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Using LTI 1.3 with Moodle

This article explains how LTI 1.3 can be used to accomplish the following tasks:

  1. Create LTI assignments in Populi that will receive grades from a linked Moodle activity.
  2. Sync student rosters from a Populi course to a Moodle course.
  3. Sync course grades from a Moodle course to a Populi course.

The LTI 1.3 connection between Populi and Moodle does not include:

  1. Full course synchronization between Moodle and Populi.
  2. Syncing users or student data from Moodle to Populi.

For more details regarding the Moodle features described in this article see the Moodle article: Publish as LTI Tool.

Requirements:

  • In order to register Moodle as a global tool available in all Populi courses, you will need a Populi Account Administrator user account. For registration in a single course, you just need to be added as a Faculty or Teaching Assistant for that course in order to set up the integration. 
  • Administrator access to a Moodle site using version 4.0 or higher.
  • You may need to enable the "Publish as LTI Tool" feature on your Moodle site before going any further. To do so, follow these steps:
    1. Go to Site administration > Plugins > Authentication > Manage authentication and enable LTI.
    2. Go to Site administration > Plugins > Enrolments > Manage enroll plugins and enable 'Publish as LTI tool'.

Registration of Moodle in Populi

The first step is to register your Moodle site as an LTI 1.3 integration in Populi. Since Moodle supports Dynamic registration, this can be done in a single step by copying the Moodle registration URL into Populi.

Beginning in Moodle:

  1. In Moodle, navigate to Site administration > Plugins > Enrollments > Publish as LTI tool
  2. Click Register a Platform, and enter a name (such as "Populi").
  3. Under the Dynamic registration heading, copy the Registration URL. You will paste this into Populi in the next step.

Back in Populi:

  1. For a global registration, go to Account & Settings > Account Settings > Integrations > Add an integration. For a single course, go to Settings > External LTI Tools > Add External LTI Tool. 
  2. For a global registration, select External LTI Tool for the Integration type.
  3. For LTI Version, select LTI 1.3 (LTI Advantage).
  4. In Available Tools, choose New Custom Tool.
  5. Paste the Registration URL you got from Moodle into the Tool registration URL field and click Register Tool.

Manual Registration

If you encounter issues with Dynamic Registration, you can always register Moodle manually by following these steps.

  1. Fill out the Populi LTI tool form, copying the following fields from Moodle into the corresponding Populi field. The Redirect URI field may be left blank. When finished, click Save.
    From Moodle Field To Populi Field
    Tool URL Launch URL
    Initiate login URL Authentication request URL
    JWKS URL Public keyset URL
    Deep linking URL Deep linking URL
  2. Next, find your newly saved tool in the list of tools and click the Configuration Details button. Keep this window open for the next step.
  3. In Moodle, click the Platform details tab. From there, click the Edit platform details button. Copy and paste the following 5 fields from the Populi Configuration Details window into the Moodle form: Platform ID (issuer), Client ID, Authentication request URL, Public keyset URL, Access token URL. Be sure to Save Changes when finished.
  4. Lastly, click the Deployments tab in Moodle and then Add a deployment. Give your deployment a name (such as 'Populi deployment'), then copy and paste the Deployment ID from the Populi Configuration Details window. Once you Save Changes, your manual registration is complete!

Now that we've registered Moodle as an LTI Tool, we can begin linking and synchronizing.

Publishing Moodle Content for LTI

The next step is to publish your Moodle content for use in Populi. From a Moodle course dashboard page, underneath the course title, choose More > Published as LTI Tools. Next, click Add. Under Tool to be published, choose a course, assignment, or other activity you wish to link to.

Individual assignments can be used to pass grades for that particular assignment back into Populi, but the Course option can also can be used to pass a grade for the entire course back to Populi. More on this below.

A successful LTI integration requires that careful thought be put into the first launch provisioning mode settings. The options are:

New accounts only (automatic): This option will automatically generate new Moodle accounts for each student enrolled in the Populi course where the LTI link is located. These accounts will be generated in bulk as soon as the LTI link is launched for the first time (by a teacher or a student). Existing Moodle accounts will be ignored. Thus, using this option could result in some users having two different Moodle accounts.
Existing and New Accounts (prompt): This option means that when students first launch the LTI link in Populi, they will be asked if they wish to generate a new Moodle account or connect to an existing account. If they want to use an existing Moodle account, they need to sign in to Moodle and then launch the link again. Once they are signed into Moodle, they will be asked if they wish to link their Moodle account permanently to their Populi account. Once linked, all future LTI launches from Populi to Moodle will automatically connect that user to their existing Moodle account.
Existing accounts only (prompt): This option will require each student to sign in to an existing Moodle account when they launch any LTI link from Populi for the first time. Users who don't have an existing account in Moodle will not be allowed to access the content in Moodle until they have a Moodle account they can use to connect.

The settings listed above only affect a user's first launch into Moodle via LTI. In other words, linking Populi and Moodle accounts is a one time act. Once a student has a Moodle account connected to Populi through LTI (whether auto-generated or linked from an existing account), all LTI linking, grade and roster synchronization will be seamless. Students who have linked their existing accounts in Moodle can continue to use Moodle independently of Populi and still have their grades transferred.

Next, in the Remote System section of the Publish as LTI tool form in Moodle, configure the following settings:

  • Be sure to set Grade synchronisation to "Yes" if you want grades passed back to Populi for the assignment or course you are publishing.
  • Moodle will pass the course grade as the points earned so far ÷ total points in the course. This means that if there are multiple assignments that are graded one at a time through the duration of the course, the grade passed to Populi will be low (mostly likely an F) until all the graded items are complete. For this reason, it may be preferable to use the option Require course or activity completion prior to grade synchronisation so that only the final grade is copied over when the course or activity is marked complete in Moodle.
  • If User synchronisation is set to "Yes", Moodle will pull the course roster from Populi and enroll the students automatically in the Moodle course (provided they have a linked account in Moodle).

Configure the other settings as desired, then Save changes.

Repeat the publishing steps for each assignment or course you wish to share with Populi. For other courses, you will need to navigate first to the other course dashboard page and access More > Published as LTI Tools from there.

Linking Moodle Content in Populi

The last step to setting up an LTI connection is to add links to a Populi course. Courses will need to created manually in both Populi and Moodle, since LTI does not currently allow synchronization of full courses. Once you have a course set up in both platforms, you're ready to add LTI links. The best way to accomplish this is through Populi's Create via LTI Launch feature.

  1. Navigate to Assignments >Add assignments > Add LTI assignment.
  2. Select your Moodle Tool from the drop down, clickCreate via LTI Launch, then Launch Tool.
  3. You should be taken to a Moodle page with the titlePublished Content. Check each item you wish to add to the Populi course, and be sure to check Add to Gradebook if you want grades transferred. Remember, if you select a course title and checkAdd to Gradebook, the grade passed will be the overall grade for the course. If you simply want the course grade passed to Populi, syncing the course as a single LTI assignment is the way to go. On the other hand, if you would like each Moodle assignment to be represented in Populi with its own Moodle grade, you should import each of your Moodle assignments on this page with Add to Gradebook checked for all of them. Please note that if you have
  4. After you click Add Content, you should see a results page telling you exactly what items were created in Populi. Please note that If you checked a course, it will still create a Populi assignment for it, even though this Populi assignment actually represents the whole course in Moodle. As long as you have no other assignments in the course on the Populi end, each student's course grade will be accurately transferred from Moodle, since the single assignment will be weighted as 100% of the Populi course grade by default.
  5. Repeat the previous 4 steps for as many Populi courses as you like, being sure to connect the correct Moodle content to each Populi course. If you make any mistakes, you can simply delete the LTI assignments created in Populi and recreate them with Create via LTI Launch.

Note on Attendance: An attendance grade from Moodle can be back to Populi just like an other assignment grade. However, the grade will be treated as an assignment grade in Populi, and you will not be able to use attendance reports in Populi to access specific attendance details from Moodle.

Note on Past Grades: Past grades in Moodle can still be transferred to a Populi course via LTI as long as the Populi course in not locked. Once student accounts have been linked and an LTI assignment has been created in the proper course, Moodle will sync the grades to Populi.

Changing synchronization frequency in Moodle

LTI related synchronization tasks run on a schedule in Moodle, usually every 30 minutes by default. This frequency can be changed in your Moodle settings by following these steps:

  1. As an Admin, go to Site Administration >Server > Scheduled tasks.
  2. Find Publish as LTI tool grade sync, andPublish as LTI tool users sync in the list. If two different versions of these tasks appear in the list, choose the ones whose subtitles contain ltiadvantage.
  3. Click the gear icon to change the frequency of the task, or use theRun now option to run the sync immediately.
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