grader").

After adding Formative, you will see a link to launch Formative in the menu on the left of the course content:

You can also create an assignment that references a Formative assessment.

First, create an assignment:

  1. If you intend to do Grade Passback later, make sure the assignment has a points value.
  2. Set the Submission Type to "External Tool"
  3. Put a link to the formative into the External Tool URL

Note that you can also use the "Find" feature to choose an assessment and insert a link to it:

Afterwards you can click "Select" to close the "Find" modal and the "External Tool URL" field will have been filled in.

The assignment will show the Formative interface within Canvas:

Once students have completed the assignment you can copy the grades back into Canvas if you wish. Read more about how to do that here.

BlackBaud onCampus Users

When adding the assignment, set the "Learning Tool" to "Formative", and enter the URL of the formative (from the address bar or the join instructions) as the "Launch URL". The Launch URL should start with https://goformative.com/formatives/

Other Systems

Currently we do not have detailed instructions for using LTI with other systems. Please consult the documentation for your software.

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