Abstract: New Opportunities for Teaching and Learning: Extending Learning Management Systems Using Standards

The IMS Learning Tools Interoperability standard is available in Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Sakai, Moodle, and WebCT so a learning tool can be written that integrates into these LMS systems. This presentation will give an overview of IMS LTI, show its use in an LMS and show developer resources for LTI.
IMS LTI gives the teams that support LMS systems on campuses a great deal of new flexibility. Instead of building each new capability inside of the LMS, IMS LTI allows these tools to be developed and hosted outside of the LMS much like a Facebook or OpenSocial application. Also tool vendors will have access to the full range of the LMS marketplace with a single integration making it possible for a tool like Wimba to be used in all of the LMS systems on a campus.
Historically, each of the LMS systems provide their own proprietary extension points (Building Blocks, Moodle Modules, etc). Tool vendors tended to develop custom integrations for only one or two of the LMS systems in the marketplace. The IMS LTI standard allows a tool vendor or tool developer to develop a single integration that will work with most of the LMS systems in the marketplace. The IMS LTI specification was developed over several years with leadership of Blackboard, Pearson Education, Microsoft, Wimba, Learning Objects and many other
At the University of Michigan, this integration has been used to connect a number of tools into the local Sakai instance. IMS LTI was used to integrate a CAPA-based homework and testing system called SAMS into Sakai. Other instructors use a tool called LectureTools which was also integrated into Sakai using IMS Basic LTI. We are working on a project to integrate a video server provided by the Merit Network into Sakai at the University of Michigan and Blackboard at Washtenaw Community College using the IMS LTI standard. Increasingly the University of Michigan can make the best choice to develop a capability inside or outside of Sakai based on the needs of the application or the needs of the user rather than technical limitations of the Sakai system.
As the LMS market matures and LMS systems become enterprise software, there is less and less opportunity to innovate inside of the LMS. This means that experimental approaches to teaching and learning cannot be explored without affecting the reliability of the enterprise LMS. IMS LTI allows the IT staff to meet the needs of teachers to use innovative software without destabilizing the enterprise LMS. In the long run, this allows us to meet both the demand for innovation as well as the demand for high scalability and reliability.